I have spent my whole life living in North America (mostly in eastern Canada) until about a month ago when we arrived in Haiti for a few months. What a different world this is! People have asked, “Is it what you expected?”. Well, I have no idea what we expected, but no, my mind could not have fathomed what this part of the world was like. I have learned a few things (and I hope to learn a lot more). Here is a partial list….

  1.       This land is beautiful! Palm trees remind me that we are in the Caribbean. Rice fields with natural irrigation line a scenic canal that flows outside the walls of the HATS compound. Mountains surround us in this beautiful valley.
scenery
  1.       The people are beautiful. Every morning as we walk the canal we are greeted with “bonjou” by nearly everyone we meet. They often try to say more, but we are a little limited in our knowledge of creole. They aren’t just kind, though, they are physically beautiful too. They don’t have much make-up (if any) on and most of them do not have fancy clothes, but they are simply beautiful.
beautiful people
  1.       People here work hard! I have commented when leaving work before that I really earned my paycheck that day. Well, I have never worked as hard as many people I see here. Just after sunrise we see men walking to work with their machetes and/or hoes for a day of work in the fields. I sweat just thinking about it.
men working in field

 

more workers
  1.       There are animals everywhere. I have never seen so many goats, cows, horses and donkeys. They mostly roam free and there is no fear that someone will steal them. There is an understanding that you leave your neighbor’s property alone.
goats
  1.       One of my favorite things is the constant music we hear. The children love to sing and are taught from birth to sing out. There is no fear that they don’t sound good enough; they just sing. At church and at devotions everyone sings. They are also brought up with rhythm like clapping, drums and tambourines. If I lived here long enough, I bet I would develop a wonderful sense of rhythm just like them! (well, maybe).
kids drumming
  1.       Children here have more independence than at home. I am reminded of myself and my friends when our babies were small. At naptime we would be extra quiet and hope that the kids would easily go to sleep. Here at church there is a blanket at the back on the concrete floor. When the kids are tired the adults either put them on the blanket, or the kids put themselves there. I haven’t heard a complaint about an understaffed nursery yet.
kids in “nursery”

We love it here…and we love the kids…It’s all about the children!

~Mike and Nicki