Haiti First-Hand: Love, Compassion and Giving
Below is a first-hand account from Lauren Gilmore,
a nurse from Roanoke, Virginia. Lauren recently traveled
to Haiti through Angel Missions Haiti in order to treat
earthquake victims and bring aid.
I was unsure of what to expect when I decided to go to Haiti after the earthquake for a medical relief trip with Angel Missions Haiti. The news and pictures cannot describe the amount of damage and poverty that is there. While in Haiti, I was able to visit tent villages to hand out medication and vitamins to children. It didn't take long for me to experience gratitude like I have never seen before. The Haitian people were so welcoming. Little children would take their medicine and go find their friends so they could have some as well. Parents would kiss us and thank us for helping their children. Everyone greeted us with a smile and a hello. We met several people who spoke English and they volunteered to do anything that would make our jobs easier from interpreting for us, to getting us ice for our drinks, to carrying things for us. The response we always got from so many was “I know you are here to help my people, I want to help you, thank you”.
The Haitian people live in a community where they give to each other out of their own impoverishment. It is inspiring to witness. One teenage boy we met named Blounde had not eaten all day. When he was given food, he ate only one piece and gave the rest to his family. My temptation would be to become greedy in those circumstances but to my surprise, the Haitian people were very sacrificial with what they had. It reminds me of the poor widow in Mark 12 when Jesus comments on her giving everything she had because she was giving out of her poverty.
“ Blounde had not eaten all day. When he was given food,
he ate only one piece and gave the rest to his family...”
One 8 year old boy we meet named Ois was hurt in the earthquake, resulting in a broken leg and severe brain damage. His family had to make him an orphan because they could not afford to care for a child with special needs (there were already 6 people living in their one room home). They felt like they were doing the best thing for him. His family visited him and expressed their thankfulness to us for caring for him. They cried, hugged and kissed us for helping Ois and giving to him what they could not.
One little girl let us look inside her home. It was made of sheets and cardboard. The only thing inside was a few more sheets to cover the dirt floor and one pillow. I do not know how Haiti can rebuild when the people can’t even afford blankets, or food. Many buildings are completely crumbled. Some look like they will fall at any moment.
Still, the Haitian people carry on their day with joy and gratitude. You can hear the women singing all day long. Evening time is filled with the children dancing and playing games. Families combine resources and share meals. It’s astonishing to walk down the main street with all the devastation and seeing the Haitians going about their lives even though this is their reality. It is convicting to see their hearts to serve and be joyful in spite of the devastation. They set a great example for love, compassion, and giving that I hope I always remember and imitate.
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