YAMEN Reflection: From Cambodia to Haiti
YAMEN, Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network, an exchange program where young Mennonites from countries outside the US and Canada live and work in a new culture for an eleven-month period. Malin Yem, from Cambodia, is joining the MCC Haiti team for the 2017-18 year, and will work as a financial assistant with our team is Desarmes.
Haiti is country which is covered by mountains and surrounded by water, what people call an island. Haiti is more beautiful than I thought it would be.
My first month in Haiti: what has it meant?
I have been in Haiti for a month and so far it’s been all about adjustment, learning new things, cultural observation, eating new foods, and learning new languages. I’m starting to adapt to a lot of things, like speaking two second languages all day (English and Kreyol), waking up to the sound of Kreyol all around the house, traveling with new public transportation, saying hello to people along the way, and so on. A month in Haiti has been so productive for me in learning all these new things, and it has been a special experience to stay with a host family that has opened their doors and their hearts to serve people. They cooked me foods, they gave me a personal bedroom and hosted me with many other things so well. I’ve found three phrases to repeat to myself during the month here: “God has a big plan for me,” “All things can happen in life,” and “Old things start from new things,” to help me accept everything.
What inspires me in Haiti’s communities?
I stayed in Desarmes for three weeks of orientation, and I visited four communities during that time: Wopisa, Kabay, Mon Sejou, and kid’s clubs in a community called Degrave.
I was so impressed the first time I went to Wopisa (one of the communities MCC is supporting). I met a lot of people along the way that were walking up and down from the high mountain, and when I saw the work MCC was doing with the community, I felt very motivated to join hands and help them. After that I went to Kabay, which MCC also supports, and I saw many of the plants that were growing, the animals there were running, the people that were working at the farm. I was so proud to see that.
A few days later I went to Mon Sejou and to visit the kid’s club (what beautiful smiles on the kids I saw!) How can I describe how I felt when I met those who work hard to develop their community-- especially for the small kids growing up in an environment where they don’t have enough opportunities for quality education, materials to support their studies, or good transportation for them to go to school? I asked myself “what is a small thing I can do for them?” All these communities are really impressive and motivated me to be here and join hands to work together.
The team in Desarmes
Desarmes is where I’m going to work during my year in Haiti. I can’t wait to work with my Desarmes team, they are so helpful and work hard for their communities. They are the best team ever!
I am looking forward to gaining more experiences from my next 10 months in Haiti. I really believe that God can use my little hands to do some little things to benefit the community and the nation of Haiti.