My Experience In Haiti with ARISE Before My Mission

One thing I learned in Haiti was the importance of showing people your heart. A piece of advice Williamson gave us many times was this : "They just need to know your heart." There were many experiences I had that reinforced this to me. The first was simple. I had been working on learning Haitian Creole before the trip so that i would be able to make greater connection with the people i would meet. I could tell sometimes when people were unsure of me or my intents in their country, I soon learned the solution to this was to simply make conversation. In the very moment i said "koman ou ye? Sak pase!?" The previously skeptical people, smiled so big and spoke to me and asked me how I was doing. Because of this I found many laughs and many friends everywhere I went.

In the moment of understanding each other, it did not matter that they were Haitian or that I was American or that we led different lives. It was just a matter of learning someones heart for what it was. One day we went to work on the land where we plan to build the mentoring center. Within a short amount of time many people from the village gathered to where we were with their machetes helping us to clear the weeds and trees. A couple of people got into an argument and right when Williamson heard this, he gathered everyone together in the shade. He shared the purpose of what we were doing. He said "This is for YOU. This is for your children and grandchildren. This is for YOU." He told them, "I don't pay these white people to be here. They payed to be here." He shared the story of his dads sacrifices to build a better life for his family and how he wants to share that with them as well. There was a change in everyone's disposition. There was a certain feeling in the air. At the end all of the people volunteered to give 20 more minutes of their efforts and hard work. This experience was powerful to me. I was overwhelmed with a reminder of one of my favorite songs, "Because I Have Been Given Much I Too Must Give". I don't believe we are ever given anything to keep all to ourselves. I believe that every lesson and opportunity that we receive in our lives, is for us to share. What a powerful experience that shows this exact principle. Everyone had something to give. The people in the village shared their lifestyle of hard work and community and we are working towards sharing the opportunity of a life with access to education and learning. With hard work, community, and education... how can we fail?

We must work together because apart we lack, but together we lack nothing. In our first mentoring meeting, i was teaching in my last group and they asked me what i loved about Haiti. I said "I love the people. Haitians work SO HARD!" They kind of giggled at me for saying that. In that moment i knew this was an opportunity to share my heart. I said "Hear me out." As i shared with them my feelings on this i knew that they were willing to listen and understand. They leaned in and listened intently. I told them "This is the only life you have known but i want to tell you what i see. Haiti is full of people who are so capable of anything they set their minds to. So many HARD workers. I know that each of you are capable of achieving the things you want in your life because you have been raised up this way in your country to do what needs to be done in order for something to happen. You can do anything." The feeling in the air changed just as it did working with the villagers on the land. They knew my heart, I felt theirs. There were no walls between us.


One of our Visionaries!

- June 2019






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