Yesterday I was exposed to the behind-the-scene view of the children’s living environment at the orphanage uphill from the hospital. Simply put, I was overcome by sadness and extreme guilt. Tears welled up while looking around their dark, filthy bathrooms, and dusty, crowded bedrooms. Paint was chipping off every wall. Cockroaches scurried across the floor. Without indulging in details, I’ll just say I will never complain about cleaning a toilet again. I thought of their reality compared to my own childhood: 20 acres to roam, a room to myself, a bed overflowing with stuffed animals, two loving parents. The younger children are so starved for love and affection that they continued to attempt to play with my hair even while scrubbing the toilets. Throughout the week, the older children initially remained distant, but are clearly longing for more, expressed in notes to our team members asking them to adopt them and take them away from Haiti.
Today was a day of hope. We left the children at the end of the day with smiles and laughter. In typical fashion, we never know what to expect each morning as we enter the hospital, and today we had a lighter patient load, which opened up the afternoon for our entire team to spend with the children at the orphanage. Our two new friends (amazing handymen from NC with huge hearts for Haiti) made the multi-hour trek to the hardware store to pick up painting supplies. All eight of us paraded into the girl’s room and got to work: bunk beds were hauled out, floors were swept, walls were cleaned, brushes started flying. The ipod came out, and so did the children. Soon little faces and hands were covered in fresh white paint as they dove in to help us transform their room. As the work continued, the children danced in the hallways—beautiful movement in a humble space; a true act of worship. The transformation of the children’s living space not only brought deep unity and bonding as a team, but also lit up the kid’s faces and hopefully helped them feel the same love they have been pouring out on us all week. I was so thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and his children in this way today.
Haiti continues to provoke and expose this dichotomy of emotions: despair and hope, pain and healing, abandonment and community, fear and love. Ultimately, however, as we wrestle with our purpose and calling in a broken world, we know how the story will resolve. Praise God that, in the end, He has the victory and the glory, and all His children will partake of it by His loving side.
-Malia (Medical Team)