Yes! I am back from my village in Haiti! I know many of you want to know about my trip. All I can say is that it was fantastic! At one point, I was a little concerned. The hurricane hit while I was in the village.
The loud sound of the gigantic ocean waves clashing as well as the violent wind buffeting the trees and houses woke me up. It brought back memories of a hurricane I survived in the village 30 years ago. Trust me, I definitely didn’t want a repeat of that. Thankfully, everything was fine.
Anyway, let me tell about the good part. Here’s how a typical day was for me during my stay in the village:
1- Every morning Larieux a fellow villager chops some fresh coconuts for me to drink the milk.
2- Then I head to the sea and spend about 30 minutes swimming with some friends.
3- I rinse my body and get ready to meet the kids. I teach them a few English words and connect with them. Amazing how fast they learn. Every morning they greet me, Good morning!
4- Then I head to the health clinic to assist the doctor. For a week, I had a chance to serve my people. By the way, the health clinic needs lots of help. Too many to mention here.
5- After we close the clinic, I visit some of the older people I had not seen in years. They were so happy to see me. They thank me profusely for bringing them money.
6- In the evening, I had a chance to sit with the young people and share some words of wisdom with them. I learned a lot from them, too.
A highlight of my trip was being able to hear the heart of the people. During my stay they came from all over to tell me about their problems and what they need. Some have big requests. Others don’t ask for much.
One lady begged me to send her a little battery operated AM and FM radio. Honestly, there’s no way I can solve all those problems by myself.
It’s not that I don’t want to but I’m simply not in a position to. Not even the Haiti government is in a position to help its people. They, too, need some help.
Now, let me tell you about the climax of my trip — the real highlight! I am really excited to share this with you. I was interviewed on television in a city called Les Cayes. It’s the closest city to my village. That television station covered the entire southern part of Haiti. My guess is the southern part has more than 2 million people.
After the interview, the phone at the TV station rang off the hook. Thousands saw the interview and are interested in hearing more from me. Boy, I couldn’t go anywhere without people running up to me and thanking me for touching their lives. Talking about instant personal gratification!
Aunt Zette danced a happy dance as she sat of top of the hill in my village watching me on television. Today, many villages have access to electricity. Once or twice a day for at least one to two hours, the power is on. The rest of the time, they go back to the old ways of being without.
You know, the funny thing is it’s easy to tell when the power is on. Many people leave their radios on full blast. When the power comes on, you suddenly hear loud noises of radios blaring. I always laugh when I hear it.
Okay, back to my television interview. I cannot tell you how I felt when people from obscure corners were running to let me know that I gave them hope. One young lady ran to me out of breath and said, â€œa month ago my best friend committed suicide.
Had you come one month ago and given that interview, my friend would have been alive. I am telling you this because I am going through the same issues my friend went through. But your words boosted my battery. I feel like I can conquer the world. Thank you!
Ooh! I was cold and hot. Can someone please pass the paper tissue? Tears began to roll down my cheeks. That gave me a renewed sense of commitment to continue sharing my message. I went to a local restaurant; the server could not believe it was me. He was beside himself. Just as the woman, he kept thanking me over and over.
I was at a barber’s shop. Five minutes into cutting my hair, he overheard someone calling my name. He froze! â€œIs that you? He yelled. He then proceeded to tell me his story. I was moved by his incredible courage.
Even at the airport in Les Cayes on my way to Port-au-prince, people surrounded me to ask me for advice. I am telling you, this was the most gratifying aspect of my trip. I remember staring at the lenses of the camera and speaking directly to the heart and soul of the people. I asked them not to give up hope because I was once where they are and I overcame all the odds.
I said, Listen to me. The reason I am sitting on this chair in front of the camera talking to you is not because I am special. It’s because I dared to believe that no condition is permanent. Your condition will change. How is not your business.
You just have to believe in and hope for a better and brighter tomorrow. I then used several examples of people who overcame great odds to achieve what seemed to be the impossible.
Even though there’s so much more to share with you I will stop here.