Haiti Mission Team
Now change the color of the trio’s skin from fair to rich ebony. The girls’ pigtails are not blonde, but black; tied not with two silken bows, but tens of colorful, plastic barrettes. The three walk down a hilly, rocky dirt path between rows of shanties roughly constructed of cinder blocks, rock, sheets of metal, tarps, cardboard and an assortment of other odd materials. Although a family pet is not immediately visible, I note two chickens hopping alongside and a goat tied to a post not far away.
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I keep the three in sight for as long as I am able, which is not long enough, for I am curious; and they are walking in the opposite direction from which we are driving. I want to know them. I want to know what their daily life is like, what is important to them, what makes them happy, what are their needs. And yet, they have answered some of my questions without me ever needed to speak to them. The physical connection between this young man and the girls expresses love and tenderness. Their step is light, their facial expressions relaxed and content. Do they call one of the shacks their home? Do they have enough food to eat? Where is the woman they call wife and mother? What are their prayers? What do they know that I could learn?
I feel connection with this young family. I recognize that regardless of whether we live in poverty or affluence, in a third world or first world country; regardless of the color of our skin or size of our home, we all crave connection and closeness with each other and with the Creator. I say a prayer of gratitude for my family and those to whom I am closest. I pray that this young family in Haiti will be blessed with the love, support and comfort that I have received from my family and community. And I pray that we will all learn to look past our differences and to see our shared humanness with compassion, kindness and love.