One month ago, I arrived back to Columbus, Ohio after a five week long journey as a CIT staff member in Haiti. Although I haven’t been able to fully process all of the life changing experiences I had during my internship just yet, I am sure that God did show me something in Haiti that is sure to have a lasting impact on my life in one way or another.
Something that caught my attention right away was that life can be especially hard for the ladies in Haiti. Women and girls are the ones who take care of the home, often times making a living selling in market, are stuck caring for the kids when fathers disappear, they hold the family together. But despite that, I find myself so inspired by the strength, beauty, intelligence, compassion, and ambition that the Haitian women I was blessed to interact with possess.
There are two short stories in particular that turned my world upside down as I reflect on the resilience of Haitian women and girls. The number one story is Shashu’s story. Shashu is a little girl who lives in Canaan. She comes from a family with many children and her mother struggles to provide financially. Somehow, a man from Brazil got in contact with Shashu’s mother and offered to essentially buy Shashu and a sister who is close to her age from the family. There is no telling what this man’s intentions were with the young girls. By the grace of God, Shashu’s father did not allow it. I got to spend a lot of time with little Shashu during our time in Canaan and each time she crawled up on my lap during a church service, I couldn’t help but be AMAZED that for some reason, this sweet child was in a church playing with me, instead of in some sort of trafficking ring. God is so good.
The next story is the story of Patricia and her baby boy. Patricia is a neighbor of ours who lives in Bercy next to the Sant Mouvmant. One night, I had the opportunity to escort Patricia to the hospital in Archaia so she could deliver her baby. Within an hour of dropping her off, Patricia had given birth. I was in awe of the strength of this woman as she had the baby sitting on a chair in the middle of a room with another mother doing the same right next to her. These women did not have epidurals, medication, or the opportunity for a C-section. On the plus side, a few minutes after the baby was born, we got to see him!
My journey as a CIT staff member is not over. I am still continuing to process all that God has done and is doing in Haiti and in me. One thing I do know, is that these two amazing girls have inspired in me a passion for women’s issues in Haiti and beyond.
Emily Klipa was a summer staff 2014 (CIT) and is a student at Otterbien University.