On Tuesday morning in Haiti, the boys in our group helped with some construction while the girls met with some of the local women. The afternoon consisted of vacation Bible school at the children’s center. It’s weird how quickly you can settle into routine, but Tuesday began to feel like just another ordinary (and amazing) day in Haiti. Waking up under a mosquito net to the crowing of the roosters, breakfast, devotional, morning activity, lunch, chill time, afternoon activity, dinner, chill time, Bible study. I’m missing that Haitian routine already.
Meeting with the local women in the morning was incredibly inspiring. These women make crafts to sell as souvenirs to support their families, many of which don’t include a father figure but do include extra children that wouldn’t be taken care of by anyone else. We helped these women with their crafts (which really means they let us sew a few stitches in their handmade cloth bookmarks) and sang and danced with them. They taught us how to sing “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” in Creole (“Mwen genyen jwa, jwa, jwa, jwa”), and that’s a perfect picture of our morning: joy.
In the afternoon, we told a Bible story and sang Father Abraham at the children’s center before the free for all play time. We had been planning to come in with our agenda, but the instant everyone got settled and ready to go, the kids stood up and sang us a welcome song! I remember thinking that welcome songs should really be a thing in the U.S., because how cool would it be for everyone to be going around singing to each other? That day I jump-roped and did some crafts, but I also played a lot of hand games and got my hair done in cornrows by some of the older children. I still can’t decide which was more intimidating: the fast moving hands that seemed to be flying straight toward my face in the hand games or the comb that literally yanked out my hair.
Haiti Day 4 is the perfect example of one of my favorite things about that country: their acceptance. I wrote in my journal that afternoon about visiting with the women and asking them questions about their families:
“I learned that many of them have children living with them who aren’t theirs biologically. I asked about that and the women seemed to care so much for these kids. I told them that this welcome and love for people who aren’t technically their own was so in line with the welcome and love I felt I had been receiving. One of the women assured me that we are one in Christ, so obviously they’re welcoming us!”
From welcome songs at the children’s center to the acceptance of the women we met, Haiti was so open to me. God showed me that living a life with open arms, welcoming whatever He has for me and making His children feel welcomed, is the best way to live. I am so grateful to Him for the way I was welcomed in Haiti.