Monday, July 29, 2013


Recently, I've been asked by several store clerks where I live. I find myself stuck in a peculiar position. I just graduated and left from Clemson, where I've lived for four years. I'm currently living at my original home, if you will, in Asheville, where I grew up. But I'm only here temporarily between graduation and moving to Cange, Haiti.

Sometimes my response is just, "Asheville." Other times I'll expand on that and say something like, "Asheville for now, but I'm moving to Haiti in (x number) of days." I'm either timid enough to presume everyone does not want to hear about this awesome opportunity in the Young Adult Service Corps or I'm bold enough to presume they do. Depends on my mood.

Right now home is a tricky thing. I'm privileged and grateful to have grown up and lived in a loving, stable household in Asheville, NC. I'm writing this post from the porch of the house to which I was brought after being born in the hospital. I definitely feel at home here, and I love the people, culture, and natural beauty of these mountains. My family is here. It is home in my heart, and it's going to be tough to leave it. Here's a picture off of the back porch of that house:

Clemson has also felt like a home for quite some time now. That's where my most recent friend group has come from, where I've received an excellent degree in economics, and where I've grown spiritually in the Canterbury ministry and other religious ministries there.

In just several days (I leave for Haiti on Saturday!!), neither of these places will be my current home. Instead, I'll be living in Cange, Haiti, a small town in the Central Plateau north of Port-au-Prince. It will be a new place full of new opportunities for relationship, spiritual growth, and to make another home.

But I know it won't be a smooth transition. I'll miss home, thinking of it as back in the States. I'll struggle with things expected and unexpected in adjusting to cultural, culinary and linguistic differences. This adjustment is probably what I'm most nervous about, simply because my success will depend on acclimating to a new home. With patience, humility, and a willingness to engage, I will hopefully develop a sense of home there with new friends and mentors and "family." God is also here with me, and God has been in Haiti long before my arrival.

Ashley Bingaman (, a YASCer currently in Haiti and continuing for a second year there this fall, is currently leading a summer music camp in Cange. She sent me this wonderful photograph off of the back porch of the building where I'll likely be living:
Already feels kinda like home to me.


  1. I am totally jealous of both of your backyard views! I'm so excited for you Alan. I know your journey will be trying, but I know you will do so many awesome things in your new journey. Don't forget to let me know if you have wi-fi so I can text you a bunch. :)

    1. Thanks Bri! I should have wi-fi at the compound where I'm living, so it should work to message and snapchat.

  2. Having stood on that porch, it is a great view! I am a chaplain at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, MD and we are partnered with a school out on the central plateau. We will be returning with our third group of students to visit the school over President's Day weekend this coming school year. We have been working with the Clemson grad folks down there on a water project for Christ Roi School in Civol and that relationship has been really tremendous.

    Anyway, we are hosted by Pere Jeannot in Mirebalais when we come. He is a wonderful and hardworking man who I am sure you will get to know if you are working in the area. So, when we come I would love to have you connect with our group at some point to share your experience so they can see what working with the Corps has meant to you. My email is Drop me a line and have fun settling in.

    The Rev. Betsy Carmody Gonzalez

  3. Just to think that I lived right across the street from you in Asheville when you were born and loved sharing in a part of your life...
    You make me feel so proud to have know you and see what you are doing....AWESOME...Love, Carolyn

    1. Carolyn, I'm so glad you found my blog! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I hope you are doing well. Love, Alan

  4. Today is a special one because finally have learned how to read your blogg and see what great things are happening...Way to go Alan...Love, Carolyn