In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

27 Reasons To Be Thankful

Today we celebrated American Thanksgiving. I'm sure that the festivities were tinged with sadness for many of the staff and volunteers; thanksgiving is a family holiday and they were not able to spend it with their loved ones this year.

This though is not a time to dwell on sad thoughts. In the spirit of thankfulness, we were each asked to share two or three things that we were grateful for. This was a good way of focusing my mind on the reasons I came here, and on the things that make me happy and give me hope.

Since today is the 27th of November, I would like to share with you 27 things that I appreciate about my life and my work in Haiti.

1) I am thankful for all of the doors God opened to get me here
2) And I am thankful for the call to serve in Haiti, to learn and to share what I know and what I do well.
3) I am thankful that God has blessed me with excellent health.
4) I am thankful for each and everyone of the 92 little ones who live at the baby house. Some are cute, some are strikingly beautiful, smiley, and energetic while others have attitude! They are all unique and utterly irreplaceable.
5) I thank God for showing me, before I met these children, how to celebrate every happy moment with them, and each milestone.
6) I am am thankful for all the healing I have witnessed. A particular toddler is on my mind. Her final HIV test came back positive this week, but she is well and thriving. It is really something to see this in a developing country,where children face so may health challenges, whether they are sick or well.
7) I thank my heavenly father for teaching me neither to dwell on the sad times, nor to run from them.
8) I am thankful that every emotion can be both right and good and that experiencing them all makes me whole.
9) I am thankful that God took Doubidson home; we could not heal him but God could.
10) I thank God for all the sick children who live.
11) I am thankful that the haitian nurses, the nannies and I are privileged to nurse many children back to full health.
12 I am thankful for every sick, premature and malnourished baby that finds their way to us, what ever the outcome of their journey.
13) I am thankful for our children's birth parents. For whatever reason, they couldn't raise them and they gave them up, in the hope that they would live a better life one day. I admire their honesty and selflessness.
14) And I am thankful, also, for all the families who have been led to adopt them.
15) I rejoice with the Haitian staff every time we hear that a new little one will be going home (to their adoptive families) soon. 'Li gen anpil chance,' they say (he/she has so many opportunities now.)
16) I am thankful that these families will be able to tell their children that they were loved and cherished while they waited to to go home, first by those brave birth parents who relinquished them into our care, then by the nannies and nurses and by the volunteers who worked with them every day, one-on-one.
17) I am thankful for the good, nourishing food that the staff, children and volunteers are able to enjoy.
18) I am especially thankful for the avocados; soft, creamy and delicious.
19) And I am thankful that our fresh fruits and vegetables are so fresh, never refrigerated, and eaten when they are perfectly ripe.
20) I am glad that everyone here is called Miss, Madame or Msye. Haitians are mannerly, respectful people. They are unique and special.
21) I especially like that I am called 'Miss See-zan'. Kreyol speakers find it difficult to pronounce my name and so they have adapted it. That makes me feel good. I don't quite know why. It is as though they are making me theirs.
22) I am thankful to have received some encouraging words from Dixie and from the head nurse in the NICU in the past week. These words came at a time when I was feeling discouraged, and I don't think they knew that.
23) I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage the Haitian staff. Their work demands a lot of love and a lot of patience. They work long days caring for the babies.
24) I am thankful for for the love and prayers of so many people at home and elsewhere. When I first came here. I asked them to pray that I would develop positive relationships with the Haitian nurses. God answered that prayer.
25) I am glad that I grew up in a loving and stable home. That has given me a strong foundation for my work here.
26) I am thankful that I miss home sometimes: the fact that I do means two things; my family and friends are important to me and I am in Haiti by choice. I am not running away from anything.
27) Tree frogs: Their soprano drives some visitors crazy. In the dark of the Haitian night, I find their cacophony soothing. I can't explain why.

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Phillipians 4:8).


Rebekah Hubley said...

Beautifully written!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Jess said...

Hello, I am pained by the fact that so much of the world are suffering. I can not send money to organizations because our little family just scrapes by, but other than remembrance to the Most Merciful, what can I do to help.
I have never been outside the US but have many immigrant friends who tell me about their home countries and of course the web tells me a lot.
I can no longer just complain that there is starvation in the world, that there is rape and molestation in the world. I NEED to do something, but what?
Please what can I do to help? Like I said I don't have money to send but I need to help my Haitian neighbors.

nicnacpaddywac said...

Susan, i had tears in my eyes throughout reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.