Prior to my trip in May 2008, Andy had made three trips to Haiti (December '03, October '05 & December '07. I had always been supportive of his trips but never thought that I would get on a plane and go to Haiti myself. God began working on my heart while Andy was gone last December and I knew that He was saying that it was my time to go. I kept that to myself for weeks until my friend Megan called and said "I think I am supposed to go to Haiti on the next trip". So that it where this all began. I nervously said yes & spent months preparing to get on the plane and head to Haiti. Before we even got there I was in love with 18 faces that I couldn't wait to meet. Here is my story that I wrote about Odette when we returned from the trip in May. . .
I don't know where to begin telling you about a special girl named Odette. This connection was a complete surprise to me. I had learned all the girls faces and names before we left in May but for some reason had trouble remembering which was Odette and which was Benita. Now that sweet face and smile is forever ingrained in my heart. The first night that we were there, Odette had a horrible headache. We gave her Motrin before bed and the next morning Kim Holbert took her to the clinic. We found out that she had malaria and worms. She felt so bad those first days. I ended up sitting down in the church the first Saturday with Odette in my lap for what seems like hours. She felt bad and was content to just sit as I rubbed her back for the longest time. I knew right then and there that that was my purpose for the week- to sit and hold girls and be a mommy to them for the week. I can't begin to count the hours that Odette was on my lap that week. Even when she began to feel better she would pick to sit with me over doing any activity. We took a DVD player for the girls to watch movies in French. I couldn't convince Odette to go watch it, she would just smile at me and pat my lap. There were so few words exchanged between us during the week but I have never been so content to sit and be still in my whole life. She taught me so much that week about how to love. When I think about her now it makes me want to just be still and enjoy the things going on around me. The last few days as I held her and thought about leaving I can't tell you how many tears I cried. She would just turn around with the sweetest smile and would wipe the tears from my face. It was the most precious thing ever. She even would point me out to the other girls and smile like she didn't get why I was crying. I thought I was there to comfort and love on girls but was amazed at the love and comfort I got from them. The last night as the girls were praying over us Odette finally understood why I was crying and fell apart herself. I have never heard such sobs and wailing cries from a girl in my life. I tried to comfort her and put her in bed but she was beside herself. Finally I realized I might be making it worse so Brian Lloyd laid in her bed with her for the longest time talking and singing to her until she finally calmed down and went to sleep. I stood outside her room the entire time while my heart was breaking. I thought I knew what heartbreak felt like until I stood outside that little girls room in Haiti. The next morning I went to say good-bye and I couldn't get a smile out of the girl who smiled all week. She looked like she lost her best friend and at that moment I felt like I was leaving mine. I can't wait for the day that I will fulfill my promise to her that I will be back to see her. I left part of my heart in Haiti and I will forever be changed by a sweet little girl named Odette.