Saturday, July 11, 2015

Oh, the things you learn in only seven days!

Our 40 Day Immersion team has completed the first quarter of their time in Haiti.  Here are some reflections on that time from team leader Jack Arellano....

We’ve been here for only seven days and they have felt like seven weeks. We have witnessed so much of Haiti’s beauty and mess. A beautiful mess. She has gorgeous mountains, the most amazing cloud formations, crystal clear water beaches and breathtaking sunsets. She has chaotic traffic, skin- burning heat, flying ants that bite burning stinging itchiness, and heartbreaking inequality.  She has beautiful white as snow smiles and tears. She has freedom and oppression. She has joy and sorrow. Haiti is a collision of beauty and mess. We’ve had a front row seat the past seven days to all of it.

Days in Haiti start with the sunrise. The hustle and bustle in the streets of women carrying their goods to set up their spot in the streets of Croix Des Bouquets to sit in the sun all day to make their living selling whatever goods they have. The women up early getting breakfast started atop of their fire burning stoves and cleaning the never-ending dust off their tables, chairs and the floors that never seem to be clean – the amount of dirt is unbelievable. The 5:00 a.m. bell rings and all 65 children and staff of One Family stop what they are doing and get together to pray inside the compound. The motorcycles on the dirt road whirl around people, cars, and cows to get people to their destinations. It’s amazing how it all orchestrates so well to make the morning hustle a sort of beautiful beginning to the day. The sounds of children singing, chairs clanging, motorcycles whizzing by, roosters crowing, goats baying and cows mooing a beautiful song of a new day start- then a pig screams and the hairs on your neck stand up. Then the day starts and you step out of your room into sensory overload! The breeze greets you; the smells of breakfast and the trash burning across the streets come whirling past you! Oh Haiti, you’re such a beautiful mess. Much like me.  

Days in One Family are spent mostly working in the foundation in whatever needs to be done from tending children to cleaning to cooking to maintaining the place. There is much to do here, there are 65 kids that eat, make a mess and play. Much like children back home except instead of 1 to 3 kids per household we have 65!!! There is also a church here so there are services DAILY. Yep, daily. That is a big part of people’s lives here. In the states work is a big part of peoples lives here it’s church. It takes some adjusting for us as we’re use to a 1 hour service per week but we are loving all we get to experience and see in services here. Thankfully school isn’t in session or else we’d have another 350 kids running around here too. 


At night when things quiet down (a little) we enjoy breezes, the mountain view, the evening prayers, the twinkling lights on the mountainside of Port Au Prince in the distance and hanging out with the very hard working teen girls that have ended their long day doing what they love, cooking. Yes, cooking, they love cooking food. Cooking food for over 80 people that live in the foundation including staff and the pastoral family (and the “occasional” visitor or hungry person) must be quite the task but they love being part of the cooking team here. Sometimes they sing, sometimes they gather around one of our computer screams and watch movies, sometimes we do a puzzle or just laugh. Whoever brought the Jenga game here, thank you! It’s been a joy to play that game with many people here. 


We have experienced a lot in our first seven days and we will share more in the upcoming days after we process and are able to put them in to words, so stay tuned. J We love you friends and family and we surely miss you lots and we’re very happy we are here learning, immersing in this beautiful messy life as messy beautiful beings.