Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mahtomedi Team 1, Haley and Julia, Day 6

After a late night full of bonding and pranks on Jessica (jess-E-qua), we woke up surprisingly ready to take on today's activities. We ate breakfast before we left and loaded onto the tap tap. The tap tap ride to Laloo orphanage in downtown Port-au-Prince was short compared to the normal traffic. We arrived at Laloo and were greeted by the joyful smiles of the kids running alongside our tap tap. You could see their eyes light up with excitement as we unloaded the suitcases full of crafts and activities. We sat down at stations inside and revealed our activities to the children, which included friendship bracelets, beads, pipe cleaners, jump rope, and chalk. The kids were excited but stayed organized, which surprised and pleased us all. This allowed us to actually interact one-on-one with the kids and teach them new skills. As we were teaching them, they were in turn teaching us. Next, we went outside and played with chalk, jump ropes, and played soccer. The kids loved doing the jump rope with us and learning how to play tic-tac-toe. You could tell that the kids did not need to be doing an activity with us to enjoy themselves. All they needed was to have a buddy to sit next to and feel our presence and comfort to know they are loved. Similar themes have been present throughout this entire trip. The kids have taught us that you do not need physical items to be happy, happiness comes from the joy in your heart and others around you. We both hope that we can bring the positive attitudes of the children home with us. 

After we got back from Laloo, we met up with other team members at the pool nearby. At the pool, we shared laughs with the new friends we have made here. One of our favorite things about this trip has been bonding with new people, who were basically strangers to us as of last week. Next, we went to Apparent Project, which is a business that Haitian-made items. We enjoyed shopping for amazing hand-made jewelry and other items while sipping delicious smoothies from the cafe upstairs. Then, we went up to eat what felt like never-ending pizzas with our team members. A few of the other kids on our team played foosball, chess, and pool. Meanwhile, Jake decided it was smart to sit in a child's size chair. It was great to see everyone laughing together at such a silly thing. On the way home, our team raced the there tap tap home (our team one thanks to our amazing driver). It was awesome to see everyone enjoy themselves and let loose. 

This trip has been such a blessing for us in so many ways. We have grown in our faith, relationships, and our outlook on many things in our lives have changed. The bonds that we have created in such a short time through our experiences together are amazing and we truly feel like we have all become one big Healing Haiti family :)

- Julia Gacek and Haley Oswald

Haley's new friend and his snazzy glasses
Julia with her buddy Franzi
Franzi loves hugs!!!

Mahtomedi Team 1 - June 24 Day 5

Mahtomedi Team - Day 5: Purpose

Our words during daily word of the day continue to help us reflect on the day and our purpose: eduction, history, chaotic, indescribable, aware, friend, legacy, tension, moment...

After breakfast, we did water truck in Cite Soleil. We were hoping to get in two stops before mid-day, which we did. It was a very hot day - 97 degrees and the dew point had to be in the mid 70s. That said, the first stop was the most orderly of the ones we've seen. We were able to fill up most of the buckets people had. It's still challenging for us to process the lack of such a vital piece of life and basic necessity - water. We think of the water we have literally at our fingertips, and how we take it for granted. It's not difficult to understand the desperation in the eyes of those who have no regular access to water.

Marin Ryan and Jean Oswald help with the bucket line.
Mike Ryan, Abby Voyen, and Louise Sicard help filling the buckets.
Julia Gacek and Alaina Gacek are greeted by children right off the tap-tap.

Our fearless team leader, Craig Carroll, has a way with children and keeping order for the water truck line.

Anna McCormick, Lisa Sicard, and Haley Oswald play with the children.

Haley Oswald, Courtney McCormick, and Anna McCormick are almost always holding children!

After the water stops, we came back to clean up and go to The National Museum of Haiti. This was an incredible learning experience. It is located in downtown Port-au-Prince and is located below ground so it is cool. It did have air-conditioning too. It is an artistic building with seven alcove-like areas that describe Haiti's myriad and complex history. Our Haitian tour guide took all this information and through the exhibits, artifacts, and art gave us an overview. It was a somber experience. I wound up going online to read more after we got back and found wikipedia did have a good overview. It is fascinating and integral to understanding Haiti. 

Both Team 1 and Team 2 by the National Museum of Haiti

Our purpose this week is to serve but also learn. Jessica, from Team 2, spoke to our daughters last night in an impromptu conversation and spoke of how everything in her life has had a purpose to bring her into the career she has (helping long team missionaries re-enter the US) and how she didn't realize God's work until it happened. The girls were really impacted by her story, and she's very funny!

1 Peter 4: 8-11

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift s/he has received to serve others faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, s/he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, s/he should do it with the strength God provides so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 

-Jean and Haley Oswald and the Mahtomedi Team