If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I was down in Haiti last week with New Story, a nonprofit that my husband and his best friend, Brett launched 4 months ago. New Story is a crowdfunding charity that builds houses for homeless families living in dangerous situations around the world. Their first location: Haiti, as it holds a special place in their heart from a mission trip they took a few years back...and now I understand why.
As I sit here writing this post back at my desk in San Francisco, I am dumbfounded at how much I learned and grew from the experience; sitting here smiling at how much Haiti surprised me. In Haiti, I don't have to think about what I'm wearing, or who I'm going to run into, heck, I don't even have to shower (but I did because I've never smelled so foul - sorry TMI).
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Majority of people live in inadequate and unsanitary housing conditions, and are at high risk for infectious diseases like food or water-borne diseases, typhoid fever, and malaria.
We've been back almost a week now and if I'm being honest, I've struggled to write about my experience from this trip. It's not that I've become numb to the shock of how poverty exists, but I have come to unexpectedly fall in love with the people who live within it. Here is a journal entry I wrote about my first trip to the village of Leveque:
The day started both calm and crazy, if that's even possible. The local pastor prayed over the village and for the families recieving the homes; followed by the New Story team (plus the rest of the village) walking house-to-house giving each family the keys to their new colorful home. The children playing and sounds of Creole echoing in the village - still unsure if they're yelling at each other or just passionate talkers. The general vibe of the village is filled with so much hope and excitement. The kids are jumping all over us, just wanting to play, be held and to feel loved. I spotted this little girl who was standing barefoot wearing a pair of dirty pink Tinkerbell overalls. Her eyes meet with mine and she flashes a bright smile which shields me of our surroundings. I am no longer standing in Leveque, but I am standing in her world. She reaches up signaling me to pick her up. Between the language barrier and her young age, we couldn't speak to each other, but that was more than fine with me. I spun her around to hear the most pure and sweet laugh come out of her mouth. We played and I repeated the gibberish words coming out of her mouth, as I carried her around the village until I had to put her down as we were leaving, she started crying and yelling - it was so painful to walk away to that sound.
The New Story team has opened their hearts and lives to helping others. I pray so many sweet blessings on them and what they are doing to help these homeless families. So when I found myself 3,500 miles away from home, sitting in a hot van, cruising down a dusty road from Port-au-Prince to rural Leveque with the New Story team, I find myself very, very blessed.
If you would like to help support New Story, please click here to make a donation. Or better yet, give up your birthday, Christmas or start a campaign just because. Every penny helps give these families get a new story.
This is one family's tent they've been living in since the 2010 earthquake that destroyed their home.
The family below just found out that a house has been funded for them on New Story. Soon, they will no longer be living in a tent and into a safe home. And the kids will be able to go to school.
I was obsessed with all the vibrant colors of the houses. This color is my favorite!
The whole village supported each other and watch each family get their new home.
We got to experience real creole food and a beautiful Haitian sunset during our last night in Haiti.