Haiti from Dani

We have been so honored to be a part of a water team with an awesome friend, Dani Harriott. She is an Australian who has a knack for writing and photography, and will be going to Aussie-land when we leave Haiti on Monday. She will study those two passions of her’s in University, and will no doubt change the world with her amazing spirit. Here is an email update from her, that I thought would be good to repost. Dani, so thankful for your heart. Love you tons.

It’s hard for me to believe that in two days I will be leaving Haiti. Time went so. so. fast.

And while I am looking forward to sleeping in a bed again and eating something other than rice & beans. I don’t have the right words to express how much I have come to love this place in such a little time. Haiti doesn’t look very loveable on the outside. It’s dirty. Loud & chaotic. It’s corrupt. It is utterly drenched in poverty.

But it gets into your skin and all of a sudden you realize that you can see some beautiful treasures beneath the surface of the destruction.

During our last month here we travelled two hours to a seaside town where we completed a water tank at the #7. orphanage – an orphanage that over the coming years will hopefully be made completely self-sustainable. They have some goats, chickens and plenty of gorgeous children that run to the gate each day to meet you. Majority of the children who live here were orphaned by the earthquake, some of our team visited this same orphanage in December last year & it has nearly doubled in size.

Many months ago, thanks to my wonderful friend Kim, the idea of making dresses from pillowcases began. So many of you made dresses, gave pillowcases, material, and precious time. I was humbled & joyful as dresses came from near & far, some with sweet little hairclips. My stella mum sewed a stack of shorts for the boys. My friend Ally hand-made tiny pencil cases with crayons & balloons.

Turns out one community blessing another is really quite simple.

I couldn’t keep the smile off my face the morning we carried all these treasures to the orphanage. All the anxious little munchkins sat as still as the could squished onto wooden benches as we handed out their precious new threads, stickers, & pencil cases. They quickly disappeared into their tiny rooms & burst out spinnin’ & squeeling in their beautiful dresses.

Later in the week some of the students from the school in Port-au-Prince joined us to complete the tank. The days were long and hot, but full of laughter & fetching bags of water for the boys working hard. Tuesday we had a hilarious attempt at finger painting with the 45+ kids. Paint. everywhere. But how can you get cranky that Johnny just grabbed your shirt with his blue & purple hand when he is so excited to show you his masterpiece? Or just because Dennis is deliberately painting the back of Ricardo’s head instead of the paper when he looks at you with that cheeky grin?

Time flew by & before we knew it all 16 of us piled back into the truck to head back to the crazy Belville house in Port-au-Prince. Last minute cuddles & sad smiles. Teary eyes.

You try wrigling your hand loose from a tiny one laced into yours & looking into some sad brown eyes whisping “auvoir zanmi mwen”

These last two weeks we’ve been preparing locations & water tank supplies for the students of the school. They will disburse in two weeks to complete their field assignments in Brazil, Jamaica, Togo, Benin & the rest will stay in Haiti.

I have seen & heard so many stories during my time here. There are many stories to tell of tragedy. Many stories of hell on earth. Some days I just feel numb, a helpless observer. But I have also witnessed stories of victory. Stories of redemption. Stories of joy. Stories of HOPE.

The people that I have spent my time with here, the haitians, are the real heros of these stories. I will leave. Most of us from developed nations will leave. But these people will stay. I wish you could meet them. I wish you could see how they have changed. And just how determined they are now, to change Haiti. To start somewhere.

Like Widline and Santia, two cousins who love to giggle & tease me in Creole. Santia sings like an angel and Widline is such a servant. You wouldn’t know that they are from the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. The only place I have been too during my time in Haiti that even Haitians are scared to be in after dark. They were destined to live in poverty, to just survive. Now they have dreams. Late at night you’ll hear Santia singing softly in Creole about hope for Haiti….

Or Wiclif, who talks so fast you can hardly understand him and dresses like he is straight of the streets of New York. His parents died when he was just a kid so he and his brother grew up in an orphanage. His eyes gloss over when he talks about being scared at night & crying himself to sleep with no one there for him. He came to help us finish the tank at the orphanage and his gentleness & love for these abandoned souls was so evident. He understood them in a way that we couldn’t.

These are the things, the acts, the people that will change Haiti.

small things. with great. love.

They are so determined to change their story. their families stories. their nations story.

from corruption and diaster.

to beauty and hope.

I believe in them. You have to start somewhere and they are. They are starting with what they have in their hands.

And I am blessed just to have been a tiny part of their stories. We need new heros. And I have found some. They are truely what Jesus was all about.

Thankyou for once again traveling with me on another adventure. I’ll be back home soon & anxious to see so many of you. Thankyou for reading:/loving me, caring, encouraging, supporting.

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