As I sit down in my local starbucks drinking my overpriced coffee with my computer, my cell phone, and freshly washed clothes, I think about my day. It has been one of those, “if I could curl up in a ball and sleep the day away I would,” kind of days. I overslept and was late to school, my math test didn’t go well, and I forgot about my english homework. I open up facebook and start looking through my Haiti trip photo album from June. As I compare my surroundings to those from the pictures, I begin to feel convicted about my reaction to my day. With each click, I realize just how blessed I am that I don’t have to wake up with the uncertainty of whether or not I will eat today, or if I get to have a sip of clean water today; I just expect these things.
While we (the S.A.V.E. team) were in Haiti, we visited a church. The girls wore the same things we had been wearing around the village everyday, a long skirt and t shirt. The only difference in the boys’ attires were their change from wearing shorts to wearing pants. We didn’t wear anything special for the church service or bring anything different; we came just how we were, sweaty and tired, but eager to learn. Once the singing part of the service finished, a few of the girls headed to where the children were kept. The kids latched on to anything on us that would make us closer in touch; our whole bodies were covered by the sweet Haitian children. We walked into a two hundred square foot classroom, packed with fifty of the happiest kids you have ever seen. The kids were doing everything from singing and laughing and dancing to sitting and sleeping in the laps of their new American friends. As I was sitting in that room, I was overwhelmed with a certain joy I had never experienced before. I was filled with peace and contentment, surrounded by love and exhilaration of people with the kindest hearts.
Surrounding me in that small church building were people who had little to nothing to call their own. Most kids didn’t even attend school because it was too far to walk from the place they lived. They woke up, lived their lives as if they didn’t know of a tomorrow, and repeated the same things everyday. They eat whatever is given to them, and are lucky if their water isn’t filled with parasites. There is no complaining about anything, only contentment with what they have.
Whenever I’m asked about a specific life-changing moment on my trip to Haiti, I never know what to say. Was it the people? Was it the experience? Was it the place? I have so many different answers to what made the village of Boukeron, Haiti so special. Living life for seven days in a third world country can really change your perspective on your own life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids with so little is one of the most humbling experiences you can have. Once I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I am immersed by thankfulness with what I have. I live in the most prosperous country in the world, with some of the wealthiest people who still cannot find happiness with what they have. The greatest lesson I have ever learned was in a country that was overrun by poverty, by the small Haitian children who literally had nothing- and that was where I was happiest.