Saturday, November 27, 2010

Entering a Haitian Home

I've lived in Haiti for almost 5.5 months now, and yesterday was the first time I have entered a Haitian home.

I was in the process of getting my three kids up from their naps and getting them snacks, when Amy asked if I wanted to go with her to Milot.  I got super excited as this was the first time I have left the compound since getting back, and also the first time that Amy and I have ever gone anywhere together.  I quickly found Nick, told him he was in charge of the kids, and jumped in the truck ready for an adventure.  Everything in Haiti is always an adventure, you never know what to expect when you leave the gate.

We were going to pick up a little boy who used to live here and his Mom from the hospital.  Normally we would just drop them off at the intersection where we would go left and they go right, however, Amy and I were both curious where they lived so we asked if she wanted us to take her all the way home.  She was beyond thankful.  It was getting late, and there was no way she could have walked the few miles home before dark.  She walks the several miles to COTP once a week for us to evaluate her son, carrying him as he is an infant, with his oversized diaper bag that we always send them off with on her head, and her young daughter by her side.  She told us that it normally takes her 3 plus hours to walk and see us.  This is one way.  I can't imagine walking that far with that much stuff.

Anyways, we went down this road that didn't look like a vehicle had passed through in years.  It was overgrown, full of giant pot holes (nothing like what you see in the states) that were muddy and a mess.  We weren't sure if we would be able to make it, but she said we could and she was right.

When we pulled up in front of her house, everyone was excited to see her and ask her about the past few days that she had spent in the hospital with her son.  I would assume that many of them have never been able to afford to take their children to the hospital when they were sick, so this was a new exciting adventure for them that they were able to live through her.  She was like a celebrity, pulling up in a truck after spending a week in a hospital.  When we left Milot, someone asked her how she was getting home and she said she was going in the truck with a giant smile on her face.  It's quite possible that she had never been in a truck before meeting us.

She asked us if we wanted to see her house, and we said us.  We walked down the muddy pathway about 100 yards to her house.  There are several different types of houses in Haiti, and she by far lives in the worse.  Her house is made of sticks and mud and has cardboard filling as many gaps as she could find.

Living in Haiti I'm surrounded by these houses, but you always hold on to a hope that even though it looks like nothing, it's nice on the inside.  It's not true, its worse on the inside.  There is nothing there.  NOTHING.  It's an uneven dirt floor.  The entire house is smaller than Nick and I's bedroom here, and she is raising a family in it.  She has no cooking utensils, no toys for her children, NOTHING.  Her front door wasn't even on it's hinges, she just moved it and we walked in.  It wasn't even a door like what we use.

I went in many houses when I volunteered in Kenya and Mexico, and even though those are nothing special, they are mansions compared to the house I was in yesterday.

Her neighbor pulled over two chairs for us to sit in, and about 15 people gathered around to talk to us.  When we left they all followed us out to the car and said goodbye.  This lady is an amazing Mom.  She constantly kisses her child, which isn't seen here a lot.  He always lays his head on her shoulder, cuddling in close, and when someone else tries to hold him, he reaches back for his Mom.  He doesn't want anyone else.  He loves his Mom.

Last night reminded me of how little most Haitians have.  Here at COTP, we live in a little paradise.  We are locked in our gate, with plenty of food, medicine, and are surrounded by happy healthy kids.  Yes, the children are sick when they come to us, but only for a short time, and then they turn around so quickly.  It's easy to forget about what happens outside the gate.  It's hard to get out because there is always so much going on here, but when I do, I am glad that I am reminded of how people live everyday.

Lord please watch over this family and help keep them healthy!

1 comment:

  1. That story made me cry Nikki. We are so blessed with all we have and I feel for those who are less fortunate. With Christmas around the corner, it makes me want to reevaluate how we really should be spending our money. It's not here accumulating more stuff then what we already have. Please let us know how we can help those who have nothing.