by Steve Daining, MH4H trip participant
Today was another full day of new experiences, but the day started long before we all woke up with men, women, and children walking in front of the MH4H compound on their way to Pignon market. In the morning, we made the half-hour trip (by truck, some in the back) to Pignon. We first visited Heather and Cassidy’s house and saw their Saturday routine of washing clothes by hand. It was good for the women to again connect with these faithful young ladies.
Our next adventure was going to market. It was sensory overload, which included mobs of people (packed tighter than a Saturday at the Iowa State Fair), stifling smells (leaving you gasping for a breeze of fresh air), oppressive mid-day sun, and a mix of motorcycle horns (yes, somehow motorcycles), talking, shouting and even a couple of megaphones. I can’t really say how long I was in there (perhaps an hour), but it is hard for me to imagine spending a day there.
Our next adventure was a hot walk through town and to the river, where people bathe and wash clothes in muddy water. A bumpy ride brought us back to the MH4H compound by early afternoon. The ladies painted in the hot sun, while the guys finished stands for irrigation buckets and started on awnings for the MH4H house. I was blessed with a quick 45 minute recovery from a migraine acquired during the morning’s activities – praise God – and was able to join the men for some of the work.
After a good meal, we headed back to Pignon to sing and pray with patients. From holding the hands of very young children to seeing burn victims, the experience left many of us emotionally exhausted. Our day concluded with another bumpy ride back to the MH4H compound; however, the day continued for many ladies, as they walked back to their homes, carrying baskets on their heads.
I am left today with the image of a small boy who held my hand on our walk through Pignon. Like many others, I had given the boy a high five as I walked by, but unlike others he held on. Locked in two different worlds, I was left feeling helpless. As I walked with him, I prayed for him, because a language barrier blocks any words. As I walked through the gate to Heather and Cassidy’s house, our worlds once again separated. He, left on the street, me, left feeling inadequate to help the boy in any long term way. But perhaps this is the point.
I say this for two reasons. First, I may be unsuited for creating any life-long change in any one person in a week here. I am in no way underestimating the power of prayer, the encouragement of a song, or the love of Jesus being shown in a hug, but I am left convicted that back home, I am confronted with many opportunities to serve, but often make myself too busy to help. Second, the MH4H staff and Heather and Cassidy are the hands and feet of Christ here in Haiti. We need to support them from back in the states. We can support these young ladies, who are a long way from home, with prayer and letters of encouragement. The gift of a visit and a jar of peanut butter went a long way to lift their spirits.