Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 5 - 10/27/17

Our day started in typical Haitian fashion...we were all ready to hop in the tap-tap and our plans to head to the Home for the Sick and Dying Adults were cancelled. The government recently raised taxes, resulting in demonstrations throughout the city. One of those demonstrations  made our route unsafe and therefore, plans changed. Another way to state it, God had different plans for us today.
Before we knew it, we were headed up the mountain. On the way up, we had the opportunity to stop at a street side vendor. Not only did this allow us to bring home something special from Haiti, but it also gave us the opportunity to support the economy. As we made our way further and further from the city and up the mountain, we slowly began to see a different side of Haiti. God sure created a beautiful country. Once at the top, there was a restaurant where we were able to stand and take in a breathtaking view. From up there, you don't see the  sorrow, the dirt, the garbage, the struggle that the city streets reveal. You see Haiti's absolute beauty.
In the afternoon half of our team went to the Home for the Sick and Dying Babies. Although heartbreaking, our team described beautiful moments from their time there. The opportunity to hold the babies and children. A child, so lethargic that she wouldn't take a bite of food from our team member, but when another young child shared his noodles, she took the food right from him. A nurse, who was so wonderful with her care and love for the children. Listening to the giggles of children lined up to receive raspberries on their arm from one of our team members. Being able to calm the children down with singing "Jesus Loves Me." Moments like these remind us why we're here...to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To love like Jesus loved.
The second half of our team went to an orphanage for children with disabilities. Watching our team scoop the children up, push them in their wheelchairs, push them on the swings, tickle them to bring out their wonderful giggles and show them love with just a simple touch, it was beautiful.


Day 4~ Thursday, October 26th

Thursday day 4

This morning, before breakfast, I looked around at the early reisers. Some were reading things about Haiti. Others were studying English to Creoel flash cards. Yesterday, one of the team members helped me get a Creoel language application for my phone which I have started to study. Today, we are going to visit a place called Grace Village. We were there last year and I am looking forward to seeing the progress they have made in the past year.

The drive to Grace Village was encouraging in its own right because we saw so much new building underway.  Then, as we got close to Grace Village compound, we saw new construction there as well. However, the truly blessed thing was to see the way the methods of housing and educating the children have evolved.  The orphans are housed  in a family environment, where they have a mommy and poppy supervisor.  They eat their meals together and everyone has chores to do.  The point is, they are being taught group dynamics and family life skills in addition to the academic skills.

Another major change was in the quality of their computer room and library. They have many more books in English, French and Creoel.  They are also love books in Spanish.  These children are getting a rich learning environment. One that should prepare them to enter a job market and succeed.

After leaving Grace Village, we drove down the hill to their bakery where we picked up some cookies we ordered the day before.  From there we went to visit one of the 30 or so elders that are supported by Healing Haiti.  We brought a hot meal, washed her feet and rubbed body  lotion on her arms and legs. We asked what she needed. Like batteries for her electronic Bible, padding for her bed etc. Before we left, we  sang a couple of hymns. I can only speak for myself, but the action of washing feet as my Lord did with the disciples, always is a very moving experience for me.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 3~ Wednesday 25th

Wednesday Day 3
Today was very different from yesterday.  We went to three different water truck stops.  The lines for water were very long and, of course there were impatient people who wanted to  cut into the front of the line.  We did the best we could to keep order and minimize the line cutting but, it was impossible to stop it.  We also saw some ingenious souls who brought barrels that must have held at least 30 gallons or more.  When we filled their barrel and helped them slide it out of the line, they then proceeded to have a companion dip in a small bucket and once filled, carry  it home while they stood guard over the barrel.  I saw small children having 5 gallon buckets of water onto their head and walking back home with it.  At our second stop I learned why there may have been so many attempts to cut into the line.  We ran out of water while there was still a moderate sized line of people waiting.  It is heart breaking to tell them the water is gone and leave them standing there with empty buckets.

At the water stops there were so many little children that were just looking for someone to pick them up and hug them.  And, they swarmed the people with the cameras.  They got such joy from having their picture taken and then showing them the picture of themselves.

