This is my final post for this trip. I have actually been home for about a week, but I have been waiting to write a post so I can try to process everything that happened during my two-week visit to Bainet and Zorangé.
This trip was quite an experience and I enjoyed every part of it- even getting sick didn’t get me down!
I left early in the morning but I had about two hours to sit and people watch in the lobby at the airport. People watching is one of my favorite past times. You are able to see how individualized everyone is while at the same time able to see how we are all connected and not so different from one another. I sat next to a man who had just finished a week-long trip with his son and a group from his church who were working at an orphanage. This was his first trip to Haiti, but he had been to Mexico multiple times. He said that he was ready to go home, be alone, and process everything that he saw. On some level, I was ready to go home too, but I was more ready to talk to my family about all the wonderful people I met and the awesome things that the community is doing to support Hope for Haiti Foundation and then get back to Zorangé.
Port-au-Prince is overwhelming. The first thing I saw on the way to the hotel was gun-wielding UN Peacekeepers. This was my first encounter with them and hopefully I will never have to see them in action. Another thing I found overpoweringly frustrating was the numerous USAID tarp tents that were promised to be used as temporary housing after the earthquake; two years later, they seem to be permanent. That is distressing to me. Todd and Kip both mentioned they have seen improvements, which is wonderful news; however, what is it going to take to get the temporary/permanent tents taken down?
I found peace and comfort in Zorangé and Bainet. I saw a community overcome tropical storm Ernesto and be able to hold the soccer tournament finals on time. I was with staff at Unifee who wanted to better understand conflict so they could communicate more effectively with their staff and students. Every night I sat on the porch at the dorm and listened to the people sing and worship and I would watch as they walked back from the service filled with joy. I was constantly surrounded by laughter—I didn’t understand what was being said 95% of the time, but I was so content just sitting and hearing their joy. I will miss that.
Zorangé is a place where people are working every day to change the lives of their community.