I hopped into the tractor trailer with the big black tank holding 350 gallons of water – delivered 2-3 times that day, once a week. I grasped the sides of the trailer and tried to get my buns squared away on the edge so I didn’t fall out at the first bump. Sitting on the floor was out of the question because it was wet from the filling of the water container.
The tractor thumped down the dirt roads of Anse-a-galets, lugging and chugging. Four teens and myself watched as the scenery unfolded. Houses built of sticks, scrap metal, sheets, and other miscellaneous materials passed us by. Children met us at their fences and gates to wave, smile, and yell, “Blanc!” at us! I felt like a homecoming princess on a parade float. Surreal is the only way to describe the attention we drew.
We puttered on and finally arrived at the base of a very steep hill. Our tractor driver instructed us to drag a large hose up the hill. The five of us each grabbed a section and meandered our way, heaving and huffing up to the orphanage house.
Madanm (in Kreyol) took the hose from us and brought it into the building to fill their water jugs. Little faces emerged onto the balconies on both floors of the small two story building, pressing their faces against the bars to get a better look at the white folks standing below.
72 orphans tucked into one small building. No water unless the missionaries deliver it. Barrels their only storage for the gift of water we delivered. *They have since moved and have an awesome property which we did get to tour while we were there. I will write an update later.
As we stood outside the building on the dirt road, I noticed a woman with a baby in her arms making her way down the hill towards us. She arrived at my side and I smiled. Not speaking the language is such a hard barrier.
She held her arms out toward me and I hesitated a moment, wondering what her intentions were in handing me this precious little one.
But then I saw the mama pride in her eyes. That look that only mothers can truly identify. It broke the language barrier because it spoke the language of love. I took her sweet little boy from her and smiled. I’m not passing up the chance to hold a baby!
This sweet little guy slept in my arms, dressed in a sweatshirt in 85 degree temps and 88% humidity. Even in Haiti, mamas worry about their little ones being cold. Have mercy, it was so hot and humid, I’m surprised I didn’t pass out adding the second little body of heat to my arms.
In that moment, I understood what I represented to this woman. I know my soft body spoke of a shared bond of motherhood, but my white skin spoke of hope. She knew why we were at the orphanage. That we were there to help.
And we possess a power they can only dream of. We’re white and foreign. From a land that flows with milk and honey. A place that shares. That gives. That has the ability to save lives. *And yes, I know that we also have the ability to damage and mess up their worlds as well. Please don’t send mean messages about this.
A place where I can feed my children three meals a day, instead of the one meal that most Haitians hope and pray to be able to eat. Where medicine flows abundantly when someone becomes ill and is available to all.
I prayed silently over this mother and her child right then. That God would provide for them and protect them.
And then it was time to leave and I had to hand him back. I smiled and thanked her and she returned it with a huge beautiful smile and headed back up the road.
That moment touched me. This woman trusted a complete stranger to ooh and ahh over her baby and to snuggle him close and kiss his soft dark curls.
This is one of my all time favorite pics from our trip. Here we are on the other side of the WISH compound wall coming back from our water delivery.
If you haven’t read some of the other heart wrenching yet, beautiful stories from our mission trip to Haiti, check them out here: When Haiti Breaks Your Heart Part One
My husband and I spent 10 days in May of 2014 in Haiti on the island of La Gonave as well. We have joined another team to head to the mainland in May of 2015. Stay tuned for more updates. God has Haiti on our hearts and we joyfully say yes to serving there.
PS – After that sweet moment, I slipped and fell on the hill, but that’s a story for another day!