Several times these past few weeks I’ve started formulating a blog post in my mind of all the numerous complaints I have living here in this village. One day I even started writing it. A quick look at my desktop just now shows it’s still there, half written, the document entitled, “Haitians Annoy Me.”
Honestly, some days I feel beat by the multitude of interactions in a foreign language, the physical discomforts, the lack of privacy, and simply the frustrations of living here.
BUT! What has held me back from letting my complaining get the best of me is the wisdom to know that complaining does me no good and is a dangerous path to start upon. Instead, I’ve been trying to think of things I’m thankful for.
I want to list a few of the things I’m thankful for here.
Health. This is the biggest for sure. In seven months of living in Haiti I have yet once to get what they call, “Haitian Happiness” (that is, food poisoning). With the unsanitary conditions I’m in now, the sketchy water I’m often drinking, the fresh vegetables I’m always eating, the multitude of street food I’ve had and still have, my healthiness is nothing short of a miracle. My friend Ryan just had, “Haitian Happiness” this past week.
Also, the fact I have yet to contract malaria is also amazing. The previous driver for Heartline got malaria, and I stayed in the same room he did for twice the amount of time as he. On top of that, I’m constantly getting eaten alive by mosquitos. The director for Heartline, John McHoul, has had malaria 17 times. I’m sure my time is coming, but I’m thankful to have not had it yet… I take no malaria medication.
Communication. Missionaries of old didn’t have e-mail. While my e-mail and internet is frustrating (I have to walk up a nearby hill to get a good signal), at least I have it. I can talk with people back home. I was even able to get a video-Skype conversation to work!
But even greater than the technological ability to communicate, I am thankful for family and friends who are more than willing to take the time to talk, listen, and encourage me. I am so thankful for that.
Today (Saturday) I was given MUCH reason to be thankful!
Six friends from Port-au Prince drove up to visit and encouraged me with their conversation and time. They brought a good lunch we ate in my house. Ryan brought things I needed – he had made a special trip in Port to get these.
And before leaving they prayed over me. What a blessing! What an encouragement!
What really blew me out of the water was how Anachemy, my Haitian/American friend from Port, gave such a generous and timely gift of food! There was snack-food galore (Cheez-its, Crackers, Granola Bars, Chocolate, Jelly Bellies, Raisins, Apples, Taffy, Dr. Peppers, Vanilla Cokes, and even Oreo’s) as well as other “real” food, not to mention needed medical supplies and even hygiene items.
Was eating from the package of Oreo’s and thinking, “Gosh, these are amazing, I really should buy more of these sometime after these are gone,” then saw the price-tag on the package: $10 US! and remembered why I don’t usually buy them!
I received this generous, unexpected, and morale-boosting gift of abundant food as from the Lord.
The Haitians here in this village, while sometimes driving me nuts, do look out for me and genuinely care for me. There are teenage boys here who have already become special friends of mine, and whom I feel privileged to know.
I am thankful there is not animosity between me and the villagers. I am thankful they are kind to me. I am thankful they let me go fishing with them. I am thankful they willingly helping me learn Creole. I am thankful for the opportunity it appears I will have to study God’s Word with at least one of the young men (Nöe).
While aspects of living here are uncomfortable, I am thankful for the comforts I do have. I’m thankful for my solar panels which provide, among other things, 1) lights for my house at night and 2) a small electric fan to help me both study in the day and sleep better as well. I am thankful for my cell phone that gives me access to the outside world. I am thankful for the roof over my head, for a mosquito net, and for ample food.
This list so far hasn’t even touched on how much I’m thankful for my supportive family, my siblings who keep up with me, my parents who pray for me daily, my church family at Westside who I don’t keep up with well but who regularly pray for me anyways, and for friends I’ve made around the world who take the time to write encouraging e-mails.
My life is rich! Why would I complain? How could I complain? The experiences I’m being blessed to have are one-of-a-kind. So what if there are a few bug-bites along the way? 🙂