Those First Few Moments

It was 3:00 am on January 17, 2013. I heard my mother’s voice, “Lydia, wake up. It’s time to go.” I leaped out of bed. I hadn’t slept a wink the past night. Today was the day. The day I went to Haiti. We gathered our things, rushed to the Fort Lauderdale airport, and soon we were in the air.

I was nervous. I didn’t know what to think. Both of my parents had gone to Haiti before. But not me and my sister. A couple hours later, I heard the pilot speaking on the intercom, “We are now beginning our descent.” I gulped. It suddenly felt as if someone had poured hot lava in my stomach.

But then, I saw the glittering ocean, the beautiful mountains with thousands of huts, the tent cities. I knew soon I would see the poor, the naked, the hungry, the sick. I felt overwhelmed already. I wanted to help them all.

A jolt woke me out of my thoughts. We had landed. I squeezed my mother’s hand, and she squeezed back.

Our ride to the house was a truck with an open back and no seat belts. We quickly passed by groups of Haitians, makeshift shops, and other examples of Haitian ingenuity. Most people would yell out “Blanch! Blanch!” (“White! White!”) as we passed by. I just couldn’t stop staring at everything. This culture was so unlike my own. For example, it is respectful to the Haitian culture for women to wear skirts, dresses, or pants below the knees. (Though I do have to admit, the skirts are so comfortable, and I was totally rocking them!!)

We neared Simonette, and I still was in awe. Like, for security, Haitians put broken glass on the top of their gates. The roads were extremely bumpy, and they would give a baby one serious case of SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome)!

A couple minutes from the house, Kayla Grooters came up behind us riding a four-wheeler. I couldn’t help but wave. We reached the house and one thought was going through my mind: “Is this what Heaven is like?” The house bordered the ocean, and it looked magnificent. A lady was hand washing the laundry in the outdoor shower. I can barely explain how beautiful it all was. I explored the house and learned that I would go see the playground soon.

And I would just keep thinking: “Is this what Heaven is like?”