My aftershock/re-entry shock was and is different than everyone else’s. It’s been about 31 hours and I’m still not sure what to do with myself. While everyone is trying to get used to the luxuries they had, I’m just sitting here, wondering what I should do, because for a whole week, my time was completely used up. But now, I have all the time in the world, and I have things to do, but I don’t have to do them now.
So, I basically haven’t done much of anything worthwhile.
This is really long, just a warning.
You can read my Pre-Haiti Testimony HERE.
Day 1: Saturday
I got about two hours worth of sleep. I dreamed that I couldn’t sleep, so I was exhausted. I was the first one at the airport, but that didn’t mean we were on time. We barely made it to the flight, since we decided to go to Mcdonalds. The flight was okay, the plane was small, but I had a window seat and my iPod.
I tend to be different, or stand out, even if I don’t try to. Sometimes it’s a good thing, other times, it’s a bad thing. So when we got to Port-au-Prince and drove the three hours to Jacmel, everyone was in shock at the disasters around them.
I felt nothing.
Okay, it’s bad, but I don’t have the gift of mercy or encouragement. Compassion isn’t easy for me. So while everyone is to the point of tears, I just take it in quietly.
The ride to Jacmel was cool though, because it was the first time any of the PR teams had to do that. Our charter was cancelled due to weather, and although it’s pretty dangerous to drive the three hours, it was worthwhile, because we got to see the contrast between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. We also got to see the sunken capitol building, and that made an impression on me. The way the dome had fallen, showed exactly in what state Haiti is in. Broken and in pieces.
Our group sang kids songs all the way to the house, where we met Ami, Hallie, and Sam. These guys are great! Later on Dave and Darlys came.
We had a movie night scheduled for that day, so we went to see The Karate Kid in french with the kids. I was explaining the movie to Edward because he hadn’t seen it before. The projector, the laptop, and the projector screen all started falling at one point, which was scary. We met the Texas team when we got back.
I asked Dave how long he had been in Haiti, and he told me he had gotten in 10 days after the earthquake hit, then, he bit his lip as if he was going to cry. Made me want to cry as well.
Day 2: Sunday
Church was three hours long, and in creole. Still, Jason got to go up and share a bit about our mission, and the choir sang “You raise us up,” and I was near tears. Then this mom gave Ami her baby to hold at one moment, and I asked Ami if she knew her, and she said she didn’t.
On the way back, Jason told us that we shouldn’t spend so much time as a group, and get to know the TX group. So, when I got back, I poured out my heart to Carla, without even knowing it, and she prayed for me.
We went to the beach afterwards, and hung out for a while. Most of the guys played soccer, and I just recorded it or went back to the little kiosk. We drank 1/2 litter coca cola bottles that were made of glass, and I got my Haiti necklace, which was cool. I hadn’t even put it on yet, when a Haitian boy pointed at me and said, with a grin on his face, “Haiti.” I was like, YES!
At the house, I got to hang out and play with Isabela who’s 6 (turning 7 in June 21, celebrating it on the 18th) she told me I was her best friend, and then she made me reenact a scene in Tangled (“knees apart”). I kind of freaked her out when I told her it was my favorite movie, and she goes, quietly, “…mine too.”
Practiced for a skit. Me and Edward were picked to be a couple, and he ended up breaking my heart. I couldn’t help but laugh.
We started our evening devotionals then, and were promised morning devotionals at 5:30.
Day 3: Monday
At 5:30am, I was up and at the devotional, which was about Moses and the burning bush, which I had had stuck in my head the whole week before I came to Haiti. It was unbelievably uncanny.
We went to the orphanage that the pastor of the church we went to owned. It was an all girls orphanage, and I got to take some nice footage, and have a four year one sit on me the whole time. I managed to work up a conversation and help with crafts. It felt like I was in kindergarden, because I learned the colors in creole.
