We were tired from a long hot hour bus ride through winding mountain roads. When we finally arrived at Wings of Hope the gates opened and some of the children ran up to us screaming and laughing. Their energy and enthusiasm instantly gave life to our group and we were soon running around and laughing with them. One of my favorite moments was when we were passing out donations. A young girl who could speak English and was showing us around, Josephine, eyes instantly lit up when we gave her a pair of fashion sunglasses and a stuffed animal. She was so excited about the gifts and she wanted to help us pass them out to the other children as well. As we wheeled her around it was so beautiful to see the kids interactions with each other as they shared their gifts and helped make sure no one was left out. I felt like I was experiencing the meaning of true community.
At Duke, an English professor told me that a “poem's power and beauty comes from unfulfilled expectations.” I think the same can be said of life. Life’s most beautiful moments come from when we expect a certain rhythm or beat but instead a new note sounds out instead. To me this “dissonance” is where life’s true beauty shines through. I never expected what I felt at Wings of Hope and I think others also felt the same. For a very marginalized community in Haiti, many people across the world would not treat these kids as a part of a normal community. Because of the volunteers these children are loved and valued and the children share this love with all who come. Their joy of life was simply infectious and taught me that despite any pitfalls in life by living through whatever “dissonant” chords are played, our lives could turned in beautiful new directions. Things happen in life, good things and bad things, and sometimes we fall hard; but if we can maintain a “joie de vivre,” joy of life, there is no telling where our “unfulfilled expectations” can take us.
Our journey was perfectly imperfect, but personally, I think that’s beautiful.