We woke up today bright and early for breakfast. Our Haitian staff are amazing cooks- the juice is unlike anything we have in the U.S. Once we ate, we loaded the tap tap (our truck-like “cage” that we ride in to get from place to place) for the day. Then, we had our first experience with what we call “Haitian Time.” We waited for what seemed like an hour for our staff to be ready to take us to our first destination. However, being unplugged allowed us to spend this time together as a group! We played catch with a deflated ball, but had a blast getting to know each other and letting loose.
We made it to our first destination- Croatian Relief. Croatian Relief is an orphanage, and we had the opportunity to spend time with the children there, to show them the love of God in a way they don’t get without a family. We were welcomed with a song sung by the children, then shared in music together! After, we played with them. The younger kids loved playing with the parachute. Some of our team played basketball with the older boys, and the girls loved getting their nails painted. I got a beautiful manicure from a few of the young girls!
After our time at Croatian Relief, we hopped into the tap tap to head to the Metal Market. I had the opportunity to sit in the front with the driver, which was a humbling experience. I’ve been on mission trips before, but I’ve never experienced poverty like this. There is garbage lining the streets, and even underneath the markets that are set up. There are goats, cows, and pigs grazing on the garbage because there is no food to eat. People walk up to cars trying to sell things. Women and men all carry bags and buckets on their heads full of daily supplies that we take for granted. So many kids walk around barefoot on gravel roads and broken glass. You can also smell sewage. The metal market was so neat! We went into so many shops where the people were so proud of their work. We even got to see how the work was made. Men were sitting ride outside of the shops, barefoot, pounding away with hammers and nails.
Once our shopping spree was over, we headed to my favorite part of the day- Gertrude’s. Gertrude’s is an orphanage for children with special needs. When we arrived, the children were incredibly excited for visitors. The kids who could walk immediately came up to us to shake our hands, get hugs, or be picked up. We put the kids who couldn’t walk into wheelchairs (plastic lawn chairs attached to wheels). We blew bubbles and pushed kids around in wheelchairs- such a simple thing, but so much fun to those kids. It was heartbreaking to see so many kids with special needs in one place, not wanted by their family members. Some of the kids were more excited than I expected just to be pushed in wheelchairs.
Eventually, our time at Gertrude’s was up and we loaded the tap tap for our guest house. We arrived to a wonderful dinner, then headed off to the pool. What fun that was! We met a group of Cuban people at the pool. They explained to use that there was a problem with the airplane to Cuba, so they are stuck in Haiti for awhile. It was a blast hanging out with them and listening/dancing to music.
We ended the night with team time and some relaxation. Tomorrow, we head out to Cite Soleil to deliver water from the water trucks. It will be exhausting, but we are ready!
Bon Swa! (Good Night),
Catie (and the team)