Sometimes I complain when I have to walk down the hill on a hot afternoon. Or when my ankles are swarmed with mosquitos under my school desk. Or when the internet cuts out during an evening skype.
Last night Stacy and I sat in the warm glow of Christmas mini lights, and talked about some of our Haitian friends who work on staff here at the Mission of Hope. One by one we recounted their devotion and passionate work ethic for their jobs here.
Take Mary Maude for example.
She is the supervisor at 3cords and shines as an incredible leader by gracefully balancing a strong commitment to quality products with an incredible rapport and motherly love for the 19 other employees at 3cords. A few weeks ago, Stacy dropped her off at her house in Croix-de-Bouquets (about a 2-hour drive from MOH) which was a very eye-opening experience. Several miles from her home, Mary Maude began pointing out landmarks where she waited for transportation. This included the staff bus pickup, tap-tap rides and even motorcycle taxis. In total, we calculated that she travels to MOH everyday via 5-6 different motorized vehicles. This means her workday begins far earlier than her arrival at 3cords at 7:45am every morning, and ends far later than when she closes her office door at 3:30pm. During the work week, she is never home during daylight hours. For a woman with only 1 leg, this is an incredible example of dedication.
Rawol is another exceptional employee in his work as a groundskeeper at MOH. I like to think of him as an outdoor janitor as he assists with the garden work around the staff housing, and collects trash from all of the different garbage sites around campus in a beaten-down tractor. From my observations over the years, I have noticed how he circulates between 2 shirts throughout the work week. This wouldn't be so much of a big deal if he worked in an office, but given the smells of the garbage and compost in the sweltering sun, these clothes would not be easy to get into day after day. Nevertheless, when I pass by him on the road, or see him in the distance as I beat my chalk brush outside the classroom door, he gives me his widest grin, and is always the first to shout enthusiastic greetings to those around him.
Last but not least we have Frankline, who is our head cook in the kitchen. She arrives with the earliest staffers to start breakfast for our North American groups, and often doesn't leave until sundown, after the last of the dinner dishes have been washed. Fortunately, she lives in a village next to the mission which makes for a quick commute, however being the only employed member in her family, she returns to a full household of children, and her work continues. The idea of putting her feet up or relaxing by a fan with a good book like I usually do after a day of teaching would not even be an option for her. Instead she cares for her children, feeding them and settling them down for bed, only to awaken early and send them off to school before she begins another day in the kitchen. Like Mary Maude and Rawol, Frankline maintains one of the sweetest and welcoming personalities I know whenever I cross paths with her in the guesthouse.
Needless to say, the complaints I listed earlier pale in comparison to these friends, not to mention the 300 other dedicated Haitian staff we employ at MOH. I am certain that any one of them could trump me when it comes to struggles surrounding their job, their commute, or daily discouragements, but rather than complain, they choose to be thankful. They accept each day as a gift, and each work hour as a privilege. They are simply grateful for the opportunity to support their family.
It is truly inspiring to see the passions and commitments of those around me...The hope they exhibit as living testimonies of God's life transformation. And because of this hope, they hold such a conviction to use their gifts towards God's kingdom, and seeing their country changed. What a blessing and an honour it is to do life with these incredible friends. Friends who inspire me everyday.