I saw beauty during my first trip to HATS and Haiti by Tracy Lewis-Currie
I’m using the word “beauty” when I realize other words could be used such as “joy” or “love”. But to me, the word “beauty” best describes my observations.
Of course, I can’t deny the visibility of poverty and destruction in Haiti. Haiti is a third world country that has had corrupt governments and experienced disasters due to earthquakes and hurricanes that has affected the country in so many ways.
But the overwhelming impression I have of my first trip to Haiti and HATS is of beauty.
Here’s where and why I saw beauty in random order:
- Our early morning walk one day, along the canal with some of the children and Karen. It had rained heavily the previous night and the ground was still muddy. The view of the fields, the canal and the sun coming up through the clouds was breathtaking. The children all worked together to scrape the mud off their own and then each other’s shoes that was building up and weighing us down.
- The full moon that was just bursting at the seams on our last night in Haiti.
- The visiting team from the U.S. The way Jesse worked with the children in Bible School and then her presentation at church on Sunday. The way Seth poured his heart and energy into our soccer games with such enthusiasm and skill. The way Jim (and Seth) worked so diligently to paint the new apartment (Jessie and Connie also helped when they could). (not to mention Jim’s pretty fingers and toe nails after a trip to the HATS “spa”). And Connie’s love and leadership with the HATS children and her own grandchildren was inspirational. Aleyah was pure joy to talk with and discuss whether or not I could do cartwheels and back bends like her. And cutie Solomon made everyone smile and want to cuddle with him.
- Heather and Mackenzie. Before my trip to Haiti, I read Heather’s blogs with great vigour. Her writing is so clear and descriptive, I had a good sense of what to expect even before I arrived. Her son, Mackenzie, was so patient and good with all the kids, even sleeping over with the boys despite the heat and lack of sleep I’m sure. Their love and commitment to HATS was also inspirational.
- Beate. Pure beauty. My friend and team lead. She had us organizing the depot with such energy and focus. Through this effort, we were able to get the kids organized for school with clothes, shoes, underwear, backpacks, pencils/pens and notebooks. And we were also able to organize many bags of clothing and shoes for both the children at HATS and the community. But more so, I was privileged to witness Beate’s true love for the children and employees. She greeted everyone with a beaming smile and big hug, radiating joy and love. I so enjoyed my time with Beate on this trip.
- The children at HATS. It was such a joy for me to get to know the variety of personalities of the children. From little Magdala to big JJ, I was so impressed with the way the children played with each other, solved problems together and took care of each other. And no one is too shy to hug.
- (Ti) Luckner. This kid has touched my heart! With his quick smile, infectious giggle and loving heart, he had me wrapped around his finger. Beate would often refer to him as Prince Luc, and I have to agree – he’s definitely a Prince.
- (Big) Luckner. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the co-director at HATS. But the little bit I did get with him, I found him to be warm, friendly and noticed that he’s always in teaching mode. Before I knew it, he was teaching me Creole in my first conversation with him. He made it easy.
- Karen. This red-headed, spritely woman who runs HATS is a true inspiration. She is one-of-a-kind! I was bowled over, when I realized all that she created/co-created, from running an orphanage, a school – including elementary and secondary – a church as well as community donation programs. I watched her (and assisted where I could) as she dealt with many things all at the same time including office administration, depot organization, dealings with the children, outfitting the children for school, organizing a water balloon event (she’s the biggest kid!), human resources issues and taking care of her son. On top of all this, she’s plays hostess to the visiting teams, entertaining us with funny stories and commentaries. It was such a great pleasure to get to know this incredible woman.
Now I have my memories of the beauty I saw in Haiti to keep me going until the next time I make my way to HATS.
This was an amazing experience for me, and I’m so grateful. Thank you