Mikayla: Due to our first thunderstorm in Haiti, that actually had rain instead of just lightning, the residents of Cite Soleil had some of their own water. Since our supply was extra, our team was able to serve in a different way this water truck day. We were able to focus in on the people and kids and connecting with them, our focus shifted from the survival aspect of providing the water to the survival aspect of love and human contact. The kids all had huge smiles on their faces as they dumped their buckets of water on each other's heads and played in the water. I laughed almost the entire time at each stop as I tossed kids up in the air and caught them or tickled the ones who were sitting off to the side. I also had a lot of group hugs today with many little ones! Although it was an amazing day, I definitely noticed the language barrier today as a lot of younger kids were trying to talk to me and one particular girl, who stuck by me for one entire stop, asked me something that I did not understand. As she realized I did not understand, she helplessly just continued to say the phrase, because there was nothing else she knew how to do either. A mini goal I've set is to learn more Creole phrases to ensure I am able to communicate clearer in the future. In saying that, both water truck days were valuable and cherrished experiences.
Sienna: Today's water truck experience was a lot more fun and lighthearted than the first. By chance, at one of the water stops, my mom and I were lucky enough to run into the brother of one of the host girls that stayed with our family in Minnesota for three weeks in July 2015. After meeting her brother, we were led back to their house to meet her other brother and mother. We were welcomed into their home with lots of hugs and love. They even brought out the photo album from the summer she spent in Minnesota to show us the pictures of the girl my family hosted and I playing soccer and having fun. The host girl wasn't actually home as she was off playing soccer. They said they would reach out to her to have her meet us at the next water truck stop. We were busy carrying water buckets and loving children and up she walked.What a joy to see her and hug her!
A little more on the adventure we had today:
The Farm, Fleri Resto & Salsa Saturday:
Today, we were able to tour Healing Haiti's newest addition, a fruit farm. We were able to learn about the various fruit trees growing, and the future plans of expansion and job creation that this farm will make possible.
After our long day of water trucks and farming, we headed to Healing Haiti's restaurant called Fleri Resto that we visited earlier in the week. We were able to enjoy pizza and the company of the long-term missionaries we had met during the week. The language barrier was not an issue as the Haitian staff knew English very well. We appreciated time at the restaurant as it allowed us to strengthen our bond with our teammates.
Tonight, we also had the opportunity to attend a salsa dance performance at a hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince. Although severely underdressed, it was a fun expereince to see both Haitian and Dominican dance teams perform. I (Mikayla) learned the hard way that you really do regret the chances you don't take instead of the ones you do that don't work out. One of the Healing Haiti staff members that has worked there the longest, who took us to this event, got us front row seats. At a mini intermission, people from the audience went up to the stage to dance. As we were sitting there, a Haitian guy around my age (21) came up to our group and asked one of my fellow teammate's (Tunji's) permission to dance with me as he thought Tunji and I were together. After he extended his hand to me and everyone in our group poked my back encouraging me to dance with him, I respectfully said I did not know how to dance. However....about a minute later, the Healing Haiti staff member who took us asked me if I wanted to try it, and although I was still hesitant, one of my leaders whispered "stretch yourself," as this had been a theme for us all week so I decided to give it a try. So not only did I turn the Haitian guy down at the very front of the room so everyone could see him....I danced with someone else one minute later, not one of my finest moment. I definitely did not know what I was doing up there, but I had a good teacher and it was a lot of fun. Despite telling my group I would have danced with the other guy if he had asked me again, they jokingly laughed and did not let me forget turning the young man down and then going up with another person minutes later. I learned two things from this. First was, even without their teasing I realized the value in taking chances and only regretting the ones we don't take. The second was that we should not let language be a barrier, as that was one of my main reasons to say no because our Haitian staff member knows English. At least next time, if I'm ever in this situation again, due to my mini goal and what the Haitian staff member taught me, I will know a little more of what I am doing up there.
Live life, take chances, come to Haiti!
Mikayla (21) & Sienna (19)