Today we went out into the streets of Haiti. We delivered clean water to the people of Citie Soleil, the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. Our experience today was humbling and powerful. We witnessed so much poverty throughout the streets. Our drive to the city was eye opening because of what we saw. There were parts of our drive where you could not see the ground due to the fact it was covered in garbage. Even the water on the streets was filled with trash. The smell of the city was hard to ignore with a constant scent of sewage and polluted air. It was humbling to see the houses the Haitians lived in, as the walls were put together by scrap metal, along with the roofing.
We made water truck stops in three different blocks of the city. A swarm of Haitian kids latched onto our arms and legs as soon as we came off the truck at each stop. The deliveries were chaotic, fast paced, crowded, and consisted of two people holding a large hose connected to a water tank. Four more people were in charge of handling the buckets, quickly filling them while attempting to maintain control of the line for water. This was necessary because countless Haitians would try to budge with their buckets and we had to be assertive, pointing them to the end of the line. The rest of our team played with the kids near the line and helped deliver the heavy buckets of water to their homes. It was heartbreaking to see the desperation and need in the eyes of the Haitians waiting for water. The commodity is so important to the Haitians and you could see it in their faces.
Another part of our day consisted of visiting Hope Academy, the school that Healing Haiti operates in Citie Soleil 17. Building the school required digging through 80 feet of garbage in order to lay the foundation. It provides education and a meal to over one hundred kids per day. The kids’ education is free because they are sponsored through Healing Haiti. A new addition to the school consists of Mobile Tech Innovations. This is an interactive learning process where the kids get to work with Osmos programming on ipads. Osmos combines technology with hands on learning to teach problem solving, coding, word recognition and fine motor skills. Not to mention, the Osmos program is currently the only one of its kind in the world. The school was very encouraging for us to see and learn about because it is the only way to provide safety, meals, and education for the kids amidst the poverty of Citie Soleil.
Another stop during our day was to Fleri Farm. The farm is owned by Healing Haiti and provides an empowering opportunity to employ Haitians. Fleri grows crops like plantains, mangos, tomatoes, and watermelon. It was interesting to hear where the farm plans to go in the future. For example, their intention is to directly and indirectly employ 1,000 Haitians. This is just one of the goals Healing Haiti has as they look to the future of the Haitian families. Fun Fact of the Day: “one way to swag up your farm is to plant curry!” –Kenny from Fleri Farms
Today was difficult, but also eye opening. It was tough physically but nothing compared to what the Haitians do every day. In reflection, we talked about how blessed we are to have accessible water whenever we want without thinking twice about it. Here, they have to work hard for it because it is not guaranteed to them each day. That bucket of water is their life for the day and it is how they provide for their families. Seeing the streets laced with trash and filth was heartbreaking. The perseverance of the Haitians was inspiring to us. They find so much in so little. The smiles we saw on the faces of the kids playing in the water doesn’t compare to the faces of kids on Christmas day back home. We got to experience true joy through Christ’s work in the mission field today.