Words. Words are so powerful. They are our way to communicate. Communicate how we feel, how we think, what we want.
Sometimes I have walked through Gressier wishing that I didn’t know any words. Wishing I didn’t know any Haitian Creole. Wishing I couldn’t hear the painful questions or listen to the painful stories. Things that sometimes I forget happen in the real world. Children dying from Malaria. Houses always leaking water. Parents unable to take care of their children.
…As I walk to the mountain with Michaelle to check on the progress of the school we eat our granola bars on the way, before we know it we’re being followed by two beautiful pants-less children. I take one look at my granola bar and split it between them. Michaelle looks at me, takes a bite and does the same thing.
We continue walking up the mountain and see Diana and her sister carrying 5 gallon buckets of water up the hill. Diana is 8, her sister is 5. They were Michaelle’s neighbors. As Diana sends a huge smile our way, I know that she is struggling. Hungry. Yet joyful. Joyfully asking if her school…HER school as she calls it…will still open in October.
Walking a little further I hear my name called from afar, I look up and see 3 year old Elizabeth. Beautiful, restored Elizabeth. Back in March she was told by American doctors she would never walk. Her mother and I (thanks to Tex) went to a hospital to hopefully be operated on. As we explained how other doctors, nurses and midwives had looked at her legs and said that she had “severe leg length discrepancy”, the doctor from Boston, MA looked at us and said he’d try his best to operate on her today. A few minutes later, after the X-rays, he called me in and said he didn’t see anything. As I argued with him to do it again….three tries later he stated clearly, “I don’t see any leg length discrepancy. She’s fine. She can walk.” As I was aggravated for the news I had to deliver to the mother, it wasn’t until I actually approached Elizabeth’s mother, that I realized what God had done. I looked at her mother in the eye and said, “The doctor said she can walk next week if she wants.” Here we are less than 6 months later and she’s running around every Saturday afternoon at the Bellevue Feeding (and she’s enrolled in our Kindergarten).
As we arrive on top of the mountain, we look around. Michaelle points out again (for the beautiful millionth time) how we met on the top of this mountain. She points to where she used to live and says they aren’t there anymore. I look at her thinking quietly and wonder what is going on inside of her.
We walk a bit further in silence and look at the school being built. Look at the tents near the mountain. Walking hand in hand, in silence. It’s a quiet moment and I realize that sometimes words aren’t needed to express oneself all the time.
And then Michaelle looks up and states boldly, “I don’t cry anymore because I’m hungry.” My eyes tear up as my heart flips and my stomach turns. She continues, “Jessica doesn’t cry anymore cause she’s hungry either.” At a loss for words, I just look at her, smile and pick her up giving her the biggest hug and a million kisses.
My heart feels like it’s about to fall out of my chest and I remember the feeling I had leaving our house this morning…knowing I was tired and wishing that I didn’t know words to hear these people in Gressier. I sat down under our tree on Bellevue Mountain overwhelmed with MY fear, MY pain and MY selfishness . I looked at Micha smiling at the “Hello” one of the builders yelled at her, and prayed, “Lord, this is HARD. Life here is DIFFICULT. I used to think the second I opened my gate, I was opening my gate to the outside world. But now I know even more than before, there is no separation. I don’t want to ignore the realities here. I don’t want to guard myself. I want to HEAR. I want to SPEAK. I want to ENCOURAGE. I want to LOVE.”
As Michaelle and I walked back hand in hand I thanked God for Words. I thanked Him for Creole. For Micha sharing her heart. For her bravery and for her once again reminding me that life is NOT about me, I am here because God has called me to fight for these children. To feed them physically, educationally and most importantly spiritually.
Words are beautiful. Gifts from God. Sometimes they are painful, sometimes they are not…
Thanking God for ears to hear His Words He sends.