Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wake-up Call in Cite Soleil

Today, in Cite Soleil, I received a message and it was delivered loud and clear. The day started out like many other water truck days that I had experienced during previous trips to Haiti. Our team was busy doing different tasks ... filling buckets with clean drinking water, helping people lift filled buckets onto their heads, assisting children with transportation of their buckets to their homes, and playing with children we encountered. However, at the end of our second water stop, a young adult approached one of our interpreters with a message for me. The interpreter translated the message from the woman as follows, "You do such a good job playing with the children and loving them too." Wow I thought ... how nice of her to notice. However, then the interpreter continued with her message saying, "but ... what about me? You have not showed me any love nor attention. I'm lonely, sad, and very poor. Both of my parents have died." She dropped the bomb and burst my inflated bubble.

Immediately, I was filled with sorrow. Those of you who know me personally know that I would never intentionally try to hurt anyone. Her news literally shook me to the core and I became overcome with emotion. As I glanced her way, she looked very upset, almost angry, and understandably hurt. I knew what I must do ... I walked over to her, apologized, and gave her a hug. My solution did not seem like enough to me, but unsure of what else to do, I gave it a try. As I had expected ... it wasn't enough. She still was not happy with me, but she could see that I was emotional and I think she sensed that I was legitimately sorrowful. In an attempt to get to know her and to show her compassion and love, I told her my name and asked her for hers while I held her hand. I then told her I was sorry again and gave her another hug. Suddenly, she began to melt ... her tough exterior faded away and was replaced with an unsure smile on her face.

My team members called to me and I knew that it was time to leave. I wish I could have spent more time with the young woman, but I was thankful to God for sending me this "wake-up call" via Cite Soleil. The rest of the day, I made sure to acknowledge, love, and validate the older children and adults placed into my path. What a valuable lesson to be learned!

(Since I didn't have a picture of the young adult who gave me the "wake-up call," I decided to post a picture of Joseph Domonique, a homeless man that I met in Cite Soleil the same day. What a hard life!)

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