Below is an excerpt from a wonderful reflection blog post by NPFS Haiti volunteer, Bridget Holtz.
Children are the hope of the world. This one is a carry-over from my time in Nicaragua – but if you are ever depressed, discouraged, weighed down by life, go look into the eyes of a child, sit and play with him or her. The energy and determination they possess and the joy in their smiles as they discover and share the excitements of their days will bring life and laughter.
Never underestimate the impact you are having. This is not meant to pressure us, but to keep us aware that we are being watched, our actions being measured as we profess a faith or a philosophy. Live out loud, in words and speech, in actions and in truth.
Laughter is healing. Laughter is hopeful. Laughter is intimacy. I knew I had reached a level of trust with the nurses in the clinic when we could laugh with each other. I was willing to make mistakes and sound ridiculous as I learned Creole and learned about Haitian life. Humor was a way to reach the one nurse who intimidated me the most. I am the best kind of target for teasing – I immediately fall for it and react strongly. So the laughter abounded throughout every day and put us at ease with each other. It also reminded me not to take myself so seriously.
Oh, Haiti, I miss you. I miss the genuine presence of each moment, the sun and the laughter and the sounds and the little hands and feet, the sweat and the tears and the chanting of my name and the full-body hugs of the little ones. The 7Up, the morning coffee, the baby cows mooing like they are full-grown, their mommas checking for cars before letting them cross to the pasture, the rice and the beans and the spice and the chicken, the refreshment of a cold shower at the end of a brutal day, the simplicity of life, the knowledge that one life could make others better. The determination of a people who refuse to give up, no matter what the cost, who fight for each moment and possess faith far beyond mine. Three nurses who showed me every day that if we have faith, hope and love, we have the tools to succeed. The bravery of young children who run after life with abandon, who dance and sing and love and rejoice and embrace each day with all they have. I pray that I can bring these and so many more tidbits into life here in the States, and that the depth of my heart will only serve to dignify, love and be present to those who are now before me.