We then split up. One group went to Sisters, and the other went to Kay Angel. I went to Kay Angel. Most of the kids are HIV+ and/or were abandoned at birth. It was shocking.They sang Jesus Loves The Children of The World in creole, it was breath taking. When we came back to the house, Nathalia & Natalie were in tears from sister. They told me what they had seen, and it was shocking.
Then we went to a church/school, and had to watch our bags, because these people we capable of taking our stuff. I got mobbed and overwhelmed, and broke down crying, but God was still faithful. One of the foamie stickers I found was a hot pink penguin. It was a comfort. It was the only one there, and I searched the bag. It wasn’t only a penguin, which is one of my absolute favorite animals, it was a hot pink one. God comforts us in silly but amazing ways. I also learned “chita” which means “sit.”
Special note: chita la (Sit there) is the phrase I can say perfectly.
We got home and Jason did a Bible study for both groups, and then we had one privately with him. I ended up crying again, because Jason was covering Romans 12, and he told us that we need to be living sacrifices and surrender our dreams and goals to God, and I had been fighting against that. So, I gave up my dream of going to film school. I have no solid plan as of now, but I’m trusting God with my future.
Note: reading my journal now, I realize God told me to let go of my future plans on Monday, I had no idea it was that soon after getting to Haiti. I thought it had been forever after.
Day 4: Tuesday
I couldn’t sleep after 4:30, so I just listened to music. When I left the room for the devotional, Jason started complaining about Edward being loud. I started laughing. I said that the Burning Bush could be a picture of God’s powerfulness, since He was controlling the elements, and Jason told me he hadn’t thought about it that way. The teacher’s pet in beamed with pride.
We went to the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, and played Simon Says with the kids (Sigmon Di), and did Father Abraham in creole. I ate a pbj sandwich for the first time ever. It was okay, and then Gian Carlos convinced me to dip it in Chef Boyarde, and it tasted way better (even though it sounds gross)
We started setting up for a women’s event we were doing later that night. Everything was pink, and it was pretty cool. Got bit by ants that were after the candy, we had to put the candy away and just give it out as the women came. There was a creepy guy talking to Natalie and following her around behind the fence. I started telling Jason, and even before I was done, he was already walking toward the guy to talk to him. I know I have the gift of discernment, and I’m glad I could help out. I hate to think what could’ve happened if I hadn’t felt like puking because of the feeling.
We got back home, and after vowing that I would never touch stickers again, I sat down to cut stickers out.
The women’s event was amazing. Ellen was singing in english and Emmanuela was singing in creole. They would rotate verse by verse, it was beautiful. A real picture of different cultures with the same God. Then Carla’s teaching was really good. She is so energetic.
I got to hang out with Isabela there too, and we had fun, talking about things, and praying as a group. I learned “oovle sa” which means, “want this?
Isabela told me that she had a sister, and then corrected herself and said that she HAS a sister, she’s in heaven. Susana died at 4, of cancer. The faith and strength Cody, Maria, and Isabela have is amazing.
Isabela was happy because I knew how to pronounce her name in spanish.
Judy did the group study, and then Jason did an hour and a half of devotional. We were there until 11, but it was so good!
I had to sleep in the living room, because Susy was asleep on my bed.
Day 5: Wednesday
The morning study covered the verse in Isaiah, “he will lift us on wings like eagles,” and it played a lot during the day, in songs, and thoughts and feelings, because we were exhausted.
Our whole team went to a school up on the mountains. While part of the kids were in the study, the others were playing soccer or having their face painted or playing with bubbles, and then they rotated.
Nicole sat with a group of boys who were poking her, and she was getting creeped out. They even followed her on the way out. We teased her so much.
Cynthia, Natalie and Nathalia did a train during worship, and the kids loved it.
As we went down the mountain, we were eating lunch and just hanging out. Then Brisso (our translator) told Jason to say; “mwen tutunie,” saying that it meant, “I appreciate you.” (It doesn’t) Jason caught his bluff, and we avoided the embarrassing story we were told about a missionary girl and a sweet old lady.
