Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mahtomedi Team 1 - Lisa Sicard, Anna McCormick Day 7

    For the second morning in a row, we woke up tired from a fun night spent telling stories, playing bag toss, and saran wrapping Jessica's bed that lasted until around midnight. As usual, we all ate breakfast at 8:00 am and then got ready and changed into our lime green shirts for the day. When it was time to go, we were surprised to hear that, because one of the tap tap's clutch had broken yesterday, half of us had to ride in a small green pick-up truck. Of course, all of us kids wanted to ride in the back like a lot of Haitians do, but most of our parents (the moms...not Mike) said no because it was too dangerous. So around 10:00, after deciding who was riding in what vehicle, we were finally on our way to Port Au Prince Fellowship Church in Port Au Prince. When we arrived, I think a few people, including myself, were surprised to see how many other Americans were there for the service and that this church was a non-denominational English speaking church in Haiti. We found our seats right away in a small church that had a stage with a band and projector in the front. I noticed an American couple sitting behind us and I asked them what brought them here to Haiti. They told me that they used to come on short term missions to Haiti but fell in love with the country and ended up moving here permanently. I thought that was so cool that they were so passionate about their missions that they decided to live here! The service started with singing songs all together and then the pastor talked for a while. We prayed for the people in the church who said they needed to be prayed for and I thought it was amazing to see how many of the people in our group and others in the church actually went over to the people in need and prayed with them. The service ended with another song and we all high-fived or hugged everyone before going outside. This experience at church was different from any back at home because there was just so much singing and enthusiasm and participation from everyone there, Haitian and American all together. I love seeing how much people really do love God and the Church here. It is just so clear that no matter what they're going through, people are sure of their love for God.

   After this awesome experience at the Port Au Prince Fellowship, we headed up to the mountain. Valorie drove the pick-up truck and Daraval drove the one working tap-tap. As we drove toward the mountain, Alaina pointed at the radio towers at the very tippy top of the mountain. She said we are going all the way up to the towers and I didn't believe her. The mountain was huge there's no way we're going all the way up there! As we made our bumpy trip up the mountain, we saw some incredible views. It felt like we were in a tropical jungle. We were surrounded by trees and bright orange flowers. The greenery was interrupted by little cities along the mountain. Our first stop was in the city of John Brown. As soon as we hopped out of the trucks, we are bombarded by the vendors to buy their metal artwork. The artwork was absolutely beautiful. We have some at my house, that my mom Courtney bought when she went to Haiti a couple years ago, but I wanted to buy it all. We walked up past the stands and then made our way down together. The first man told Andrew and I to go down into this little house/building. I was a little nervous, but Andrew out his hand on my shoulders ad we explored the little house together. The art was beautiful and the view to the outside was even more beautiful. We continued to browse through the stands and everyone bought some metal artwork and we hopped back on the trucks. We drove all the way up the mountain, past the radio towers, and pulled up in front of a restaurant. The view was AMAZING. You could see everything! You could see the smoke rising from Cite Soleil and Craig said that when its not so foggy, you can see Grace Village. It took a very long time, but eventually we all got our food and devoured it quickly. It's Father's Day (in Haiti), so there was lots of families there having lunch together. It was quite the process, but we all got our checks and headed back out to go shopping. At the top of the mountain, there was lots of paintings and lots of bargaining. I do not like bargaining, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I got a few paintings and so did the others. Andrew and Jake got machetes... Not sure why someone didn't stop them. On our way down the mountain, we saw these adorable little brightly colored houses. They are stacked right on top of each other, it's amazing. Valorie took a detour so we could see the houses again and take pictures. Valorie and the rest of the drivers are awesome. They are so kind and genuinely care about us. It made me really happy that the drivers ate a real meal at the restaurant. Lisa and I were wondering what their home lives are like. Where do they live? Do they have everything they need? Do they have families like us? I had lots of fun with Valorie today. The pick-up didn't have a horn, so we all yelled "beep beep" whenever he turned a corner. He taught us about where we were going and about how the country is organized. He was very thankful when we gave him some peanuts for lunch. Speaking of thankful,  I am incredibly thankful that I got to see Thanlot, Emerson, and Sherby today. The Gaceks hosted Thanlot and Emerson 2 years ago and we finally got to see them today. They are all grown up and they are no longer the young boys I knew. They all remembered me and it made me so happy to see their smiles. Today was a very happy day and a great way to end our trip. This was one of the greatest weeks of my life and I want everyone else to travel to Haiti and have this indescribable experience. I made lots of new friends and strengthened the bond with my friends I came with. I can't wait to come back to the beautiful country of Haiti and fall in love with this place all over again.

-Lisa Sicard and Anna McCormick

Mike and Marin Ryan pose for a pic!!

Selfie of Alaina and Lisa with a view

All the art for sale outside the restaurant!

Quick pic of kids in the back of the truck!

Courtney, Anna, and Haley show off their new items!
The green pick-up truck!

Lisa with her arms out looking outward!