You can hear the rain in Haiti
It rained last night over our neighborhood in Cap Haitien. My family sat gathered around our tattered couch reading books when it started. First a few drops on the tin slab covering the entrance way to our roof. Then a downpour.
We all smiled. Rejoiced. Rain means cool breezes, and our house was hot.
It also means we have to scatter buckets and towels around the house, but mainly it means a cooler night’s sleep.
It rained earlier in the day as well, when the sun was still out. I was sitting on the second story porch of Emmaus House and Nalandson and Dalencia were in the street playing with friends.
The rain was brief. Ten minutes tops. But in those ten minutes life went on hold. From the porch I watched street venders huddle under the protection of trees. People walking in the streets ran into their homes. Women hurried to get their drying clothes off the line. Kids laughed and screamed as their parents called them inside.
Life paused. Noise ceased. Here was the rain.
Sitting on the pouch overlooking the street, I was so entranced by rain I didn’t even notice it was spraying straight on my back. “Jillian!” Gerome called my attention and grabbed the arm of my chair to pull me forward. Realizing my soaked shirt I squirmed. “But the rain feels too good to move,” I laughed and protested to move out of its way.
And in that moment I thanked God for the rain. A little gift in the blistering hot afternoon. A refresh. A pause.
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It rained last week in Tennessee too. My family was indoors watching TV. We didn’t even notice.
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Two months is the longest I have ever been away from Haiti in seven years. And I’ll be honest, retuning here was much harder than I thought it would be. I fought back tears as we boarded the plane out of Miami this past Sunday. I felt exhausted. Broken. Torn into two places. A little homeless even. Where do I belong?
And within 24 hours God brought the rain. And it soaked into my pours as if I were a dry sponge. For two months I hadn’t noticed the rain. In America I was just too busy.
Too distracted to see the droplets, to soak in its nourishment, to feel the breeze, to find joy in such a small thing, to pause, to rest, to take a deep breath, stop, and just let the rain fall.
Here in Haiti, you can always hear the rain. Hear it because it is falling into your house half the time. But also because life is lived outdoors for most Haitians: Selling goods on the side of the road, driving open aired transportation vehicles, working in the fields, walking from one place to another. When the rain comes, work for many must stop. All one can really do is sit back, wait for it to finish, and enjoy the cool breeze.
This is only one reason I love this little country. One of many. A simple rainy day. And I am so thankful God gave me one as a welcome gift home. A reminder to rest.