June 28th, 2016
Hello friends and family!
Today was our first full day experiencing the culture here in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The trash filled streets; the lack of traffic rules; five people to a motorcycle and the joy that these people have about them.
We were up and out of the guest house by 9:00am this morning and headed off to the home for the sick and dying. There we were able to hold, play and feed these kiddos for 3 hours or so. We traveled back to the guesthouse at lunch time and ate a quick lunch/snack before heading back out to visit an organization called Rebuild Globally, where they make sandals, tote bags etc.. The group then traveled to La Phare orphanage where we were greeted with smiles and hugs! We taught these kids how to play bingo and they taught us how to jump rope to their standards! We clearly were not as skilled as they were.
The team ended the day with a dip in the neighborhood pool and a devotional/share time in the cozy guest house.
I would love to share the thoughts and feelings that I felt throughout the day with you all!
As we began our day at the home for the sick and dying, I quickly learned the impact of a simple touch, hand hold and smile. I think we stray away from physical touch back in the states and take that for granted. Here in Haiti, all these kids want is to feel loved, and that is through our physical touch. It did not matter to them that I was a complete stranger, let alone a completely different color from them. All they cared about was that I held them and showed them love. It breaks my heart to know that they are so desperate for physical touch and lack the healthy amount. There was a little boy who I instantly bonded with in the beginning. He was funny, energetic, and did not want to leave my arms. Heck every kid I held did not want to be put down. Leaving these kiddos after several hours was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. When would they get to be held next? Who would give them enough water? I felt so helpless knowing that I probably would never see them again. And yet it brought a smile to my face every time a child smiled or showed ME love!
Driving around Haiti and seeing the poverty leaves me feeling very helpless and makes me feel like there is no hope for a better life for the people of Haiti. Visiting the organization of Rebuild Globally showed me that there is hope and that these men and women are making steps toward a better lifestyle and as we learned today, they are getting "wants" vs only "needs".
We finished the day out at another orphanage that was a completely different experience. We were with older kids and the interactions were totally different. I got to joke around with three teenage boys, and sit and play bingo with three different boys between the ages of 7-10. The amount of laughter, joy and curiosity is amazing and so uplifting! To get to interact with these kids and communicate with them as much as we could with our language barrier, was so fun, satisfying and gave me extreme hope that these kids are happy and are going to be okay!
I look at these Haitian's lifestyles and am shocked at how they live, where they live and how they go about their day with a smile. But why am I? They aren't shocked or unsure of their lives. That's all they've ever known and today was my day to try to learn and adapt to that mind set. They WILL be okay and ARE okay.
How you may ask? Because of their endless hope, their endless love for their country and community and our Lord and Savior.
We'll talk to you all tomorrow!
Much love from the team and I,