Sunday, March 20, 2011

Haiti - What I Did Down There

Haiti - 2179People ask me what I did in Haiti. It's tough to describe. I didn't go down there to build a school or work in an orphanage. I went down to Haiti to experience Tom's world and his mission. My goal was to take it all in and figure out where I can connect. I wanted to understand the culture, the people, the problems - not so I could fix it, but to hopefully so I could change something in me in terms of my compassion, my priorities and my connection to my stuff.

I spent most of my time hanging out with Tom and his family and friends and seeing what his world was all about and how it worked in Haiti. I asked Tom a million questions about what people were doing, why they were doing it, what they believed and how they lived.  Each of things I did really requires it's own blog post to describe what I did and show you some of the pictures behind those things, so those will follow.

Haiti - 2177I went into the mountains to see some of what Tom's done with nursery's and goats.  I went into the village market.  I went on a run for clean water.  I went to the crusade in town.  I went to church.  I went on a beer run.  I ate Hatian oatmeal. I bought cokes for Echo.  I rode on a motorcycle to pick up a generator.  I rode on the motorcycle to go get clean water.  I watched a voodoo parade.  I saw kids swimming butt neked and doing flips off of the edge of a damn.  I saw and experienced so much, but I didn't really do anything to make the place better.

The little I spoke Creole just wasn't enough to let me communicate the way I wanted to.  I had to speak through Obines and Tom who would translate for me as I spoke.  Thinking back, I don't think I ever really felt afraid while I was there.  Maybe because I didn't go into scary parts of down, maybe because I didn't understand what people were saying and they always seemed to be smiling, or at least I was smiling at them.

I spent some time over at the Methodist compound and the guy Steve, who ran it.  They'd essentially created a large walled compound where they would train Haitians in metal work, manufacturing and auto repair.  Groups would come in weekly and work there and outside of the compound on projects.  Steve had been in Haiti for years working here,  went off and did his own project in Haiti and then came back and had an interesting perspective on both options.

Haiti - 2155I spent time fixing computers and and helping get some of Tom's technology working.  Nothing fancy, but I felt like I was at least accomplishing something while I was there.  Bill & I spent half of a day with a local catholic priest, Father Alexis, learning about what he's up to.  I'll put some of the pictures up of his parish that are very cool.

I got to spend time listening to Tom dream about what he wants to do and why and bounce ideas back and forth.  I got to talk about different business models I'd seen and how they might work in what he's doing.

Haiti - 1875
I got to sleep on the room of Tom's house and see the brightest stars of my life.  I got to meet people who in my world had nothing yet still seemed to have joy.  I got to see in Port Au Prince a city devastated.

Haiti - 2191Haiti - 2196

Most of all, I got to have my world pulled out of it's self-centered orbit and be transformed for a period of time and begin to change it's dave-centric orbit somehow.  I had a glimpse of what it looks like to live without and still be filled with joy.  

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