I don't think I have ever mentioned it on the blog, but I actually went to Haiti for two and a half weeks on a mission trip back when I was a junior in high school. This trip changed me. Made me realize how very very lucky I am. I drove down the streets of Port-au-Prince and saw such incredible poverty. The children were begging for money and food in the streets. The families were living in little more than cardboard boxes of homes. As soon as you are outside the capital city limits the roads turn to dirt. often with large holes dug in them as road blocks. Filled with cars on fire and men with machetes. Fences of broken glass protecting homes. Truly a different world.
I remember the trucks, called "tap-taps" we used each day to take us to the orphanage in Port-au-Paix. The children at the orphanage, so innocent. The church that we built, providing the people of the city a place to worship and a true sancutary. I remember the families who lived outside of our compound that loved the mission so. They would braid our hair and sing songs. There were children. So many children.
I remember sleeping on the roof of the missionary, under the stars. I remember Orion's belt. I remember the rain each night, and covering myself with a poncho to stay dry. I remember the bug bites and the dust. I remember going up in the mountains and seeing the rural parts of the country. The beauty of it all. Such tragedy in an absolute paradise.
I remember the rolling black outs because there was not enough power in Haiti for both Port-au-Prince and Port-au-Paix to have power at the same time. I remember the fights that broke out when the power was turned off for New Years Eve. I remember the fear. The fact that we were not allowed to leave the country for two extra days because of the fighting. Even at seventeen, I remember the lack of government control. The lack of structure.
Haiti is a different world. A world in need. I hope everyone can take a little time to pray, and if possible to send money. Money to help the children. To help the families. To help a nation in need. I cannot imagine how crippling this earth quake was to these people. People already living in a world like nothing we have ever known.
Our mission trip was located in Port-au-Paix. Everyone I knew and the orphanages and churches where I volunteered are safe from harm. Many others are no so lucky.