Home… today I woke up at home though in my dream that I had just awakened from, I was still in Haiti. As I began to wake up the questions began popping into my head again. Why is my home here? Why did God put me in this place in the world and not somewhere else? As I rolled over in my bed feeling the softness of my Downy scented Egyptian cotton sheets I remembered back to the place I woke up this time last week….Last week I woke up in a dingy hotel room in Haiti with sheets that seemed somehow cold and dirty to me, a far cry from the room I woke up in today.
Is this really fair that this week I wake up here while they all still wake up there? How many times have I seen my bedroom but not really looked at it? I wake up every morning just expecting to see this room when I open my eyes the thought never crossing my mind that I could be waking up somewhere else. Do they wake up expecting the room they wake up in never expecting anything else? Are they sad? Or are they thankful for what they have?
Last week I spent the week in Haiti. No matter what I have done this week I can’t seem to shake Haiti out of my head. As I go about my life here my mind is still there.
My mind is on a bus ride through crowded streets, garbage, dirt, sewage, broken homes and broken people standing elbow to elbow all trying to make a living and a life. Did you know that 7 MILLION people live in the city of Port Au Prince??
I saw children playing happily surrounded by this mess in this place of brokenness… I remember passing a house with children dancing on a porch seemingly unaware, blind to the rubble that I saw surrounding them.
While on our visit to Haiti we went to a Compassion center. At a center we were watching a program the children put on for us when I heard something drop on the floor under my feet. I realized that the baby behind me had dropped his toy. I reached down to pick it up and realized what I picked up was not a toy at all, it was a Christmas ornament. A beautiful golden glittery ball made for hanging on a Christmas tree…not something I would give a baby to play with yet this was his toy and though by my standards unsafe by their standards it was perfect and the baby was happy.
I remember visiting the home of a woman who had HIV, 7 people lived in her home, a 12 x 10 building constructed out of pieces of tin with a piece of faded blue cloth hanging in the doorway actually the cloth WAS the door. The woman welcomed us in with warmth, inviting us to sit down, so very happy to have visitors, she was very proud and thankful for all she had.. which to my eyes did not look like much.
Our last two nights in Haiti we stayed in Port au Prince, I remember pulling up to the hotel and thinking it looked really nice. Upon entering my room I thought it was not so nice by my selfish standards. The lamp did not work and the other light that did work was dim and barely lit up the room. The room felt dirty and cold and when I pulled back the covers of my bed to sleep I discovered that the bed actually did have dirt in it. A week ago I would have marched up to the front desk and demanded a new room but not tonight…I just couldn’t after all I had seen this week.
Even though I did not go ask for a new room I still kept thinking “I can not sleep in that bed it’s dirty” I also did not want to stay in that room though I knew I had to. I had to for the people of Haiti and also for me.
Though I did not want to do it I brushed the dirt out of the bed and lay down on top of the sheets. Shortly after laying down I heard the whisper… Yes you know the one, the whisper that says “excuse me Terri, I think it’s time for an huge attitude adjustment”.
I was here and they were out there, The people of Haiti the people who live here every day. They are not here just for a visit, they are here every single day of their lives. No escape, this is home to them. and by the standards I had seen all day this was a place of luxury I was spending the night in tonight.
They were living outside the walls surrounding our hotel. Tall concrete walls separating us from them. They were out there in the noise of the city, the sirens, the crowds of people, outside in that that noisy city while I was in here, where it was … nice?? Yes nice, very nice. The voice more than a whisper now said “Wake up Terri its time to see!” Sometimes I wonder why my eyes can see something yet my brain blocks it out. There is a part of me that is still selfish, a part that for no good reason at all thinks I deserve better things, it’s that part of me that I sometimes feel so ashamed of.
Sometimes I wonder if I am I blind by choice because if I do see then I will be held more responsible. It’s easy to care from my own comfortable home, but the real truth comes out when I have to live outside my own little comfortable box.
I lay down that night a puddle of mush crying and praying. Crying and praying not only for the people outside those walls but also for the person inside those walls too.
Crying and praying for me the person who needed a huge attitude adjustment.
Praying for forgiveness for thinking I was too good to sleep in that room yet at the same time also thanking God that I was not out there in the streets of Port Au Prince where the world seemed so scary.
I went to Haiti with an idea in my head about what I thought Extreme Poverty would be like and now I know I really did not even have a clue as to what I was going to experience. Now realize a week later that I came home leaving pieces of my heart in Haiti and I also brought some of Haiti back home with me.
I can never begin to explain what I feel inside. I feel like I now have a responsibility to the people of Haiti. I also feel very blessed by the week I spent there.
In the middle of Port Au Prince there is a statue of the world held up by three hands…our guide told us that the hands represented, the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, He’s got the whole world in his hands… Including Haiti.I ask you today to please pray for the people of Haiti.
The trip I went on was with Compassion International, I had the chance to see first hand how they are helping to change lives in Haiti. Compassion International is Christ centered, focused on children, committed to the church and to integrity. If you would like to help by sponsoring a child in Haiti here is a link, Compassion.com Many children are waiting and YOU can make a difference.
Thank you for reading my blog and for your prayers for the people of Haiti.