To the people of La Beyi, Haiti:
I admire your way of life. A life that’s simple, yet so complex. It’s your daily struggle to live that makes life so tough, yet at the same time, it makes life so beautifully simple. I see you. I see you working hard in the fields with basic hand tools, sewing fishing nets by hand on the beach, and pouring concrete cinder blocks one-by-one. I see the tiny sardines you’ve caught carefully laid out to dry in the sun on the side of the road. I see the marvelous fresh fish you’ve just pulled from the Caribbean Sea. I see the milk you’ve received from your family cow, cooking over hot coals.
I see you. I see you helping your neighbor sell goods in his shop, with the hope we’ll come to yours next. I see you sharing your daily wage of food with any of your community friends who happen to stop by while you’re cooking. I see you gleefully jumping with joy to play ball with your friends. I see you praying for each other, that each one of you can know God and one day have a safe home. Your life breeds gratitude and joy for small things, of which then turn into the most important big things. In the end, you have joy and gratitude because you’ve been given little and you turn it into a lot. It’s your perspective, your joy, your gratitude, and your grit that I admire so much.
In a way, this quote by Robert Clancy reminds me so much of you. “The heartiest plants survive because they weather the storms and never stop reaching for the light.” You weather the storms of a complex life, yet you continuously reach for the light and even emulate that light, making your life so beautifully simple. You’re a shining example of what many of us strive to be!
I appreciate the 4 hours you spent making cassava to share a part of your delightful culture. I appreciate the long process of first peeling the cassava root with the head of a spoon, then washing and cutting it into pieces ready for grating. I appreciate the length of time it must have taken to make the grater by hand, carefully shaping the metal and punching numerous holes with a nail. I enjoyed watching you purposefully wrap the root shavings into a cheesecloth to wring out the liquid, and I was amazed to see you then pound the dry shavings into flour, using a large mortar and pestle. At this, I thought the process was complete, but again, I was intrigued to see you sift the flour through a strainer before making a patty in the bottom of a large pot to cook. Most importantly, I was humbled you’d share the bounty of your labor with us, ensuring we’ve eaten before you’ve even taken a bite. By the way, we loved the bread-like texture of a cassava patty!
You are in God’s favor. I can feel it. I feel love for you like Jesus must have had when he walked the earth - simple outright love, regardless of what you have or don’t have, or what you’ve done or have yet to do. There simply aren’t words to describe how much I respect and admire you as complete, beautiful people.
You’ve accepted God’s invitation to glorify Him on earth and you’ve invited us to walk in the journey with you. To me, this paints the perfect picture of what Heaven on earth truly means! Because of you, my heart is in Haiti and I will be back to see you, sweet friends.
In the last story on Haiti I shared a video. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can do so here!