Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Water Delivery Day was intense, good and eye-opening. I'll describe a little of what we did and how it went about (there will be some pics later, taken by our team leaders). Due to the shortage of clean water in Haiti, Healing Haiti water trucks deliver clean water to several sites throughout the area. We visited some of the most poverty-stricken communities and poured clean water from the trucks into buckets brought out by the people living in them. These trucks deliver water almost daily. Whole families including very young children and their parents line up often in a mad scramble to get the clean water. It takes 2 or 3 of us to manage the hose that shoots water into the buckets. The rest of the team helps carry those buckets back to the families' homes or somewhere near. It's all very fast paced and the water comes out fast. Sometimes when there's not a bucket right in front of the hose, kids will pile up at that spot almost like they're under a waterfall. But they're just being kids, some for play and some simply to cool off. This happened at least 2 or 3 times while I was at the front of the hose. It can get very chaotic. Pouring the water into the buckets and even the occasional chaos that happens felt very exciting for me while a little challenging. I enjoyed it. The other times, when I was carrying water buckets, were quite eye opening, just to see the level of poverty, but also the culture and way of life for the Haitians. Compared to them, we have absolute luxury here in America, especially in the South Bay in Los Angeles. Yet it was the only life they know. They were always super excited and welcoming when we showed up. The kids will gather around you and jump right into your arms or on your back–they are excited! I met a young man who introduced himself to me. He was gentle, friendly and curious. He asked me my name, my mom and dad's names, where I was from, etc. I found out he was a student and he said he likes to talk to people who deliver water so that he could improve his English. He was 25 years old. It was good to experience all this; 2 additional things stand out...of course you can get pretty drenched pouring water into the buckets, and Haiti is very warm, so you don’t mind one bit...and second, I have a new appreciation for water shoes–works like a dream. We have one more water delivery day, Saturday, and I look forward to it!
Today, our team faced one of the most emotionally, exhausting and rewarding part of our mission trip, which involved water deliveries to the slums of Port-au-Prince. My heart has been anticipating this day, since we arrived in Haiti, I been aching to meet the children and families of Port-au-Prince. One of our team leader's Ray stated that our water delivery represented, "the living water." All morning those words echoed in my mind, "the living water." I kept praying for God to reveal himself to the helpless people in Haiti. I prayed for God to guide our team and to strengthened us through His holy word.
Upon arrival at our first water delivery, my eyes met the eyes of the children. Their eyes lit up when they saw us. I looked into one little boy' eyes and saw that they were bright yellow, but yet his eyes were able to spark a smile towards mine. The children jumped into our arms and onto our backs. I felt weighted down, but yet overcome with joy by their contagious smiles and joyful laughter.
These children had a sense of hope in their eyes and it gave me hope in seeing that they were able to smile in the midst of their poverty stricken lives. I looked around on the ground and saw the children's bare feet running by fecal matter and trails of dirty water. Along the streets and rivers there was mountains of trash. I kept thinking to myself these children and their families do not deserve to live this way. However, something about our water deliveries gave these people the courage to move forward and keep living. I could never imagined living in a house made out of cardboard, deteriorating bricks, and pieces of metal. The Haitian people of Port-au-Prince, have nothing, but yet their love for one another and their country overpowers the enemy of poverty. As my team was helping the children carry buckets of water back to their houses, I had to remind myself that God is in control. There were endless lines of people carrying empty buckets, barrels and large bowls. I smiled as I saw children refreshed their hot and sticky bodies with fresh water. Children danced as they took buckets of water and dumped it all over their tiny bodies. One child, dumped his face into a bucket of water as if it were his first time tasting water. A few women were throwing elbows and having a exchange of words as they fought to get to the head of the line. I was praying that each bucket would get filled, but deep down, I knew that we would run out of water. Once again, I had to remind myself that God fills us up with his goodness and love, and HIs well never runs dry.
I witnessed small girls and elderly women carry buckets of water on their heads, with some much strength and grace. I helped a few children carry their buckets back to their houses, and I recalled my hands beginning to ache, but I reminded myself these children complete this journey everyday, my privilege self only has to complete this journey once. I wanted to be strong for them. Although, many of these children may be independent, they still need encouragement and love from an adult. Most of these children only spoke Creole, but yet we were able to bond through physical interactions and kind gestures. These children gave me more than what I could ever give them. These children were the eyes of God and they shared God's unconditionally love through their laughter, hugs and touches. Before I board the Healing Haiti truck for the last time, a little girl held onto me tightly and did not want to let me go. I told her that it is going to be okay and that God is watching over her from Heaven. She nodded her head and smile, her response reminded me, why God placed our team in Haiti, which is to spread the love Christ to all of His children with compassion and grace.