I started going to Haiti in 2010. Zachary was always there to help me pack. It would be hours of arranging medications to fit in the suitcases and weighing and reweighing. He was always so eager to be involved in any way. He kept asking to go, but his dad and I felt he was too young. When he was 13 years old, he came with me to Haiti. I was worried all of the work would be too much for him, but it was like he had finally found where he really belonged. He would work all day in the clinic and then play soccer with the children from the village at night.
Sometimes people go to do mission work and can only see the differences between themselves and the people that they have come to help. Zachary sees the similarities. The people he meets have become good friends that have stayed in touch with us through the years. It is always so hard to make him come home at the end of the trip…it is like he is leaving a bit of himself in Haiti every time.
This year, Zachary used the money he had made at his job to pay for all of his own expenses in Haiti and his plane ticket. His little sister came with him, and he made sure she felt safe and had fun as well.
A lot of people say that when your kids become teens, they will drive you crazy – but I don’t believe that. My son taught me how to walk in the shoes of others and see them for who they are, and for that I will be forever grateful.