Haiti, how in the world I ended up here…

We had an awesome weekend, blessed to spend time with great friends.  Our friends, Jim and Debbie Hamilton were here to bring down their daughter for a year long stay to live and work in Haiti.  She is volunteering at Zanmi Beni, the children’s home for developmentally disabled little ones. You can read more about Zanmi Beni here.  Eric spends a great deal of time over there at Zanmi Beni, so we will be in close contact with Hannah Hamilton as she works there.  We are looking forward to having her frequent our home to eat some pizza in the coming months.  I am so glad she is here!

It takes me back to when I first graduated from college with a degree in middle school education.  I spent the next two school years teaching at Sonlight Academy in Port-de-Paix, Haiti.  My first year, I had a small class of eighth graders and the second year, I had a bunch of seventh graders.  I remember that time in my life with great fondness.  I loved my students and really felt like I was doing something for the Lord.  It was where Eric and I met.  It is where Christa was born.

That last year of college is kind of a scary time in life.  The previous 18 years of my life had been pretty much marked out for me, and this was the first time I felt the weight of my future.  I remember knowing around October of my “super” senior year (yes, it took me five years) that God was leading me to Haiti after I graduated.  I chose to put this information on the back burner and pretty much ignore it until March of the next year, in the middle of student teaching.  God was faithful, and I decided to obey rather than rebel.

Preparing for a year long trip out of the country is intimidating.  Trying to figure out what all you need, what you can do without, what you MUST have.  I have to admit, I am glad that season of my life is over.  Then comes the harder parts of language learning, trying to figure out the money and the exchange rate (no one wants to be cheated!), and learning cultural do’s and don’ts.

Right when I stepped off the plane for that first year in Port-de-Paix, a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky.  I remember thinking that God was surely blessing us…then it started raining.  Hard.  We gathered all of our luggage and plastic trunks at the airport. The airport started to flood.  Soon we were in ankle deep water during a big thunder storm.  The electricity started flickering, and went out for a while. The water got deeper.  We waited on top of our luggage until we could locate our bus and make our way out into the black, rainy night in knee deep water.  I always thought Springfield, MO had a rainwater runoff problem until I moved to Port-au-Prince!

I love Haiti and I am so glad that Hannah Hamilton loves Haiti, too.  I am anxious to see what this year holds for her!


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