My six months in Haiti were full of many highs and many lows. After spending 19 days at home in Pennsylvania in August, I had a really hard time returning back to Haiti. Homesickness is real and I felt it nearly every day from August 28th through today.
But throughout my time in Haiti, despite feeling homesick, I experienced an unbelievable amount. Some highs that I will never forget include our adult students throwing us a surprise going away party which made me realize how much they appreciated our English lessons. Also, the connections I made with students, teachers, co workers, neighbors, security workers, and so on, will stay with me forever. Being able to learn, communicate, and understand the Creole language made me feel even more immersed in the culture. Traveling the country, and learning more about the culture helped me see even more of Haiti’s beauty. My elementary students cheering when I entered their classroom for a 45 minute lesson once a week, made me want to teach them everyday. My high school students desire to learn and their motivation is so admirable.
I could go on and on sharing my highs of living in Haiti for six months.
On the contrary, I also experienced some lows but through those difficulties, I learned necessary life lessons that I’m more than thankful to have. Instead of being frustrated from having to wait for most things due to Haitians being on “island time” I learned the importance of patience. Along with patience, I can see the good in taking life a little slower. Every day does not need to be filled with plans, but instead slowing life down allowed me to reflect on each day, my self, and my life. In addition, I learned that I can not control anything, especially in a country that speaks a different language and has a completely different culture than me. God is in control, and it’s important to trust Him. Next, I am beginning to learn that I don’t always need to speak to be heard, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. Rather than fighting back and trying to prove I’m right, I can step back and take in the entire situation, take a different perspective, and listen. During boring, or frustrating days in Haiti rather than only dreaming of the day I got to come home I tried to take advantage of each obstacle and learn from it. While I still have a lot to learn, I’m so grateful for how much I learned from the Haitians, their country, and their culture.
As I yearned for this day, I began to feel guilty. It is so easy for me to leave Haiti and come back to a clean house, clean (hot) water, thousands of food options, a job, money, and so much more. My difficulties seem so minor compared to what the average Haitian faces every single day. So while it is easy for my to come home, it is never going to be forgotten. Haiti is forever in my prayers, my thoughts, and my heart.
Finally, leaving Haiti today brought upon many mixed emotions. Sadness about when I will see my little babe again, and how old he will be next time. Sadness about leaving our English students who begged us to stay. Sadness about only staying in Haiti for six months, and about how much more I could do. Happiness to go home to my family, friends, and boyfriend for Christmas. And happiness about no longer feeling homesick. These past six months felt like the longest of my life, yet when I look back I can’t believe how fast it went. I can’t believe it’s over. I couldn’t have done this trip without Abby and while I already considered her a sister, she means even more to me now, and returning to life without seeing her everyday is going to be different and strange. Yet, we accomplished our goal and we had fun while doing it, therefore I’m so thankful to God, family, my church, Hunter, and all of my friends for their never-ending love, support, and prayers.
I will forever value this experience. Until next time Haiti. Thank you for being so good to me. ❤️