The last hours of my trip that help me summarize my first week in Haiti.
We left Pignon in a 6-seat Cessna, returning to Port au Prince on a MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) flight instead of by car the way we’d come. I have a love of soils and landscapes, so was thrilled to see Haiti from the air!
Haiti has a centuries-old history of environmental degradation– deforestation, soil erosion, the sedimentation of rivers – resulting in a landscape that’s been described in terms such as “barren” and “ravaged”. One might say the land is impoverished. AND YET, I saw such beauty through that poverty – the arc of a sinuous river, the rugged shape of a mountain range, the pattern of soil and rock …It is t
And I realized, the Haitian landscape is a metaphor for the Haitian people – impoverished, AND YET, there is such beauty in the midst of poverty!
There is beauty in a child caring for another, making sure no one is forgotten and everyone receives their share when tootsie rolls are dispensed.
There is beauty in the service of 3 teenage boys to their 64 other “brothers and sisters”, setting up the outdoor “theater” for movie night, walking back and forth through the little audience to pass out special treats.
There is beauty in the deepening relationship between Haitians and Americans in the body of Christ in Pignon.
There is beauty in the declaration of gratitude by a young businessman who’s received help from Loving Haiti; his first words after hello, “I give thanks to God, and I give thanks to God for using Loving Haiti.”
There is beauty in the commitment of a husband who has lost his wife in childbirth, walking miles to the feeding clinic for formula for his infant daughter.
There is beauty in the joyful chorus of 30 children singing Christmas songs in Creole.
There is beauty in a child taking my hand to walk me down the hill.
There is beauty in holding a sleeping child peacefully in my arms.
There is beauty in the embrace of a woman I’m meeting for the first time, whose language I don’t speak and whose skin is not like mine, but we embrace because we are one in Christ. We serve the same God and worship the same Savior and we are brethren.
There is beauty in the trust and great affection the children have for Manman Jill and Papa Mark.
There is beauty in the heart of a man, Pastor Francois, who has dedicated his life to serving his people.
There is beauty everywhere in Pignon, and I am grateful to God for granting me the opportunity to see it! Loving Haiti nurtures this beauty. I am privileged to be a part of it!
Caroline Yonker was a research associate at Colorado State University for 30 years. Since her retirement in 2008, she has been privileged to participate in short-term missions in South and Central America. She has served on the Loving Haiti board since 2017.