This month has been full of surprises. You might have seen news about the recent protests and riots in Haiti due to the increase in gas prices. It was chaotic, violent, and concerning, but things have calmed down and returning back to normal.
Haiti is anything but predictable and boring. I have found myself on my knees with hands raised in worship in awe that I am here serving on this breathtaking island. Most days we are drinking from coconuts in the yard, celebrating kids’ birthdays, snuggling kittens or playing soccer.
Then the next day I want to cuss because some days are just that hard. Some days we run the risk of getting stuck in a protest, we have to dodge burning tires in the street, or we just can’t manage to stop sweating.
Trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense is exhausting but I can rest in the promise that by His wounds we are healed and because of Christ, there is healing. There is hope.
This experience is that of work, labor, and play. Usually I am busy in the office managing budgets, managing cash for projects, and working in accounting databases. So, the Haitian staff members have given me a new name: “Sarah Bank.” It has a nice ring. I like it – very official.
This summer, with the help from our ministry partners, we finished re-modeling the girls’ bathroom in one of our children’s homes. Because every girl needs her own space to braid her hair and shouldn’t have to share with the boys. ☺
We also finished building a playground at one of our other homes. Nothing screams summer like pouring concrete in 100 degree weather. I was definitely made for the office.
Despite the challenge of this physical labor, the people of Haiti are worth it. They are enthusiastic, deeply spiritual, loving, and passionate. Being in Haiti during the World Cup taught me how passionate Haitians are about soccer. It’s been one of the highlights of my time here.
Even if I was not watching the soccer game, I could tell the score by the loud cheers from the streets. In the past, I have never been a huge soccer fan- the only position I am even familiar with is the goalie- but the soccer vibes in Haiti are contagious.
From a banana field to a spot on the mountain, the people turn anything and everything they can into a soccer field. Even the cows, chickens, and goats roaming the streets get into the game.
Soccer is a love language here. A reason to come together in community, to celebrate and enjoy life.
For the children, we had a couple of World Cup parties at our guest house. There were hot dogs, water slides, and soccer on the big screen – all the good stuff. One of the greatest gifts to my heart was sharing laughs, cheers, and smiles with the children.
There is saying in Creole called Degaje. Pronounced “De-ga-jay”. It means “make it work” or “do what you can with what you have.”
One day on the way home from the office I saw a little boy who had taken a plastic bag, filled it with trash, and tied it shut in the shape of a ball. He was kicking his bag of trash down the street like it was a soccer ball.
I don’t know the story of this boy or even his name, but I don’t need to, to know that he is someone with a future of endless possibilities. He sees potential in all things and is made to put out gold.
He’s a boy who used what he had to make his own soccer ball. He’s a boy who found complete happiness in kicking a ball of trash down the street. He’s a boy that didn’t just see trash, but saw a soccer ball. He’s a boy that found good in the garbage and made it work.
I’ve lost count on the amount of times God has practiced “Degaje” with my life. Only God can take my bad decisions, my failures, and my garbage in life, and not just make it work, but work it into something good. God sees the good in us – always.
When I don’t remember to see the good in everything, to see redemption in some of the trash in this life and to see hope in the middle of chaos; I might miss out on an experience, a life lesson, or God’s best for me because I was too focused on what I thought was just trash.
Degaje Friends. Degaje.