(part 2 of ?)

the first night in haiti i took maybe the coldest shower of my life. we're not talking just 'not warm', we're talking 'was this water steeping in ice before it came through the shower head'? starting the mental list of things to be thankful for... 1) traffic laws 2) hot water heaters

we spent our saturday at the yaveh shamma orphanage, run by pastor gaetan (who has been dubbed 'best smile in haiti' and he deserves it!). we pulled up in our van outside the gated walls and my heart was in my throat. we have been sponsoring one of the children at the orphanage and the thought of meeting her and her friends had already brought me to tears several times before even leaving on our trip.

from the moment the gate rolled back we were swarmed by little hands, hugs, tugs, smiles, looks of yearning for love and affection. it was breathtaking, literally. i was glad to have on sunglasses so i didn't have to pretend i wasn't crying. i had at least 4-5 girls holding my hands, arms, waist pretty much the entire visit. if i could have just stayed there all week i am pretty sure that would have suited me just fine. looking around at their little faces full of hope and love, recognizing the little smiles from families at church who sponsor them, i was beside myself.

it is the overall emotion of that day along with the little moments of showing the kids pictures of my girls and hearing their sweet voices learn the names 'lileh, eef, anneh' that i will hold onto. their stories are heartbreaking but hopeful and we will continue to do what we can to improve life and potential at yaveh shamma.

sunday we spent the morning at church. i have never attended a service in another language and i spent a lot of time observing the attendees, the details. i was blessed to witness the positive affects of a microloan on one of the families at church and see other micro loans given out. the smile on his face when he held the check that his paintings earned him- this wasn't charity, not a hand-out. this was money he earned that will support his wife and child. it was priceless.

the hardest part of transcribing any of this is that the experience is in the details. it is in the people you pass on the side of the street selling produce, the smells and sights as you drive through town, the little orphan boy one pew over trying to capture your attention during a sermon in creole, the smiles and stories of everyone you meet. it is in the beauty and hope of this country that is so close to ours.

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