I cannot believe that this is already our last day in Haiti. Ever since this journey began a mere month ago, the whole experience has been a whirlwind. For me, personally, hearing about it at my home church on Super Bowl Sunday (I was visiting for the weekend) was such a blessing. Little did I know I would feel called to go through with the application process, desperately awaiting my Spring Break fate. A week later, I was making the drive to Hickory with my best friend to get my passport expedited from Representative Patrick McHenry to have the passport show up on my door step two days later. And now, this is our last day in a country we have all come to love.
Today, while some are walking through town and the market for one last time, gathering gifts to bring to our loved ones back in the states, others are slowly beginning to pack and tie up the loose ends by making sure all the equipment we are donating to the school has the proper cords, batteries, etc. This afternoon, many are traveling to the rural school as well as visit the suspension bridge built and engineered by a group from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The bridge has become a sign of life in this community giving those in the rural areas access to the towns during the rainy season which we have come to find out has started 2 weeks early. Our translator, Ezekiel, has also invited us to his home to show us how he climbs the trees to retrieve coconuts. It’s going to be a busy afternoon but one we will never forget.
The theme for this week has been where we have seen God in all of our experiences and what we have learned. I have learned that there is one language that is universal no matter where you are and that’s laughter. The Haitian people want lives filled with laughter just as much as another culture, especially the children. Laughter is the one thing that we can all understand and another one of God’s precious gifts. I have also learned that God has His own sense of timing that we can’t understand. This week, we tried to have lessons planned and unexpected things would happen like monsoon type rainstorms or camera batteries dying. But together, we were able to make things work, most of the time in better ways then we could have ever planned. God also had the timing to bring this wonderful group of Young Adult United Methodists together in mission and we have grown together in ways that we can’t explain. We’ve had our own sense of laughter during the week and have made a lifelong relationship with one another through our awesome God.
As I sit on the back porch for one last afternoon taking in our scenery and the sounds around, I can’t help but think how much of myself is going to be left in this community and in this country. With the idea of being 23 years old and getting ready to graduate from college, I have recently become concerned with my age — that I was getting old. In fact, I have become 23 years mature, realizing that I have so much of my life to influence others and continue in this journey of helping a country who desperately needs hope and to continue that laughter we have all come to enjoy. This is not a good bye at all, but rather an ‘I’ll see you soon’. God gave me Haiti; it is now in my heart and forever it will stay.