Mission Statement

Stone By Stone- building a road following God's chosen path.  Together with our brothers and sisters of Haiti, we strive to serve the cooperative of HASWEP through Listening, Educating, Supporting, Praying, Working, Advancing.

LESPWA means HOPE in Creole. 
We are full of hope for Haiti.

 

.

 FANMI LASANTE

CLINIC

Desab, Haiti

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Monday
Jul112016

The Experience of a Lifetime

It all started last November at school.  My friend Christine who I had just met and started working with that year asked me a question.  She came into my classroom and asked if I would be interested in going to Haiti with the group of teachers she had gone with the previous year.  I responded with something like, "Really? Yea actually I've always been kind of interested in doing something like that!"  Ever since then I continued to think about it and consider it and ask Christine (who I couldn't have done this without!) a million questions about it.  I kept going back and forth, but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to do it.  It didn't feel real until we bought our plane tickets, then it felt more real when we wrote a check to pay for supplies and trip expenses, then more real when we packed 20, 50 pound suitcases full of donated shoes, supplies, and materials. Finally it was time to go and I was terrified.  I kept wondering, can I do this? Can I go a week in this extremely remote village without running water, without electricity, without showering, without a toilet, and most terrifying of all..with tarantulas.  I had so many fears and carried them with me throughout the trip.  I was so worried and nervous about so many things; What if I got sick? What if I saw a tarantula? What if I got homesick?  The first day I was consumed with these worries and thoughts.  Despite the nerves, I felt there was still something deep inside me telling me I can do this, I want to do this.  The first day we almost didn't make it up the mountain and had to walk partially up it because of rain, then the generator that we were going to be using only at night so we had a light was not working the first night, so we had no light.  With these things happening right away, it was all the more reason for me to be scared and worried.  I went to bed that night (after standing there for an hour with Christine patiently beside me, and me saying, "I can't do this, I can't get into bed, what if there's a spider??") thinking I didn't think I could do it and wanting to go home the next day.  I am SO glad I didn't do that.  I would have missed out on the experience of a lifetime.  The most challenging and rewarding experience I had ever had.  
Before I went I was focusing on what I would be without, but now I see what I was with.  Generosity, friendliness, the desire to learn, determination, laughter of children, love, hard work; all of these things I saw in the people of Desab and in my teammates.  I learned so much from all of them, learned so much about them, and learned a lot about myself while on this trip.  I didn't realize what an impact this village would have on me, and after rereading my journal entries from the first couple days to the last few days, I can see how much more comfortable I was being there and how I started to appreciate in my own ways what the village had to offer.  It took me a little longer than it might have taken others to be comfortable there, but the impact left on me is a strong one that I know will last forever.  Culture shock was one thing, but then thinking about the differences in these children and the children I teach everyday in the US is hard to accept.  When I saw how much these kids were capable of, and how much they wanted to learn, and how hardworking they were, it made me think and reflect upon some of my expectations of kids and my students back at home.  It is a completely different world,  and helped me to appreciate things we have been given in life.  While reading my journal once I got home to my husband, one part got me very emotional.  I wrote "I'm getting to know the kids here in different ways than kids I know at home, sometimes the language barrier doesn't even matter, we can communicate in other ways.  It makes me sad to think of leaving and never seeing them again." Seeing the kids and smiling at them and seeing them smile back and be the cute kids that they are really motivated me throughout the trip.  I had never taught English before and that was something I was excited about doing.  We came up with lesson ideas, made printables to bring, sang songs, played games and as teachers didn't have all lessons go to plan, but I was able to take my passion of teaching and utilize it in a completely different way than I ever had before.  I learned so much from all our students as they learned English from us.  To me this was truly a gift.  I loved our classes and I loved playing with the kids, practicing English, and learning some Creole words from them as well.  
Another part of the trip that was very special was having dinner at the home of one of our translators.  His mom prepared a huge dinner for us and had killed a goat for us (which is a huge deal to do there). We went to his house and immediately were all impressed with the view.  They had a 360 degree beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.  We were all amazed.  Then we were offered Coke, Sprite, or a beer called Prestige which they had bought in the market in the city at the bottom of the mountain and kept cold in a cooler for us for dinner.  Dinner was served and there was so much food! There was rice and beans, chicken, goat, creole sauce, a coleslaw type dish called pikliz, and fried plantains.  It was all delicious.  As we were sitting outside eating, drinking, and listening to music on a radio, one of my teammates said, "This is something money can't buy."  And he was so right.  When else would we have had the opportunity to have an authentic meal made for us at a Haitian home in the mountains surrounded by these caring people if it weren't for this originization and this trip?  Definitely something money can't buy.
I am so grateful to now be a part of Stone by Stone.  Through all the highs and lows, fears and accomplishments, this trip is one no one can ever take from me, I had no clue how much it would mean until now.  I am still running through the trip in my mind and thinking of how far I came from being scared and afraid, to wanting to go back.  I'm still terrified of tarantulas and bugs, but the thought of not going back and never seeing those kids again makes me so sad that I know I will be back again one day, hopefully one day soon. 

-Danica

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