In one of our last posts, we mentioned that Kym was headed to Haiti with Mission of Hope Haiti (MOH). When she returned, we were ecstatic to have her back at the studio, where she brought fantastic photos, of course, in addition to incredible experiences and stories she shared with us.
Mission of Hope Haiti is building many new villages in Haiti, but Kym’s crew focused on one village called Leveque. 50 deaf families who have been neglected and marginalized for over 2 years in La Piste, Haiti had just moved into that particular village. The families joined over 200 other relief families who have finally been placed in long-term housing. Prior to MOH building these homes, the people lived in tiny vinyl tents supplied from Samaritan’s Purse after the earthquake January 12, 2010. The tents were constructed as emergency shelter, not to last longer than 3 months! You can imagine the comfort these families feel as they finally have a more permanent place to call home.
The crew painted the inside and outside of five of these new homes. The residents were “so happy and appreciative,” reports Kym. Prior to adding the coat of colorful paint, the homes were plain, unpainted, concrete block. The team that worked on site hopes that the addition of color to the neighborhood will bring a feeling of energy, vibrancy, and good cheer not just to the buildings but to the lives of the people as well. Each home is approximately 110 square feet with one larger area in the front and two small rooms in the back. Considerably tiny compared to what most of us are accustomed to. Yet the size made no difference to the Haitians; their home meant as much to them as a home does to any of us. “They were thrilled to live there and were so gracious,” she recalls. The work that the mission groups were doing was above and beyond anything they could have expected.[slideshow]
Life in Haiti is such a contrast to life in the suburbs of America. “There are no restaurants or fast food places like Chick-fil-A or even standard grocery stores in Haiti,” says Kym; “they survive on the land, on just what they need. It was through them that I saw that you are truly blessed when you are able to live with such few things and be filled with absolute joy.”
“The locals also taught me about the freedom they experience in their villages … away from the rules of the city or town, they live the simple, still life,” she continues. “They know their neighbors, they have community with each other, face to face! Unlike so many of us rushing from one event to another, from one meeting to the next, this errand and that – we get home only to run inside to get on the computer or phone, to watch tv or play the Xbox, etc. Do we even know our neighbors?”
Kym’s time spent in Haiti included meeting the locals and playing with, praying with and just spending time with them. In addition to painting the houses, she also painted 4 classrooms in a local school. She bonded with many orphans, many whom she was sad to say goodbye to. “I did not want to leave Haiti! There were so many God moments–He blessed my life so greatly by revealing how He is at work in the lives of the Haitians and in my life, too! Without even trying I fell in love with the Haitians! There was so much joy in the air, so much love and warmth; it was impossible not to fall!”