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In which I list my favourite things about Haiti


Little boys playing football.

 Proud ribbons in little girl hair.

Ruffled socks above dusty shoes.

 School uniforms.

 The gentle daily nod of Bonswa and Bonjou of Creole.

 Hospitality.

 Baskets of food on the sidewalks.

 Women balancing 50lbs of food on their heads.

 The hardest working, least complaining, fashion-committed people I have ever met in my life.

Cold showers after a sticky hot day.

Van rides discussing the ethics of zombie nudity, testimonies, blogging, social justice, and trashy television with the greatest blogging team ever.

Collaborating on big scary dreams with Haitians.

Avocados at every meal.

Translators so beautiful that we old married ladies contemplated a Help One Now translators Calendar as a fundraising effort, and Deidra wants to bring her adult daughter next time.

Ice cold Prestige beer. Oh, Lord, YES.

The equatorial sunrise and sunsets.

Finally understanding the gift of a cool breeze.

Bold men and women of God in the trenches of the daily work of the Gospel.

Redefining hero entirely.

Receiving counsel and wisdom and encouragement.

Watching a proud new Haitian mama breastfeed her 17 day old baby at Heartline. (Seriously. I could write FOR DAYS about this ministry. Mamas passionate about breastfeeding and birth? These are our people.)

Tara Livesay at Heartline (okay, fine, Troy, you, too…). You know how sometimes you just have an inexplicable heart-connection? Yeah. That.

Seeing real bananas growing in a tree – and eating one. Do you KNOW what a banana really tastes like?

Rebuilding and progress, painful step by step.

Bean garden plots growing in the hillsides.

A Haitian community that prioritizes their own needs after the earthquake, and builds the homes for each other, most vulnerable first.

Mist on the mountains.

Listening to “How Great Thou Art” in Creole being sung the middle of a tent city.

Classrooms of children reciting multiplications tables.

Tap-taps for transportation.

The amazingly choreographed dance of chaotic near-miss oh-sweet-Jesus-I’m-about-meet-you traffic in Port au Prince.


Sharing one of my greatest fears in a van ride and then, less than two hours later, being asked to do THAT VERY THING. PSA: God likes to call your bluff. Fearless took on a new right-now meaning this morning. (More on this later…)

The humble and collaborative hearts of this small community-to-community team at Help One Now. Seriously LOVE these guys even as they push me so far out of my comfort zone – daily – here.

Having my notions of The Poor and Haiti dismantled by the very real and very lovely voices, hands, feet, guts, stories, and hearts of my new friends.

The possibility of coming back again with my husband and tinies.

 

I return to Canada – and more reasonable weather – tomorrow. Cannot wait to hug and kiss my babies but I’ll be carrying Haiti in my heart forever.

You can sponsor a child at Yahve Shamma orphanage right now. (Yes, you can even sponsor sweet Manita.) They are real kids, nd this is a small, personal project – I know them now. Your Christmas card will be tucked under a pillow here.

Or you can hold a garage sale for orphans with your friends or church or community. The idea is pretty simple (and incredible):

  1. Sell stuff in a garage sale.
  2. Give the money you raise to a specific project with Help One Now like adding to the school at Yahve Shamma (in addition to orphanage, they also run the neighbourhood school for more than 150 kids…yeah. Seriously.)
  3. Help orphans as a community.

Photos courtesy of the talented Molly Donovan Burpo and Scott WadeYou can follow our Twitter and Instagram feeds at #Help1Haiti

a thousand gifts, Haiti, social justice

26 Responses to In which I list my favourite things about Haiti

  1. Megan Cobb October 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Sounds like an amazing experience, Sarah. So so sooooo happy to hear such joy and passion in your voice. Have a safe and restful flight home! xo

  2. To Think Is To Create October 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Highlighting God’s beauty there, on the trip, and in all of Haiti – I LOVE THIS! <3

  3. Mary DeMuth October 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Woot! I get to be the first commenter! I so loved meeting you and becoming BFF van friends.

    • Sarah Bessey October 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

      you have been one of the great gifts of this experience, Mary. Love you.

  4. Michelle DeRusha October 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Oh my gosh the comment about the traffic made me laugh, but oh my! Glad you are {almost} home, safe and sound.

