Thursday, March 6, 2014

Come as Strangers, Leave as Friends

Here ends another great day with more wonderful experiences! We began bright and early with a long 4 hour bus ride with five children from Arc en Ciel (Rainbow House) to the beach in Jacmel. The children who live at AEC are effected or affected by HIV. Today was a wonderful reminder to us of the beauty of God's natural world. On this four hour ride, we drove up and around the breathtaking Haitian mountains, which encompasses around 2/3 of the whole country, and reached Jacmel shortly before noon. We arrived at the beach house and were taken aback by just how immaculate the area was. We all agreed that seeing that beach today made us realize the undeniable beauty of this Caribbean island, and in a way, it represented the undeniable potential that the Haitian people and this country has. Originally, we were surprised that only five children were joining us, but this turned out to be an incredible blessing in disguise. The small number allowed us to truly connect with each and every child and help them enjoy the great fun that is the beach on a warm, sunny day. While, initially some of us were wondering how going to the beach would fit in with the "service" aspect of our trip, it turned out to be an important teaching lesson for all of us. It is always wonderful to help out children by feeding them, or teaching them, but in the end, kids just need to let go and enjoy the fun activities that all children get to enjoy. We helped make these five children's day by just playing with them at the beach. It made me especially redefine how I interpret "serving others" and it turned out to be a tremendous growing experience. Of course, while we were at the beach we enjoyed some great waves, crystal clear water, bright sunshine, and some great games of soccer. It was great to be able to connect with the children using these common activities, and once again it was amazing to see how deep of a connection we could make, despite the language barrier (which for folks like myself, is an incredibly large barrier!) When we departed on the bus this morning, the five children were seated apart from us on the bus, but when we departed for Port-au-Prince in the evening, the children were spread out, each sitting beside someone they established a connection and relationship with. Five Haitian children and ten American volunteers blurred the lines between privilege, religion, and ethnicity, all in the pursuit of finding common ground. Now only imagine what this world could be like if we all could strive to find that common ground and love and befriend all of God's children that inhabit this Earth. 


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