In between the  water stops we made side trips while the water truck was being refilled. We stopped at a fishing wharf  where saw some single mast boats  and row boats.  For me, the  most interesting thing were the  small make shift awnings with clusters of people sitting eating lunch and listening  to music.  It was hard to tell if they were family of the men doing the fishing or just out to have a picnic by the water.  I suspect it was a bit of both.

At one break between water stops we went to a plot of ground that Healing Haiti has just purchased.  This area (about 25 acres)  currently has many fruit trees growing on it.  There were coconuts,  Guavas,  plantains and several other fruits i don't remember.  Healing Haiti has hired a doctor who specializes on plants to manage the area and transform it into  a useful agracultural area where they can teach Haitian people good farming skills.  And, possibly grow some cash crops to help sustain the program.

We stopped at Hope church. What a blessing to see the progress being made there.  There are new buildings that weren't there last year.  They are a K-2 school where children re being taught not only how to read, but also the value of being in school.  There is also a planned feeding area which should be in operation soon.  While we were there, classes let out.  It may be that class finished a bit early because our presence may have disrupted the class.  Several of the children raced over to us and I learned a new game they liked to play.  Hand slapping.  The harder the better.  They appeared to take great pleasure if you would say OUCH and make a face when they slapped you hand.  I loved it.  They also liked to run up and grab my cam and run off to have their picture taken wearing my cap. All in all, a God filled day.

Day 2~ Tuesday, October 24th

Tuesday Day 2,

We gathered before breakfast.  There were greetings and discussion.  Some about who had a cable to charge the camera, others about their Christian journey and many topics.  All in all, a nice time of fellowship among old and new  friends. 

After breakfast, we went to see several places that are making a very positive impact on lives in  Haiti.  The first was Papillon.  Which means butterfly in French.  They make pottery mugs and bowls from local clay.  Also,  jewelry of various types made from clay, glass and cardboard beads. They currently employ about three hundred people, all Haitian.  Now, instead of begging or occasional day labor and wondering how to buy food tomorrow  they have full time employment and a steady income.  

Next, we went to a  small company, started bu a lady from Florida who sold her home and moved to Haiti to do something to contribute to the Haitian recovery.  This company makes  sandals from old vehicle tires.  They cut the shape from the sidewall of the tire. The leather and glue used to create the upper portion is all locally  made in Haiti.  So,  this company is not only changing the lives of their employees,  they are helping the environment and the Haitian economy as well. 

We went through several small artisan shops that made very beautiful  hammered metal objects.  However, don't get the impression we spent the whole day shopping.  Having helped the local economy as much as we could at the previous stops we turned our attention to a school for the deaf and an orphanage.   When we arrived at the school we saw construction of two large new buildings well under way.  The children were just finishing classes and heading for the playground. We had brought along a few new soccer balls which we gave them.  These were a big hit and some impromptu games of soccer began, In a few minutes I noticed that a few of the boys remissioned one of the  soccer balls into a basketball and had a 4 on 4 game going.  While we were at the school for the deaf we toured their grounds where we saw contained areas where they were raising rabbits and chickens as well as some areas of fruit trees.

Next, we went to an orphanage where we plaied with the children. We brought collering books and crayons and other toys. As we were walking in, one littel boy came and took my hand. We walked arund a bit and then he got some crayons and paper and took me over to his desk.  He wrote something in creole and then pointed to himself.  Then, he pointed to me and the paper, So, I wrote my name and pointed to myself.  I am not sure about the motivation of the next thing he did. If he was showing me what he learned or was teaching me creole.  He wrote the number 5 followed by cursive writing in creole.  Then the number 6 and more creole. After each  writing he pointed to the number and then the writing.  When he had finished several of these he smiled and then drew lines to the left of each number and pointed to them.  It looked like fill in the blanks so I printed the  English word for each number and said the word in  English.   One of our group was taking pictures.  That was the biggest hit of all.  Many of the children came and pointed to themselves with big smiles.  They wanted their picture taken and then, of course, wanted to see the picture.  These moments, wit the children were the highlight of the day for us.  Ii know I was sad when it was finely time for us to leave.

