It's always interesting to see how we readjust back to the business of life again and see how culture shock hits us. I've been to several third world countries before, and I've been to Haiti before, but never have I experienced a culture shock like what I am experiencing now. I would have thought that the more trips you go on, the less of a culture shock you'd experience. Apparently though, the opposite is true for me now. It has felt weird, almost wrong to go grocery shopping, to be inundated with billboards, lights, paved roads, and sounds and sights of technology. It didn't feel right to be working or even to go out with friends at night. As I'm thinking about it and continually processing the trip, I see that it is not that I feel those things are wrong, but it highlights just how blessed I am.
I have the freedom to be able to leave my home to work, to shop. I have the luxury of having clean water, well paved roads, and a collection of various technology devices. And mostly, I am beyond blessed to have friends who I can share life with and process through relationships, feelings, and vulnerable moments in my life. These children in the orphanage do not have that freedom, the luxury, and the relationships that I am able to have. The more I interact with them, the more I am learning about their life, what they have and what they don't have.
If there are big things that struck me coming back from this trip, here are 2 things:
1. I desire for them to have the relationships and group of friends that I am able to have. Friendships that go beyond just living together, but really being able to be vulnerable with each other and relationships that will help them process through difficult moments, celebrate happy moments, and ultimately grow closer to Christ.
2. While they may not have a lot, they have one big thing that I have yet to fully see happen in America. They are so open, welcoming, and encouraging. Even the teenagers there did not seem to care as much about how talented we are, but openly invited us to play with them, engaging us in friendly competition, and inviting us to just spend time with them. It didn't matter to them that they invited me to join them in activities that I am self-conscious about. They still openly encouraged me to engage with them and when I didn't do so well, was still so encouraging saying that I could do it. This is definitely one thing we can learn from these precious children there.