We came home, and since there was a cancellation, we went walking to the most gorgeous beach. I saved mating butterflies that were trapped in a spider web, which reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. We climbed down a hill, and I was ecstatic, and then we were able to get into a cave, and I found a pretty neat shell (remember the shell). We hung out a while, and then went home, and ate yummy, spicy haitian food.
At the house, the vender had set up, and I was able to buy things for my siblings, and Angelie.
Then we had the movie night, which was fun because we set up the projector on the middle of the road, and started playing the movie. There were soooo many people! They showed The Godman, which is a mix of live acting and cgi, but it’s good quality, and super accurate. It was african, but they dubbed in in creole, and honestly, you can’t even tell the difference. Satan was pretty epic in the movie, honestly.
After the movie, we did our skit. It was interesting, because we were all so nervous, because of all the people, but we all went up and did great. Edward and me were supposed to be there for 45 seconds to 1 minute, but we were only there four 20 seconds or so, but, that was fine. I was supposed to drop to my knees when he dropped my heart and broke it, and when I did, I forgot there were rocks under me. I had to cry, but I was laughing so it sounded like I was crying. And then I went to the other side of the stage, and was like, “I scraped my knee!” to Edward. I didn’t scrape my knee, I just bruised both knees, badly.
Then Susy, Antonio, Cynthia, Kirk, and Gian Carlos did their skit and it came out awesome.
Then one of the translators did a really cool message and a guy stood up to accept Jesus, but there were people in the crowd saying the prayer as well.
After that, things started going down hill. Edward started feeling super sick. The team that came in the blue tap tap decided to get in and wait, but there was a situation and we were there a while. Nicole, Kirk, Mike, Normandy, Edward, and me were just sitting there talking, when we got mobbed by Haitian kids. They were all over the flashlight Mike had, that pretty much blinded everyone, and then they called me “Blanc,” (white in creole) and asked for my phone.
Edward was so out of it, that our unimind wasn’t working too well. I got hit on by a haitian, in english, and I was trying to signal Edward to help me out, because everyone else was in their own world. The Haitian got it before Edward did, but the guy finally left.
Jason gave us another study that lasted until 11pm, but it was so so good!
Day 6: Thursday
I got to talk to Jason about how God speaks to me and if that was normal. Told him a whole bunch of what was going through my mind, and he told me that he wished he had been as serious as I am when he was sixteen. It was so nice to hear.
We divided in two teams, and I went to this school with Darlys. I was feeling like a jerk, because I was bossing everyone around and organizing the craft stuff, and pushing myself into a leadership position, but I knew I couldn’t take chaos anymore. Then, Carla just turns to me, and says, “you have the gift of administration.” It wasn’t a question, and it wasn’t a surprised statement. It was just solid fact. It’s true. I do have the gift of organization (so, naturally, I boss people around ;) ) It was super encouraging.
We got a tour of the property, and then I walk to the tent as soon as Ami says that, “If God called you to this, He will provide and protect.” I was teaching Edward sign language, since everyone was getting rocks, and he was sick. He was so sick people told him he was too calm.
I ate chef boyarde straight out of the can, and asked Jason what we were doing, and he goes, “Eating.”
I asked Ami what made her come to Haiti, and she goes, “God.” Then she goes, “Duh.” I ask her how, and she goes, “A plane.” But then she gave me her super cool testimony. Encouraging.
We split up again, and I went to Hands and Feet, where I had been dying to go. I got to meet the owner’s daughter. (The owner being the singer of Audio Adrenaline) Good pictures and stuff. It was a pretty neat place.
One of the boys, who was about four, walked by me and said, “I LOVE YOU!” I’m like, awww.
Brisso taught the group how to dance Compa. It was fun to watch. We ate super yummy dinner, and then Natalie told me and Edward that we fight a lot, at least twice a day. I still don’t understand what she meant.
