Returning to Haiti, the smells are stronger, the roosters seem to crow more, the mud in market seems stickier, but my room is more peaceful and the hugs of friends I haven’t seen are full of more force than before. The emotions I felt coming back were numerous and complex.
Haiti very much felt like home when I left, so I didn’t expect anything to seem uncomfortable coming back, but that has not been the case. Never did I expect the smells to shock me like they did. Team members come, often mentioning the smells, and I knew they were strong, but I never noticed them before. As we went out in Bercy, greeting our neighbors and friends, I dug through the depths of my brain for my Creole and stumbled through cultural greetings that were second nature before we left.
Even still, there are so many familiar things about Haiti that have brought the comfort one feels when coming home. Dusting off my room and unpacking my bags was relieving because I know this is where I have chosen to settle. Since I had already brought necessities to Haiti back in September, I was able to fill my luggage with new comforts like a rug, candle, extra pillow, yoga mat, etc. and unpacking felt like unwrapping Christmas gifts!
The smells are becoming less noticeable, my Creole is beginning to return, and with every sequel I make as I hug tightly the friends I have missed so much, I am challenged with the next three months ahead of me (we will leave country for a short time in April to follow visa regulations). Though there was some initial shock, I am returning to a Haiti that feels like home. This beginning is very different than September’s, when I had the task of making this place home; I am here with a beautiful foundation. Much like we often begin new years, I am beginning this new season with new goals founded on what I have learned and the things I feel the Spirit leading me to.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”