Updated: May 2
The Story Behind Collection #1 - Waymaker Loves Haiti
To shop their collection - click here.
Martine. Mika. Ashlove.
I want to tell you about these three women.
First, Martine. I met her my second week living in Haiti. I was 19 years old, alone, and on the brink of something much bigger than myself. I was sitting outside our hut, at the top of a mountain that sat above a river, swinging in a hammock someone had sent to Haiti for us. Martine was confident, bold. She walked up to me, sat down against a tree, and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I barely spoke Creole, and her English was limited to questions about love, so we stumbled through that first conversation. She was patient, kind. She forgot to slow down her words for me, and to this day speaks fast and hasty when telling me things, ignoring any limitations I may have in understanding her. She had been asked to come and cook for the missionaries, and from that very first day I met her, she became a rock for me.
Sometime during that first month of living in Haiti I had found myself really struggling to learn the language. The other missionaries picked it up quickly, their vocabulary growing wildly each day, and becoming more conversational within weeks of being there. I was closing up, angry at myself, believing lies that I was stupid, incapable of ever learning.
We had been driving around the city all day, collecting items to go back to the village with us; wood, blankets, eggs, spices, all sorts of things. We stopped to pick up some of the older ladies who would come back with us, and one of them sauntered over to me, asked me where I had just come from.
“Kotew soti?” She asked me. Where are you coming from?
I froze. Two words. She said them again, slowly. “Kotew soti? Soti?” I had no idea what the word was, my mind having gone completely blank. She tsked at me, shaking her head, and walked over to another missionary, who answered her without hesitation or confusion.
Tears burned my eyes, and I longed so much for my home, for familiarity, for comfort.
Martine saw my tears and aggressively rubbed them off my face. She firmly told me, “you’re ok. You’re ok.” She became a protector, a best friend. Fifteen years later and we are still navigating life together, dreaming big dreams, watching God work us back together in only a way He could.
Mika. Mika’s story is one that I hold closely to my heart, only really sharing it with people who truly want to hear it. But this is what I can tell you about Mika- she is sacred to me. I met her when she was 15, when her sister was brought to us where I worked. She taught me how to blend spices and peel beans the correct way. She consistently laughed at me, for anything I did- my speech, my walk, my outfits. She was opinionated and independent, and she became my little sister. She lived with us for years, helping in the kitchen, or with the kids. We’d stay up late and sing songs in Creole while everyone else was asleep. She’d go on runs with me, in leopard print shirts and sandals, laughing the whole time at the concept of running on purpose. When it would rain, we’d run to the river and do cannonballs into the water, holding hands. She told me I was more a sister to her than her own sisters. I knew what she meant, because she was that to me too. She taught me to wash my clothes the right way in the river, and how to carry heavy things on my head. When she couldn’t sleep, she’d crawl into bed with me, and ask me to sing her songs about Jesus in my language.
She struggled. She got older and had dreams, but often Haiti will swallow your dreams whole, remind you that they live in the belly of those mountains. She left for a job making bread in the city, and her life spiraled. She’s too thin now, always sick, struggling to raise her son. She sings me songs still, and never forgets to ask about my dad. She rejoices in my good news and mourns my sorrows with me. She is a true friend, a true sister.
Ashlove. She came the year I left, and our overlap was short. She had bushy eyebrows and huge brown eyes. She was a tiny little girl, having lived on the street for years before we found her. She barely spoke above a whisper, was always obedient, polite. She was afraid of her own shadow those days. Years later when my phone rang and her tiny voice met me on the other side, I was shocked. She cleared her throat and said, “I had no one else to call.” So that is them. The three women. And this is why #TheWaymakerCollections were born. Each of these women hold a place in my heart. They are all on their own journey, navigating the mountains and chaos of Haiti. They are our first #collection. We want to help them make a way. With God, there is always a way.
Martine. Mika. Ashlove. We all thank you.