Reflections on our May 2012 trip to Haiti, post 1
|Erick working on a project|
Of the five team experiences, I have never been on a team that has been highly “project” driven. We have always done projects of some sort, but every time I have been to Child Hope, our team has concentrated on being relational. It was interesting to get to the mission in Haiti this time and have Tammi Jo, the Child Hope team coordinator, say, “We know your teams are going to spend a lot of time being with people and going out into the community.” Bingo. This team was comfortable being present with people, showing them attention, praying with them, encouraging them, and loving them.
|Erick connecting with a "ti gason" (little boy)|
In other words, Americans tend to march in with a project plan. That is good and necessary, don't get me wrong. But if we don't connect relationally with the poor, we only serve to reinforce their feelings of shame, inferiority, and so on. If you think in terms of all the teams that come to Maison de Lumiere in Haiti, some of them will focus on material projects. Some are more relational. The people of the neighborhood, including those in the tent cities, need both material help and relational connection. We focused on the latter. Like I said, that's fine with me. Besides, it used the best of the resources we had on our team. I love it that we expressed who we are and met deep needs at the same time.