Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hit auto reply, get out of the office and travel to Haiti. It
wasn’t a beach filled getaway, but an opportunity to give back. I’d been wanting to do a missions
trip or some type of working vacation that would give me the opportunity to use my knowledge
to help others on a greater scale. I needed something more. We often hear mission trips and
volunteer vacations are life changing and how it renews us. Haiti was exactly that.
I stayed at an orphanage with little access to WiFi, air conditioning and oh yeah….there wasn’t a
TV. The wonderful thing was I didn’t notice not having a TV because I was reading, talking and
getting to know those around me.
Upon arriving to Haiti, I noticed the heat, but I also noticed the smiling faces of children waiting
for me to play with them. I did. I played Soccer. I jumped. I helped kids go up and down the slide
and it felt good. Then the physical worked begin.
Part of the task my team would be partaking in was building a mission home, constructing a
food distribution center and building a water system to supply hundreds of families and
individuals with clean drinking water. It’s one thing to read about people walking 6 or 10 miles
for water, it’s another to see it. I’ve worked on water campaigns with UNICEF, but seeing all it
takes to have water – whew.
Gratefulness was what I felt at every turn. I may not have the home I want, but I have lights,
water, clean clothes and more, yet Haitians have this ray of hope. They welcomed our team with
a smile and we worked and worked and worked.
The heat was grueling, but the impact far exceeded the weather and any discomfort. There
wasn’t much time for sightseeing, but I did have the opportunity to attend a church service and
visit with some of the people that lived in the village. It was an overwhelming experience! Who
knew that working in 90 degree weather could be so fulfilling? Who knew that even with a
language barrier, you could laugh and feel apart of something big? Who knew that you could fall
in love with children whom you’ve never met and may never see again? Who knew those children
would cry when they realized you weren’t there to stay? One guy shared how awesome it felt to
see young, professional, Black Americans serving alongside with him. He shared how impactful
it was to the kids and people in the area.
It helped me realize I was burned out. I needed a break. I didn’t need to talk about press
releases, branding essentials or have another day filled with meetings and missed meals. I
needed to relax and be present and take in all the feelings of renewal. In fact, as soon as my
plane landed it was a mad dash to the next flight. Emails flowed. Calls came in. I quickly started
making a to do list. Then I stopped. I didn’t want to have such a refreshing experience and throw
it away in a blink.
As business owners, we fill our days with productive activities. We focus on scaling our
business, we invest time, sweat and tears into our visions and life as we know it changes.
Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes a conversation on a hot bus can bring much needed
relaxation and laughter. There’s always room to give our time and resources, but there’s also
time to stop and smell the roses in our own city or abroad.