We drove up behind the bus, I could see the children from the orphanage starring out the windows, the anticipation for the activities of the afternoon, so present on their faces. And then we walked up, Megan, Abby, Raygine and myself the doors slid open on the side of the bus, and without hesitation children streamed out, immediately embracing everyone present. The smiles on their face weren’t just about seeing friends from the past, but the joy was that of people being reunited as family.
There is something that always amazed me about ministering to these young orphan children, it’s how profound their understanding of family really is. And we have been welcomed into it. Today was a special day, some of the children had been chosen to go to the “Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien.” I was wondering as we were walking towards the door, how many of them actually know their history? Would they be like American kids who do not even care about their history? But in this beautiful moment, watching children hand in hand, ascend the staircase to the door, none of that matters.
As we enter in and begin the tour, two things become abundantly clear to me. One is their immense curiosity and desire to want to know things. They look at everything, point at everything, if its touchable, they want to touch everything. They may not understand the significance of everything, but they understand that this is a significant moment. The other is that this is a moment that they desire to share. One of the children could not help but to stop and read every plaque she could find. Not for herself alone, but because she was one of the few who liked to read, so she wanted to make sure everyone else knew what was to be learned.
Children have grabbed the hand of every hand possible, and were pulled along in the excitement of what is to be next. And it’s not just a thing they want to see, they want to see it though each other’s eyes, through our eyes. They want to see the excitement they feel, in everyone else. In moments like this, I really just like to sit back and observe everything. Take it all in, rejoice in it, but the little hands pulling on mine were not going to have any of that today. I wasn’t going to be allowed to just stay behind and observe, today I needed to be a part of everything. And I saw that in my companions as well. Abby being covered in the loving embrace of young girls pulling her through the gallery of Haitian artists and Megan trying to ask questions and then realizing that the small faces before her were more important then the answers.
Again, these memories, show forth, yet another aspect of what our ministry at Pennies for Haiti really is. It’s being pulled into the love of children. It’s being reminded that you just can’t stay on the sidelines and observe, it’s a recognizing that any questions that may come to mind can wait when a child is smiling with such innocence.
So I wanted to share this time with you and again as I always do, welcome you to be a part of our journey at Pennies for Haiti through your donations, through your prayer, and if you feel so called through your participation in our events.
Written by: Fr. John