July 26, 2013
The July 2013 trip has to have been one or my favorite trips I have ever had to Haiti. I was lucky enough to go with two of my kids (Jackie age 9 and Isaac age 7), MaryLu and my father. This trip really was a family affair and it was so special to share something I care about with the people I most care for. Obviously MaryLu and my dad care about Haiti too, but having us all together made the experience so much more than it normally is.
I admit that I was hesitant to bring the children as they are so young and Haiti can be so hard, but they exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. From the moment we woke up at 3:30 AM to go to the airport they were happy, compliant children who were looking forward to adventures in what ever form they would come in. Once we were in Cap, the real fun for them began. They had camelbaks, pocket knives, work gloves and assorted first aid items. They went with MaryLu and I and immediately started to try to make friends. They didn’t let language or anything else stand in the way of play, friendship and being part of the team.
Isaac spent quite a bit of time with the various work teams and charmed some of the old Haitian women with the seriousness he took to the task of digging a trench with a pick. It really warmed my heart to hear the workers ask for Isaac when he wasn’t there and that they seemed disappointed that he had chosen to do a different project for that day. It was a real joy to have three generations of Hertz men working side by side on a humanitarian project. Sometimes the blessing are too great to put into words.
Jackie also charmed the people she interacted with. She was like the pied piper and led groups of children in play. She is a natural leader in the US and apparently in Haiti as well. I had a striking experience on the mountain behind the mission center. Instead the children shouting “Blan Blan Blan!” as I walked by, they were saying “Ki Kote Jackie!?!?!” They were, rather insistently, asking me Jackie was so that they could play with her. By the end of the week, as I walked around the mountain side, kids would just yell “Jackie! Jackie! Jackie!” at me. It is funny, but I think in less than a week she may have created a new standard for what American’s are called in that part of Haiti. Jackie also worked hard and on one trip up the mountain to deliever sand to the job site, she took a full adult load of sand. She confessed she had to stop and rest several times, but she went from the base of the hill to the job site by herself with a load of sand. It was impressive to say the least.
Outside of my children, the trip was special because of the team of people that we had. They were a diverse group of people, each with different skills and gifts. It had been awhile since we had had a team so large, but it was only a blessing. I look forward to future with these people and wonder what God has in store for all of us…