Today was like a rose. Beautiful and bright, yet thorny and dark as the sweet smelling moments blew away like pedals in the wind.
The ride through town this morning I was feeling more hope and happiness for Haiti than sorrow. I'm beginning to observe more beauty in this country than I had the previous days, which I am thankful for since these new feelings are unexpected, but much appreciated. I felt a surge of energy arriving at Grace Village today, seeing all the children, hearing their shouts of excitement, and watching them burst with joy as we piled out of the tap tap. The energy that they give is enough to power the planet; and I feel as if they will, these are the kids that are going to change Haiti and the world as we know it for good. Singing, dancing, acting, and all while praising God; these kids are truly amazing in their worship.
After we packed up, I was feeling a bit "hangry" which is a real feeling that I informed Steve of today. Once we left Grace Village, we went straight to a local orphanage. This is a place that I will never forget. "For I may have many things stolen from me, but memories can never be taken from me." I walked in and could feel the love and appreciation for our presents.. ours. We're nothing special, actually we're a bunch of strangers walking into their home, but they couldn't be more loving towards us and thankful for our visit. The children were extremely well-behaved and generous; I assume because they have a lovely man as their pastor. Here was this sweet man with a permanent smile fixtured upon his face, caring for seventeen children with very limited staff, and yet he couldn't be happier.
After a few skits and songs performed by us for the kids, we had snacks then played together. And boy did we play. As I was walking, a teenage girl came up to me and we both laughed as we exchanged high-fives. A few minutes later I was sitting on a little wooden bench watching them run and giggle, when the same sweet girl whom will now and always hold a dear place in my heart, came up to me and pulled me to her friends. We laughed hysterically as they taught me a four person hand shake. This girl and I played a few more hand-slapping games until my hands were red! (She was much better at these games than I was.) After that we played tic tac toe until it was time to go. Right as everyone was gathering to the tap tap, I realized I never asked for her name. She told me Rosemarthe, when I told her my name, she said it as if we'd been friends forever. I snapped a quick picture with Rosemarthe, and her beautiful friend, Sheila. Then I realized I'd left them. What had I said? What had I done? Did they enjoy my company like I theirs? Was my "God bless you" a sufficient goodbye for these so lovely girls? Part of me feels such selfishness as I want them to think of me often like I know I will them. But does it matter? Who am I to wish such feelings into their hearts? I even caught myself thinking "If only I had a gift for these girls, if only I had a tangible physical object to give them in order for them to remember me." Things can't leave an impact, only we can. Objects fade, love only grows. I will always remember my time spent with Rosemarthe, and Sheila, and I am thankful for their impact on my heart.
Once on the tap tap and once the thoughts of selfishness seemed to fade, I gazed out and seen a man riding on the top of a truck. I was tired and upset, so I was leaning my head on my hands as a rested there in a sort of a pout. This man started mocking my posture, smiled and waited for me to wave. I returned the smile and waved at him and all his friends riding with him. How could some strange man riding on top of a truck give me such relief? I thought back to my feelings this morning, remembering how beautiful this place is, as well as it's people.
"Haiti is like sugarcane; it's hard, dark, and dusty on the outside, but once you chew on it for a bit you reach the sweetness of its center. The more you chew on Haiti, the more sweetness you get out of it." (Katie)