This past month in Haiti has been one of the most meaningful trips so far. It has been filled with new friendships and memories I’ll never forget.
Have you heard the saying “It’s Happy Here” ? It is one of our ‘Haiti sayings’ at Brit’s Home. Even though it has been used for awhile, I’ve recently been catching myself saying it. The kids here are genuinely so happy. Whenever I’m at Brit’s Home, I know I’m constantly smiling and laughing, feeding off of the children’s energy. If I pass one of the children and make eye contact, they immediately smile and will wave or reach for a high five. There is no hesitation.
There are SO many examples. This home is filled with so much love, it fills your heart with so much joy. Sometimes I will sit in on some classes in our after school program and the children are smiling ear to ear as they recite their French lesson or work on their homework. Or, I’ll be sitting in the dining room working early in the morning, and some of the children will start coming downstairs for breakfast. Every time, at least one child will run over to me smiling so wide and give me a hug. One of my favorite examples happened just a few weeks ago on Guerlanda’s birthday. It was her 7th birthday and I think she was a little overwhelmed by all of the attention. When she went to stand by her cake, she was very serious and didn’t smile. Madame Farrah put on some music and ALL of the kids chanted “Happy, Happy Birthday!” until she started to smile. The night was then filled with singing and dancing.
There are so many moments that make me smile each day. I am amazed at the way the children take care of one another, no matter what age they are. More than once I’ve noticed a younger child crying and immediately one of the older children will walk over, put their arms around him or her, and chats with them until their ok. These children have the biggest hearts and they know the importance of family.
I believe the “It’s Happy Here” saying does not only apply to Brit’s Home. I see the happiness in the children in the mountains and in the neighborhood, in the colorful tap-taps on the streets, and in the families we build homes for.
Our group of Britsionarys this past week built a home for a mother and 2 children. They lost their home in the 2010 earthquake and have been struggling ever since. The mother told our group it was the worst when it rained. She would have to spend many hours cleaning the flooded ground around their home. It is heartbreaking to know so many others have a story just like hers. It was a beautiful moment to see the keys being handed over to her and her family. Now they will sleep safe and sound on their first ever mattress.
After the house blessing, we gathered into the truck to drive back to Brit’s Home. I sat at the front with Francky, Shelby, and LaPorte who is one of our amazing construction workers. The ride was a little longer than usual and we sat quietly, reflecting on the blessing. As we drove, LaPorte began to sing to himself. I chuckled a bit, which lead Shelby and Francky to giggle too. LaPorte noticed us laughing and he said, “Hey guys! I’m singing because my heart is so happy!” I’ll remember that moment forever. LaPorte is so kind to everyone he meets. He always has a smile on his face and is always checking in to make sure everyone around him is good and happy. I’m thankful to know him!
Another example from outside our gates is at our water distribution. Did you know we give out up to 1,000 gallons of clean water every single day to our neighbors? People of all ages line up outside our gates to gather water for their family and friends. I’ve been able to sit outside to watch and take a few photos/videos . I expected them to be upset with me for wanting to take their photo, but when I asked, they were more than happy. Many smiled and even posed for pictures. When they were waiting in line for water, they chatted and laughed with each other. Another sign of happiness.
I ended my trip by celebrating Haiti Carnival with the children and staff. This is a huge event that is celebrated throughout Haiti. When I heard that there was going to be an event for the children at their school, St. Francois, I definitely wanted to join! All of the girls dressed up in colorful outfits that included tutus and a LOT of glitter. The boys made fun ‘Carnival’ hats and some drew on their faces with paint. There was a ton of excitement throughout the day! When I changed into my dress, the older girls bombarded me with glitter and markers. One of the teachers even made me a paper crown that matched my dress!
When we arrived at St. Francois, there were children of all ages dancing and singing. It was awesome to see our children join in on the fun with their friends from the community. There was nonstop dancing for at least 3 hours.
It truly is happy here in Haiti!