Jo & I both had an amazing week in Haiti. Thank you so much to all of you who helped get us there. This post in no way can capture what it was like to experience Haiti first hand, but I’ll do my best.
Ever since I told Jo that he *might* be able to go, he had been looking forward to the trip. I was a bit nervous about how he would do, but he went above and beyond impressing me.
This is the church we stay at while we are there and also the church we attended. That’s my preacher on the front row. In a room with over 1,000 Haitians he kinda sticks out.
The church is also a school/community center and has a little basketball court attached to it. Even though he was the youngest one on the trip and didn’t speak the language, he held his own on the court. He even earned the nickname J-Money.
By far my favorite part of the trip was watching Jo as he experienced a new culture and people group. There were times he teared up crying, others where he laughed and could not stop. He played hard and worked harder and came home more of a man than when he left.
One night while I was editing, I look over the balcony and see a group of people playing charades. But, rather than having different people take turns, Jo was the only one acting things out. People would think of a movie title and he would act it out. This lasted for about an hour.
These were our sleeping arrangements. Danielle packed the sheets. Thank you, wife.
The only way to describe the people of Haiti would be joyful. There is so, so much love. They have been dealt a hard hand yet their spirit is not broken.
The kids would play a coin game to earn rubber bands. Next year I’m bringing a bag full and cashing in.
We spent about 3 days solid doing construction work on a church. This involves moving buckets full of rocks, cement, or cinderblocks. It’s hard work. It’s work that I’m not used to doing. It made me thankful for my job.
When we did get a break, we would spend it playing with kids from the neighborhood.
And when the break ended…. back to the buckets.
These are some of the Haitian workers that we worked along side. We had some big dudes from the states on our trip. The Haitian men put them to shame with how hard they worked. These guys are men. Men that work. Men that do a job. They do it everyday, year after year. They don’t work because I’m there photographing. They work because there is work to be done.
The thing I came away with this year is just how similar we are. There are advantages and benefits we have here in America, but at our core we are so much the same.
Haitians want to learn.
Haitians want to pimp their ride.
Haitians have a beautiful country.
Haitians have a feminine hygiene section in their store.
In Haiti they have the trucks everywhere called “tap taps”. They are like taxies only super crowded. Jo was giddy to be able to ride in one.
I can’t say enough about how much I loved having Jo on the trip. It was great to share the experience with him. Last year I went to Haiti, and then the following week he & I both went to pre-teen camp. I told him that if we go to Haiti together we are not doing pre-teen camp. At first he was a bit nervous, but by the time the trip ended, he could not wait to go back next year. He told me after the trip that he liked it “way more” than camp. :)
Like I said, I am so proud of him.
Proud of how hard he played.
Proud of how he stepped out of his comfort zone.
Proud of how hard he worked.
They were hard days; days that leave you exhausted. Days that make you wanna fall asleep on the bus ride back to the room.
My other most favorite memory was seeing so many of the kids from last year. I brought back a big pile of photos that I took last year and passed them out. The kids were so, so excited to have a photo of themselves. (Apparently they heard that AlexM is kinda a big deal.)
I don’t go to Haiti to change Haiti.
I go to change myself.
I like the person Haiti helps me become. I want to be more of that type of person here.
This is Cati. On the left is a photo I took of us last year. The right one was taken this year. I could go back every year and take a cute photo of us, but that would not change much.
But the more I think of her, the more I remember her; the more I make decisions with her in mind. Little by little change happens.
That is why I go.
That is why I wanted Jo to go.
That is why you should go.