This morning, we left the guest house at 9 AM to visit two different orphanages. The first orphanage, called Sweet Home, was filled with bright colored buildings, a playground for the kids, and an open gazebo for us to play in. The children at Sweet Home ranged from ages 2-6 years old. When we arrived at the orphanage, we introduced an interactive sock puppet skit that told a Bible story. The sock puppets were created by the children with supplies we provided, and we had a translator help tell the story. We then colored with the children and played with a parachute. After spending two hours with the children at Sweet Home, we headed to our second destination of the day.
Parachute Fun at Sweet Home
Sock Puppets at LaPharre
We arrived at LaPharre orphanage around 12 Noon. The orphanage is run by a local pastor and the children there ranged from newborn to 18 years. At this location, we also decorated sock puppets, put on the skit, sang songs, and colored. One cool thing about LaPharre orphanage is that the children and teenagers make bracelets and sandals to raise funds for their education and the orphanage. We were lucky enough to see the bracelet creation process and we were able to support their small business. Although the experiences were fun and happy, it was also heartbreaking to take a step back and think about the reality of these children's lives. We were informed at Sweet Home that most, if not all, of the children's parents are present and visit at least once a month. It is very common in Haiti for parents to give up their child to an orphanage due to lack of resources, but to still stay a part of their children's lives. Today's experiences pulled on our heart strings and taught us a lot about the children in Haiti.
Today in Cite Soleil, we delivered 10,500 gallons of water to three different stops. What that means is we brought a water truck with us and parked on a street in the city while the citizens lined up to get buckets full of water. When we got to the site, we would step off the tap-tap (bus) and were thrown into action until the water ran out. Immediately, we were swarmed by the children begging for attention. When the water started flowing, two of our team members would hold the hose over buckets and the Haitian women would direct others to lift up water buckets onto the heads of women and children and also carry water to homes; with a constant stream of children grabbing, talking and climbing on us. Each stop and community had different characters and occurrences. What really made it difficult was the emotional aspect of it all. Nothing could have prepared us for what we experienced. Although Cite Soleil is the poorest city in the western hemisphere, among the sewage, trash and malnourished children, we saw laughter, dancing, splashing in the water, beautiful smiles, and many thanks. Cite Soleil is not just a statistic, it's a living, breathing, vibrant, loving community with beautiful children and families. It will take us a long time to process what happened today, and we may never be able to put it all into words, but it will be an influential experience for a lifetime.