Sweet reader, would you grab your cup of coffee & sit with me? Can we pretend we are sitting across the table from each other & having this conversation in person? Great.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I simply love it. I just recently experienced my second Thanksgiving in Haiti & it was a day I’ll never forget.
Many times, I’ve had people ask me about the women here in Haiti. I’ve heard:
- “Why aren’t there more Haitian women leaders?”
- “Tell me about the women here…what’s life like as a woman in Haiti?”
- “Why do Haitian women seem standoff-ish?”
In my experience, oftentimes, the life of a Haitian woman is very difficult. They raise multiple children, prepare tedious meals, wash clothes for the entire family, & try to provide the best they can.
I do not think they are standoff-ish; they are strong.
Can I tell you about a special team of women I know? They are the [amazing] women who run the guesthouse here at MOH.
These ladies are rockstars in my eyes. They prepare excellent meals & housing for our team members & guests.
Every Monday morning, I get to sit in a meeting with the leadership team of the guesthouse women. A couple months ago, my friend & boss, Elizabeth started the meeting by leading a short Bible Study…& it’s now a weekly tradition. Elizabeth led the first week, I led the second, & the other ladies have taken turns to lead the Bible Study since then. We spend 20 or 30 minutes talking about Scripture, & then we dive into the work talk for the week. It’s a beautiful thing, to start off the week with these women hearing about what the Lord is teaching them. Above is a photo of my friend Mana leading the Bible Study a couple of weeks ago.
The past few weeks, we have been talking about Thanksgiving. We had over 120 North American team members serving at Mission of Hope and our surrounding partner villages over Thanksgiving week, & these women did an incredible job of going all out by serving a beautiful dinner for our teams. Thanksgiving Day was like a normal work day in the offices, except each time I popped my head into the guesthouse kitchen, I kept getting ear-to-ear grins from these precious women as they prepared a beautiful turkey dinner for our guests. To make this even more special, this meal was a surprise for our team members!
Below are some photos from Thanksgiving dinner at the guesthouse. I asked the ladies to walk out with me so they could see the team’s faces when they heard they would be served an “American” Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, & beautiful deserts.
Oh, how I loved this moment.
After the guesthouse cheered & clapped for these women, Darly prayed for the meal in Creole.
These women are strong, wise, funny, talented, kind, opinionated, & servant-hearted.
They are leaders.
They have families, children, responsibilities, & they balance their roles well.
After they set the table, & saw me snapping photos of the gorgeous spread, they looked at me & asked proudly, “Rachelle, ou kontan?” [Rachel, are you happy?]” My eyes got watery & I walked to each of them, hugged them, kissed them on the cheek, looked them in the eye, & said, “Anpil. Kontan anpil. Mesi. [Very. Very happy. Thank you.]” They were beaming.
After dinner, I sent Marie France, the guesthouse manager a text message that said, “Dinner is wonderful!!!” Her response was not, “The ladies worked really hard at making it wonderful!” or “We planned really well!”
“God is awesome. Great!!!!”
God is awesome. Great!
I’m thankful for a team of amazing women who work hard, laugh loud, share ideas, serve well, & who lead. I’m thankful for a team of women who, for such a time as this, are gathered around a table every Monday morning talking about the Gospel & the implications it has on our lives, our jobs & team, our emotions, our families, & our hope. I’m thankful that in the midst of a culture where being a woman can be exhausting, these women are joyful leaders.
Marie France (above) & her sweet text message response (below).
I am thankful for these women & the lives they impact – mine included. I am thankful they are able to provide for their families by working in an environment where they are respected, loved, & have dignity. I wish that was the reality for all of the women in Haiti. I know that is not the case. Oh, that more women would be able to have jobs where they are treated with the love that they deserve.
We will keep loving, serving, & striving to reach every man, woman, & child in Haiti so they can hear, feel, & see the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we run after these individual lives, I wanted to share with you some of my experiences with “the women of Haiti.”
They let me in a group photo with them! ;)
As I mentioned above, I know the life of a Haitian woman can be very difficult. I have some dear friends on staff who spend their Thanksgiving Day here in Haiti spending time with women in brothels in a local village – you can read about it here & here.