Haiti, Day 6

Meredith Flynn —  July 26, 2013

This week has been all about transformation. Not just change, but a dramatic, from-scratch process that turns a small plot of dirt into a new house, a child’s stare into a beaming smile, and a group of short-term volunteers into Americans who understand a little more about a new country, culture, and people.

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This man is standing in the doorway of his new house, one built this week through a partnership between Haitian workers and our group of (largely inexperienced) volunteers. We mostly handed them tools and cinder blocks and sheets of tin for the roofs, and they led the building projects out of their knowledge of how things work best here.

“Photo! Photo!” Everywhere, kids call out for you to take their picture and then show it to them. Many of the boys strike fighting poses or make tough faces. This boy, a fixture at the church where we ate our lunches, asked me to take this photo:

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After I showed it to him, I asked him to smile for the next one. Maybe more than any other single ministry opportunity, this week was about spending quality time with kids. I watched my teammates love sacrificially all week, patiently holding a cell phone so they could marvel at a game on the screen; learning hand clapping games to pass the time before lunch; stooping down to pick up a shoeless toddler on the dusty road to our work sites. And earning smiles like these:

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Tomorrow, we’ll travel to Blanquette up in the mountains. Illinois churches have partnered with Pastor Evens there; as recently as last week, a Go team of students was there for Vacation Bible School. We’ll report more tomorrow on our visit, and the team’s final impressions of Haiti.

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Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.