home

There are so many days I question why I live in this town, daydreaming about what it might be like to live elsewhere, somewhere more beautiful, somewhere more dreamy. It’s not exactly an ideal location in Haiti. It’s nestled in the middle of the plain, caught between the mountains that surround the bay and the shores of the ocean. It’s hot, it’s dusty, it’s loud. There are people. Always people. People are always on the streets. Perhaps it might be nice to live somewhere a little quieter. But then yesterday, I realized just that. The people. It’s about the people. It’s not about where I live but by whom I’m surrounded.

It’s about the people.

While giving my friend’s daughter a ride on my motorcycle throughout our neighborhood, I ventured down a side street, a route I knew but an area in which I knew no one. And there it went. My tire was flat. Just as we came to a stop, a friend who drives a motorcycle taxi at the top of my street happened to be passing by. Without any questions, he hopped off his bike and motioned for us to get off mine and onto his as he grabbed the handles of my bike and began to push. We followed him for what felt like fifteen minutes until we finally found somewhere to repair it. We waited. He waited with us. He told me he wouldn’t leave us until it was finished. I had no money on me, so he paid for the repair. It was a long nail that had popped it. Of course it was. Even though it wasn’t my friend’s business, he took the initiative to help repair it. And after half an hour, as the sun was beginning to set and my bike was ready for the road, he led us home, another route, assuring we made it safely. From the outside, one might assume this guy is a punk, often doing tricks on his bike, always clad in a little extra “swag” as the Haitians like to call it. But his heart – it’s gold. The people. These people are, despite their unfortunate circumstance, despite their poverty, incredibly gentle and kind and generous. These people care for others in a way I have never before experienced. They love well and they love deeply. I am grateful for my town despite the reasons it’s not exactly desirable because I am grateful for the people who have welcomed me in, who have made it home to me.

January 18, 2018 – by Lauren Neal

Tens Years Later

FacebookInstagramPinterest10 Years LaterTen years ago, I stood in this exact same position—fixed in front of a camera to document the beginning of my final year of high school. I was anxious with anticipation, itching to get out of a city I felt had nothing left to...

read more

The Schultz Family

FacebookInstagramPinterestThe Schultz FamilyI first met Nick and Laurie when I was in elementary school. They had just been introduced to the church as the newest additions to the youth group's leadership team. I remember anxiously awaiting the day that I would be a...

read more

When Re-Entry is Hard

FacebookInstagramPinterestWhen Re-Entry is HardNo one can prepare you for re-entry, not even your closest friends and family who have traversed the season alongside of you from which you are returning. Neither can a countless number of books and podcasts nor...

read more

Greatness Within

FacebookInstagramPinterestGreatness WithinThe rain falls slowly, a steady cadence above your head; another day to shine or another day to dread. You rise, quite reluctantly, unsure of what’s to come because the disappointment of yesterday seems to have already won....

read more

Mondesir & Tausha

FacebookInstagramPinterestMondesir & Tausha“Do you mind if I smoke?” she asks, as she pulls a cigarette from its pouch. Her tone of slight hesitation is also simultaneously confident, in a matter-of-fact sort of way. I appreciate her bold authenticity with a sigh of...

read more

The Seasonal Shift

FacebookInstagramPinterestThe Seasonal ShiftThe seasonal shift is refreshing, like the dawn of a new day, outstretching its arms, offering the promise of second chances & renewed opportunities. The drear of winter gone, the trees now in full bloom—nature’s reminder...

read more

The Gravity of Privilege

FacebookInstagramPinterestThe Concept of PrivilegeBeneath the shade of the bamboo and the palm leaves, he crouches over, his concentration fixated on the task before him—the scrap metal that he will soon transform into marketable art decor, a statement piece to be...

read more

Grief & Restoration

Facebook Instagram Pinterest Grief & Restoration I sit at my desk, bothered by the stagnancy of this space. My concentration is lost; my thoughts, scattered; my heart, shattered. I stare at the screen, the long list of to-do’s grappling with my attention....

read more

I love you, my friend

Facebook Instagram Pinterest I love you, my friend “Times are difficult,” he confesses, as his half smile masks his tired eyes. I sense the fatigue in his voice, a heavy discouragement that’s plagued an entire nation. He points back toward his...

read more

Nou Tout Se Moun

FacebookInstagramPinterestNou Tout Se Mounyou breathed life into my bones and taught me to see that the difference between us is only perceived. for at the core of our beings in the depths of our souls we are all human we are all whole. ou soufle lavi nan zo kòt mwen...

read more

To Never Forget

ANNE MARIE Facebook Instagram Pinterest “You’re never going to forget me,” she laughs as she continues to peel the chadek, proving to me it’s much easier to juice the fruit after it’s been stripped of its skin than it is with it on. I watch her in admiration, proud of...

read more

THE END OF A CHAPTER

Facebook Instagram Pinterest THE END OF A CHAPTER You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. I can still...

read more

A STORY OF REDEMPTION

FacebookInstagramPinterestA STORY OF REDEMPTIONBefore I moved to Haiti, I believed children lived in orphanages for one of two reasons. 1. They truly are orphaned children without a living biological mother and father. 2. Their parents do not want them and thus, these...

read more

THE T-WORD: TRANSITION

Facebook Instagram Pinterest THE TRANSITION...OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT I used to believe leaving Haiti would be a beautiful transition, that God would call me away from it because He was calling me into something greater. I imagined bliss in pursuing another...

read more

FOLLOW ALONG

@LAURENLOUNEAL

WANT EMAIL UPDATES?

Photography & storytelling with purpose
Feet in Cincinnati, Heart in Haiti