I live in a time and place that I am not even certain that I have ever really had to worry about my “needs.” I have shelter, water and food. Bills can be paid on time. There is money left over to do things for pleasure – to shop, dine out, travel. I really wonder if I have ever had to face a real NEED in my life?
The past few days in Haiti have been filled to overflowing with moments that I long to share – a sweet work day at the school, with building, painting and organizing…a neighborhood walk into the homes of three students that offered us a very small glimpse of the lives that they lead once they leave school each day…worship services that were packed with people and full of the holy spirit…energy filled days with the students – singing, dancing, playing, learning, making music together, jumping rope…English Institute lessons between Americans and Haitians – medal award ceremonies in our honor (a story for another time.) And.So.Much.More!
Yet the piece that has me awake tonight, sitting on the balcony to write this at 3 am…is the conflict between needs and wants. Wifi has been sketchy to non-existent this week. The 23 of us are staying at a lovely guest house, along with another group of 10 or so from southern California, and a couple from Spokane. I am pretty sure that we have maxed out the generator, as the electricity has been flashing on and off for the past 30+ minutes – just trying to get going. And I am not certain how long it has been since the city power has been turned on here.
For us, the inconvenience of limited electricity and wifi, impact the fans and AC that keep us cool at night…and the ability to hop on the internet or iMessaging to connect with family and friends back home. Needs or wants?
For some of our students, they have left the family they know and love, to move from the countryside to live in the city with a relative in order to have opportunities for a “better life.” Not sure how often, or if they have the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones. In the homes we visited, I did not see beds. I can only guess what the sleeping arrangements may be each night. Fans? Nope. AC-certainly not. The foods or drinks we may crave from our normal routine – clearly “wants”…as there are many, many individuals in this place and throughout the world, desperate for a meal.
I have no answers. I can only reflect. And hope that through life’s circumstances, we can pause long enough and regularly enough to encounter the abundance of blessings in our lives…to seek contentment…to share with others…to keep our eyes open…to seek joy.
So, for now, I will crawl back in bed – generator power has been restored – and I will pray for the sweet little faces waiting for us tomorrow. And I will pray for my own strength and patience and peace.
(Sweet Lovena – one of our darling students – Lovena’s mother died in March 2013, so her father has sent her to live with her aunt and one cousin. Her seven sisters and two brothers remain with her father in the countryside.)