Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Day 2 - First Day of Service

This morning, after a delicious breakfast complete with eggs, pancakes, fresh fruit, and oatmeal, our team went to our first serving opportunity of the week. Dios is a orphanage for special needs children. We got off the tap-tap and were immediately greeted with children with varying levels of mental and physical disabilities. With it being our first time serving this week, there was a lot of uncertainty and reservation from the group as a whole. The smiles, easy nature of the kids, and genuine desire for connection quickly melted any anxiety on the end of our group. The kids at Dios wanted so badly to be seen by, and to connect with, our team, that they did not care how we did it. For most it involved Play-Doh, bubbles, singing, playing ball, or simply being held. Though many of the children were non-verbal (not that the language barrier would have let us speak a lot with them anyway) our whole team remarked how deeply we were able to connect with the kids at Dios. 

After leaving Dios, we spent some of the afternoon at Haiti Design Co., a shop that features jewelry, clothing, and leather goods from local artisans. In total Haiti Design Co. employs about 100 Haitians, training them to become the best in their craft. The artisans are able to work for 2x minimum wage with health coverage (!!!!). Our team was able to tour their workshops, learn to make bracelets, eat and shop, and connect with some of the Haitians. This company is doing great work to help create jobs and livelihoods for those in Haiti, and if you are interested in supporting that check out their shop at http://haitidesignco.org/.

The last leg of our day, our team split in half to serve at two different locations. Half of us served at a family style orphanage called LaPherre. Our group enjoyed unplanned organic connection with the kids. We spent the first portion of our time playing a ball game that the kids invented, singing, having our hair braided, and simply sitting with the kids. We were surprised how easy it was to communicate with the kids as most of them spoke English. They shared tidbits about themselves- their names, how old they were, their favorite color. We led a group craft in which the kids made a keychain with their name on them. We shared verses with the kids (Psalm 139:13-14, Psalm 147:4-5, Isaiah 43:1) about how God planned for us before He created the world, He knitted us together in our Mother's womb, and He knows us by name. We enjoyed sharing a little bit of God's love for the kids we were with, and reminding them how important their name is. 

This afternoon, while half of our team was serving at LaPherre orphanage, the rest of us were able to experience a much different atmosphere at The Home for Sick and Dying Babies. Our time serving here was a roller-coaster of emotions to say the least. The Home for Sick and Dying Babies was not all how it sounds. We were holding a lot of severely sick children, but pure joy surrounded the room with genuine smiles and tummy giggles, and that is what filled our hearts with hope for them all. After spending those two hours giving endless amounts of hugs and kisses, helping with feeding time, changing dirty diapers, and so much more, it was hard to say our goodbyes but those are moments we will never forget. Although it was one of the most difficult experiences we have been part of, and I think the rest of our team would say the same, being able to give all of that love and affection those babies needed will hold a special place in our hearts. We will forever be grateful! There was a quote said by one of our team members, Kevin, we thought was a really good summary of the emotions felt today and really wanted to share it with you all "I never felt so needed yet so inadequate". With that said, we wish we could have given more, but we hope we were able to touch some of those lives today.

-Rachel & Sydney (Home for Sick and Dying)
-Kelsey & Chelsey (LaPherre)