Today began with a trip to the memorial from the earthquake in 2010. It was especially special yet somber because today, January 12, marks the 8 year anniversary of the earthquake. There were close to 100 Haitians in and around the memorial. Within minutes of our arrival, several cars came up the hill and parked in front of the gate of the memorial. A Haitian mayor accompanied by several security guards came by with flowers to pay his respects. The memorial marks the mass gravesite where hundreds of thousands of Haitians were buried after the earthquake. It was saddening to gain more of an understanding of the devastation the earthquake caused.
The next part of our day took a different tone. We were able to visit several of the elders known by the Healing Haiti community. This was such a special and humbling experience because we got to wash their feet, give a few treats, sing songs, and pray over them.
MarieDeloude was the first person we were able to visit. She had several children and grandchildren who were glad to have their fingernails painted – each finger a different color, of course. MarieDeloude also wanted to have her nails painted after having her feet washed. Singing songs with her and her family brought so much joy to all of us.
Our second stop was at the home of a woman named Charite. She has a few children and one granddaughter living with her. After having her feet washed and massaged, we asked what her favorite song was so we could sing it. She decided to sing to us instead. She knew all the words by heart and it was beautiful to hear her sing. The English translation of the chorus was “trust and obey.” This seemed to be an anthem for her life.
Our third and final stop was at the home of Pierre and Lauremise. Although they have been together for longer, they were recently married at Grace Church. When we first arrived, only Pierre was home, as Lauremise had gone to the market. Pierre’s personality was unforgettable. His joy came through effortlessly with his humor and smile. Accompanied by upbeat guitar music, he danced and sang and clapped with us. This was the favorite part of the day for many of us. Luckily, before we left, Lauremise came back and we were able to serve and pray for her before getting back on the tap tap.
After our elder visits, we rode to Fleri bakery/restaurant. Fleri in creole means “flourish.” Throughout the tour, it was clear that God has been helping Fleri to flourish since its recent beginning. The stories of those who have impacted and been impacted by Fleri are inspiring.
Grace Village was yet another amazing place to tour and be inspired by. The church, schoolhouse, garden, houses, and clinic make up the grounds. The impact that Grace Village has had on the community in Titanyen has been amazing. Hundreds of children have received access to education, food, and a family environment that they otherwise would not have received. They then graduate and transition to working or college to be able to support themselves.
Our night ended with dinner at Fleri restaurant. The food was delicious. Some of the foods we tried include pizza, chicken wings, salsa with plantain chips, and french fries. Dessert was even better. We tried banana beignets, mango crème brule, and cookies with ice cream. The service was excellent. It was a great close to the day as we shared laughs and stories.
Charity and Moriah