I started the day at the Fleri bakery and restaurant in Grace Village, located in Ti Tan Ye. After traveling to Grace village in the tap-tap, the whole group toured the bakery section of Fleri first. The smell of flour and fresh baked bread reminded me of cooking with my nana at home. This was one of the first experiences that helped me easily connect the Haitian culture to American culture.
There are so many different things here in Haiti, and it makes it hard to find ways to relate to the people. Other than the common love for Jesus, I was feeling so different from the Haitian community. Throughout the day I was feeling more and more connected to the children we were serving and Haitian staff from Healing Haiti. At dinner all of us were joking around with our interpreter and driver, so I yet again felt a connection with the people from Haiti. But I met the most impactful person before dinner at the Fleri restaurant.
Around noon, we toured the rest of Grace Village which included a school, clinic, farm, and several large houses for the children. Grace Village is run like a family organization, so each house has a Mama, Papa, or both, with around 5 to 8 kids per family. During the tour I met a five-year-old girl named Manika. She instantly latched onto me and stayed with me through most of the tour. Manika was sweet, sassy, and curious to learn about me and the braces on my teeth. Manika and I continued to walk around, pretending to teach in the classrooms, tickle our other friends, and count in French and English. She also taught me how to say some colors in Haitian Creole by pointing at the colors and then pronouncing them for me. After the tour we continued to play and color with the kids. Manika impacted me in a way I never thought a five-year-old could.
Thank you Manika!
This week has been such an experience for me with water truck day, Deaf academy day, and finally getting to know all the different drivers and translators. This whole week there were two things that really hit my heart.
First water truck day changed my whole view on poverty I previously thought that the impoverish were sad and knew all that they did not have. But that was not the case in Cite Soleil, where everyone wore a great big smile even thought they did not have much. All the kids were so excited just to be held. This changed me so much because it made me realize that God will always provide whether you live in America or Haiti. Whether you are rich or poor, He will always be there. Also playing at the Olympic stadium with the Deaf children and being able to use my ASL (American Sign Language), taught me that Gods love is a universal language.
The second thing that had a great affect on me was Jonas. He was one of our translators who loved Jesus. Jonas was such a joy to be around and he was so interested about learning cultural things we have in America, like prom. Today we went to the mass graves from the 2010 earthquake and Jonas was giving the tour; we learned that Jonas was in Port Au Prince the day it hit, which was one of the places most effected. He lost a lot of people that day. He also took the time to talk to me so I could teach him Jesus loves me in ASL. He just inspired me to think that even in the worst the best can come out.
Thank you Jonas for teaching me to be resilient.