NORMAN — I was lucky enough to join a team of 15 to travel to Haiti after the massive earthquake in 2010.
We stayed at a compound that was used as a school, an orphanage, a surgical center and a storage area for supplies, and a section was built for missionary housing. Every part of the compound was on the bottom part of this massive, rocky hill.
The missionary housing was separated from the other areas and located on the very top. This made for interesting, long, tiring walks to our work areas. We worked on some housing projects and visited those who had been impacted by the natural disaster in our time there.
We were only two days in when I fell extremely ill. I’d been sick before, but nothing like this. Massive dehydration was the diagnosis. This was disappointing on a large scale for me.
I am a relational person by nature and felt I best helped the team by jumping into awkward and uncomfortable social situations first to break the ice. To be held up in my room for an entire day was frustrating (and massively hot, since we were in Haiti with no air conditioning — wonder how I became dehydrated?).
As the week went on I tried to make up for lost time. After our work projects, I would look for any way to jump in and be active.
I soon found that interacting with the orphans was a great end to the day. The orphans thought basketball would be a great way to build our friendship and bring me close to dehydration again. How do you tell a Haitian orphan no? You don’t.
I spent the next few days hooping it up with what little energy I had and making friendships that will last my lifetime.
As our last game on our last day ended, I felt bitterness and anger enter into my heart. I stood at the bottom of this treacherous, rocky hill that I had traversed a multitude of times that week and now at the end of my trip, after going what I felt was the extra mile all week, I was on empty.