On Saturday, I returned from a missions trip to Haiti. I came back a bit beaten up this go around as my body is continuing to recover from the chikagunya virus, a mosquito transmitted virus. I can’t seem to quite shake it from my bloodstream. I’m on day 6–which should leave me shouting from the rooftop that I have indeed survived the gunya. However, I now am covered with a bright red rash that consumes my entire body.
I look like I’m trying out for Bob the Tomato in a Veggie Tale remake.
I thought my dermatologist may be able to provide some insight and relief. But it turns out I ended up being a subject of intrigue for the entire office, resulting in a few pictures being snapped for educational doctor stuff. I’m married to one–and yes, he has taken pictures of the gnarly rash as well.
All of the aches and pains that I have endured over the past 6 days have made me incredibly grateful. I take so much for granted here in the USA.
- For starters, I’m thankful for air conditioning. It is hotter than Hade in Haiti.
- I’m thankful that I don’t have to wash my clothes by hand. I don’t know how in the world Haitian women make suds and squeaky clean sounds with their bare hands. They are human washing machines that would put Whirlpool Washers to the test.
- I’m grateful that I don’t have to sleep with hissing cockroaches that call my name from the darkness below my bunk bed. Thank God for a Haitian women that is braver than I and willing to rescue me from my plight (because let me tell you something, my girlfriends and I can wake up an entire village with our screaming).
- I feel blessed that I never saw the mouse that ate my friend’s breakfast bar in our room. After the cockroach incident, I don’t think I was ready for that one.
- I’m thrilled to have electricity. The women in Haiti slave over a hot propane stove all day long preparing food for their family. They don’t get a reprieve from the heat. They are so much tougher than me.
Despite all of the inconveniences of Haiti, however, the people there taught me something. They never complain. Most of them have a smile on their face all day long. They are profoundly thankful for every little thing that they have…whether it be clothes on their back or a bite of food. Their faith in God is strong as they depend on Him for mere survival. Haiti has 85% unemployment. Jobs are few and far between. It takes a village leaning on each other to live.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
If I could sum up the village of Neply in one word it would be this:
Kids run around outside laughing and giggling, chasing lizards and kicking around soccer balls. Men play cards in the noonday sun. Women gather up laundry and do it together, sharing stories and creating abounding laughter. There are no tvs or electronics to run off to.
Life is simple…and it is good. It is good because they have discovered the joy in each other.
And finally, I am thankful for friends. I’ve grown wiser due to my Haitian friends and I love you dearly. I’ve also brought a team load of new friends back home with me and my cup floweth over. I’ve been blessed by you, too.