“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” -Paulo Coelho
I have sat down to write this blog post multiple times, and I can’t really pinpoint why this past trip to Haiti is so much harder for me to put into words. It may be because I have too many feelings on my heart…too many memories for me to articulate for just one entry.
So these next few posts will serve as an overview of my October trip to Haiti, where I was accompanied by 17 other passionate men and women during a week plus a day of learning & service.
Just a few days before my trip, excitement started to arise within me. I began having flashbacks of the March trip; places and faces flooding my mind. I started to remember what it felt like to be there, and it almost felt like the hours couldn’t go by fast enough (way to be in the moment! haha). I arrived in Fort Lauderdale the night before we flew to Haiti, where I was reacquainted with friends who seem more like family. We crashed early, and rose before the sun to run on a plane that would take us to our destination: Port-au-Prince.
Just a little over an hour later, we touched down. I sighed heavily and smiled as we made our way off the plane and into the little shuttle that took us over to the airport (Haiti’s airport is a warehouse). We walked in greeted by men playing Haitian music, grabbed our luggage, and off we went.
We met our tour guide, Cyril (THE man if you ever take a trip to Haiti!) in the parking lot, where he puzzle pieced our 25+ things of luggage (we all brought 1 or more extra suitcases!) into the back of a pickup. Then it was off to Jacmel. As my journal indicates…’my heart [was] happy to be back’. I have to say, just being in a place that seems more familiar to you makes the whole entire experience totally different. Rather than the shock that I dealt with the first time that I went to Haiti, this time I felt more at peace. These people, these places, these faces…they all seem like friends after a while.
Driving through the city is always interesting. The hustle and bustle in a third world country is nothing at all like New York City or Boston. The markets were overflowing as people crowded around to buy fruit, clothing, and other essentials. People flocked from towns over to gather what they needed. I wish I could have hopped off of that bus to experience what it’s like to be in a Haitian market.
The trip to Jacmel is 3 1/2-4 hours..we make our way up a mountain and then back down to meet this little city nestled right off the shore of Haiti. When we arrived, we unpacked our things and headed over to the Jacmel Children’s Center to see the progress. Sister Bonite showed us around what’s going to be constructed as a two story building that will be homes for children on the bottom floor and a school and feeding center on the second floor. We also stopped by the ACFFC and said a quick hello to the kids who were there, then went back to the hotel to gather all of the things that we had brought and divided it all up. SIX tables FULL of work supplies, clothes, games, art supplies, medical supplies, and hygiene items. We all stepped back after we had divided everything and gasped. It’s amazing what happens when you work together to accomplish something. Big things are possible.
Then it was time for yoga and settling in. We all went to bed pretty early, most of us tired from a long day of travel.
I wish I could remember every single moment of that first day. On my first trip to Haiti in March, I made sure to journal each night so that I wouldn’t forget, but the days were just so busy this time and by the end of the day I was always too tired to write! I do know one thing: I tried very hard to be in each and every moment, living each and every breath to it’s full potential while I was there. Living on peace and living on purpose.
Another blog post tomorrow; stay tuned 🙂