Although 70% of Haitian people do not have regular jobs, and those that do only make an average income of $2.75 a day, the country is composed of the most hard working and diligent souls that I have ever encountered. Everything from their loving spirits to their "We will get it done" mindsets embodies God's favor and I am blessed to have been a part of that type of environment.
Even though I was only there for two short weeks, it felt like a lifetime. When I returned home to America, I felt different. I felt... BETTER! In two weeks, my heart had changed and I knew it was Haiti's quest for hope that changed me. Little things did not seem to hurt me and my "realist" attitude became more optimistic. My spiritual connection with God was strengthened by trekking up the mountains to provide aid. I was granted several signs that led me to understand that Haiti is where I need to be.
The first sign appeared when I had stopped to take a break. I felt weak, a couple of hours into the trek. I had no idea how far I had walked and no idea of how much longer I had to go. I just know that at that point, I did not think that I would make it. Despite daily 20 minute walks and participating in a 5k race, I was not ready for the strenuous activity at hand. "I'm going to die," I told myself, "I am simply going to die." I could not believe that I had started this task. I stopped, prayed, and took a deep breath. Cheryl, my fearless leader, turned me around and said "Look Beautiful Alyssa! That is how far you have come."
My next sign was at another resting point on the way up the mountains. There was this quaint, little, blue house in an opening. Nobody seemed to be home and I couldn't exactly tell if anybody lived there at all. What caught my eye though, was the scripture that was painted on the house. Romans 8:31, my favorite scripture, one that I have with me every day. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" I knew then that God was about to do great things in my life. Cheryl and I prayed at that house and asked for confirmation of God's signs. I believe in my heart that confirmation was granted shortly after.
On our way back down the mountains, we had to cross a river to get to our destination. I had gotten to that point quickly and wanted to swim in the purest waters. I took off my socks and shoes, set my bookbag on top of a rock, and got comfortable in the cool flowing river. It was a great time. The water was running so fast the the current carried me down. Cheryl and I raced while others showed up and hopped in. I felt so free and so happy. I felt at peace in the river that day.
As I jumped out and began to gather my belongings, something in the water gleamed. I thought it was the sun reflecting, but I'm nosy. I had to look further. I was putting my sock on as I saw the gleam again. It was coming from a small opening under a rock, that was placed firmly in the sand, under the water's current. I reached in between the space and pulled out a coin! It was a Haitian gourde. Even though the value of the coin was minimal, I looked past that. I found money in Haiti! It was not about the amount of money, but more-so about the promise of hope. I had found hope for me; hope for my soul; hope for Ayiti, the land of high mountains.
Live, laugh, love... Most importantly, love! Happy Valentine's Day!,