Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reflection 1

I still can't get over how different this trip to Haiti was than my last trip 2 years ago... not different in a bad way but just different. There were definitely things that were different that were good such as an awesome cultural translator who took care of everything and made sure we had the best (not always the easiest) experience possible. She was so knowledgeable and took such good care of us! You could see her love and passion for Haiti in her eyes and in her weathered skin. She didn't just translate the words but the meaning and the feel of what the person was saying. Everywhere we went Haitian people knew her and were so excited to see her. It was so nice not having to worry about any logistics or money while we were there this time because she took care of it.
Another difference was where we stayed. Last trip we were in the country side for most of our 10 days in the country with a night in Port au Prince on the front and back end of the trip. Our experience in the city was minimal on that trip and limited to the palace, museum, and the random walk back that my friend Kona and I took on by ourselves that probably wasn't the best idea but we made it. This trip we stayed right outside Port au Prince for most of the trip because a tropical depression hit the Island and we weren't able to stay in the countryside for more than a day and a half which was a little disappointing since that is where the school that we support and love so much is. The community we stayed in most of the time was smaller and very welcoming but it wasn't like staying in the countryside where you felt totally immersed in the culture and people.
This time I had an idea of what to expect about the people, food, travel and those sorts of details. This time around I absolutely loved the food because I had an idea what it was and was excited to have some things again. We ate our little hearts out there which was definitely not an authentic Haitian experience.
I relaxed and embraced this trip more than last time. I'm getting more mellow and really trusting God more than I did 2 years ago which is really taking over my heart and allowing me to relinquish a lot of control in my life. That makes life and traveling a whole lot more enjoyable. When we had to leave early because of the storm I embraced the change and was thankful that we had the opportunity to see our friends at all!
So many differences made this trip easier in many ways and stretched me in different ways. I was comfortable in the countryside but God really taught me alot and stretched me in the city because I don't like cities and especially Port au Prince. It took alot more prayer and trust for me to embrace and experience the city with all it had especially with all the disaster from the earthquake that is still very evident and disturbing. It broke my heart to see how many people in the city were living and how little they had which was even less than they had the first time I went. I was most impressed by how they are dealing with it. Kids are still laughing even though they live in mud and filth, people still want to work to make money instead of having it handed to them, they are resourceful in finding solutions to the problems that face them everyday. It's truly amazing to see their resilience.
My heart was changed by Haiti again this trip but in such different ways than before...

Monday, June 6, 2011


Bonjour tout moun! Hello everybody!

I am home safely in Lynchburg! I'm clean, fed, comfortable and happy to be home. I had an amazing trip and will blog details over the next few days! I ended up not having as much internet access as I thought because our plans changed quite a bit because of some not so nice weather that rolled in while we were there! I'm exhausted but just wanted to let everyone know that I am home safely!

Love you all!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Hello from Haiti!

We are having a great time here and enjoying learning all about Haiti and it's people.  The trip has been amazingly eye opening so far and I am remembering so strongly why I love this place and wanted to come back.  Everything has been so well organized this time as well which has made experiencing everything so much easier and more enjoyable.  

The weather was beautiful yesterday but rainy today.  It rained so hard last night that we had to shout to hear each other speak!  

It's amazing how relaxed I've been since we've been here... I have had zero anxiety which is a huge thing for me!  I don't know what it is about this place but it just has that effect on you.  Nothing else matters except what is here... there is a Haitian proverb that says "Haiti is for healing all" and I'm starting to believe it.  

I can't believe it's already Thursday!  I'm not going to want to leave but I am missing american toilets and showers!

I asked God to help me feel Him here and man is he coming up big!  I won't share in details now but I just wanted to say thank you for all of your prayers, thoughts and contributions.  I love and miss you all!

Special shout out to Brit and Krista for my amazing cards!  I love them!  Until later n'ap wap pita!  Or see you later!

Love C

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Less than a week

Holy crap I'm going to Haiti in less than a week! I really haven't had too much time to think about it with everything else going on but now it's fully in my brain and I'm having a hard time processing it. Right now I'm feeling more nervous than excited. I'm hoping that's just being overwhelmed with packing and trying to figure everything out right now and just the fact that you never know what to expect. Last time I had no real expectations and it was an amazing trip. Now I know what it's like and am afraid I am going to be comparing it to that trip the whole time. I'm trying to go in with an open mind and heart and just let God work. Let Him do through me what he has planned and hold nothing back. Prayers for peace and guidance this week are greatly appreciated :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wow less than a month

We had a our second conference call for our trip to Haiti tonight. It sounds like everyone is really starting to think and prepare for the trip. It really sunk in to me that we are going very soon. Scary and exciting all at the same time! We talked about any gifts or talents that we might bring to the trip. I expressed that I enjoyed teaching gym class last time and wouldn't mind doing some first aid type stuff. Anne is going to lead devotionals in the morning and others weren't really quite sure what their role would be yet. The community has asked for seeds for plants and vegetables as well as garden tools and gloves. These should be easy things to gather and pack into our luggage. We also discussed bringing logic games and any arts or craft skills that we have that we might want to share. John asked if the Haitians played bball and I laughed because I'm pretty sure I didn't see anyone playing bball last time and distinctly remember bringing basketballs which they used to play more soccer.

