In Spring 2015, I went to Haiti on a chiropractic mission trip. I left for Haiti feeling fearful yet excited. I had heard so many stories of Haiti – the suffering, poverty, illness. I’ve been going to Mexico ever since I was young, living so close to the border it wasn’t very hard. Mexico is a third world country and I’ve seen the suffering in different parts of that country, but none of that compared to Haiti.
We stayed at a small orphanage in a town where trash and sewage lined the dirt roads. The orphanage had a large metal gate accompanied with a body guard. Kids from the town would flock every time the gate opened and would peak in with hopeful and envious eyes. The kids in the orphanage had beds, clothes, shoes, and food. Many luxurious the other children could not afford.
More than once, we watched a father bring his 4 children to the orphanage begging them to take his kids. It was heart breaking seeing the pain in his eyes knowing that his children would be better off in an orphanage than under his care.
Although Haiti definitely has its pain and suffering, there is this unexplainable hope that rests in each of its citizens.
Each child I met was bursting with joy with smiles stretching ear to ear. Laughter can be heard at all times of day or night. There was so much gratefulness even with so little. But talking with some of the Haitians that I met, they all had one thing in common: they wanted to get out of Haiti. They had this hope that there is something bigger and better out there for them. And there definitely is. But what if this great purpose means staying in Haiti and building it up from within instead of leaving it behind?
Many Americans and other people from around the world frequent Haiti bringing supplies, medical care, and loving hands to help. This is fantastic, but will outsiders be the ones to change the state that Haiti is currently suffering in? I believe that if change is ever to occur, it needs to come from within. I’m not saying stop all mission trips to Haiti, not at all, I’m saying this longing to get out of the country may only halt the progress of Haiti even further.
So let’s train up these Haitians to be leaders, teachers, revolutionaries that change the state of their nation. Not just bring more things or temporary help, but supplies and training that will further the progress. Let’s show so much love to these Haitians to inspire and empower the indigenous people. Let us give, love, and serve out of abundance.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
I left Haiti with a changed heart and new perspectives. When you go on mission trips and see the way people live in third world countries, it truly opens your eyes to real struggles of the world. Everything back home becomes like petty trials and complaints. I am so incredibly thankful I had this opportunity and I would go back in a heartbeat.