Thursday, January 5, 2017

A tapestry woven: part 1

Here's the story in a nutshell:
It's all Justin's fault.

He made me do it.

I have witnesses.

It was August 2014 and I got a call from Justin, who was in line for US Customs in Miami. (Isn't that illegal?) He told me that he had volunteered me to teach women in Haiti to sew. 

Thanks a lot. I've always wanted to go to Haiti. Except not really at all. 

Justin had already been on multiple trips to what I (and others) sort-of think as a godforsaken place. Ravaged by poverty, hunger, and natural disasters, Haiti wasn't on my top 150 countries to visit. Ever. 

I half-heartedly agreed to go. 

But the trip kept getting cancelled. 

Cancelled? You know, things like elections. Riots. Everyday Haiti crazy stuff.

February 2015--text from my friend Renee, "Do you want to go to Haiti with Krista and I in 2 weeks?"

And that was it. It was the trip I was destined for. There were only 5 American girls and we were there to go to three feeding programs. Our jobs were to take pictures of the kids and weigh them, which seems simple enough except that it was Haiti--and if you ever get there you will know what I mean. Utter chaos. Plus, I was seeing what I had never seen before: starving children.

Here's a little trip inside my head while I was there:
Breathe. Take a deep breath. Do not cry. These kids should not see me cry. Oh my goodness! That kid over there is sharing his food with another. He's hungry I'm sure, but for whatever reason still shares his food with another. {I have to turn my head and hold back tears at this point. This is not survival of the fittest; this is serving one another in love. Wow.}

I knew that there were starving children in the world, but to see them was appalling. Another girl, Krista, was walking around the church building where the feeding program was held in Massikot. Looking around, I was in true amazement. If they are so hungry, how is anyone here even alive at all? I asked Krista, "What do they eat?"

"They make cookies out of the clay dirt, mixed with water. They dry them in the sun and eat them to fill their bellies." she answered. It was and still is unfathomable to me. 

The other thing I knew about Haiti was that there was an orphan crisis. What I didn't realize was that 80% of children living in Haitian orphanages had at least 1 living parent. Why? In most cases, because they can't afford to provide for them. Doesn't this seem preventable to anyone else? Chances for Children was fighting against this crisis, first--providing an essential need: food. In their own villages. But they were also going a step further, offering jobs to empower parents to provide for their families. I would soon understand so much more . . .

I went home and had a lot on my mind. At the time, I had no idea what God had in store for me, for Chances for Children, for what I would come to know as Zel (translated "Wings" in English).

Then it finally happened.

You know, the trip.

The one that Justin volunteered me to go on--teaching women to sew.

The one that turned into more than just a week of volunteering.

And it's all Justin's fault.

to be continued . . . 

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