I had the great opportunity to travel to Haiti during my 2005 Spring Break in college with Jimmy Dorrell, of Mission Waco, and others. We didn't go to Port-Au-Prince. We travelled to Ferrier, a small village near the Haitian border shared with the Dominican Republic.
My first encounter with Haiti began when we landed at an airport in Cap Haitien across from the police station that was burned down just the week before. Dozens of women and children crowded around us, many saying the one English phrase they knew "got one dolla?"
From there I spent about three hours on the top of a bus riding to Ferrier. We spent a week building a bathroom for a future school in the village. I was sweating carrying two cinder blocks, but, was only humbled to watch a little kid pass me by carrying the same amount. It's an example of how even the smaller children are already used to hard labor.
In our free time, we flew kites, watched the boys play soccer and even had a "block party." The men would beat on old buckets for drums and playing one guitar while the rest of us danced.
I watched my first goat get slaughtered for dinner and had my first experience eating a mystery food in the dark.
There was one young man I remember who had his chance to live the dream in the U.S., but got caught up in the wrong crowd. He spent years in New York City only to be deported back to Haiti, something he called a "death sentence."
Then there was Jackson, a leader in the village of Ferrier. Jimmy Dorrell could tell you a lot about him. Jackson had spent time in the U.S, but had come back to Haiti with the mission of helping his people.
It's those memories that flooded my mind when I first heard the news of the devastating earthquake. Haiti's history of dictators is chilling. The stories shared about the violence in Port-au-Prince is horrifying, but none of that news has brought me to tears until now.
The people there have not had a bright moment in recent history. Their futures seem bleak and the amount of aid given to them never seems enough.
But, that despair only leads me to think of those I met in Haiti even more, and cause me to pray even more. Because, no matter how desperate something may look, there is no reason to quit hoping and no reason to stop asking, "What more can we do to help?"