We got back from Haiti this past Saturday night. This has been one of the hardest times coming back. We got to spend so much time with the kids these last couple of weeks and really got to be part of their daily routine. I am finding myself waking up early in the morning ready to start the day with them and not being able to fall back asleep because I am worried about them. Let me tell you a little about what my kids do each day.
Every morning the kids wake up at 5:00am. They shower (using a bucket full of water that they pour over their heads) and get dressed for school in the dark (some have flashlights they shine on each other to help). The girls get fresh braids in their hair every morning (this is a school requirement). While this is going on, the new cook that we hired while we were there shows up at 5:30am and cooks breakfast….in the dark. The kids eat breakfast at 6:00am and at 6:30am begin the 4 mile walk to school. This walk takes them from around 45 minutes to 1 hour one way. They have backpacks full of books they carry while they walk. School begins at 7:30am and most kids get out of school around 1:00pm. During this time, they are also fed a meal. Once school is out, they make the 4 mile walk back to the orphanage and immediately change clothes because the 1 uniform that they are required to wear to school needs to be washed by hand and hung to dry by the next morning (we bought them each a second uniform while we were there last week so this will help). The kids then begin on their homework (hopefully) and many of them fall asleep after walking that much in the heat. Most days there is a small amount of time to play and then they eat dinner around 5:30. Once dinner is done, the sun is going down and because there is no electricity, they go to bed soon after.
Watching the kids do this every day was a very humbling experience. After many trips to Haiti, God has shown me so many things I take for granted here in this amazing country I live in but it hit home so much more this time. Running water, electricity, washing machines, vehicles and so many more material things that we are so blessed to have would make such a difference in their daily routines and yet they don’t know any different.
I am so anxious to make this better for them. I can’t wait for the day when they will not have to wash their own uniform or walk to school. One day in the future, they will wake up in the morning and flip a switch to turn on a light instead of having to try to get dressed while holding a flashlight and hoarding the batteries that help them to do this. I know this time is coming for my kids and in the meantime, I am impatient to get to that point. Thankfully, I know that God is in control of this situation and that it is in His perfect timing. I also know that these things the kids go through now will only make them stronger later and more appreciative. They teach me to be more appreciative every time I am there and I am so thankful to them for that.