A Gift too Deep for Words

Apr 27, 2012

     Once again, our "confused, Christian rooster” woke us up long before dawn. We arrived at the work site after breakfast. Soon, children from the neighborhood poured into the church building. Most children had no shoes, some wearing one article of clothing. They were anxious to have a piece of paper and a marker in their hand. The children realized they had the freedom to draw and create their work on a precious piece of paper. I sat on the church floor as the children crowded around, all of us running into each other to grab for markers and paper. Upon finishing their drawings, I asked a few to sign their work. A few kids knew how to write their names; some did not. A couple of kids did not know their name or how to spell it. We worked together to learn and write their names.

     Some Haitian workers looked on. I offered them paper and a pen and encouraged them to go for it! They reluctantly did, and their work was amazing. One man drew a house that he'd like to have in the future; another drew a very basic square and circle, but all the men seemed happy to have the chance to draw. Later while on the floor, I looked up to see a man holding a small worn out paperback book. He did not utter a word. He indicated to me that he wanted a piece of paper and a pen. We then shared a very meaningful conversation on paper using his translation dictionary.

     Back at the school, the principal joined us for lunch. The afternoon was spent helping more children artists. On Wednesday night (our second night at the school), I decided that it may give me some “peace of mind” to meet our guards. Five young adult male church members were sitting in the dark, outside our hallway to keep watch on the stairwell through the night. One man was an artist, one was the church guitarist, and one man had an amazing singing voice. When I heard one was an artist, I hurried back to our room to get my paints, art paper, and illustrations that I had brought from home. After dinner Friday night, when the generator was turned off about 9:00 PM, we headed back to our sleeping room. I decided to see how the guards were doing. What occurred next, I could have never imagined. It was then that Jean Widmax presented me with five amazing paintings he drew for me during the day after guarding the stairwell all night. The paintings were beyond beautiful! The impact of his gift is too deep for words.

     That night, for the first time in Haiti, we could see the stars. As I leaf through these pages in my journal, I feel the words and energy of the authors-those loved ones who know and appreciate me. It was in this same way that I connected with the children in art at the worksite and with the guards at night. The disparagement of Haiti was analogous to me, our group and the people I connected with in Haiti. Sometimes, you have to leave the group to know your soul again. Sometimes you need some distance from the group to see the needs of the "outsiders." It is only then that you can truly look into each other’s eyes and see the other person's heart felt spirit rather than their exterior features. I will never forget the people and my experiences in Haiti.

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