  5. SAHMmelier October 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Aren’t you glad you couldn’t turn and run? And I told you that you were in good hands with the fabulous Mollie and Jen!

    • Sarah Bessey October 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      Yes! They are so wonderful. Love getting to know them.

  6. Tara Porter-Livesay October 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    WHA??? you love ice cold Prestige? i knew knew knew i loved you months and months ago … now i know it that much more-er. we found the perfect place to drink ice cold prestige and if you come back with your man we shall go there.

    • Sarah Bessey October 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      And then you come to see me in Vancouver, and I’ll take you to the ocean, and we’ll drink Canadian microbrew and have that talk at last.

  7. KathleenBasi October 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    I love the way you’re writing this experience. It’s so joy-infused. It invites us in instead of scolding us.

    • Sarah Bessey October 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      So much joy and hope here, Kathleen. Feel blessed to have witnessed it.

  8. Lauren October 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi Sarah…I’ve loved reading through your Haiti journey. One question I have is who paid for this trip? Did Help One Now bring the team of bloggers there, or did you each pay for your own portion of the trip?

    • Sarah Bessey October 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Thanks, Lauren – glad you’ve been a part of this. It was sponsored 50/50 by Pure Charity (fantastic way of funding non-profits…https://www.purecharity.com love them) and Help One Now.

  9. Zena Neds-Fox October 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    i love this so much. i’m thinking that you were made to go to haiti. your eyes see past the poverty – and help us see. ~ zena

  10. D.L. Mayfield October 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    love the list. tara is so kick-ass, it isn’t even funny.

  11. Sarah Silvester October 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Totally do the calendar!!! And this has made me want to go there. Thank you for being fearless xo

  12. Brooke October 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    wow. wow. wow. every one of your haiti posts has been wrecking me in the best way possible. i have found that i absolutely cannot attempt to read any of these posts this week while at my work computer…because i will cry, then explain my red splotchiness to co-workers. my favorite part was about how you are so proud of the Church. that’s bringing me to tears even now.

  13. Jen Hatmaker October 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    There is most assuredly a “special dispensation of grace” upon you. Let the winds blow, sister. And let there be Prestige. Hallelujah.

  14. Sophie October 12, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Love being able to share in your view of Haiti… Everything you write reminds me so much of the time I spent in India 3 years ago as a junior in Business School (yes we do that too!) : volunteering in the slums of Delhi teaching kids for over a month was life-changing too (and how I laughed at your “near-miss oh-sweet-Jesus-I’m-about-meet-you traffic” line! It was exactly the same over there)

    Have a safe trip home to your family and I will pray for you as you adjust to being back to “normal” without ever being the same again ;)

  15. Heather Caliri October 12, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    What a blessing–to come up close to this place that’s talked about so often and really meet some of its people. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. May God be in Haiti to transform it into a place of refuge and blessing for everyone there.

  16. Kelly October 12, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    I’m new to your blog but am loving reading every single word about Haiti. I’m just a mom who also got WAY out of my comfort zone going to Haiti for the first time last year. Went back again over Easter and am planning my 3rd trip back as soon as I possibly can. It is an amazing place and gets in your blood. The people give me hope and show me a beauty I don’t see here. And seriously, the Heartline Ministry is incredible. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Tina Francis October 12, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    “Listening to “How Great Thou Art” in Creole being sung the middle of a tent city.”

    *melt*

    And YES, I know what you mean about *real* bananas off of trees. Come with me to my motherland (Kerala) South India my friend and we can feast on all sorts of mini-bananas.

    Love you!
    P.S. Dying to hear about your fearless story! Eek.

  18. pastordt October 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Wonderful, wonderful. Thank you for being obedient and pushing through your anxieties and doing this good, good work.

  19. Rachel Heath October 17, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    While most of the things on this list made me smile, your mention of Heartline and a breastfeeding mother really tugged my heartstrings and got my throat all choked up unexpectedly. I’m working as a doula and will be pursuing IBCLC and eventually a certification as a Professional Midwife after my second baby is born. The more I open my mind up to the global community, the more my heart wants to go love on people with my specific gifts. I knew there must be ministries that focus on my passion- birth and breastfeeding- but so far, hadn’t found any. Thanks for the connection- it’s awesome not only to know about them, but to know that you met these people and that they’re the real deal.

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