When you step off of the plane, you’ll be hit quickly with the realization that you somehow feel much further than a couple of hours from home.
Your mind will try to keep up with you as it attempts to process what it takes in on the tap-tap through Port-au-Prince and on ‘home’ to Bercy, but you’ll be processing all week (and probably after that, too).
You’re going to sleep in the secure environment of the Sant Mouvman – “Center of Movement” – the space in Bercy that is CPR-3’s and will provide a hybrid of a Haitian-American experience when you aren’t out in the community. You’ll wake up from the neighbor’s roosters in a bunk room and that room will have the solar power that our community doesn’t get to have 24/7 that will keep a fan going for you. You’ll have a shower, but experience “saving water” and possibly for the first time, be conscious of how much you use of this precious resource.
The tap-tap (the public transportation of Haiti that we rent for the week) will become familiar quickly, as it shows up every morning after breakfast to load up the team and go. It’s going to drop you off in your partnered (or another CPR-3 partnered) community.
This is where people don’t know what to expect. You’re going to see…
Kids. Lots of them. And they’re going to love getting loved on by you, if you jump right into it.
A language barrier….that isn’t as bad as it seems. Especially with those kids, you’ll be surprised how easy communication is – you’ll get a new understanding for “it’s all in the non-verbals,” But you’ll also have a ratio of at least 4:1 of team members to translators for the in depth relationship work.
Adults. Most will be standing back and they may not look approachable. Approach them. Most are waiting on you.
Programs. Decided after conversation between you and your pastor (who knows the community best), your team will most likely hold a Sunday School, VBS, Clinic, Play Day, or Sanitation Education program. This will include translators, lots to “do”, kids, and probably a challenge to get out of your comfort zone. Do you want to know a secret? These awesome initiatives are important, but not as important as the people attending them. The people you “do” with are way more important than the “do”.
The hard stuff. From the dust on your clothes to the child your holding who seemed to forget his clothes. Sickness, tears at some point, and testimonies that break your heart. A child will ask you for a toy, then a dollar and then food. Another child will make hand motions for a drink of water. You may see a family eating their meal of the day – rice and beans split between a lot of mouths. A mother may ask you to take her child, a man may ask you for a job. Most people are going to call you out for your skin color – something most team members have not experienced before.
Jesus. So much more than the hard stuff, God is moving in Haiti. And you’ll see Him in the center of it all.
And soccer. You’ll definitely see some soccer.