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...