Oh my goodness. Today was a day. Full of nothing yet full of everything.
Starting at the beginning the COR team left this morning for Arcahaie. I was going to go with them, but once we started loading the van it was like human tetris trying to get everyone in. It became quite obvious that there was not going to be enough room. That was okay with me, though. I waved goodbye and then got out the colors and stencils for Davidson and Robenson to color with. I fall more and more in love with the kids here every day. They make me smile and laugh and are so joyful even in the midst of great tragedy and unfortunate circumstances.
I also found out more of Davidson's story today. He is 8 years old and is an orphan. Luckily, Donette got a hold of him before anyone else did and offered to care for him and send him to school and all that jazz. He does not live in the house with her and Oblami, though, because he is too afraid to go inside buildings. Therefore, Donette bought a tent for him and two other boys to share in their backyard. When Donette and Oblami leave at the beginning of August, Davidson will go to a very nice Children's Home.
I found all of this out because tonight Davidson came by the Guest House before dinner with two other boys. Eric saw Davidson and called him over to Mike and showed Mike some markings on Davidson's forehead. We found out that Davidson was playing and "messed up" some girls hair by rubbing his fingers through the top of her hair. As Davidson is a silly, vibrant young boy, he giggled and began running away. The girl, being upset, told her mother. The mother became irate and told some other kids to go find Davidson. They found him and tricked him by saying they wanted to play. Instead, they lead him to this woman who beat him. She kicked him and slapped him several times... obviously hard enough to leave the mark on his forehead.
I cannot even fully describe to you the emotions I felt upon hearing this story. I find myself choking back tears just thinking about it. Davidson is such a great kid... one of the first to learn my name and "accept me into the group." He hung out with me this morning for a good 45 minutes coloring. When he saw me this evening he shook my hand and said "Bonswa Beth!" and later returned to give me a big hug. What amazes me even more is that he had no intention of telling anyone that story. Eric had heard it from another one of the neighborhood kids and that's how he knew to tell us about it. Luckily, Oblami, Donette, and Mike talked to the woman this evening and hopefully she will never touch Davidson again.
These kids have totally stolen my heart. Tonight, Robenson, Michle, and a new boy named Louis were hanging out wanting to talk to Mike tonight. As I was around, too, I came outside. Robenson remembered my name but the other boys came up and asked. Michle must have had a case of the giggles tonight because he kept on asking me what my name was and every time I would say "Beth" he would say "Beth" back in his deepest voice and laugh a lot. Also, every time I laughed, he would laugh, too. Then the boys started gathering around me and asking me many questions in Kreyol, trying to teach me how to say different things. Mike told them that they should help teach me Kreyol and I would help teach them English. They decided that was a great idea... I'm going to have many teachers by the end of these two months.
I have not quite pinpointed the ways in which this experience has already changed me, but I can tell you that it absolutely has. I just started reading a book called "Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously" by Kent Annan. It's all about how he came to live with the poor in Haiti in 2003 to experience "life from the other side." He talked about how when you truly open up your heart to someone or something then you're on dangerous ground. Truly loving someone changes you whether you want it to or not.
Well, I believe I'm on dangerous ground. What comes to mind is the song "Esther" by Sara Groves and "What It Means to Love" by Meredith Andrews. I'm compelled, I'm compelled by what I've seen, and how can I go back to life as usual? How can I return to who I once was?
I knew this was going to be a summer that would change me and direct me. A summer where God would be able to speak loudly and clearly. I can already tell... I am going to get that and so, SO much more.
I am so thankful for all of your prayers as I continue on this journey. I have felt them surround me as I care for, work for/with, play with, and enjoy fellowship with the people of Haiti. What a beautiful and wonderful thing it is to be a part of the body of Christ!
Anyway, I should probably get off to bed. Read some more of this book. Process some more. Maybe if not much else is going on tomorrow I'll tell you about some of the things I'm processing. Now THAT is bound to be an interesting blog entry.
Sending blessings, love, and words of thanks your way!
P.S. I put a counter on here to get a better idea of the amount of people reading my blog. According to my counter, I have had 64 different people read this in only 4 days! Wow! Well, I hope you all are enjoying reading this blog... I know I am enjoying sharing this experience with you!