“The greatest of friendships are forged in the service of others.”
When we talk about missions and travel to tough countries like Haiti, I feel that people often think sacrifice, danger, inconvenience, uncomfortable… I want to help you add a new description to mission trips: friendship.
It seems unlikely, yet some of my truest, most valued friendships were forged in Haiti. While in Haiti we get to be our true selves. There is little time – and too much sweat- to worry about how we look. There are fewer distractions from pure conversation- no TV or movie theaters, no Target to run to for a quick shopping spree, just time with friends. In Haiti we realize our common purpose and that brings us closer together.
We often take teams through a small neighborhood near the Hut Outreach Youth Center to visit the families and deliver care packages. This is a humbling experience- the first time, and every time after that. It is a glaring reminder of the vastly different life we lead in the USA. The neighborhood looks like a Depression-era shanty town. There is always at least one naked kid running around. This is not the suburbs. Yet, if you can look past the sobering scene, past the differences, you see community. You see mothers looking after each other’s kids, braiding each other’s hair, and talking and just spending time together. You see a group of boys playing basketball with a dried coconut using a hoop that is just the rim of a bucket hooked on a tree. You see people, people just like us yet born into a completely different reality.
Another common day for us is serving A LOT of kids lunch, like 150 or 200 kids. It is very hot to stand over a giant bowl of steaming rice and serve for over an hour. Yet when we serve we have the privilege to watch the kids eat and we quickly forget our own discomfort. Seeing Haitian kids eat a big bowl of rice is really fun! Even the tiniest of kids will eat the entire bowl- we used to think the toddlers should get a smaller portion, we were wrong. Our Haitian friends informed us that they can, and will eat it all. And, even if they can’t they can put it in their pocket to take home (I saw this once!).
These experiences are hard to describe. I can’t come home from a trip and look a friend in the eye and convey this, it has to be a shared experience. You will never truly understand until you are there. When you do this side by side with your “squad” you have memories that will last a lifetime. You will laugh, you will cry, you will deepen your friendship- you have a shared purpose. Imagine a deeper, more intense friendship then you have ever experienced before.
Trust me, this is the ultimate “Girl’s Getaway”. If you would like to organize a trip to Haiti with your dearest friends- contact me- I would love to be your guide!