I’m going to preface this by saying I posted this picture and a lot of this text on Facebook weeks ago, and I intended to make it a post then but never got to, but seeing as though I am 10 days out from Haiti, I’ll post it now.
This is Loudia, a little girl I met on my very first trip to Haiti 5 or 6 years ago. She instantly became attached to me, and I her. I love going back and seeing how she’s grown along with all the other children I’ve gotten to know over the years. This is me, painting her nails on my last trip to Haiti to see her. Loudia knew all too well this was my last day in Haiti this trip, the look on her face and how she acted that day showed it. When a heartbroken girl asks you to paint her nails, you paint her nails. It was upsetting for her and it was upsetting for me. This, is why I run.
As far as I know, Loudia has spent most of her life in this orphanage, along with her older sister. To see how they’ve grown over the years that I’ve had them in my life has been quite the experience. Amazing to see the girl that she is growing into. Seeing her as this shy little girl who barely talked to now being able to speak to me in some english that we’ve helped teach her over the years. To say it’s amazing to see the growth is an understatement. This, is why I run.
I remember one trip that I was there I got terribly sick, I think I ate some ice cream from a street vendor, I know, huge mistake. It was hot, I like ice cream, so why not? Right? Wrong. Very wrong. I was sick for days I won’t give you the details, but I was of no use for days. I recalled going to the orphanage the one day and trying to play with the kids, and do school with them, but I was not having it. I ended up laying down in the missions house on a couch, sleeping it off and praying I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom, because the bathrooms these children had to use were terrifying. No one should have to use these restrooms, and I certainly didn’t want to either. Loudia snuck into the missions house so she could see me, the kids aren’t supposed to be in this room, for reasons I’m not sure. But everyone let it slide because of how much I mean to Loudia and vice versa. She took care of me while I was sick.
But, inevitably I had to venture to the bathroom. God, I did not want to. I let her know I was going, and she wouldn’t let me go. She, some of the other girls, and one of the house moms went to the outhouse/bathrooms and cleaned it as best as they could and freshened it up because they didn’t want me to have to use the restroom because even though they have never known anything else, they wanted it to be in top shape before they would let me use it. I remember feeling so broken that day. That these children don’t have operating toilets, running water, clean drinking water, nothing. These people have practically nothing. Just to let you know, they now have running water, and purified drinking water thanks to the awesome teams that go and support the orphanage. I was so amazed by the thoughtfulness that they took to take care of me this day. This, is why I run.
I hope to one day see Haiti free from the poverty they have experienced their entire existence. To have clean restrooms, with running water, and water to drink. And to know that I, that we, made a difference. This, is why I run.
In 10 days I will begin my 230-Mile run across the country of Haiti to help end poverty, raise as much money as we can, and show that Haiti is not a place to pity or fear.