I left my home in the United States to live with the Haitians of rural Bayonnais, Haiti on September 15th, 2007. I planned to teach English, art, and computer science. However, my primary goal was simply to go, to live in community with the people, remaining open and flexible to the various ways in which we might learn from one another.
Why did I go?
--I happened to meet a visiting Haitian pastor in March of 2007 and visited his community three weeks later. There lay a great need that matched my passions and interests, and I did not have responsibilities that would hinder me from bringing these pieces together.
The following is from an email written shortly after my first trip to Haiti:
"During the four days I spent in rural Haiti this past April, I felt more alive and more myself than I have felt in a long time. . . . It is sobering to return to the vast majority of our nation counting calories and anxious about which foods to eat (especially what not to eat) when you've seen the faces of those for whom such a concept is entirely foreign. It is sobering to hear of a Haitian weeping after learning the mere fact that veterinarians exist, for there are not enough doctors for people in Haiti. . .
Yet I saw more smiles amid such adversity than I often do here amid such relative comfort. While many Americans' identities are nervously grounded by fragile roots of productivity, appearance, and self-sufficiency, so many Haitians I encountered bore deep, simple self-confidence and a faith that doesn't know where else to cling apart from God, apart from each other. (Please forgive my generalities, but I hope you see the direction in which I am pointing.) I experienced powerful love and hospitality as well as an inspiring passion for education. I would like to live in this community for a while, teaching art and English among other subjects, more importantly learning about life from the poorest of the western hemisphere's poor. It is important to also recognize that one has only to visit, for example, the Urban Ministry Center or rural Appalacia for a like education."
Please read my BLOG for more up to date information on my experience in Bayonnais.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.