by Sharalee March
Today was our second full day in Haiti, and it was water truck day. While I thought yesterday was amazing, today was even more amazing. Yesterday we interacted with people, but it felt rushed as we moved from place to place. I desired so deeply to know the “story” of each person I smiled at or hugged. The language barrier got in the way for me too often. I was stuck trying to find the right words. Today I decided to use the little bit of Creole that I had obtained, and then resort to using the universal language if all else failed: sign language and facial gestures. Today I connected with the beautiful people of Haiti and learned a chapter of one mama’s story.
At our final water stop, just after we had emptied the truck of water and we were able to say our good-byes, a sweet young mama greeted me with a smile. My friend Maddie was holding a beautiful baby girl, and the mama proudly told me that the baby belonged to her. We figured out together using our common language, that she was 9 months old. She said this was her first baby. I said “ belle” and the mama glowed with pride, and she asked me if I was a mama. “Yes,” I told her, “I have three boys.” I wanted to tell her to enjoy this time in her life with her little one yet so small, just like other wise mamas once told me. I didn’t even consider her surroundings when I thought that. My heart couldn’t go there as I pondered the crib she probably didn’t have to lay her daughter in. But her glowing smile told me she loved her little one and that she was enjoying it. Even in Cite Soleil a mama can enjoy her little one. I had a glimpse of God’s hope for the world in the joy in her eyes.
She was able to ask me “mom” questions. Did I nurse my babies? How old were they? When I showed her how tall my three boys are, she didn’t seem to believe it. We kept going. How many teeth did her little one have? She had 2 front teeth and they shown through her glowing smile. Her baby was healthy and content. Just like my own little boys, the little girl loved to chew on her mama’s shoulder as she was teething and she was busy crawling all over the place. Once again, the realization of what she was crawling all over set in. I saw the mama’s understanding that yes, her little one was “busy” just like my boys were and we understood one another with a giggle and some zooming fingers motioning what a busy little baby looks like.
Connection for me is getting to the place where I can smile with a person and they smile back with understanding. I didn’t need to know the language. I had no other words for the mama other than that her baby girl was belle. Beautiful. She was a baby just like mine once were. I loved my babies, and still do. This mama was beautiful. She glowed with pride as I asked her about her baby. I glow with pride for my boys. We are both mamas, worlds apart, but we share a story. I had a glimpse of a chapter in her life. I don’t remember her name, and that kills me, but I look forward to meeting her again some day either in this life or the next when I can learn the rest of her story.
If I look forward to anything this week, it is when I will get to learn a chapter of at least one other person’s story. And through sharing joy and gaining understanding of the stories of the people of Haiti, I will know I have been in Haiti. God is good. I am so glad I obeyed and left my world to come here. Haiti is everything that everyone has told me and even more. God is here and he is alive!
The song, “How deep the Father’s love for us,” is running through my heart. No matter how hard I try, I cannot fathom the depth, but I saw it in the eyes of the mama in a very tangible way. I am so thankful that I serve a God whose love is “beyond all measure”.