Some refer to Haiti as a fourth-world country. If that is the case, then the northwestern part of Haiti could be considered fifth-world.
Isolated by mountain ranges and miles of near impassable roads, this part of the country is impoverished beyond imagination. It was there with children often naked, starving, covered with multiple skin diseases, and infested with parasites, that I was privileged to experience Haiti through God eyes.
Upon arrival at the orphanage, I was met by 50 children. I couldn’t speak their native tongue or they my English, but language—or the lack thereof—didn’t limit our communication.
I felt like the Pied Piper; a group of children gathered everywhere I went. One particular child, Winschel, became my self-appointed “protector.” While “on duty,” he would casually drape his arm over my shoulder as he watched to ensure children clamoring around didn’t step on me.
On one occasion I felt something tickle my neck; a hair had come loose and fallen to my shoulder. As I reached to brush it away, I was met by the hand of my protector, swift to notice any small thing out of order. What happened next touched my heart. Winschel stretched the hair between his fingers; he smelled it, rolled it; kissed it . . . and then coiled it up and placed it in his pocket. Later in the week he came to me with a tap on my shoulder. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out the coiled strand of my hair. Smiling, he kissed it and returned it to his pocket.
Five-year-old Donnie is extremely ill due to a blockage caused by debris eaten when surviving on his own. Emaciated and weak, Donnie would work his way through the crowd to find his favorite place cradled beneath my arm. Donnie and I spent hours snuggled together simply enjoying the moment. He would put his little hand on my breast and pat me in rhythm with my pats. Together we shared the simplicity of an embrace, yet it spoke volumes more than any words ever could.
While sitting on a bench barely wide enough to balance upon, I hummed a lullaby as I rocked Jetro to sleep. As I quietly basked in the moment of this precious child asleep in my arms, I realized another had taken up singing. Esther, a quiet, shy soul, softly sang as I rocked. Her sweet gift of song lovingly lulled the entire bench to sleep!
There, in the midst of what is considered the poorest part of the world, I had the opportunity to experience life through God eyes. How precious the gift of pure love!