In Canada we're so use to saying things like "the church needs to go outside the walls". Today, in Grand Goave, we went outside the Haiti Arise Compound walls, and it is overwhelmingly different. The team visited the local market which is exceptionally hard to describe. We had two Haitian translators, hired by Haiti Arise, who not only translated for us but gave us access to cultural customs. They were such a blessing and have an amazing sense of humour.
The market is overwhelming, and many of the team had different experiences and thoughts on what it was like. First, it was exceptionally hot! Wow, there is no such thing as men perspire and women "glow" down here--we are all...well you can guess! To get to the market we had to walk about 10 minutes to the area and it took us through a little "jungle" type setting. There are small shacks along the path and a few cows and goats randomly tied up in the fields. Many are malnourished.
We had to walk alongside the highway with traffic at high speeds and the pedestrians have no right of way. It is difficult to describe the sights, sounds and smells of the market. It is packed with people selling their wares and the contrast of the bright clothing of the Haitians against the backdrop of the devastating conditions is both sad and yet--beautiful. It's truly amazing to see such beauty in the midst of such poverty. For example, right now because of the season, their ravine is completely dried up but right across the ravine are beautiful mountains and lush greenery.
We had a few children try to take our water bottles and the bread that we bought at the bakery (not like Canada), it was a little shack in the back end of a maze of little pathways...AMAZING BREAD! The children often want to be talked to, held, hugged, and have us play 'hand' games with them. They are absolutely adorable! The Haitian people are a beautiful people and our hearts are smitten already!
As we were entering the Compound after our market trip, a little girl about aged two caught my hand, so I knelt to talk to her. This is the first time I cried after having spent time with the children. She was so excited to be holding my hand and talking with me. She would look at her mom, who was sitting behind her, and smile and point at me as if to say, "I'm holding the white ladies hand!" So precious, and I can't get her little face out of my head.
The overall sense is that our hearts are quickly melting and falling in love with the Haitians and the amazing work of Haiti Arise. What an honouring moment in each of our lives as we share in God's glory and presence here.
Thank you so much for everyone's prayers and support from home, we are so appreciative!!
Love from "Team Hope"