Today, we went to Titanyen. In Creole, this means "less than nothing". This is a place where there is little water and not much grows.
Our first stop was at the mass grace and memorial for the victims of the earthquake in January 2010. They are not sure how many people are buried there, somewhere around 250,000 or more. There was not time to identify all of the victims and give everyone an individual burial. The cemetery couldn't handle the number of graves needed. So the government set aside this canyon no one wanted and they took the bodies out there to be buried in one enormous grave. Every single person in Haiti or from Haiti lost a friend or family member. It is a very solemn place.
We were blessed to have the story of the days after the quake shared with us by our driver. After we walked around a bit, Angela led us in a word of prayer for him and for all Haitians.
Growing up in earthquake country, we practice preparedness, but it had been a long time since there had been a quake here and the people did not know what to do to be safe.
After we left the memorial, we were pleased to be able to tour Fleuri Bakery. They employ bakers, chefs, and servers. They sell baked goods wholesale and also have a restaurant. We had placed an order ahead of time that we picked up. The most fun thing on their menu is Digi Bread. They look like little cell phones. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the croissants.
Our next stop was Grace Village. We met Caleb who, along with his wife and daughters, are new long-term missionaries there. We toured the dormitories, family homes, school, and gardens.
We learned about the school system and that the children at Grace Academy learn four languages (French, English, Spanish, and Creole), plus STEM classes, and traditional curriculum. Thomas spent the entire visit carrying at least one little boy, and sometimes two at once. He is tall and they love being on his shoulders.
We also got to meet Samantha who is the public health missionary. They are starting a program to vaccinate and treat women for HPV. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer which, in turn, is the leading cause of death for women in Haiti.
When we left Grace, it was our time to visit the Elders. We took them the meals, lotion and baby powder that we had brought for them. Everyone of us had the opportunity to wash their feet, hold their hands, rub in lotion, apply powder, sing, and pray for them.
The elder visits really allowed each of us to step outside our comfort zone and literally touch someone with God's love. The adults were so proud of James, Ian, and Maggie for washing feet and rubbing lotion. That is not something young people at home would normally do. Lindsey helped lead us in song at each of the stops.
After we left the elders, we stopped at the grocery to buy snacks and souvenirs. All of the employees there wear dress shirts and slacks and bow ties!
Then we headed back to the guesthouse for pool time and naps. Then dinner, word of the day, and devotions. Everyone was emotional when remembering what we did.
We came to Haiti to be a blessing but today we were blessed to serve.