At the beginning of this week, I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful. It was surprisingly easy for me to focus on what I felt like I was missing back home: everyone beginning their long holiday weekends, posted pictures of delicious food of which I would not be able to partake and this year being the first Thanksgiving that my family would not be together. I spent a majority of Monday and Tuesday dwelling on these thoughts and labeling them as missed opportunities.
That all came to a screeching halt on Wednesday afternoon when I was graciously smacked in the face with a little bit of perspective. As I sat down to eat our ever-monotonous lunch choices of peanut butter and jelly or tuna salad, I overheard a friend of mine discussing the exact feelings that I had been struggling with internally. Instead of continuing to focus on family back home and what we were missing, he turned to look out over the mountains, towards the water, and simply said, “We have so much to be thankful for here.” Immediately, things snapped into focus as I thought, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!” How selfish of me to live in a country where there is so much need, having all of my needs met, and still focusing on the things I can’t have.
In an attempt to counteract my extreme nearsightedness leading up to a holiday where we are supposed to focus on and be thankful for our many blessings, here are a list of things that I love about my life in Haiti and would never trade for any amount of turkey and stuffing:
- The opportunity to live in a country with so much potential and perseverance
- 3,000 students who I work with in freshly-pressed uniforms that daily commit to attending school at Mission of Hope despite the fact that education in Haiti is not mandatory
- A job right out of college that I LOVE
- The feeling of safety at Mission of Hope
- Two 15-pound turkeys that Publix donated to us for free so that we can have a little bit of home here in Haiti
- An amazing kitchen staff that worked all day on Thursday just to attempt to make us a traditional, American Thanksgiving dinner- even if it did involve unidentifiable toast & beef entrées (Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Haiti)
- Books that keep me inspired
- Access to a car that lets me explore Port-au-Prince every Saturday with friends
- A new internet tower with clear reception that allowed me to Skype into my family’s Thanksgiving dinner and almost feel like I’m homeThanksgiving day marking exactly one month until I greet my family at the Port-au-Prince airport for the first time
- The Haitian people whose lives and faith constantly humble me
- And 65 kids that think my name is “Cow” (Bef) and love me anyway.