Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 5

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 4

My friend Oswald stands with his family next to what remains of his house. Behind him is the upstairs which completely collapsed on the downstairs - just after his wife and children managed to get out. They pointed out to me under the foundation where their bed is buried, where their TV was, their computer. Oswald looks up with a smile and says nonchalantly "It's very crashed but if that's the price of change (claps and shrugs) Ok. OK. We want to pay We pay. Now it be good to wreck for this change. The change will come to (pointing) with my son."

I prodded him, "So everything you owned was destroyed?"

"Yeah, but if that's the price. Ok. When someone looses a house he says 'I feel very very bad', but me not because I have got - I'm alive, my family too. And when all pass, God is with us. We can - can... (to me) re-begin?"

"Begin again?"

"Begin again! Now we go to make a new country!"

For now the family lives with a total of about 12 people in this temporary house. They insist that this is just for a short time - like when you are driving in the mountains and go very fast down into the valley, only to then cruise up to the top of an even bigger mountain - that's their current situation, Oswald said. Even when I tried to pry a little and see if he had any complaints, he would just smile and shake his head and tell me how good God is. "Giving up is not an option."

The interviews that I got to shoot today with this man and others like him are a truly beautiful and astounding thing.

There are heroes in the world.

Click here for more pictures

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 3 - Faces

From 2010-03-08

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 2

Due to where some of my previous images where stored it was easier to create this post in Facebook. Here's the link: Before and After

My baggage did arrive yesterday. But much better, I got to worship with some of the most incredible people I've ever met. Their faith astounds and humbles me. It doesn't get much better than when a man you hardly know rushes up to you during the churches greeting time, wrapping you in a hug and with a huge smile saying "I love you!"

From 2010-03-07

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Carrefour, Haiti - Day 1

Truth be told, I'm tired. Last night was spent in Miami airport and all told I probably got little more than an hour of sleep. The few winks that I caught were actually right on the floor in the middle of the busy gate area, so I think that counts for double, or something...

Before leaving the US I told a friend about how I have a favorite travel shirt that is always my choice when I fly. It's comfortable, ventilated, and has the perfect pocket for passport and travel documents. I also have the pair of "happy" socks that my little sister gave me. Turns out that it's a very good thing that I chose well in my traveling clothes - I'll be seeing a bit of them. You see, yesterday Air France missed a whole lot of their baggage for P au P, so today much of the luggage space was taken up with yesterday's luggage, leaving today's luggage for tomorrow. Sound a little confusing? Well, it was, and is until... hopefully tomorrow. :) But enough of that. One of the best feelings in the world is the one you get when you emerge from a busy terminal where your language is not the common one and where things have not gone as you would like - when you emerge into a jostling pressing sea of humanity and see a paper held up with big block letters, and your name is written on it! I like that.

And I love my Haitian friends. Even though I was far from the best conversationalist and have wavered between waking and sleeping much of the day, it was SO good to see and hear from these dear people.

The young man who picked me up at the airport struggles with how fast I speak English, but he makes things perfectly clear when he talks about the event of January 12th. "Many things are bad with Haiti, but God has a plan". Just last week the congregation that I'll be worshiping with tomorrow moved back into their building. Overcoming the latent fear of being indoors, they go to worship. You should have heard them practicing tonight.

As pastor Jean says "a worshiper loves every opportunity that they have to give something to God". Met a fantastically cool couple who took a break from their own work in Guatamala to volunteer here in Haiti.

And I got to see my friend Robinson. I just love being around that man. The presence of God just seems to be with him and he projects wisdom and peace in a way that makes me feel better about the world.

Yes. There are tent cities. There is devastation and buildings shattered and crumbled. The roads are lined with the tents and shacks that now house countless familes, and you get to see literal "Save the Children" camps in person instead of on some late night TV spot. But there are also people who are rebuilding. Walls, lives, hopes, dreams, cities.

Note: Click on any of the pictures for a link to my whole album.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Atlanta Airport - The world's busiest

I love people watching and if there's one thing that airports are good for it's this. You just pick up a plate of southern fried chicken and a sweet tea and find a seat that faces out toward the river of humanity. There's little hippster couples in their matching cut off jean shorts. Older gentlemen in berets and bowties. Hippy holdover ladies in linen pants and Chocos with tall striped socks. Sanctimonious older sisters patrolling their siblings' eating practices. Massive Indianapolis Colts fans and whole families sprinting against the clock with backpacks swinging. Women with tall poofy hair and old husbands asleep with their heads on their wives' laps. Girls in leggings and tall boots whose days were just ruined when their iPhone failed and people hugging tennis rackets like Teddy bears.
I love the gift of seeing. The way that opens and enlivens your world. For me leaving home hightens and intensifies these senses. Take me away from the world I know and I find myself pinching myself to see if I'm really witnessing all the things that jump out. It's the beauty of watching a highway merge lane from miles up or the gorgeous red and white serpentine ribbons of Atlanta traffic - the ones that would tempt you to curse if you were stuck in them, but make you almost gasp in admiration when you view them from the air.
I'm so grateful to be alive and to have a heart beating in my chest. I'm lucky beyond words to be on my way to Haiti and to have a chance to share a part of my heart with the eternally brave people of that nation. To get to see and be a part of telling their stories.

Return to Haiti

In just a few hours I'll be boarding a plane to start the first leg of my journey to Haiti. A short stop in Atlanta, a night in Miami, and then tomorrow morning - Port au Prince. A full week of photo and video shooting with Shabach Ministries lies ahead. I'm hoping to occassionally post updates here as my week progresses, so please check back.