“The days in Haiti drag on for an eternity, but the weeks go by so fast..” is what she told me one evening as we stood beneath the tin roof– mosquitos, dogs, and kids biting our ankles. And it remains so true. A week can hold so much it feels as if you’ve lived a lifetime.
Trying to convey, in writing, what all happens in a day proves to be a challenging task. Each day holds its own unpredictability. While this makes life exciting and exhausting, there also are moments where you just want a bit of normalcy. For Stephen especially, no longer waking up to a straightforward 9-5 job is a hard adjustment some days.
On Monday we spent the day getting reacquainted with the process of school, after teachers and kids had the weekend off. On Tuesday it was mashing avocado and feeding Mikey on the balcony upstairs. Wednesday was the endless project of bicycle fixing. I don’t know how many times a day one of the boys on the compound comes and asks, “Where’s Shaggy? Can he help me fix my bicycle?” Thursday we broke out the water guns and ran the compound, soaked to the bone. Friday was pancakes and YouTube videos with the kids in our class who were rewarded for having good behavior.
The weeks are a rush of spelling words and school struggles, bicycle fixing and Mikey-snuggles, market runs and reading practice. Before long, it is Saturday again.
We are adjusting. Slowly, but surely. We joke that, by the time we are fully adjusted it’ll be time to go back to the States and we’ll start at square-one again in January. The mosquitoes still bite. Our showers are still freezing. Rats still crawl the ceiling. But we adjust. We adjust until somehow it all seems normal.
We take it all in, moment by moment. We celebrate the small victories, and pray over what look like impossible hurdles. Mikey eating 1/4 of an avocado every afternoon for 3 days in a row. Carl’s smile coming back. Finding a bin of old schoolbooks and short readers. Telephone calls to family back home. Bello’s sweet and simple, “thank you” after a water gun war.
In a country riddled with what looks like hopeless corruption, selfishness, and evil, we face a choice each and every day. God continues to whisper to our hearts, “Where, dear ones, will you set your eyes?” And while we struggle and while it may be imperfect at times, we choose again and again to set our eyes on Jesus– the one who saves, and redeems, and restores.