Nanbanyan

Hello all! Today is our fifth day on our trip to Haiti, and it’s another eventful and life changing day. I started my day with a good conversation about the soap making business venture that Evan Kramer and I have with our entrepreneur, Elon. We had some difficulties with our business at the beginning of the trip when we found out that we couldn’t find lye, an important ingredient to soap, in the city. The reason why it was difficult to start was because without lye, we couldn’t truly show Elon how to make soap and see the finished product. This was a big disappointment for us because Elon was a person who learns new processes very well and very quickly. He is someone that Evan and I saw as a hard worker and very goal oriented, and we really wanted to see him succeed in his new business. But with all the frustration about the business, we didn’t want that to hold us back from starting it. The best thing that we could do together was for us to show Elon as best we could about how to make soap without lye. From the start, we were impressed with the way that Elon understood the process. And by the end of it, there was a quiet confidence that Elon displayed after the process. From there, we had the chance to see Elon’s house and where he would make his soap, and that was a very humbling and honorable experience for both of us.

Later that day, we had the opportunity to enter a small rural area of Port-de-Paix called Nan-banyan. This community is viewed as “outsiders” in the city and is physically located on the outer part of the city. One of the reasons for this is because the community participates heavily in Voodoo. In the heart of the community there is a Voodoo tree that is treated as a shrine (almost an idol) to most of the people in Port-de-Paix who practice this cult. Once we started to take our first steps into Nan-banyan, kids started flocking to us. They tried to hold our hands and were following us everywhere we went. Larry Owen, the founder of Waves of Mercy, was with us to guide and tell us more about the community. Larry gave us a task before visiting the voodoo tree, which was to mark each house, with the occupants permission, so Waves of Mercy can keep track of the people who live there and then show them neighborly love by occasionally giving them food and gifts that are specific to each household. I had a part in this task and I started to become busy, trying to markdown each house in the community. During this whole process, there was a child that was holding my hand. At first, I unfortunately was so overwhelmed with the task at hand that I didn’t really notice him. Finally, once I actually looked down, I saw a child who had the biggest smile on his face and was so overjoyed to see me. That moment was life changing for me because I learned that I could be so consumed with busyness that I miss the important stuff. But after looking at the joy in that child’s face, it made me realize that my mission to mark these houses wasn’t my true mission at all; rather, it was to be loving to this child and to admire God’s creation in everyone, especially this young boy. That moment will one that that I will never forget.

– Ryan Anderson

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