I'm learning lots of things thus far on my Haitian adventure. In no particular order, here are a few that come to mind:
1. It is not a given that you can wash your hair every day. Or take a shower.....or wear clean clothes. For a woman who prides herself on being "fixed" when I go out, this is a bit of a humbling experience. I haven't gone to church without makeup since the 7th grade. But I did this morning.
2. People look at you differently when you are not wearing your "regular costume". This is a continuation of #1 above....but when I traveled to Haiti on Thursday, I wanted to make sure I didn't draw attention to myself. So I wore really plain clothes, no jewelry, no nice purse, etc....and I noticed that people treated me with a little less respect. Perhaps I imagined some of it....but I feel like I'm taken a little more seriously when I wear my normal costume.
3. It is astounding how much less some people have. I have been to lots of places with really poor people, but I have never seen anything like Haiti. When I lived in Tehran as a little girl, I remember there being a man who lived in a tin lean-to in the empty lot next to our compound. It struck me as odd...and unfortunate...but it was the only instance I saw of someone living that way. Since Thursday, I have seen a dozen tent cities, ranging from just a few tents to over a hundred. One in particular sprang up in a former city park in Port au Prince and is across the street from a beautiful, thriving restaurant. I can't quite wrap my brain around the disparity.
4. What Katie and Ben are doing is legit. Honestly, when they decided to move, sight unseen, to the poorest country in the western hemisphere AND work for a school that they had just researched online and only corresponded with the school director via email....I was a little skeptical. I'm happy to report that Quisqueya is a wonderful school, run by and staffed with a terrific community of folks who just feel strongly about serving God.
5. It's probably a good idea for me to step outside my comfort zone every once in a while. I am NOT a risk taker. At. All. I seldom undertake a new venture unless I am pretty sure I will succeed at it. How I managed to raise two children that are adventure-seekers is beyond me. But I will admit that I have been blessed to have my eyes opened a bit wider on this trip. I've always been somewhat conflicted about why I have so many resources at my disposal and why most of the world does not. Having recently read Rich Stearns' The Hole in Our Gospel, I have seen first hand these past few days that those WITH resources are God's PLAN A for helping those WITHOUT resources. And according to Stearns, there is no PLAN B. It's a lot to think about.
I'm going home on Tuesday morning. I will be taking a really hot shower, putting on clean clothes, wearing a bit of makeup.....and, let's be honest, probably running by Starbucks. But I will talking to the finance director at my house (Mr. Wilhoit) about what we can do to make a bigger impact on people's lives in Haiti, and I will be committing to pray daily for this country that has been so hard hit.