Our journey to Haiti started bright and early at 4 am. We hopped a Lyft to the Miami airport and arrived in Port-au-Prince shortly after 9am local time. The itinerary we originally had was to head right to Sweet Home Orphanage from the airport, but in true Haitian style, our plans changed at the last minute. Long-term in-country resident Grace, calls this type of daily challenge “dégagé,” which translates to “make it work”! And so we did!
With the change of plans, we went to the Healing Haiti guesthouse to get settled and explore the grounds before heading to Papillon. It was started by a woman who came to Haiti with plans to adopt a child but when she discovered the child had a family, her focus shifted to helping families stay together. And so Papillon was born with the main goal of orphan prevention through job creation. Starting with four employees, Papillon now employs over 300 local Haitians. We got a personal tour of the production areas, including hand-made jewelry, pottery, sewing, and print screening.
Afterwards we were given the opportunity to shop at their marketplace for these hand-made goods, which directly helps support these local artists. (Check them out at www.papillonmarketplace.com.)
We went from one extreme to the other, departing the success story of Papillon and walking into the hardships and struggles at the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. Our whole team knew ahead of time that this was probably going to be the hardest part of the trip. A main goal for all of us while there was to not have an emotional breakdown. In our short two hours, we were able to love on kids who are sick and need love. Even with a language barrier, we were able to play and laugh with them. We were even given the opportunity to feed them. Leaving them was heartbreaking because they were crying and reaching their arms up for us even as we were walking out the door.
At the end of the day, we returned to the guesthouse for a family-style dinner, devotions, fellowship, and reflections on our first day in Haiti. We can’t wait to see what the rest of our trip holds! Thank you for praying!
-Jessica and Sarah