My First Team
Moving to Haiti set in motion a series of firsts in my life. It began a chapter that I hope is far from over. A week ago the first of many 410 Bridge teams came to work in Bohoc, and I along with our Haitian team leader got to be a part of leading the team on their mission trip. This was the first team of hopefully many I will have the chance to partner with one of our Haiti staff in leading. As 410 grows in Haiti so will service teams and my role. My first trip was to say the least eventful and educational.
Life certainly is about lessons and experience. I am trying to take the positives from every situation; even in the hardships and trying of times, find the lessons meant to help me grow. There were many challenges with the first group I lead. It had been canceled three times and by the time they arrived, they were anxious and eager to begin serving any way they could. There were a few Haiti veterans on the trip; it is always nice to know people are so impacted they wish to return.
The trip started off as a medical trip, but sometimes things don’t always turn out at we expect. This is one lesson to remember while in Haiti. Nothing ever turns out as you anticipated. Expect the unexpected is a rule I find myself living by daily. After the first day at the clinic with the team, expectations turned out to be quite different than the reality. The clinic the team was working in is a well established, well staffed clinic. Those without a medical background were able to fix the water pump for the clinic as well as paint inside and out! Those with a medical background were able to help a little, but not as much as anticipated. This is no longer a Haiti that is in relief mode, this is a Haiti that is in rebuild mode. Over a year after the devastating earthquake, there are established clinics and hospitals all over Port au Prince. Private NGO’s, the Red Cross, and countless other organizations have set up clinics in tent cities and elsewhere. The Haitian people are resilient and strong, with limited resources, Haiti IS rebuilding itself.
Meanwhile out in Bohoc the team was able to continue with the road widening project 410 Bridge has been involved with since our partnership with Bohoc began. Aside of the main road running through the center of town, most of the roads are footpaths, not large enough for a car. If you drive down the main road you can see community members hacking away at the cactus fences and re planting them further back creating a wider road. The dirt is leveled out and stumps are torn up to make the road smooth and accessible by car!
The team also brought supplies to visit an orphanage. Coloring pages and crayons, jump ropes, face paint, bubble wands and soccer balls make children all over the world smile; Haiti is no different. The team seemed to really enjoy playing with the kids. We were able to end the visit signing a song all together in Kreole and English!
When the week came to an end we loaded on the bus and made the four and a half hour journey back to Port au Prince. A few of the members who had been to Haiti before visited the deaf camp in October and asked to visit again, I thought it was a good way to end their experience. We still had coloring supplies and bubble wands and kept two soccer balls for this reason. The men had a great soccer game down at La Piste/HDC and the women made bracelets, face painted and colored. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.
Although there were a few hiccups in the planning, the Haitian staff is amazing and quick on their feet. The US team was flexible and understood the necessity for adaptability that is involved with serving in Haiti. Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump in feet first. I really look forward to being a part of leading more trips and meeting the faces who come to serve alongside the Haitian communities! Haiti is an amazing country and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve here every day!
(I don’t have many pictures from this trip, there were three professional photographers with us allowing me to leave my camera behind.)
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 (TNIV)
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”