Well, it's home sweet Canadian home for two weeks now. I haven't updated in a little bit because I honestly wasn't sure if I would make it home as scheduled, but here I am, in Canadia! I'm not sure how many of you have been keeping up to date on the election situation in Haiti, but for the last couple of weeks there has been some turmoil over the published election results and the announced re-vote that is to take place in January.
Basically, from what I understand, the results from the November 28th election were skewed, and since no one received 50% of the votes, there is to be a re-vote in January between the top two candidates, Mirlande Manigat and Jude Celestin (who is being endorsed by the current president of Haiti). The trouble comes with the Haitian people wanting the third candidate, Michel Martelly, to be president, and they are claiming that voting station boxes were stuffed with votes for Celestin and that the vote count was changed to put Celestin ahead of Martelly. People in Port-au-Prince began protesting the day the results were announced. It's interesting though, because this time the people are protesting because they want justice. They want the person that's supposed to win, to win. It's simple really.
I guess it's just been so interesting to follow the election while being there, because I think I'm starting to see and finally understand just how frustrating this whole process can be when there's corruption and injustice. We just don't see it, or have to deal with it in Canadia...and so we don't even think of it.
Being home for Christmas is quite interesting too. Coming from heat and sun to freezing cold and snow is one thing, and coming from a place where making $2 a day is the norm to a place where people are struggling to think of ideas of what to buy people for Christmas because we have everything we need or want is another thing. But the thing that is hitting me the most right now is a little different (although those two differences are staring me in the face daily). The main thing running through my brain right now is the issue of awkwardness. Odd I know, but here is what walking through the mall at Christmas time has gotten me thinking about...
I noticed a middle school aged girl walking through the mall with her mom. She was tall, lanky, her jeans were too short for her, jacket on, and she just looked uncomfortable in her own skin. Seeing her took me back to what I felt like in middle school - just feeling out of place, trying to look cool, or at least fit in, and then you've got your mom by your side (sorry mommy - I love you!). I guess I mostly remember feeling uncomfortable with expectations that I thought were put on me from mostly peers and society in general. I remember buying some lousy, actually pretty ugly looking t-shirt for $60 because my friends told me it looked good, and then I was also one of those kids that wore crazy coloured knee high socks in gym class to try to stand out. I realize I'm all over the place right now, but what I'm trying to get across is that, in a moment I remembered what I had felt before when I had lived in Canada. I always felt awkward, and as if I had to work to fit into this well maintained system that required people to look, act and talk a certain way, at least if you wanted to be cool. Anyways...the summary is, I felt awkward! We even had a "Fun, run race for the cure for the awkward" organized with a mascot and all...but that's another story!
So, now take that awkward, uncomfortable girl, shove her in a relational culture where you have to greet and possibly hug/cheek kiss everyone you see each day, where kids run up and grab your hand, or better yet, jump in your arms and don't let go until it's time to leave, and where you can't help your shirt being drenched in sweat before 8am. On top of that, put her in a culture where people are your friends despite your odd taste in music, despite your clothes that don't always match or the fact that you have a weird rash on your right arm. Oh wait, then on top of that, shove her into a position that makes her yell out announcements and instructions to a group of 100 people daily. That combination should cure anyone of awkwardness!
So that's me now. I guess I went through all of that just to say that Haiti has changed me, in more ways than I know I'm sure. I don't feel the same anymore, I don't think the same anymore, I'm sure I don't act the same anymore either. And what I got out of all of these thoughts and memories was that when I'm back here in Canada, if I, or when I come back here to live life again, I am just going to refuse to be awkward. I'm going to fight it with every ounce of me at least! Seems simple enough, right?
Really though, there's no reason for it, and no place for it. Jesus created us each differently, and He made each of us to move a different part of His heart, and only we can do that. I was made with all my oddities and irregular ways for a reason, and I want to love Jesus with all of me! And then there's the body of Christ...we all know that we can't all be the hands, or the heart or the glorious parts, but if we don't have the hip joint, the body is never going to move, if we don't have the epiglottis we're going to get pneumonia and die! Maybe that one was a little out there, but it's all to say that it takes all sorts, and Jesus knew that and created all of us as we are. Being in Haiti has reminded me that I need to embrace the differences that I see in me, and also to love the differences I see in other people. It's not always easy or pretty maybe, but it's who we are and who we are made to be.
Hope that one made sense!
Oh, and if you wanted to read more about the Haitian elections, I recommend a blog from a couple I don't even know if Port-au-Prince - but they seem to always have the scoop on what's going on. Just know that I don't see any of the stuff that happens in the city as we're out in the country-side - safe! Don't worry!