LipscombSports.com
Dotson reflects on her first few days in Haiti

Monday, May 14, 2012
by Caitlin Dotson, junior setter

When I boarded the plane to Haiti I thought 'I'm leaving the real world behind and never have I been more wrong.

I threw myself into the real world, a world where a common aspiration is to eat a meal consisting of beans and rice every other day.

This is real.

How selfish of me to think the rest of the world lived like I do.

Haiti, this third-world country, is how most people on Earth live. I am going to try to write the most cohesive journal entry I can but my thoughts are so jumbled, I think a few of them are even in Creole now.

The communication barriers have forced me out of my conversational comfort zone and I must speak with my actions and facial expressions, yet there's still some intangible understanding between us and the people. Smiles, high fives and the peace sign are universal. 

Even if I could accurately describe what I have seen in the short time I have been here I do not think there are enough adjectives in any language to accurately portray Haiti.

 It is covered in trash and populated by starving animals and people. The buildings are covered in graffiti and run down but it is still so beautiful.

I feel like all of my senses are heightened- the colors are brighter, tastes bolder (seriously, they love them some spices down here) and smells are crisper, whether they be the scent of sweat and decay or fresh fruit. Even the breeze has a different tune. 

To me, everything here is like a song. I wake up to a melody of laughing children and go to sleep with a calm breeze and clucking chickens, which we are not sure if it's voodoo people or real chickens.

Everyone seems to be singing here and everyone is so friendly toward us. They seem genuinely happy and I cannot help but think how that is possible. In living conditions like these how is it possible to maintain faith and positivity?

 I am so in awe of everyone here. I want to bring everyone I've met here, especially the orphans, back to America with me and show them the other side of life. But then I realize they are unimpressed with our technology, luxuries and inessentials. They have found how to be happy simply.

Even though everyday is a struggle for them they find happiness. Cliché as it is, it has taught me how much I take for granted, how little I appreciate every opportunity and blessing that I have. It has also made me very aware of how often I use the word “I”. 

The children are literally angels. They smile from ear-to-ear constantly and exude more joy than I even knew was possible. They are all so beautiful and so perfect.

They love taking pictures and we love taking them because they are so flawless, tres belle in Creole. I am learning so much from them, I am absolutely enamored.

All they want is to be loved and held. Sitting in my lap and playing with my hair can entertain them for hours. Everything about us amazes them- from the fact that I can touch my tongue to my nose to the length of our eyelashes. The newly formed relationships are the most important part of this whole trip. 

But let’s go back to the musicality of Haiti. I feel like there should be background music playing everywhere I go. One particular song comes to mind that Brandon (Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal) had us listen to during the season. It's called Give Me Your Eyes and it finally has started to resonate with me. Listening to their singing and my own music I realize that John Mayer had it wrong all along, waiting on the world to change will get us nowhere fast.

Instead, Young Jeezy had it right when he said "The world is yours and everything in it, it’s out there (so) get on your grind and get it."

Actually coming here and doing this work is the best decision I've ever made. I am surrounded by chaos, wreckage and mess, but what a beautiful mess I'm in. 

Lipscomb junior volleyball player Caitlin Dotson has been in Haiti the past several days as part of a Lipscomb mission trip. She agreed blog about her experiences for Lipscombsports.com.