Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 3~ Wednesday 25th

Wednesday Day 3
Today was very different from yesterday.  We went to three different water truck stops.  The lines for water were very long and, of course there were impatient people who wanted to  cut into the front of the line.  We did the best we could to keep order and minimize the line cutting but, it was impossible to stop it.  We also saw some ingenious souls who brought barrels that must have held at least 30 gallons or more.  When we filled their barrel and helped them slide it out of the line, they then proceeded to have a companion dip in a small bucket and once filled, carry  it home while they stood guard over the barrel.  I saw small children having 5 gallon buckets of water onto their head and walking back home with it.  At our second stop I learned why there may have been so many attempts to cut into the line.  We ran out of water while there was still a moderate sized line of people waiting.  It is heart breaking to tell them the water is gone and leave them standing there with empty buckets.

At the water stops there were so many little children that were just looking for someone to pick them up and hug them.  And, they swarmed the people with the cameras.  They got such joy from having their picture taken and then showing them the picture of themselves.

In between the  water stops we made side trips while the water truck was being refilled. We stopped at a fishing wharf  where saw some single mast boats  and row boats.  For me, the  most interesting thing were the  small make shift awnings with clusters of people sitting eating lunch and listening  to music.  It was hard to tell if they were family of the men doing the fishing or just out to have a picnic by the water.  I suspect it was a bit of both.

At one break between water stops we went to a plot of ground that Healing Haiti has just purchased.  This area (about 25 acres)  currently has many fruit trees growing on it.  There were coconuts,  Guavas,  plantains and several other fruits i don't remember.  Healing Haiti has hired a doctor who specializes on plants to manage the area and transform it into  a useful agracultural area where they can teach Haitian people good farming skills.  And, possibly grow some cash crops to help sustain the program.

We stopped at Hope church. What a blessing to see the progress being made there.  There are new buildings that weren't there last year.  They are a K-2 school where children re being taught not only how to read, but also the value of being in school.  There is also a planned feeding area which should be in operation soon.  While we were there, classes let out.  It may be that class finished a bit early because our presence may have disrupted the class.  Several of the children raced over to us and I learned a new game they liked to play.  Hand slapping.  The harder the better.  They appeared to take great pleasure if you would say OUCH and make a face when they slapped you hand.  I loved it.  They also liked to run up and grab my cam and run off to have their picture taken wearing my cap. All in all, a God filled day.

Day 2~ Tuesday, October 24th

Tuesday Day 2,

We gathered before breakfast.  There were greetings and discussion.  Some about who had a cable to charge the camera, others about their Christian journey and many topics.  All in all, a nice time of fellowship among old and new  friends. 

After breakfast, we went to see several places that are making a very positive impact on lives in  Haiti.  The first was Papillon.  Which means butterfly in French.  They make pottery mugs and bowls from local clay.  Also,  jewelry of various types made from clay, glass and cardboard beads. They currently employ about three hundred people, all Haitian.  Now, instead of begging or occasional day labor and wondering how to buy food tomorrow  they have full time employment and a steady income.  

Next, we went to a  small company, started bu a lady from Florida who sold her home and moved to Haiti to do something to contribute to the Haitian recovery.  This company makes  sandals from old vehicle tires.  They cut the shape from the sidewall of the tire. The leather and glue used to create the upper portion is all locally  made in Haiti.  So,  this company is not only changing the lives of their employees,  they are helping the environment and the Haitian economy as well. 

We went through several small artisan shops that made very beautiful  hammered metal objects.  However, don't get the impression we spent the whole day shopping.  Having helped the local economy as much as we could at the previous stops we turned our attention to a school for the deaf and an orphanage.   When we arrived at the school we saw construction of two large new buildings well under way.  The children were just finishing classes and heading for the playground. We had brought along a few new soccer balls which we gave them.  These were a big hit and some impromptu games of soccer began, In a few minutes I noticed that a few of the boys remissioned one of the  soccer balls into a basketball and had a 4 on 4 game going.  While we were at the school for the deaf we toured their grounds where we saw contained areas where they were raising rabbits and chickens as well as some areas of fruit trees.

Next, we went to an orphanage where we plaied with the children. We brought collering books and crayons and other toys. As we were walking in, one littel boy came and took my hand. We walked arund a bit and then he got some crayons and paper and took me over to his desk.  He wrote something in creole and then pointed to himself.  Then, he pointed to me and the paper, So, I wrote my name and pointed to myself.  I am not sure about the motivation of the next thing he did. If he was showing me what he learned or was teaching me creole.  He wrote the number 5 followed by cursive writing in creole.  Then the number 6 and more creole. After each  writing he pointed to the number and then the writing.  When he had finished several of these he smiled and then drew lines to the left of each number and pointed to them.  It looked like fill in the blanks so I printed the  English word for each number and said the word in  English.   One of our group was taking pictures.  That was the biggest hit of all.  Many of the children came and pointed to themselves with big smiles.  They wanted their picture taken and then, of course, wanted to see the picture.  These moments, wit the children were the highlight of the day for us.  Ii know I was sad when it was finely time for us to leave.

After some time to rest and get refreshed, the team gathered to discuss the day and reflect on what we had seen.  On the hope and encouragement because of progress in rebuilding, on the sadness of the fact that there was still such a long way to go.  And, the thankfulness we felt because God has allowed us to be part of this ministry to help Haiti recover.

Day 1~ Monday, October 23

Day 1 - Monday morning started rather early. The limo`s came for us about 3:00 am with planes taking  off around 6:00 am.  The flights were good even though Atlanta had heavy rain.  The team from around the country converged in Atlanta and, after some greetings and hugs for friends from last year, we all walked to the food court for a quick lunch. The team, fourteen people, is comprised of people ranging from first timers to those who have been on seven or eight trips. 

The flight from Atlanta to Port-au-Prince was jam packed.  We noticed several  members of other mission organizations on the flight with us. Once we landed, immigration and customs was moving rather quickly and we experienced far less problems than on previous years.

After we got settled in our rooms we had a short team meeting. We needed to review the rules, some for our safety and others for other reasons.  There was a period of introductions where we talked about who we are and why we continue to come on Healing  Haiti mission trips. For many, it appeared to be that the first experience was such a blessing  that they are compelled to continue.  

We held hands around the supper table as one of the team gave thanks to God for the fellowship, the blessing of the trip experience and the food on the table. After supper many hands made short work of cleaning and washing the dishes.  It's a great start to our trip.