Today I’ve invited my beautiful friend, Danielle, on here. My friend Danielle is pretty awesome. She loves everyone so deeply and has this never ending joy and patience that is so inspiring to everyone she meets. I’m so thankful for her and everything she’s taught me, and today she is talking about one of my most favourite places in the entire world!
A lot of the time, when I think of beauty, I think of the remarkable country of Haiti.
Haiti is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The mountains. The ocean. The people. The love.
I’ve been to Haiti twice, and both times it 100% took my breath away. There is something about this amazing place that just captures my heart and grabs my attention, and I see so much beauty each time. Even now, when I see a post on Facebook from a friend in Haiti, I feel such joy. There is truly no way for me to accurately describe how I feel about Haiti.
I will not lie, writing about Haiti is a little bit scary to me. I’m sort of afraid that someone who knows more about Haiti than I do, who has experienced more Haiti than I have, will be “judging” me or something. So I just want to make a disclaimer saying that everything in this post is just my personal opinions, feelings and experiences. This blog post is solely based upon that.
It’s hard for me to choose the right words to say in this post because Haiti is not the same type of beautiful that you would experience when you go on “vacation.” Though it is a visually stunning place, it’s more the heart of Haiti that made me fall in love. The faces of Haiti are what makes Haiti beautiful.
The first time I hopped on a plane to Haiti in 2013, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. In fact, it took a lot of fighting and a lot of perseverance for me to even be able to go on this trip. I will not lie, I was a little scared. But I remember getting so excited borderline emotional when the plane was landing and everything was so different. I had made it to Haiti.
One of my first memories of Haiti is our first full day – we were volunteering with an amazing organization called Child Hope International, and they were showing us around to their different buildings. They took us to the girls’ home, the boy’s home, their clinic, their school.
When we reached the building that the pre-schoolers were in, my heart seriously melted. I had never felt like crying tears of joy from simply looking at children. I felt a little silly, but I was seriously enthralled by their tiny smiling faces. They were so sweet, and so happy. I swear I could see the joy radiating off of them. From this moment, I knew that I was in for something so very beautiful on this trip.
I met so many beautiful kids at Child Hope. So many energetic, sweet, hilarious, fun, beautiful kids. They were basically like family to one another, and the way they welcomed us into their fun for the week was something I’ll never forget. This organization is amazing – the kids are loved and cared for, and blessed abundantly. Child Hope is a beautiful, beautiful home for some beautiful, beautiful children. I absolutely loved the time we spent hanging out with the wonderful children of Child Hope
On one of our last days in Haiti, we visited another orphanage in the mountains called HCRM. These kids were not as well off as the sweet Child Hope kids. They were struggling. They did not always have enough to eat. Some of them were sick. But their faces shone so bright, and I cannot tell you how much love I felt that day playing and laughing with those gorgeous kids.
But then, Haiti really stole my heart.
Before we piled back into our mildly sketchy van to head back down the mountain, the kids wanted to sing to us. So we stood in a small room, and nothing could have prepared be for the whirlwind of emotions that came next. The moment the voices of some serious precious children rose up in the room, singing genuine praises to God, I think I actually became a puddle. The tears flowed instantly. Their beautiful, pure voices were praising God, in a REAL way. The song “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord” had forever gained a LOT more beauty in the eyes of my heart that day.
Because they meant what they were singing. In that moment, it occurred to me that they are not praising God because of what they have, or how He’s “blessed” them. They are praising Him because he deserves all the praise. Praising Him simply because they love him, simply for who he is. He is a sovereign, and holy God, and I think these kids believe that.
I’m in awe of how the people of Haiti keep pushing forward, building upward, and working together as a family to enhance and bring change to their beloved country. Both times I was in Haiti I felt such a sense of family, and unity. Nobody is perfect and Haiti has their issues but it felt like everyone helped each other how they could They are determined, and creative, and so hopeful. And that is so, so beautiful.
I could go on and on about how beautiful Haiti is. I have only spent 2 weeks out of my entire life in that country but the mark it has made on my heart is so permanent. One day I think I’ll return to Haiti and be captured again by the beauty of it all –of the kids who praise God for who he is, the beautiful Haitian couple who help mothers provide for their families, the incredible work of the missionaries who sacrificed everything to love these people, the innovative Haitians who create jewelry out of trash in the street, the beautiful voices of people genuinely in love with Jesus, and the magnificent mountains that God spoke into existence.
Haiti truly is a special place, and it will never cease to amaze me how far they’ve come since the earthquake in 2010.
To me, Haiti is a prime example of the phrase “beauty from ashes” , and the work that God is doing in that inspiring, unbelievable country is so beautiful.
Mwen renmen ou, Ayiti.
This post is part of a 31 day series. If you’d like to see the rest of the series, click the photo above.