Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 2, Words of the Day

Unforgettable, Sadness, Overwhelming, Heartbreaking, Promise, Tattoo, Truck, Beautiful, Grope, Eyes...just words running through our minds according dinner conversation on our second day in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

After breakfast eleven of us piled in the Tap-Tap and left our Guest House for Terre Promise, a Reiser Relief sponsored school. The children, proudly dressed in school uniforms, bubbled with excitement for learning.  Dressed just as proudly in our new R-R blue t-shirts, we navigated through the swarming kids--up rickety, unlit staircases, and past hardworking breakfast-makers huddled in the dark corner.  After visiting with teachers and Elder Moreland, the administrator/principal, it was time to go to work...
So Tap-Tap bounced us through the city to the Commercial Well, where we filled the Truck from Minnesota (Reiser Relief water truck #3)--for the first time!  Three things would strike me hard at City Soleil this afternoon.

-First: the very large boar that swam across the stream (whose waters were seen fluorescent green and dank while flying over yesterday) as our guide described how we had just passed where dead bodies were buried and where the masses either chose to pay a quarter for port-a-potties or defacated in the open.

-Second: how Loretta surprised me between water-run number two and three...somehow I assumed the distances wouldn't make it possible for the green-barretted girl to find me again.  But with a grateful smile she insisted I note the bandaid-covered knee Joyce had provided at the end of the previous water station.

-Third: how Haitian eyes haunted me all day long.  This afternoon after learning a 'word of the day' would be required--it was immediately apparent to me.  And after dwelling on it a while, my own eyes were a part of it too.  I had mentioned to Mike that it was too overwhelming for me to fully open my eyes to what we were actually experiencing; better to focus upon the task than try to absorb the reality of this place.  Haitian eyes draw you in.  Completely.

Honestly.  Windows to the soul, yes, and this window is very very clear.  They have experienced hardship and are still filled with promise and have a quiet strength about them.  I believe it is their faith.  Faith stronger in a people that I have ever witnessed.  It is a salesman who has learned to read eyes over the years--but here I am not selling anything and I earned an experience unlike anything like these eyes.  Here people will lock eyes with me more than any other place I have been.  There is no shame with which to break eye-contact, rather there is yearning to be understood.

My new favorite Amy Grant song lyrics and its music repeated religiously and quieted me all day:
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallellujah
Better than a church bell ringin
Better than a choir singin out, singin out!

On FaceTime my wife asked me tonight, "Did anything really stick out to you today?"

And, from this morning, the three elder schoolboys with whom I spent the end of our school visit came to mind.  After struggling with the language barrier for several minutes, one of them asked "What of Jesus?"  and my immediate reaction was a chest pump with clenched fist, as I quietly but emphatically responded "He's my savior!"  and my reaction was met with their joy.

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