Another Year In the Books
I had plans to get this scheduled and posted first thing today, but maybe it’s really fitting that I’m only now sitting at our kitchen counter trying to eek it out at the last minute. It actually perfectly sums up how I’ve been feeling about things around here for the past few months.
The past few months have felt like a marathon for us, running from one thing to the next. They’ve been full of wonderful, much needed things, like finishing our guest house and welcoming Kim to our staff, and traveling so we could meet donors and supporters and share about the work we’re doing here in Haiti. In the midst of all that, we’re still carrying on with our regular work, and we should probably use the word “regular” very loosely because I feel like there’s never a “regular” or “normal” week here in Haiti.
Last week, for example. We welcomed students to our training class on the weekend. Monday we started class. I drove our kids to school, and got in an accident when I was hit by a motorcycle taxi trying to pass me on the left, while I was making a left turn. I wasn’t at fault and everyone involved is okay, which is a miracle. Rather than going home and jumping back into the training class, it meant Chris coming to meet me and spending part of the day at the local police station dealing with all that, in the special way that only Haiti can throw at you. We returned, and kept plugging away at the class. Kim rolled with everything like a champ even though she had never done this before, and our staff stepped up like they always do. Wednesday we welcomed three guests from CAWST for the night. Class continued. Friday class finished and we headed into a busy weekend. This week the guys did two deliveries. They pulled up and redid/finished a driveway project because it got washed out in a freak December rain storm. And they got stuff ready for a three week break. Chris went to a conference on Monday. Kim and some of the guys went to a meeting for community health clubs on Wednesday. I went to Port au Prince yesterday. Oh, and we have family arriving too! And a staff party! All before the end of day today.
No, there are no normal weeks here. And you know what? As exhausting as it can be to have to completely throw your plans out the window on a weekly basis, or feel like you’re running from one thing to the next to make sure everything gets done, I am thankful for it.
In my 12 years of working with Clean Water for Haiti I’ve learned to be way more flexible than I ever thought a human could be. I’ve learned to be thrown into difficult situations, like having your car hit at full speed by a moto taxi with three people on it, and be able to roll with things. Sometimes it means setting the feelings aside for a bit and just getting the business of life done. Sometimes it means riding the roller coaster of emotions right there in the moment. There are days where we fail and realize we could have done things differently, and other days (more often than not now) we get done with whatever is in front of us and realize that we’re getting better at making decisions, processing, and giving directives when needed. We see the progress.
Today as we wrapped up our work year, we ended on a high note by celebrating together during our staff Christmas party. I think it’s a good way to end the year. No matter what struggles we’ve had, we still celebrate our successes. No matter which employees are no longer with us, we celebrate the ones that are and their dedication to making Clean Water for Haiti a great organization. No matter whether we met all of our goals, we still rejoice in the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of families and households in Haiti are drinking safe water today, because of the work we’ve done this year.
I looked around the room many times today and my heart swelled with gratitude for the team we have. We laughed and ate and played games. The tables were turned on me too, because instead of being the one taking the pictures of everyone else, several times our guys got out their phones and made us pose with them for photos! It was such a fun day, and such a great way to end our work year.
I asked the guys what they wanted for food, and they gave me a big list of Haitian food mixed with North American food. There wasn’t much left when we were all done!
Christmas Bingo! This is where everyone’s competitive side comes out :)
We played pin the nose on Rudolph, and everyone had to take a turn. Some of us were more honest in directing people toward Rudolph than others…
We have several birthdays in December, and birthdays at CWH mean cake! I always like to do something special for the staff party, and this year we had a spontaneous photo shoot in front of it when all our staff got their phones out and started snapping pictures.
If you’ve been following us on Facebook in the past couple of weeks, you’ll know that we’re focusing on Advent this month, and this week’s focus has been love. For us, that’s at the root of what we do. We’re here because we feel called to love people in a very tangible way. We feel called to love our staff by seeing the potential in them and holding them to a high standard. We love this country despite the challenges and struggles with just doing daily life here. We love the work we’re doing because we know it changes lives.
Today we’re celebrating another year under our belts. Another year of work. Another year of lessons learned. Of failures. Of good times. Of tears and laughter. Of seeing Haiti move that little bit forward.
I know that many of you are still doing your Christmas shopping, or are starting to think about year end giving. If you’d like to do something that will love people in a real, direct way – in a way that may actually save a life – make a donation to Clean Water for Haiti. Do it because you love people, and because you want what’s best for them. Do it to celebrate with us as we finish another year of work. Do it in honor of those you care about and make that part of their Christmas gift from you this year. All through November and December we’ve been running our Make Waves Campaign, with the goal of raising $20,000 by year end, and we’re almost there! Help push us over the edge and know that you’re helping to give people something that has real meaning this Christmas.
Thank you for all of your love and support in 2017!