How can I accurately summarize travelling to Haiti and back again over 11 days, with 14 people by caravan, plane and hiking long trails without combing through each moment of every day?
It seems impossible, so I’ll highlight a few thoughts that seem top of mind;
- Just go with it! ‘IT’ being new food, new places, new people and the unfamiliar.
- Rain on a tin roof sounds romantic in novels but not when you know you’ll be sliding down a hillside the following morning on your way to breakfast or slipping and sliding when climbing to and from work etc. (mud, mud and more mud meant we had a few wipeouts!)
- Kids are kids wherever you go & a smile needs no translation!
- Let people surprise you, you’ll learn things about yourself and others you could never have imagined.
- Our perception of “need” is incredibly skewed by circumstance. The short and simple truth is this: we have too much stuff and are not any happier for it all.
For the record, while I could have done without the tarantulas – I enjoyed every incline hike, muddy slide down a hillside and sounds of animals late and night and early in the morning. I slept better at our nights in the mountains then I ever do at home, even with all of our crew who competed for the title of ‘most unique snoring’.
The excitement that the children in the surrounding area of Marbial have for learning is beautiful and inspiring. The reality is that students walk upwards of 3 hours for the opportunity to get an education and it seems unreal in contrast to how school can feel like an obligation for many here at home. Fun fact: Since the students have to cross over the river several times on the way to school, they have ‘rain days’ similar to our snow days here at home. When there is heavy rainfall, the river runs too rapidly and becomes too high to cross and get to school.
If I haven’t lost you yet on my Haiti recap, I’d be happy to ramble for hours on anything you care to ask and tell you all about the most refreshing week of my life and how it happened while I was in Haiti with our new Haitian friends and the amazing people at Centra I get to work with everyday.
While we may have helped build two schoolrooms and a few other things, what we really built was a stronger team and new friendships. In some ways, for me personally at least, it seems I gained more than I gave back.
I’m incredibly grateful for the hardworking and compassionate people I travelled with and sincerely want to say “Thank You” to our hosts at FLCM for a memorable experience.
This update by Lana Gordin.