Monday, August 31, 2009

Firsts

She
packed her bag the week before
posed happily for a picture
said "kiss kiss hug hug love love!"
bravely boarded the bus
met Co the first day
and they are still friends


She
packed her bag last week
worried
packed her lunch last night
worried
did not throw up
slept all night mostly, yeah
did not want her picture taken
talked her dad into a ride
will eat lunch with Co
and other friends
will make new friends
and probably suffer a friend realignment
or two



She
did not know I stole her picture anyway
has a bright future
is beautiful
is smart
is adored
still says, "kiss kiss hug hug love love!"
occasionally
but each time still feels like the first


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For me, I am so-so

Last week I was in Haiti. It was a personal journey for me. I went with a friend; she's now a dear friend. I didn't tell many people beforehand. We returned last Saturday.

While I was gone, I wrote emails every day. I've decided to share parts of them here, but now that I sit down to do so, I am reluctant. The part of me that did not want to talk about it ahead of time still does not want to talk about it afterward. I'm just a girl. I can't change the world. I was scared I would not succeed, but I did not know what success would be. I went with only one week to give, to do only what was in front of me. We stayed at an orphanage, Maison de Lumiere, which means The Lighthouse. We organized supplies in 'the depot' and my friend cleaned some rooms in preparation for them to be classrooms in the coming school year. We got to be a part of the neighborhood feeding progam three times. I saw kids who were rescued from the streets of Port Au Prince now serving other hungry, desperate kids. We played, made crafts, laughed, talked, and learned more about our amazing God. I also saw the orange hair that comes with malnutrition and heard the cries of a child being beaten. I saw the makeshift toys and the cramped cinderblock homes of the families that live in the ravine. I saw.

Knowing me, this may be the only time that I do share. So, if you'd like, if you really want to 'hear' what I had to say, I'll email the emails to you. Otherwise, be satisfied with this small part of what I wrote on Wednesday and after I got home.

Wednesday
...I helped in English class today. Their assignment was to write a letter to a friend or a sponsor in the US. Bethany, the English teacher, will mail the letters when she goes back to school at the beginning of Sept. It was fun to read the letters and help the kids with their grammar and spelling. I learned something of their phraseology. They don't begin their sentences with 'I'...and that's the way they talk, too. They would have said, "For me, I learned..." It was hard to make them change their wording since it was so conversational. Some of them were excellent letter writers. I should write more by hand, I think...

I've been thinking alot about the "For me..." that I read so much that day. One of the boys began his letter with:
How are you doing? For me, I am so-so...
I loved his honesty.

Home again
Bill and Susette asked us Friday night what we had learned from the trip, and someone else asked me nearly the same thing yesterday. I'm not sure yet that I know what it is that I was supposed to take with me. Maybe some big revelation will come later...maybe not.

I do know that I don't need nearly as much as I sometimes think I need. I can be content with the amount of stuff that fits in a carry on bag. Probably less. How does that apply in my 'real' life?

I know even better than before that people, especially kids, can change before your eyes when you smile, and touch, and engage them for even a moment.

I know that I will never look at rice and beans the same as I did before. I used to think of them as a cheap meal. Now I see them as the difference between malnourishment and health.

Twice when I was feeding the neighborhood children, they stopped eating and I could tell by their body language that they had seen the cups of water being served to the other children. They would not take another bite. They were desperate for the water. Both of them reached shakily for their cups, held on with both hands, buried their faces in the cups, and drank half of it without stopping. They took a deep breath and then drank more. In John 4, Jesus is at the well with the Samaritan woman and says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." I'm reminded it's a desperate thirst people have for Jesus.

Many told me that I would be leaving part of my heart in Haiti. They were right. I'd go back tomorrow. Want to join me?

peace to you,
stefanie

How am I doing? For me, I am so-so.




Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Gratefuls

I've neglected the blog.
I don't know exactly why.
I just have.
It's summer.


211. Our daughters were camp counselors last week.
I got to be there to see glimpses of them in action and hear some great things about them:


welcoming

responsible
loving
friendly
thoughtful

accepted
complimented
valued
admired

exhausted


212. Mo got her driver's permit on the first try, and Steve is teaching her to drive.

213. I have eaten one grape tomato from the plant I bought in May. It was delicious. More tomatos may follow.

214. It's summer.