The sound of roosters crowing and goats bleating woke us from our slumber and our first full day in Haiti began.
After breakfast, our team huddled for devotional time and worship and we were off for water truck day. Water truck day consists of climbing into the tap-tap and being transported to a local well in Cité Soleil which is an extremely impoverished and densely populated community located in Port-au-Prince; then delivering the water to the people.
We waited for the 3,000 gallon water truck to be pumped full and then began our journey. Our first stop we unloaded the tap-tap and were immediately swarmed by a variety of children, some for hugs and attention, begging to be picked up and held. We quickly toured Hope Church, the pilings had to go through 20 feet of garbage before being drilled 80 feet into the ground in order to be earthquake proof. The church partially funded by Eagle Brook Church and run by the Haitians offers Sunday services and is now one month into offering education for kindergartners, which is limited to one child per family. Next year they will expand to 1st grade and include a new group of kindergartners.
After the Hope Church tour we began distributing water. Buckets after buckets lined up for fresh clean pouring water pumping out of the truck. Team members steadied the hose while others laughed, hugged and played with the kids.
One boy I held kept singing to me "Glwa Pou Bondye" (pronounced Gwah poo bone-jay) which means "Glory to God." And he did not want to be put down for anything. At one moment even though I was holding him and hugging him, he grabbed my face with both hands and pointed mine to his so we could make eye contact, a connection. It reminded me even though I am here, I need to be present in each moment.
It also reminds me that as much as these kids love and crave our attention, so does God our loving Father. He also yearns for our love, affection, time and attention, like any other relationship of being known.
From there the day was filled with highs and lows, helping and caring and having to leave too. We filled the water truck three times today with different stops following. Each time the kids almost more desperate than the last, some delighting in the refreshing water splashing over their scantily clad bodies. Helping them carry buckets of water and helping set the brimming buckets on top of the women's heads to carry back to their home which is far from what we might consider a home in its stature.
Looking at photos from the day the memories burned deeper into our minds, some will last a lifetime. We did a team huddle and shared our highs and lows from the day and the one word we felt encapsulated the day as a whole. "Overwhelmed," "smile," "love," "present" are just a few of what was felt by the team. Ask whichever team member you know or helped support for their take on the day, I know they'd love to share their experience with you.
As I sit here and reflect on the day, as there is way too much more to share on our experiences and impact, I'm reminded of John 4:13-14:
"Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”"
As much as the Haitians desire clean water and delight in the delivery of it, so our soul should crave the eternal life that so freely and abundantly flows from God if we're willing to receive it.
Nicole (the one spelled without an "h")