Updates

Contagious Hope

Posted January 13th, 2011 by Brandy Campbell in Updates

Most of my trips with Compassion are filled with hope. The poverty I see on these trips is tempered with stories of hope and healing and perseverance.

But my trip to Haiti was different. The stories of hope weren’t as evident. Instead of going out and hearing stories of rebuilding and joy, I sat at our hotel and read reports of political unrest on CNN. By the end of that first day, I felt restless and unsettled.

I needed to see hope.

I prowled our hotel grounds looking for it. But all I found was soggy political fliers and deflated Christmas decorations. I peered through the gates, but all I saw was a group of women and children sitting on the low cement wall that surrounded the tent city across the street.

Hope wasn’t as easy for me to find in Haiti as I had anticipated. But I did eventually find it.

I found hope in the Compassion employee and his wife who are moving to Haiti this month to help oversee the rebuilding process. I saw it in his joy, and his love for the Haitian people. I saw it in the Creole he spoke to the hotel staff and the private jokes they shared that the rest of us couldn’t understand. In his willingness to uproot his life and live in a city he loves. In a country that feels forgotten, he remembered.

I found hope in the dining room of our hotel, where people from all over the country had come to continue with the rebuilding of Haiti. I met a geologist who was helping with building codes to protect Haiti from future disasters. A group from a relief agency in England. They hadn’t given up on Haiti. They were committed to restoration.

I found hope one afternoon as a young man unrolled his paintings at the hotel gate. Like hundreds of Haitians, he had lost his arm in the earthquake. This painter lost his right arm. He could have given up. But he didn’t. He taught himself to paint with his left hand, and I saw hope in the canvases spread across the sidewalk.

And as we left Haiti the end of that week, I found a sliver of that hope in myself. I found it in my sadness for those we were leaving behind. And I found it in the realization that one day, I would like to come back.

Me. The girl who never wanted to go to Haiti. Would like to come back.

Haitian hope must be contagious.

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