Port au Prince

Port au Prince
"He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Psalm 40:2

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Impressions

The night before departing for Haiti I sat in my apartment packing and attempting to predict what the experience would be like for a first-timer.  Despite the impossible task I couldn’t seem to quiet my brain.  Having arrived and gone through a day and a half here, I find that my expectations were both right and wrong.  Yesterday, our day of arrival, I sat in the backseat of the van as we drove around Port-au-Prince feeling as if I was watching a movie through the van windows, I honestly couldn't believe what I saw - rubble on the streets, dust in the air, endless tent communities, and tons of people on the streets.  Today, as we continued our tour of the city, I started to believe it, imagining how I would feel, what I would think, what I would do if it were me.   In that moment I knew what it meant to reflect on the question “How am I living my life?”  At that moment, something changed in me, God popped a "bubble" in my life perspective.  I felt overwhelmingly humbled, becoming aware that I couldn't bring myself to the level of understanding required to fully empathize with the people of Haiti.  A teammate of mine, who is here for the second time, mentioned that there is not a lot of counseling or discussion opportunities available to process their situation, and as a result they show up at the doctor's with physical pain, trouble sleeping, etc, due entirely to fear so strong and so continuous that it causes physical ailments.  Riding in the van, I asked God where His hope was among the challenges and hardship in Haiti.

His answer came later that afternoon, when we visited the orphanage next to the hospital (where we will begin working tomorrow) and played with the kids.  After 20 minutes and a small bag of candy to break the ice, the kids were sitting in our laps, playing basketball with the guys, letting us do their hair, taking pictures and videos, and even dancing with us to Jason Delurio and Justin Bieber!  In their faces I saw joy and innocence, and in their actions I saw acceptance of our love and care.   They too are in a tough situation, many without family or a place to call home, yet the childhood love for life remained, and there I saw the hope I was desperate to find.   
That experience, combined with our visit to the local church's Sunday morning service, the hospitality and generosity of our inspirational hosts (who are the co-directors of the hospital, and in my eyes some of the heroes of Haiti), the improvements and progress in the city pointed out by our driver, and the hearts, spirits and skills of the amazing team I have the privilege to work with, I have a new outlook about what drives me here.  When I thought I would be mostly overwhelmed by sadness and helplessness, I am instead spurred by great humility and faithful hope.   Please pray that this continues and grows for my team as we begin our work in the hospital tomorrow!   

Until then!
Sophia (Medical Team)


  1. thanks for the reflections Sophia. it helps those of us who cannot be there to participate; we are with you in spirit and will be praying for you and those you touch. it is hard to imagine the sorrow God must have as he looks upon all the suffering in this world...

  2. Thanks for sharing, Sophia! Great to hear your heart perspective. ~grace

  3. very nice fufus!

  4. Sophia and the rest of the team,
    today I needed to read about your experiences and how God is showing you what he can do, and that you and me and everyone else that believes in the Lord is but an vessel of clay within which lies the power of the Almighty! I am touched to hear about how the Lord is using each of you in very unique ways. I have been feeling lost and overwhelmed by career challenges in my life, and this is inspiring me to rely on the Lord! May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may his face shine upon each of you!