The past three weeks have been like a roller coaster. At times I had my high points when I felt as if I was on top of the world and at other times I was biting the dust. Through it all, good and bad, I had people who supported, helped, and prayed for (and with) me. This doesn’t just apply to when I’m in Haiti, I think in general we can all relate to going through life with ups and downs and people are often there to help and support us. When I first arrived in Haiti I was overwhelmed with how communal life was, Haitian society is based on an “us” point of view as opposed to the “me” mentality you often see in the States. The sufferings (or successes) of one person are that of many. This communal way of life is in my opinion one of the unique and attractive aspects of the Haitian culture and I have been especially grateful of this going through the past couple of weeks. Good and bad, I’ve always had people stand with me (Haitians and Americans alike).
On April 25th I suddenly grew ill (inability to eat, dehydration, nausea, extreme fatigue, and weight loss) and was eventually diagnosed with Giardia(an intestinal parasite) and Typhoid fever. (thus the delay in updates sorry!) During the three weeks I was sick I witnessed all these different people come together as a community for one cause, to help me get better. The Haitians were trying everything to get me better with special foods and strange medicines, while hundreds of Americans were praying up a storm and trying their best to diagnose me (thanks UB Med). It was truly inspiring to see this “international community” come together and stand with me while I was at a really low point in my trip. I was very concerned that I would have to come back to receive treatment stateside but am relieved that I have significantly improved and can continue my ministry in Haiti until late June.
With every low there has been a high point during which the community helps and stands with me and are there to celebrate in our successes. I have been working on a number of projects that are only possible because students and people from the community have helped me get there and accomplish them. A few of the things I’ve been working on are as follows:
-St. Gabriel’s Girls Soccer Team
-mural of the St.Gabriel’s logo
-sponsorship forms translation and editing
-learning to do Haitian hair (still working on this)
-transforming a field into a school soccer field
-learning to balance a water bucket on my head (thanks Clara!)
I can confidently say that for every success and every downfall I have a whole community (domestic and international) standing behind me ready to help and guide me, and for that I am eternally thankful.
Thank you: to the St.Gabriel’s cooks for trying to heal me, to the motorcycle driver who took me to the clinic, to everyone in the States who prayed for me, to the few UB Med students who tried to diagnose me, to the students and Siena college ladies who helped me paint the logo, to my goddaughter for teaching me to do hair, and to the Haitian community in general for teaching me the importance of community.
“It’s absolutely inspiring to see how tight knit and unified the local community is, especially in regards to how everyone seems to know and care for one another. All of the children play in the streets of Fontaine and as a result we have grown to know and love so many of them. We have loved our first week here and can’t wait to see what the next two bring.”
-Siena College students on the community in Haiti-