In the ten days our group spent in Haiti, we have taken well over 1,000 pictures in total. We took pictures of the beautiful people and places that we want to remember most.
The way we view the world is a lot like looking through a camera lens. We see what is in front of us. By going to Haiti, I changed my scenery and experienced different and unique moments. Like a photo, we can choose to view our surroundings in black-and-white or revel in the vividness of the world.
Our photos can be blurry and unfocused or sharp and clear. We need to pay attention to the details that appear through the lens, whether that's the view from the tallest peak in Cap Haitian or simply the scene from our own back porch.
Life is happening everywhere, you just have to be ready to embrace it.
Haiti altered my lens by opening my eyes, mind and heart. A complete paradigm shift occurred and a new way of thinking and of seeing life, others and myself emerged.
With this shift, I have been able to see grace in the most unexpected and hidden places:
- In a 4-year-old boy who brings his own chair to sit alone in a non-air-conditioned, three-hour church service every Sunday by himself because he's the only one in his family who believes
- In the words of a woman who has lived to be 98 in a country where the life expectancy is normally in the mid 50s
- And in the smiles of children who have been abandoned outside an orphanage gate but still have the capacity to love so much.
I am not a good person for going to Haiti, but I am a better person because of it.
Even if I typed all the journal entries from the trip, just reading about it will never do this trip justice. I do not think it’s possible to capture the essence of Haiti and its people through words and pictures alone. It's something you have to go and see for yourself. To go is to get the full experience – to smell the odors (good and bad), see the bright colors, touch the rough hands, be overwhelmed by the natural rhythm and taste all the boldness of a life so foreign to your own. Maybe even strengthen a sixth sense as you unlock parts of yourself by diving into depths of compassion for people you barely know.
An older boy at the orphanage named Willy told Jordan Carter, a girl on our mission team, that his dream job is to be an electrician because they bring light to the people. All things good are in the light, he explained.
So, that's my challenge to myself as well as anyone who has read these blogs – turn the flash on and bring light to those around you. You never know what you might be missing until you focus your camera and snap the shot!
Caitlin Dotson, a member of the Lipscomb volleyball team, has been sending in journal entries expressing her thoughts and feelings about her first mission trip to Haiti.