Today was water truck day. Our first visit to Cite Soleil. This means "Sun City" and it is the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere. It is the dump. But people have been living there for 50 years or more. They live on piles of garbage up to 50 feet thick or more. They have no soil and no water source. Since the earthquake, not even the police will go there. We were not quite prepared for the experience, emotionally or physically.
Our first stop was fairly uneventful. The line moved rapidly. Most of us had a chance to play with kids, carry buckets, help move buckets through the line, and help with the hose.
It was somewhat organized chaos. Many of the kids were much better bucket carriers than we were. When the water ran out, they wanted us to stay, but they let us go.
While the water truck refilled, we visited Fleuri farm. We met Kenny, the farm missionary. We learned that plantains are NOT green bananas. We also got to see the dogs in action. They are the puppies of the guesthouse dogs. Their job is to keep the neighbors animals from eating the produce. They are very good at it! We also got to eat freshly picked mangoes and drink coconut water straight from the coconut.
Our second water stop was a bit more chaotic. There were many more children and it was hard to see so many of them knowing how they live.
The littlest ones want to be held, and the older ones need help with the buckets.
After the water finished, we visited Hope Church and School. Built by Healing Haiti right there. They had to drill down 70 feet through garbage to hit bedrock. They are the only school available for many children in Cite Soleil. They have a large church and they are building a clinic.
Then we headed to our last water stop of the day. This was the hardest one. The people lined up but they were very unruly. The desperation was evident. There was much shoving and trying to jump the line. We were offered bribes to let people go first. Finally, they shut the water off and we got back in the tap tap. The water truck drove a few hundred yards away and stopped again. Some of us elected to stay in the tap tap at this point.
There were definitely some aggressive young men, but more people were able to fill their buckets before we ran out of water.
We came back to the guesthouse and everyone decided to go to the pool today.
After dinner, during word of the day, our words reflected how emotional the day had been for each of us. Ellie was so overcome that she couldn't really choose a word to describe her feelings. She settled on "speechless".
Some of our team shared their feelings during devotion.
Thomas was reminded of the story of the widow's mite. Someone who has little but gives much of what they have.
Dave said standing at the church and seeing all the people living on top of a huge garbage pile will be something that he will never forget and he knows he was there today for a reason.
Ian was surprised that they would pave over garbage. He thought it would look more like Titanyen.
Maggie was surprised by the huge crowd of kids running down the street with their buckets towards the truck.
Angela noted that even the rain last night did not ease their desperation for water.
Karil said it was hard to decide what to do, hold babies, help with the line, or carry buckets.
Regina said that it was overwhelming to see God working in and through each of us.
This is the post where I am really sad that we are having trouble loading photos. Words cannot accurately describe how we are feeling after today. The need is so great that we feel like we barely scratched the surface.
Please pray for Cite Soleil.