The Elevate Haiti team has been unexpectedly off the grid for our trip/work in the south of the country. Based on the precipitous side of a mountain outside Jacmel, in the welcoming-beyond-all-expectation community of Cyvadier…the tech gods were not smiling on us. In spite of an absent Internet signal (that has worked, at least spottily, in previous years) team members have completed a rigorous and heart-expanding week of tough labor moving raw construction materials up the hill, and teaching two large groups of young people who never tired of classes and interacting with volunteers.
We have had amazing experiences being embraced as part of the community, from a local soccer match, a celebratory beach day, and being entertained by a local band booked to fete us…to the quiet moments each of us shared with students at Let Haiti Live/JADPE wanting to practice English and learn more about each of us. These moments will be difficult to quantify or even explain to our families and friends when we return home…but they are everything. This is when friendships are formed, smiles are widened, and tears are guaranteed when it is time for goodbye.
Today is the end of that dehydrating (because of crying) goodbye process. One part of the group is en route to the Port-au-Prince airport right now, others follow later this afternoon. Hard to believe so much can have possibly been crammed into such a short span of time. Harder to believe it is over…not over. Not over at all….but complete. This family we have become leaves a big ol’ piece of our collective, and individual hearts here in Haiti, on the side of a hill and in the caring welcoming hands of our newest family in Cyvadier and Jacmel.