Fanfan getting ready! :)
Monday was such a difficult and interesting day as the mission teams were transitioning. My first group packed up their bags, and I could feel the emotions for each one of my teammates; excitement to go home and see family and friends that had been missed, but sad to leave a place that they were now able to call home. I wrote each member of my group a personal message about how I saw them open up here in Haiti and that I hope they continue to grow into the children God is calling them to be. I hate goodbyes sometimes and was exhausted from the week, so I hugged them all as they left and didn't see them leave at the airport. Instead, I stayed back and had some alone time to regroup before the next mission team made their way into Haiti.
During my afternoon of transition, I started to feel like family here at the Healing Haiti Mission home. It was so neat to see the background activities happening as the next group was planning to arrive in a few hours. Fanfan wanted to go get an ID picture taken, so I told him to get all "dolled" up. Next thing I knew, he was in the back of the house using a small razor and hand held mirror and was shaving his hairline. I helped him to get the perfect hairline and before we knew it, he was on his way to get his picture taken! I stayed back and journaled for a bit. Then washed up some grapes and brought them out to the patio to share with Junior and Michael. While eating grapes, Junior told me that fruit is really expensive in Haiti and that he once bought it for his sweetheart. From my understanding, fruit is a delicacy item and someone will purchase it for their love as a sign of their affection. Being the nutrition person that I am, I was really interested to learn about the cultural significance of food items.
Before we knew it, Fanfan, Junior and myself were piling in the top-top to go pick up the next mission team at the airport! It was interesting being on the "other-end" of the mission group this time. I got to see the experience of the airport from the Haitian staff's eyes! Fanfan, Junior, and myself waited for the team for about an hour. As we waited by the gate, I sat with the guys on the bench and practiced creole and talked with them about the Haitian culture. People around us laughed as I struggled to speak the language with fluidity like the rest of them. I couldnt help but laugh too as I thought about how silly I probably sounded to them. While sitting there on the bench, Junior goes, "You know what I like about Healing Haiti.." he turned to look at me, "You come to help my people. You bring them water. You play with the kids." He explained to me all the aspects that he really liked, and he specifically told me how he liked that we let dirty kids touch us and that we play with them. It was really soothing to hear that our mission work here is appreciated by the Haitian people themselves. After my first mission trip here, I really caught myself questioning mission work in general, but I think the mission of Healing Haiti is awesome in the fact that we are able to employe Haitian staff and help them also help their own people. I told Junior that he was also helping the people through the mission because we couldn't get to the places we need to without his help. We wouldn't be able to speak with the Haitian's without Junior or Fanfan. We wouldn't be able to go into City Soliel without the water truck drivers or do any of our daily activities without our Haitian mission director, Jean. I helped Junior to see the significant role he also played in the mission and how he was helping his own people by helping us. I also explain to him that without the Haitian people, we would be instilling our American culture on these kids and these people. While the American lifestyle may appear ideal to many, it is not Haitian culture. This conversation really helped me to value our staff even more. After having been here for several days and have gotten to know these people even better than my first mission trip to Haiti, I feel a sense of deeper connection with all of them. They are starting to feel like family to me; like my Haitian brothers.
It was fun to see our new mission team come off the plane and out of the gates. They all looked excited to be here and to start experiencing Haiti! I felt a wave of energy come over me and felt ready to roll again. This week will be another adventure: new people, new activities, and a thousands of different lives that have the potential to be touched.