Friday, March 3, 2017

Lasts and Firsts

Hello from Team Haiti, Kishan here! An early morning consisted of cleaning and rushes of emotions for everyone on the trip. It was a day we feared, leaving our relationships with the community of Fond Tortue. After cleaning the house Françios generously loaned us for the past several days, we were delighted to have spaghetti for breakfast - I don't think we can go back from that for breakfast, ever. It was truly delicious! After a few hard goodbyes to Françios family, we started our journey to the first- ever Federation meeting. This meeting consisted of all the different Haitian coffee grower associations that partner with Just Haiti on their underlying mission of sustainability. However, before we reached our destination we once again witnessed the familial love and community displayed by Haitians. In the midst of our car being stuck, we attempted to manage our way out of the predicament by lead of our a driver. The power of giving and love overwhelmed us, it was a truly powerful experience. But, before we knew it a crowd of Haitians appeared, that we had never met, with tools and (literally) helped dig ourselves out of trouble. The car ride continued, it took about 5 hours to reach the Federation meeting which was held at a Church facility. Finally, after reaching on the bumpy ride we rushed to the bathroom before the meeting started. At the meeting, there were 6 Just Haiti partner representatives and Kim and Joann representing Just Haiti. Personally, the meeting filled my mind with ideas even through the heat of the day. Hearing the passion and joy all the members expressed for Françios' hard work, the collaboration of different association leaders, and the ideals and goals of Just Haiti developing before our eyes was truly a special moment to me and the team. A major advancement was the legal recognition of Just Haiti to make the shipment of coffee an easier task so a heavier load can be shipped and it wouldn't all have to be under the pressure of Françios' name. After approximately 2 hours of the federation meeting and discussing their plans as an organization and plans for development, it was time to eat! We walked across the street and ate at a restaurant together as Team Haiti and the federation in a delicious meal, some of us had the classic (but amazing) rice and beans and others had chicken. After dinner, the lasts of the trip continued. We piled into our indestructible van once again for our last long car ride. Personally, the long, treacherous car rides were priceless experiences themselves. The rides featured solidarity, intimacy, and love amongst ourselves and within conversations. From Becky asking if we needed snacks, my horrible jokes, to intimate conversations of our experiences immersing ourselves into this culture, we developed special bonds to empower each other and our individual ideation and personalities. In reflection, our day consisted of the development that the ABST program, Just Haiti, and our personal purposes so expect. It was a day of learning and noticing. Noticing the love, noticing the solidarity, noticing the people of Haiti as a population of potential and idealistic values that we desperately need to integrate into our lives. The culmination of our trip is at our fingertips, the love of Haiti is instilled in us, and the best part is what we are receiving on this trip has blossomed into something we will take and empower beyond our days in Haiti. We look forward to a day at CRS and Port au Prince, see you all soon! Love and prayers for all, Team Haiti

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