Bonswa from Haiti! Today was filled with love, laughter and tears.
For some, the day started with 6 AM church service at Church on the Rock, which is walking distance away (unless you're Scott who considered it to be a long drawn out "death march" - psst, Scott, hit the gym!). The service was very energetic and passionate. It was also interesting to follow considering the service was in Creole.
Upon their return, we all gathered for breakfast which was, as usual, delicious. Then we headed out in the tap-tap to La Pharre Orphanage. This orphanage was started by a Pastor after the 2010 earthquake. It's currently the home to 17 children. Our introductions started with the children singing to us. They sounded beautiful! Then we sang to them... not so beautiful. :) The main activity of the day an engaging art activity. A shout out to Amy (a former team member from a trip that was cancelled in July) for organizing and donating the project - it was a success! The kids proved to be talented artists with creative designs and precise detail. They also had fun jumping rope, playing soccer and teaching us Haitian jax, which was very cool! Our visit ended with a heartfelt thank you from the Pastor. We could tell from his parting words how much compassion he has for his children and the Healing Haiti family.
The next endeavor of the day brought us to Papillon (which means butterfly in Creole). Papillon was founded by a women named Shelley Jean. Shelley, her husband and two children went to Haiti in 2007 to adopt a child. She soon realized that the biological parents of the child they were to adopt only placed him there due to poverty; they didn't want to give him away. Realizing that many Haitian parents were in the same situation, that they wanted their children but could not support them, she felt a calling to help. Her firsthand experience sent her on a quest to create jobs to prevent parents from losing their children to an orphanage. After much hard work and years later, Apparent Project then Papillon were born. Papillon is now a company which supports over 200 employees who, in return, are able to support their families. Unfortuantely, due to civil unrest and cancelled trips to Haiti in July of this year, production has slowed to only 30 employees.
Our visit to Papillon included a tour of the production facility, a stop at the cafe for lunch and some serious shopping at the Papillon marketplace. It's amazing to think that almost everything made at Papillon is created by recycled materials, primarily cereal boxes, recycled glass and dirt (to make clay). To see some of the beautiful creations made and sold at Papillon, visit it's website at: papillonmarketplace.com.
At this point in the day our team divided into two groups. One group went back to For His Glory Orphange and the other went to the Home for the Sick & Dying Babies. At the orphange, our team took a tour (given by the oldest girl at the orphange), played games with the children and our team member Beatrice got her hair braided. It was an exhausting but enjoyable, afternoon.
Back at the Guest House... a shower, a chance to gather our thoughts and for many, a time to try to connect with those we love at home, crossing our fingers that wifi was working. Dinner consisted of an excellent meal and a thought provoking, honest, deep conversation. In addition to what we do during the day, our evening time is equally as powerful. It's hard to put into words through a blog what we've seen and how we are feeling, but it's been a pleasure and a gift to talk about it each evening as a group.
As we reflect while writing this blog and based on tonight's devotions, we all agree that there is nothing more important than the human touch. You don't need to speak the same language, it doesn't matter your age, demographics or skin color, all people need to feel love.
Thank you for reading our blog and for keeping us in your prayers. We are comforted in knowing we are in the hands of God and that we are safe under the love and care of the Healing Haiti staff.
Linda & Jeanna