The first time I went to Haiti the sights and sounds were overwhelming. There are people, motorcycles & other vehicles all over. People talking, laughing, yelling! Horns blowing on either side of you as they are signaling they are passing you.
The smells of open sewer and garbage hit you like nothing you ever experience in America. The sun is usually shining and the heat of the day hits you, which being from Iowa and it is January, you will get NO complaints from me! It was all foreign and new to me.
The second time I went everything was a bit more familiar but, still foreign and somewhat new.
This third visit...it was like coming home. The sun, the heat, the sounds and the dirt and dust. As things become more familiar I pray I don't get complacent and become numb to my surroundings. I need to remind myself that behind the smiles of the Haitians there is poverty. Extreme poverty. Most of them have nothing and others have less than nothing. Jobs are almost non existent.
When you drive around the city you see lots of people heading in all different directions. I am not sure where they always have to go but, go they do. As you look you see all the trash and sewage. It is heart breaking. You see people taking sponge baths outside of their homes. Laundry, that has all be washed by hand, is hanging from anything standing still, from roof tops to cactuses.
Some people keep mission work in a tidy little box and feel it is worthless if it doesn't fit in the box they have created for it. But, there are MANY ways to serve the Haitians. Applying a new coat a paint may seem like silly work for a missions team but, when you see the joy in the ladies eyes because they now have a place to call home they an feel proud about...it doesn't seem so silly!
Repairing bunk beds at a church camp might not seem so mission minded but, the day that the young Haitians come to that camp and have a fabulous time near the ocean doing something besides playing in the dirt...so worth it! Mission work can even be done from home. Raise money for toiletry supplies. A friend of mine crochets and she is going to crochet dish cloths that we can take down and pass out to the ladies.
Save money to give to the church so they can buy food for the homeless and starving people. Send gently used clothing and shoes. For a child to attend school it costs about $30 American dollars which, I believe, includes their uniform..support a child or two! When the average Haitian wage for a family is $2 a day someone taking are of the school fee will go along way for that family.
January 2018 will mark my 5th trip to Haiti. I know there are many areas of the world that need help. But, Haiti is where I feel I need to help.