I am a religious planner when I’m in the States, keeping a meticulous to-do list complete with exact times of meetings, classes, and work schedules. I like to know when things are going to happen so I can prepare accordingly. Coming to Haiti, I knew this was something I would have to give up, letting my desire for order and organization go to the wayside and jumping into whatever needs to be done. When I know that something unexpected is likely to happen, I am normally great at keeping my patience as I work through the situation at-hand, but when I think we have arranged everything perfectly only to have something out of place, I struggle to accept the change of plan. So, at the beginning of the summer I decided to devote some of my energy to actively processing patience (a characteristic that does not always come easily to me).
I will admit at times it has been difficult. I try to stay patient as I work through a language barrier between myself and my team members. I remind myself that I am so fortunate to come home to a hot dinner prepared for me by three incredible women who live with us—even if it has been a few hours since I started feeling hungry after our lunch. And I work so hard to acknowledge that even when we arrange for a car to take us to our work site for the day, oftentimes the drivers are busy driving others to their sites and my time is no more valuable than anyone else’s. The last one has been the hardest for me to work through, although time spent waiting for the next thing to happen gives me plenty of time to reflect on my incredible experience this summer and the meaningful work I am doing with PSF.
I will be the first to admit that I have not been perfect in my practicing of patience. As a planner, its hard to have the day’s agenda change when the language barrier prevents me from understanding the necessity of the change at times. However, I know that the time spent waiting is only adding to what I am learning this summer. As Gillaine would say—a pun from PIH (Partners in Health)—TIH! This Is Haiti!