It is my last day here in Haiti and it is time to head home to see my family. I filled with mixed emotions as I end this journey. I am happy and excited to see my wonderful husband and kids, my other family members and friends to share with them the experiences I have had this past week, but yet I am sad to leave such a place where there is so much work left to do.....I am comforted to know that we have met many such people through out the week who continue this journey, whether it is the Haitian volunteers, the Haitian nuns, the French Seminarian, the 3 college girls from Conneticut, the team of young leaders from Calgary Lutheran in Woodbury and Roseville, the surgeons from the Mayo clinic working to teach Haitian doctors or the gentlemen from an Oregon church working to reconstruct a church here in Haiti....the world has been blessed with many angels on earth!
We spent our last day prepping bags with food from Feed My Starving Children for delivery into the nearby tent city. I was extremely moved and proud, when at the bottom of each food bucket was a new shirt from my alma mater (as well as my daughter and niece's) , Totino Grace. I was proud to be the link for the student volunteers back at home to hand deliver the food they prepared along with soaps and other basic necessities to these desperate people. What a blessing.
While at the tent city, it was hard to decide who to give the bags to as there is never enough to go around. I gained some comfort as I have seen the random acts of kindness where each neighbor is willing to share with those in need, or the little girl who rather than beg for more as we ran out, took my hand and gave me a look that said "trust me" and gently led me back through the maze of tents to the entrance. It was her concern for my safety that really moved me deeply.
Later in the day - it was time to take our mission hats off and become tourists in Haiti. We toured the earthquake ravaged downtown area that still lays in shambles, including the palace 1.5 years later. We spent time in awe at the beautiful craftsmanship of the Haitian people and became overwhelmed with what to buy. So I pretty much bought everything!! Beautiful hand painted canvases, intricate works of hand carved wood and stunning hand forged metal artwork. We slowly and bumpily made our way to the top of the mountain. It was such a contradiction to the life in the city. The scenery was like that of a beautiful painting looking out over the rolling foliage of the mountain, the colorful city below and the aqua blue waters of the ocean. Not to mention the significant drop in temperature and humidity!!
We finished off the night going to one of the Salsa dancing clubs. What an amazing way to end the trip. I felt like I was part of the audience of Dancing With the Stars as I watched the beautiful and graceful dancers. What a sight! Of course the DJ made us "blancs" feel at home by playing "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "Celebration". It was pretty classic as we made our way back to our tables that we were handed flyers for Extreme dancing lessons!! We all got a big laugh out of this one and were not insulted at all having seen the Haitian style of dance. I only wish I could look so graceful.
So as I close out this journey, I am feel very blessed and grateful for this wonderful experience. I know that I will take a big piece of Haiti with me as I head back home. I can only hope that the small difference I have made here has helped and that the significant difference the people of Haiti have made for me will continue to influence my future....I know if already has.
Ke Bondye Beni'ou!
God Bless You!!