I cannot believe how quickly this week has gone by. It seems like only yesterday that we arrived nervous about the challenges we would face in the week ahead. In only a week’s time we have grown to love our entrepreneurs and the country of Haiti. We have seen immense poverty but we have also seen resilient, beautiful, and joyful people. I think it is safe to say that all of us will leave a part of ourselves here in Haiti.
This morning was spent working with our entrepreneurs and getting everything finalized so that they would be equipped to continue the businesses on their own. Heather and I worked with our entrepreneur, Wista, to finalize her food stand. We carried the stand over from the church and set it up outside of her house in a shaded area. She began to organize the items on her stand: rice, beans, oil, onions, dried fish, pasta, tomato paste, spices, and the beautiful candles she learned how to make. She got some paint and named her stand “Som 23: Dieu Qui Donne” which translates “Psalm 23: God Who Gives”. She made sure everything was in order, stepped back, and then gave us a huge smile and a hug. Standing before us was a proud new business owner. This work would give her dignity and allow her better care for her seven children. We told her how incredibly proud of her we were, purchased some of the candles that we made with her earlier in the week, and then departed to check on some of the other businesses.
The afternoon was spent playing a game of soccer. We mixed teams to contain both Haitians and Americans and played a short match on a huge dirt field riddled with rocks of various sizes. It was a competitive match that brought the whole community together. After the game we said our final goodbyes to Handson and made our way to Larry and Diana’s house for our final meal with them. We were all pretty excited thinking about everything the Lord had done through us in the past week. Larry and Diana shared stories about God’s faithfulness in their lives and challenged us to live a life of increased faith and devotion to the Lord.
We went back to the hotel, packed up our things and then got on a bus to Port-au-Prince. We all did our best to sleep on the bus as we drove through the night, but the dirt roads didn’t make it easy. We arrived at the airport tired and dazed at 4:30 in the morning. We played a few quick games of cards and reminisced about the week. We then flew to Miami and then to LAX where we went our separate ways. It was a shock going from dirt roads and enormous poverty to paved 6 lane freeways and incredible wealth.
The week was incredible for me. I enjoyed working with my entrepreneur and partnering with her to start her own business. I enjoyed playing with the children, holding their hands, and letting them know that they are seen and loved. I enjoyed talking with the translators about what life is like in Haiti. I enjoyed riding on the back of mopeds and was astonished that we never hit anyone or anything. Haiti is truly a special place. I pray that Haiti would begin to see economic progress. I pray that the Haitian people would increasingly find their hope in the Lord and that they would stay away from the voodoo so ingrained in their culture. I pray that our partnership has blessed the people; it has certainly blessed me.
– Ryan Council