Hello, my name is Gary. Tom has asked me to take a few minutes to share the experience of a first timer to Haiti with the Healing Haiti mission group. After giving this a little thought I decided to use a technique we do every evening. It is called "Word of the Day". We each pick a word that best explains how we feel after a day spent with the wonderful people of Haiti. This time it will cover my first two days. The word I choose is "deep".
Deep are the feelings that have swirled around me from the time I get out of bed until I am back in bed. I don't think I can cover them all, but I will do my best.
Exhaustion; this can be from spending way too much time in the airport which resulted in getting us in late. It can also be be from working your backside off delivering water to crowds of people who are desperate, and have to line up to get what we all take for granted. But, maybe, the most exhausting is handling the barrage of feelings. They can rocket up and down with unbelievable speed.
Elation at seeing joy in the faces of people, either struggling to survive, or losing the battle, that God has allowed me to serve in what seems to be such small ways, but received in a way I would not have anticipated.
Frustration; knowing that no matter how hard we work on a given day we have left so many people untouched.
Anger at knowing how little the world really cares. The worst is that many countries contributed directly to the terrible situation here.This blog is far to short to go into the tragic history of Haiti, so I will limit myself to the very basic. Haiti was a French slave colony. It is the only country to have a successful slave rebellion only to find themselves shunned by Europe and the US where slave holding was still very strong. This shunning was only the beginning of their long tragedy and I encourage all to take the time to study and understand the rest.
Gratitude; there but for the grace of God go I. I could have been any of the people I have seen but he chose to put me where I am. I believe this obligates me to share with others less fortunate but no less deserving.
Amazed; the spiritual resilience of the Haitian people is truly astounding. In the face of hardships most of us cannot really understand, even after spending time here, they do not give up. The depth of feeling I experienced at a morning mass, even without understanding what they were saying, has to be experienced to have any chance of understanding.
Impressed; the talent and devotion of the Haitians that work with us is really something. They are talented, gifted, committed and above all, full of life and the Lord.
Compassion and sadness; seeing the depth of poverty, the lack of even the most basic needs, the desperate need for love and attention and the loneliness of many is hard to deal with.
Joy; Sharing the successes we do have with those in our group is as uplifting as could be asked for.
Lastly, humbleness; seeing the dedication of all those who have come before, seeing the resilience mentioned above in the face of hardships that would likely cause me to wilt is a humbling experience. However, the most humbling experience is seeing how God has taken so many ordinary people and molded them to perform a work far greater than any of them (us) could have accomplished. Without his grace, mercies and strength the task ahead would be truly impossible.
In the end, none of the above comes remotely close to covering the experience and I am only two days into it.
Imagine what the next 4 days will bring.