"Chita pa bay."
Proverb: "Sitting doesn't yield - one must work to receive."
The lodging in Port-au-Prince was our first stop in a week long journey. Arriving at Matthew 25 was like coming home again - seeing Michelle Pitelli (HS Social Worker from North Carolina), a friend from last year's service work. We connected with Brittany Moore ('16 grad from IA), Alexandria Stanford ('16 grad from NC), and Allison Vogt (NC educator, nurse, and certified doula). We met and immediately developed a friendship, all with the same heart to serve the Haitian people. "Chita pa bay" - "one must work to receive." And there is much to accomplish through ServeHAITI.
Saturday dawned and we immediately noticed the first of many differences Kim Snyder, yearlong volutneer with ServeHAITI, had made. What had been known as Haitian time for the past few years was now real time. The Haitian time we had grown to know was two hours past the time set; real time was on time. Kim began a yearlong volunteer post with ServeHAITI in March. She came from managing the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai in the United Arab Emirate to managing a remote health clinic in the mountains of Grand-Bois, Haiti. Quite a change in location but more rewarding than one can imagine. Kim's heart to serve is making a difference in Grand-Bois one day at a time.
The 55 mile journey from Port-au-Prince to Grand-Bois was the usual four hour trip up a rugged mountain road with deep ruts, large rocks, and breath-taking landscape. Signs of politics were everywhere with notices for whom to vote spray-painted on trees. With few newspapers, media becomes messages tagged on buildings and walls throughout the countryside. We breathed a sigh as the medical clinic came into view. Haitian proverb - "Chemen long pa touye ou." "The long road doesn't kill you. Perseverance is good. We saw perseverance all along the way - those on donkeys loaded with water jugs and coffee beans, all ages on foot making their way rock by rock up the mountainside after selling their products along roadside stands. Trucks piled high with people and charcoal, thankful for a bumpy ride with a friendly crowd. "Chemen long pa touye ou." Perseverance is good.
We are welcomed by familiar faces - Abraham (interpreter and security guard), Boulè (driver and security guard), and Fednor (driver and maintenance manager). Welcomed by a new face - David Baptiste (interpreter) and a loyal face - Jean-Louis (manager of the medical clinic). We were treated to servings of beans & rice, fried plantains, and tasty pork. Dusty suitcases were lined up in the conference room and baby formula along with medicine and baby packets unpacked - packets lovingly prepared by CNA classes in NC.
Maciene and David gave a presentation to us as they shared the Gift of Water buckets and explained how they are changing Grand-Bois with hundreds saved from the diseases associated with drinking tainted water. A donation of $50 provides the buckets along with visits from water technicians who test the quality of the water every week. Technicians are trained by Maciene. There are nearly 11, 000 families in the Grand-Bois area with around 300 with Gift of Water buckets. Gift of Water is one ServeHAITI service that employs Haitians helping Haitians.
Reflections are shared on the porch as we are reminded that the steps we take are small but mighty. We cannot solve all the difficulties of the Grand-Bois area but we can make changes through a heart to serve with hands and feet to move forward. "Chen gen kat pat; se yon sel chement li fe." The dog has four paws but it takes only one path. "One thing at a time." Tomorrow will hold more treasured memories!