Brisso told us about voodoo, and we were all in shock. Amazing stories.
We embarrassed Isabela super bad when we brought her outside and sang happy birthday. She wasn’t expecting us to sing it Puerto Rican style either, after that, we gave her the gifts we had gotten her, and she gave as all big hugs. I gave her the shell I had found, because I knew she loved shells. I have it on video. It’s one of my favorite videos of the trip. I really wanted to do something special for her, because she doesn’t have too many friends there.
That night for our study, we just shared what God had revealed to us throughout the week. It was beautiful, and such a cool time.
One of the things that stood out was the unity between us in our group, but also the unity with the Texas group. It was clear that we are all serving the same God.
I talked to Jason afterward, to clear something up, which he told me wasn’t necessary, but he was glad I did anyway. And then he told me, in all seriousness, “Kiara, guys are idiots.” I was laughing.
I sat down to write thank you cards to the staff, and some others, and I start reading my Bible, and get slapped in the face by Jesus. I was like, nice. Haha, it was good.
I didn’t go to bed until 1am, and then because I couldn’t bare it anymore. Most of the girls were still up, and Nathalia, Nicole, Susy, Gian Carlos, and Kirk all slept in the living room. Nicole was freaked out about the werewolf stories that Brisso told us, so we were all freaking out.
I have this written in my journal: Amazing trip; sad to leave.
I couldn’t sleep past four thirty. So I just lay in bed until I had to get up, and then we packed and just laid around until we had to leave. Carla and Ellen told us to wake them up, so we got hugs by them before we left. And Judy gave us hugs as well.
I rode with Darlys to the charter airport, and we talked to Dave and her until we had to leave, and then we saw Haiti from above, and we were all quiet and pensive.
When we made it to the charter airport, bribed security (which was fun), went straight to our corner and waited for Na’thier. He helped us on the bus, and drove. He had fun with our conversation and Jason mentioned, for like the third time, that this was his favorite missions trip. (No, I’m not bragging…at all.. ;) )
We got to the airport and checked all our stuff, and we went to a Haitian starbucks to eat. Natalie was ticked off because of some European jerks who were treating the Haitians like trash.
We went from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo, and Susy and me were just talking the whole time, about pretty much everything. Super sweet time.
Then, when we landed in Puerto Rico, we look out the window, and we are all like, “there’s something wrong here.”
Everyone was feeling the same thing, even me, who didn’t really fall in love with Haiti the way everyone did. We were all like, “I don’t belong here.”
After shock: Sunday
Today was pretty hard for me. Yesterday was fine, but today, right before church, my dad showed me this video about, and I broke down crying, because I finally grasped that Haiti was in the same state when I went, and a week after the earthquake hit. I was crying during worship, and Natalie, who was in front of me playing piano during worship, looks at me during announcements, and mouths, “are you okay?” I nod, but we both know why I’m crying, we both know, we both feel the same way. Like, instantly.
Then Jason started off his teaching with Judy’s story about the four sand dollars, and I was just sitting there like, “I miss Judy so much.”
I missed the whole team that I came with. It felt weird not seeing them every day, even for just one day, not sharing a room. Even having the bathroom to myself and flushing the toilet was weird. But I could see them today.
I can’t see the Texas team for a while, if ever, until Heaven.
I was like, whoa, I really miss them.
Thank God for facebook and email.
It’s a strange place to be. I never feel like I belong in the places I’m at. Even if I love Puerto Rico, I’m never at home. I adapt easily enough, true, but I’m never at home either. I wasn’t at home in Haiti either, but I adapted. By the second day, I was like, yeah, this is home, I’ve been here all my life. There isn’t anywhere else, but there is.
And now, back in Puerto Rico, adjusting is taking time. The feeling of not belonging is even more intense, which is good, I am not of this world, I am a citizen of Heaven.
I don’t think there is anymore to add to this.