Beauty among the ashes. Richness among the poor. These two phrases seem like oxymorons, yet it is what strikes me again this second time I have returned to Haiti. It is what struck me the first time I came to Haiti last year, and it is what strikes me again this time around. As roads and buildings are still in the process of being reconstructed (looking pretty bland), I see a boldness from the colors they choose to decorate the walls, the tap taps, finished buildings (bright red, blue, green, etc). Among the bland colored walls, barb wired walls, and dust are beautiful pink flowers and lovely green leaves and trees. Among all the food that are imported, they have delicious mangoes and coffee (well, per report from my teammates since I don’t drink coffee).
As we are closing this week, I am sure that all of us have so much to process. Still, we leave with a piece of Haiti written in our hearts as we have grown in appreciation of the Morquettes, the work of the hospital, the children in the orphanage, and a culture that has so much strength and pride in it. I remember coming into this trip, not sure of what to expect, but knowing that I was excited to return to a group of people and a local Haitian team that I have come to love and respect.
I have learned throughout the week that one can never underestimate the impact that one can have on others around you. Every little gesture counts, every little touch counts, every smile counts. I was reminded of this again on our last day with the children yesterday, when some of the children who I did not think I had connected much with told me how much I meant to them, and how much they felt loved. If there was even one child who felt something that I did not realize had felt that loved and connected, just imagine how many other children might have felt the same way? If I can share Christ’s love with one person, that one person can now better understand and express Christ’s love to someone else. These children truly exude a love and innocent beauty that stands in stark contrast to the nature of the conditions that they live in (not having anything). These children have so much to offer, and so many talents that are still to be tapped into, discovered, and encouraged to use. I will forever hold these children dear to my heart.