Saturday, August 29, 2009

One Year.

Its been one year since the worst day of my life, last year on September 29th Berlancia passed away, about 2 and a half months after I left Haiti from my 9 month trip there. Its been the best and the worst year of my life since then. SO much has happened in this past year and all of it changed my life for the better.
Berlancia had full blown AIDS and I worked with her all 9 months at GLA. She wasn't on my initial list of kids when I got there the first day, but my second day there, the volunteer coordinator asked me to take her all day as well as still taking my other kids for an hour each. He told me she was a failure to thrive child, and wasn't developing. Every day with her was a challenge, one that I found myself wanting the night to go quicker for so I could have another day with her. She was sick at least every two weeks with a high fever, constipation, and an ongoing ear infection which she had for her whole life. Berlancia's spirit was indescribable. I found myself missing her if I went out on the weekends, and wanting to stay as late as I could after dinner with her until we went up to the house where we slept. I can't imagine where I would be in life right now if God hadn't brought Berlancia and I together for those 9 months, and I also don't understand His timing in taking her. I don't think I ever will. She had an adoptive family, loving parents and siblings waiting for the day they got to see their daughter and sister face-to-face. They never did.

She changed my life more than anyone will ever understand, and my whole passion for Haiti is in memory of her. She was perfect in every way- the way she laughed, looked at me, reached for me, smiled, got jealous when i spent time with other kids. I will never forget her first time standing up by herself, her first steps, the way she yelled at me, the way I went around the corner and waited for a while and would peek back, and there she sat smiling- knowing I would come back. Even when she was sick, I loved how she would just lay on me, and be able to get completely relaxed in my arms. I miss the Haitian staff knowing me as "mama Berlancia" and handing her to me every morning when I walked in, her diaper full and then handing me a clean diaper for after her bath in the wagon. I miss everything about her.
I have no doubt in my mond that Berlancia would have grown up to be a strong, loving and loved person in this world. She fought with spirit and spunk until the end and I will never forget her. She is the reason I am go back to Haiti and has opened my heart to serving others, despite the pain it can cause. In the long-run having 9 months with Berlancia was worth the hurt and sadness it caused me when she died, and still causes me. People ask me if it's hard working in Haiti, its a hard question to answer... only having been there less than a year I've gone through the hardest things I've ever had to, but I've also gotten to experience the most amazing things ever. So I guess it is hard, but after having been there it would be harder living here and not being able to experience those things.
Theres a movie I love called beyond borders, and I would recommend it just for this quote- it sums up my life in a way that is hard to express in words. A man whos life is devoted to working on bettering lives in a thirdworld country is responding to someone's concern about pain in a surgery without painkillers... his response to the woman:
"We drown it. Kill it. Numb it, anything not to feel. You know, when I was a doctor in London, no one ever said 'medahani'. They don't thank you like they thank you here. Cos here they feel everything, straight from God. There's no drugs, no painkillers. It's the weirdest, purest thing - suffering. And when you've seen that kind of courage in a li... - (pauses, tears well up) -... in a child... How could you ever want to do anything but just hold him in your arms?"
That is exactly what has happened to me... and now all I want to do is be in Haiti...
Thank you Berlancia for showing me that courage and loving me. Thank you for teaching me more than any course in school could teach and showing me more about life just through your spirit, I will never forget you.

This is a poem a good friend Rhyan wrote and sent me right after Berlancia died:

Although I was not her mother
I cared for her each day,
I cuddled, sang and read to her
And watched her as she played.

I saw each new accomplishment,
I helped her grow and learn.
I understood her language,
I listened with concern.

She came to me for comfort,
And I kissed away her tears.
She proudly showed her work to me,
I gave the loudest cheers!

No, I was not her mother,
But my role wass just as strong.
I nurtured her and kept her safe,
Though maybe not for long.

And now this time has come,
When we will have to part.
But I know this child I cared for,
Is forever in my heart!

Here is a link to a video Rhyan made for Berlancia... who is now dancing in heaven

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a life worth living.

If you were to ask a group of people what they want to accomplish before they die, I would bet that a majority of the people would mention something about helping others, or touching just one person.. so many people strive to affect others or help just one person in life. Sabrina passed last night, well exceeding most people's ambitions. She passed peacefully in her host mothers arms and could not have been more loved by us all. In her short life she not only changed my life, but touched everyone who saw her through her journey. A Haitian man who works at GLA came up to me while I was tube-feeding Sabrina and said "I was scared of her the day she came in. Her head made me forget that she was just a baby." He is also the man that would come in sometimes to do something and when he walked in the room he'd say her name and often got distracted by talking to her for a short while before he went off to continue what he actually had come to do. Just by living through an impossible situation for as long as she did, Sabrina opened minds to many and allowed us to love her for what she was most importantly- a child of God. Nothing else matters, whether she had a brain makes no difference to the value of her life in God's eyes and because of that I and many others who were blessed enough to know her during her time on earth got to learn from her. I am still a bit in shock, it wasn't something anyone expected and it isn't an easy thing to be positive about everything when I know how much work people did to get her to the states and how many people were praying for her, but I do know that she could not be in a better place, so there is peace in that. Not only will I miss her and remember her forever, she is the reason I went back to Indiana and found out about a place called Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center...

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Falling Into Place"

It's interesting how we use the term "falling into place" when things all seem to go right in some area in our lives, but I don't believe things fall into place, rather God puts them into place to help us realize His will for us and assure us that He is in control of our lives when we ask Him to. While visiting with Rebekah right before I left, she was showing me pictures of a place in Haiti which takes in severe cases of anything and everything. The RHFH rescue center in Cazale, Haiti is a medical heaven for the country of Haiti and Rebekah mentioned how much I would enjoy going there. She casually said the couple who ran it had been searching for a teacher for their 3 boys for a while. Rebekah sent off an email asking if they were still in need of a teacher and the next day I flew to Minnesota to visit Jane, an amazing friend who I met in Haiti my first trip. The day after I came to MN, I recieved a phone call from Rebekah saying to check my email, she had forwarded me an email from Licia, the mother of the 3 boys at the rescue center, who was still searching for a teacher and very anxious to find out more about me. Within a couple days of emailing her I was ready to commit, and after talking to the first teacher the boys had, for 6 monthslast year, I knew for sure and sent off an email telling her "yes." Today I recieved a ticket confirmation in my inbox... I am moving to Haiti on September 14th. I am SO excited and can't believe how quick and perfect things happen when God is in charge. Every timeI had pursued some opportunity in Haiti before it really just didnt seem perfect or right, it took me taking the backseat for everything to happen. The place I am going is an established rescue center in Haiti and I can't express how blessed I feel to get to be a part of it... here is a link to the website- check it out!! It's amazing

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