i kind of can’t believe that at this time in just two weeks, i’ll be back in haiti. back in a land full of magic, wonder, and love. it feels as if i just left, and that feeling warms my heart, as i have missed these people each and every day that i’ve been back in the states!
anyone who has really had the chance to sit down and talk passion and haiti with me has heard the story i’m about to tell. it’s a story about a little boy named steven.
steven was fourteen months old when i met him. he had arrived at Christ’s Love Orphanage, run by Sister Bonite (who people often refer to as the Mother Theresa of Jacmel) just a few days before my group got down to Jacmel. he will be the first resident of the Jacmel Children’s Center, a place where children can receive education, meals, and a warm and loving place to call home.
i had the chance to talk and connect with a few guys from the states who were working with an organization known as Angel Wings International on a new, full fledged medical clinic–the first of it’s kind in Jacmel. the clinic is run by Sister Bonite’s daughter. coincidentally, one of the guys knew one of my sorority sisters (cue ‘It’s A Small World’), and we were able to connect after the trip to talk more about steven.
and guess who can’t remember which notebook those notes are in.
oh yea, this girl.
so for now, i’m going off of memory, hoping that one of the crew members will comment on this and help me along if i have hit a few stumbling blocks.
this is steven just after he arrived at Christ’s Love. this picture is hard to look at, i know. poor baby was tied to a table while his grandparents went to work. a neighbor down the road heard about bonite and knew about the baby, so he took action. when i was talking to wayne (one of the guys from the Angel Wings crew), he said that steven had a flat affect when he arrived…he didn’t really know how to take in what was going on around him. everyone else was overwhelmed..who wouldn’t be.
the next few days, Sister Bonite took the utmost care of little guy. she bathed him, took him to the doctors and got him the medicine that he needed, gave him a haircut, and soaked him in unconditional love.
when we arrived, steven was just looking around, again not knowing what to do. i’ll never forget seeing him for the first time; he was on a little inhaler since his lungs were pretty weak. he did not talk or walk or cry…and he was 14 months old.
we had the chance to hold him, and that’s when my world was changed forever. i could feel little guy weezing and his longing for a good, safe snuggle. as soon as i took him in my arms, he stuck on me like a starfish and i was DONE. Sister Bonite looked at me and said ‘he feels safe’. what do you do after that?
i held him every day after that. the girls at the orphanage along with everyone else around continued to shower him with love, and steven thrived. it was unbelievable to see the change that occurred in just FIVE days. it was honestly one of the biggest miracles i’ve ever witnessed, and that’s why i hold steven so close to my heart. by the time we left, steven was walking and babbling. he was happy and healthy and he started to glow.
a few months after the march trip, some of the girls went back to Jacmel with Random Acts. they saw steven, and sent the group this picture. my heart stopped for a second.
steven is straight up proof that all kids need to thrive is love and hope. i cannot wait to continue to watch him grow into a wonderful and lively young being, and support him (even if it’s from afar!) as he goes to school and grows up to get a job.
i’ve been questioned a lot as to what my work will be while i’m in haiti and what my purpose is. this is it. my purpose is to show these kids and these people God’s unconditional love for mankind. Bonite, who is such an angel, is proof to this message. it works. spending quality time with people, being a listening ear or a hand to hold, it makes a difference. establishing these connections and cultivating these relationships is even more important in making greater change.
we will be doing a lot of labor intensive work during our trip to haiti, too. we’ll be working with the ACFFC on a mosaic wall that they’re working on to beautify Jacmel down by the beach, we’ll be building houses for people who are currently living in tents, and working with a school in Port-au-Prince, along with so many other things that will keep our days jam packed, no doubt. but the most important thing that we will be doing is showing the people of Haiti the genuine love that all of mankind holds within their hearts.
i thank the people of haiti for teaching me so much back in march, along with my friends from the YogaVentures team and the Angel Wings guys. my life has been changed because of you! i cannot wait to see what God puts on my heart in just two short weeks.
we are still taking donation for the trip down to Haiti, though i’m still not sure how i’m going to fit it all, but i’ll find a way. if you’re looking to donate, we are collecting: toothbrushes/toothpaste, flip flops, small toys, toddler formula (any kind–this is for steven), and new/gently used backpacks.