The biggest thing that stood out to me tonight is the difference between last time when I was a first time traveler with no expectations and this time being a little bit more experienced and having others that haven't gone. It's very different and I'm trying to answer questions honestly and with enthusiasm. I really don't know how this trip is going to compare to the other but I'm really trying to keep an open mind and prepare myself to "leave it all in Haiti" I want to be completely and utterly exhausted mentally and physically when I get back because that means I gave them all I had and fulfilled God's purpose for me there. I can't wait to see what he has in store for me and how is stretches me and helps me to grow.

Wow... less than 1 month!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A little over a month

In a little over a month I'll be traveling back to Haiti.... wow pretty crazy. It seems like just yesterday I was there and it was 2 years ago. I guess they are right when they say time flies. Tonight we had a conference call with Sarah from Beyond Borders who is setting up our trip and the others that will be joining us. Right now there are 5 of us with the potential of 2-3 more. We all shared our motivation for going to Haiti, our expectations of the trip, and our experience with Haiti before this trip. It was interesting to hear people you haven't met talk about their expectations 3 of which haven't been to Haiti at all. I found it intriguing that mostly people just want to experience something different and to let it transform them. It's going to be a very interesting trip.
I must say I could have been better prepared for this meeting but thankfully I did it with Anne and whenever you are with Anne you can't be lost. She is wonderful :) She also did 25 hours of silence yesterday so she was more than willing to do all the talking today! Good for me! This call reminded me that I need to keep preparing for my trip. Do more reading, more praying, more organizing and collecting. This is one of those instances where I definitely need to do more and more won't ever be too much. There is only so much time left now since it's a little more than one month!
Pray for strength, pray for renewal, pray for readiness and selflessness. Pray for the challenges and the triumphs but most of all the lives touched.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I was talking with one of my friends last night who I actually traveled to Haiti with the last time I went about how much is going to be different about the trip this time... I don't normally like different. Different is scary and unknown. Different has the potential to change and mold us. Different is well different. I can't expect things to be exactly like last trip frankly because they won't be. Even though I am going to the same place it will be like a whole new experience... I'll just know a little more about what to pack and what I'm going to be doing. Different doesn't have to be scary if I remember that God has me on this path for a reason. He's going to use me and mold me and whatever happens there is His will and it may be different than what I'm used to but isn't different really the point of this whole trip now that I think about it? To experience something different, to get out of my comfort zone, to be in solidarity with those who are so raw, fresh, and real. There are a lot of emotions I'm feeling lately... excited, scared, nervous, challenged but I know God is preparing me more and more everyday. I just keep praying that I do his will and hold nothing back. Haitian saying: "Men anpil chay pa lou" "Many hands make the load lighter" Thanks for all the prayers, comments, support and love all of you send me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Haiti gathering in RIC

On Saturday I attended a Haiti Gathering in Richmond. My friend Anne is very involved in planning this gathering and knew that I would want to be involved so she made sure to let me know about it. I have never been to one of these gatherings so I had no idea what to expect. I was pretty sure I'd be one of the youngest people there and one of few non-catholics as well as it was put on by Commonwealth Catholic Charities. I was a bit late but made it all the way to Richmond early in the morning on Saturday. I arrived to many more people than I expected! What an awesome surprise. There was a moving slide show playing for people to watch that showed pictures people had taken in Haiti. Next was a speaker from Haiti. He was very inspiring and entertaining. He reminded us that no matter how much we feel like we are or aren't doing for Haiti we are all doing alot just by raising money, visiting, and sending thoughts and prayers their way. He reminded us of the importance of education for the children and people of Haiti as his education is why he is able to be a successful Haitian man. He also reminded us that Haitians are a hopeful people by nature. No matter what is going on in their country they want to live there and make it better. They love to have visitors and be reminded that they are not suffering alone but are loved and cared for. This was good for me to hear because I had been struggling a little with missions where your purpose is to build relationships and live in solidarity. This confirmed my mission and trip for Haiti this summer. David spoke about his soccer league that is helping to change the attitudes of the youth in Haiti to a positive one. Instead of having harsh and harming team names they have changed them to names like "team Ghandi" or "team MLK". The kids also learn this way because then they ask what the names mean. This soccer program also brings kids from different neighborhoods together that don't get along to play on the same team. They have seen a lot of success in attitude and behavior because of this program. I learned more about Haiti's culture from a workshop with a panel of Haitian americans. One fun fact is that the reason Haitians like to share pumpkin soup with visitors is that when they were enslaved by France they didn't get to eat pumpkin soup but only served it. When they broke free from France they were now free to eat the soup they were fixing! On their independance day they eat pumpkin soup to celebrate! I also facilitated a group session on campus ministry and Haiti. It turned out to only be 2 other young people and myself with 10 or so older people with questions about how to motivate young people to go to Haiti, and what you do on "transformational travel" trips or trips that aren't for twinning or medical missions. This turned out to be a really fun and inspiring discussion. I shared a little about my trip and others did the same. It ended with these other people being thankful for our motivation and passion for Haiti. I left this gathering pumped to be traveling to Haiti in a few months. I was ready to hop on a place yesterday and head over! I know that God needs more time to prepare me and work in my heart before I go though. Until then I will pray and seek His plan for my trip and keep working to prepare.