With the new year, comes new beginnings, and we all know that new beginnings can be scary; but this new beginning I am totally over the moon excited for. I am once again packing my entire existence into a few suitcases and making the big move to Haiti. Why you ask?
Because during my time away and trying to finish my University degree, I realized that I think about Haiti every minute of every day. It consumes me. It is where my heart lies and my fondest memories live. Haiti is where I found myself as a young woman and where I decided to say goodbye to my life full of the finer things, and start a new one far from everything I had ever known and loved. That experience taught me a way to see the world, and to understand how the world sees Haiti.
Because I love my life in Haiti and I love my children. My days are filled with endless obstacles and frustrations that seem impossible to overcome, but ultimately bring peace to my mind. Yes, I have changed thousands of dirty diapers, wiped away thousands of teary eyes, and spent many days covered in baby food and vomit. I have chewed out moto drivers for being disgustingly rude to me, bartered in markets, and grabbed children harshly by the arm for physically fighting each other in the street. But I have also kissed hundreds of beautiful babies, crossed paths with the most inspirational people, and taught teenagers and adults who were completely illiterate to read and write. I have seen pain and suffering, but I have also witnessed beauty and faith.
Because I miss spending each and every moment with the kids that have so profoundly impacted my life. Tyson is struggling with speech delay and I know that he needs some serious one on one time to help him improve. My 16 year old, Jenny, is longing for guidance and to have that "mother" role filled in her most crucial years. Emilio is starting to roll over and loves to walk holding your hands, and I don't want to miss his very first steps. I don't want to miss first days of school, graduations, birthdays, dance recitals, or just the every day events that make me giggle. I don't want to miss any of it.
My departure date will be at the beginning of February. I have exactly one month to get all of my affairs in order, move out of my place here in Canada, sell my belongings, and figure out how to get the essentials to Haiti. I am anxious to see what the future holds. I feel contentment in my heart knowing that this is what I want; that this year of sorrow and grief from missing my life in Haiti is over. I am glad that I came home for a break (it was needed) and I am proud that I finished another year of school, but I am even happier knowing that I am returning to the place that I call "home". I am prepared for the unknown, prepared for the struggles, I am prepared for the days filled with chaos and returning to the country that is currently in a political meltdown; and I am most of all prepared to spend my time with the people that have stolen my heart.
This year has been a fantastic year of growth. Not only did Hime For Help grow by welcoming new board members, but our home in Haiti also grew by welcoming new little ones and new staff members.
We have been able to help more families this year than ever. We have been able to purchase our very first vehicle. Our kids are now enrolled in a very pristine dance school where they are learning so much more than just "dance". We have been able to meet all of our children's needs and beyond. And we could not have been able to do that without the help of our wonderful sponsors and fundraisers. You guys are the ones that make this happen!
Going into 2015 we have many more goals for growth. We have many more needs that need to be met. We are looking forward to the new volunteers that will be joining us and to the new board members that we will be welcoming. I see great things happening in 2015, I feel that it is going to be the year for accomplishments!!
I just returned home from Haiti and spent a wonderful Christmas with my children. They were so spoiled this year but it was great to see their big smiles. Thank you to all of those who donated toys or sent money towards the purchase of gifts. Also a big thank you to those that purchased items off of our online gift catalogue, it is a huge help! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas & I hope you have an even better New Year!!
Going into the new year I have many resolutions, I've tried to sum it up as best as possible:
Live this life moment by moment without fixating on the unchangeable past or the non-existent future. Seek adventure and seek meaning. Taste the unusual food, smell the foreign aromas. Feel the dirt in between my toes, and bask in the glory that dirty feet are testimony to my grassroots existence in Haiti. Laugh with the children, and cuddle the babies. Listen to the complaints of my community, not just with my ears but also with my mind and my heart; I am a ray of hope even if I can only offer hugs. Have patience and let go of negative feelings. Read every book imaginable. Enjoy the very few moments of free time that I am graciously granted, and savour those blank hours as a time to reflect and simply breathe. Teach and learn simultaneously; I have much to offer Haiti, but even that much more to absorb. Leave the imprints of my running shoes along the mountainous roads and accept change as it comes. Do not allow anything to taint goals or desires. Always dream big. Relish the ability to be uniquely me, in a world untouched by societal pressures. Laugh always. Soak up each day, each minute, and each second, because I will one day find myself reflecting on these days as a hazy memory. And when I am an old woman with silver hair and deep-rooted wrinkles filled with knowledge and experience, I will look back and say, damn, that was the best time of my life.