Community Development Checklist

It was raining. Of course it was raining. It’s Haiti.

We had decided to take some of the kids from a community we have been working in for the past few years to the beach. We took the kids, sun shining bright in the sky, across the street to the beach. It was such a treat to be trusted enough to take the children to the beach…and we were thrilled to go!

ImageImage(All packed up and ready to go!– Photo Credit: Jasen Chung)

That week had been full of checking off our lists. We met with our Justice Water guys. We helped pull of the great and wonderful Georges’ wedding. We visited the tanks our Justice Water staff completed. We took photos. We helped the kids get check ups at the orphanage. Check, check, check.

This time at the beach was a time to have fun. Check.

So, when it started raining in the truck, I was the only blanc sitting inside the truck bed. I started covering the sweet babies with a towel.


(Ride home….Photo Credit: Jenessa Peters)

It felt like hurricane force winds, y’all. And then we had to wait for someone to open up the orphanage gate. It felt like forever.

All hands were on deck- everyone helping to get the kids in their rooms- safe and sound. Jenessa and I found ourselves in the girls’ room, trying to help the girls get dry. After that giant feat, the two of us stayed in the girls’ room, standing up and chatting while some of the children stood with us. Scratching some of the girls’ backs, we laugh, and we talk about all the checkpoints we have checked off this week.

At some point I look towards one of the girls. My heart breaks. She has fallen asleep standing up, propped against my leg. I pick her up, place her in her bed. Turning to her friend, who also looks pretty sleepy, I ask “Eske ou fatigue?” (Are you tired?) and if she wanted to sleep next to her friend. She nods and I put her down there.

It is moments like that. These moments make me hit my knees in humility. Make me cry because I still don’t really get it. Make me want to know more. And, they also fuel my fire for understanding this little phrase we all love these days: community development.

Like I just wrote, I don’t get it all. We sometimes become so consumed with checklists and looking like we have it together that we forget. The “communities” that we help “develop” are made up of…people. Sounds silly, but we forget sometimes.

We create rain tanks because the people we love need water. They are tired from walking miles and miles. We teach them because they can learn. We scratch their backs because they are children who need people to love and take care of them. We invest in communities- for much longer than is trendy or cool, hopefully-and work with our friends. The mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. We partner with them. And we help them to create a better world.


(City of Montrious, Haiti. One of the communities God has called us to. Photo Credit: Asha Chan)

I can’t help but think of these kinds of places. It must be what Jesus speaks of on his sermon on the mount when he refers to the “city on a hill” whose light cannot be hidden. To be a part of a movement like that- what an honor it would be.

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