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The Roads of Neply Feel Like Home

Written by: Kelsey Wilson, Executive Administrative Assistant at myLIFEspeaks

Listen to the audio/podcast version of this story, here.



The moment the car turns off of the main, paved road in Leogane and onto the dusty, rocky route leading into Neply, my heart skips a beat. We’re almost there!


I begin to see the painted trees from village to village turn into the familiar and comforting colors of blue, orange, and white. Without fail, every time I have pulled down the road leading to the myLIFEspeaks’ commUNITY Center, our car has been greeted by waving hands and the happiest smiles. Neply feels like home. I always like to take a walk through the village to see familiar faces, hug my friends, and watch in amazement as the women scream in excitement when they see my husband, Dyllan Wilson, who lived in Neply for years, walking toward them.



They catch up in Creole in between the hugs and kisses on the cheek. As we stroll down the road, the sound of splashing water from the children bathing in the creek beside me is quickly overshadowed by the laughter of the men sitting under the shaded tree playing card games. I walk in amazement past the greenery flourishing in the creek bed leading out to the open field of cows and horses. Then the honks of the motos (motorcycles) and cars on the small road remind me that I need to move over. As if the loud Haitian music blasting from the vehicles wasn’t warning enough.



We pass by the tin-roofed houses where women and children sit outside doing laundry, sweeping their porches, or catching up with their friends. Each home is unique in its own way. Some are made up of a concrete building with a big porch, some an aluminum-walled building with a dirt floor, and others a tarped room with a yard. Whatever the house looks like, this is home and they take pride in the space they provide for their families. We walk through the center of the village back to the myLIFEspeaks CommUNITY Center and hear the neighbors greet us with a simple smile and a “Bonswa!” or “Sak Pase!”



Children run up to us and grab our hands, cling to our legs, or just escort us the remainder of our walk to spend time with us. We pick the kids up and they seem fascinated with my long, straight hair, and continue to giggle and laugh at us simply because we are holding hands. The innocence and joy of the children is contagious and a quality I never want to forget. We pass by more homes and familiar faces that invite us in and offer us whatever they are making to eat or a fresh cup of cherry juice from the tree in their yard.



The hospitality and welcoming spirit are unlike anything I have experienced living in the U.S. my entire life. There are kids climbing on us as we have unexpected fellowship with friends and continue to stay attached to us as we make our way back to the commUNITY Center. The overwhelming thought continues to spark in my mind: This is what commUNITY looks like. Nobody spends time within the walls of their homes, watching TV, or playing in their gated backyards like we do in the States.


Members of the village live within the commUNITY. They all pitch in to raise each other’s children, they spend time together on their front porches, they feed each other, help with each other's laundry, and simply do LIFE together. The roads of Neply make this connection possible. They are more than just dirt paths that lead to your destination, they are routes that bring us closer together.



 

Why does myLIFEspeaks spell commUNITY like that?

CommUNITY to us at myLIFEspeaks means coming together in UNITY for a purpose greater than ourselves. Whether Haitian or American, old or young, typically developing or special needs, rich or poor; we all bring something unique and unrepeatable to the table. We each have a role, that only we can fill, in God’s Work here on earth.


We are many parts, yet one body (1 Corinthians 12:12). One human family. CommUNITY for us is an extension of the Body of Christ. Our differences are what make us strong. Without each unique part, the whole won’t prosper. We believe that every person is made in God’s Image and has a unique purpose and calling on their LIFE. We believe that every LIFE matters to God.


We believe that in commUNITY:

- we are stronger

- we are one

- we are unbreakable

- we are most alive

- we are an unstoppable force for good

- we are God’s Hands and Feet on earth

- we are living examples of the Gospel


We are made for commUNITY in Christ. What does commUNITY look like to you? As you pray today, pray for those in your commUNITY that God places on your mind and in your heart. Let them know you love them. You never know who needs to hear that today.

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