After some time to rest and get refreshed, the team gathered to discuss the day and reflect on what we had seen.  On the hope and encouragement because of progress in rebuilding, on the sadness of the fact that there was still such a long way to go.  And, the thankfulness we felt because God has allowed us to be part of this ministry to help Haiti recover.

Day 1~ Monday, October 23

Day 1 - Monday morning started rather early. The limo`s came for us about 3:00 am with planes taking  off around 6:00 am.  The flights were good even though Atlanta had heavy rain.  The team from around the country converged in Atlanta and, after some greetings and hugs for friends from last year, we all walked to the food court for a quick lunch. The team, fourteen people, is comprised of people ranging from first timers to those who have been on seven or eight trips. 

The flight from Atlanta to Port-au-Prince was jam packed.  We noticed several  members of other mission organizations on the flight with us. Once we landed, immigration and customs was moving rather quickly and we experienced far less problems than on previous years.

After we got settled in our rooms we had a short team meeting. We needed to review the rules, some for our safety and others for other reasons.  There was a period of introductions where we talked about who we are and why we continue to come on Healing  Haiti mission trips. For many, it appeared to be that the first experience was such a blessing  that they are compelled to continue.  

We held hands around the supper table as one of the team gave thanks to God for the fellowship, the blessing of the trip experience and the food on the table. After supper many hands made short work of cleaning and washing the dishes.  It's a great start to our trip.

Friday, October 20, 2017

DAY 5: PEACE CYCLE, WATER DELIVERY, APPARENT PROJECT

A BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE

Today started with a second day of tent church for a few of us. It moves us to tears to see believers completely abandoned to Jesus. They may be poor in things but rich in faith. It is a beautiful sight to see.

After breakfast, we stopped at Peace Cycle to tour a water bag recycle company. Haitians go through 5 million water bags in a day and Peace Cycle reuses these plastic bags to make wallets, pencil bags, hats, aprons, costars, and lots of purses/hand bags.

We then made our way to the 3 hands sculpture where we stopped to pray and give food to a blind beggar. We came to find out that he did have Jesus in his heart. He asked for prayer to have his sight restored, rides to get to church, and finances. Since it was in a busy round-a-bout we drew a crowd as we laid hands on him to pray for his healing. He thanked us and said we were an answer to prayer. This was indeed a beautiful exchange as we were all moved with compassion and love for this man. We shared with him that God still sees him and he is never forgotten. This statement was also moving for our team as well as we will never forget this experience and the way God was present in that moment.

Next stop was another Water Truck visit to Cite Soleil. With a few members sick some were worried about having less hands to help, but with the grace of God it felt like an easier day than our previous water truck day. Many were able to reconnect with Haitians they connected with on Wednesday or previous trips. It was a great reminder of God's great community. Some of the team ventured down alleys into their homes to deliver water and they were very happy and blessed that we were just with them. The Haitians just wanted to give back with whatever they had. When one member of the team got hurt the Haitian ladies took care of her by doing her hair and were just glad to be in her presence.

We ended the day with an anticipated shopping trip to apparentproject.org. Help support this great organization who are providing rehabilitation to the families in Haiti by creating jobs.

Glwa Pou Bondye (Glory to God)
~Beth, Tara, Ann, and Ariel

DAY 4: MASS GRAVES, GRACE VILLAGE FAMILY ORPHANAGE, ELDER VISITS IN TITANYEN

Hi Aleah and Abby coming to you live from Delmas Haiti. Yesterday we visited our sponsored elders. It was a very eye opening experience, especially for Aleah because it was her first time. Seeing the elders homes was interesting because its very different from back home. One was made out of just tarp for the walls, and some wood pillars for support. Although they had so little they greeted us with such respect and there biggest smile. One of the biggest smiles that I remember was two elder sisters that both had knee pain, so we let them keep muscle cream to help with the pain. They were so grateful for something so simple. It made me think how something so small could make such a big impact on someone, and the saying "Its the little things in life that count" applies not only to the sisters but to us as well. When visiting elders we also played around with some neighborhood kids. We brought bubbles, jump ropes, balloons, and nail polish. we not only put a smile on the kids face but the elders were laughing and having a fun time too. From washing the elders feet to giving them massages and praying over them. Overall it experience and something that I will never forget.
~Sincerely Aleah and Abby