We awoke and had a wonderful breakfast - mangos were the highlight! Today was called "Water Truck Day", where our team assisted a truck which traveled into Cite Soleil, the poorest area of Haiti. The city is laid out in districts; each district has its own personality and characteristics. We weren't sure what to expect - assisting kids and families with water distribution. We arrived at the truck filling station, where the trucks were filled with well water into the tops of massive trucks holding 3000 gallons each. We learned that most Haitians pay for their water, but we were on a special mission to deliver free water to residents of certain districts in Cite Soleil. The first stop was in District 17, and the moment we arrived in the tap tap, we heard the children yelling, "Hey you!" As we opened the door of the tap tap and stepped out, the children were scrambling into our arms. Women and children lined up behind the water truck with buckets of all shapes and sizes, which they would carry back to their homes. Since we arrived in Haiti, we realized how strong Haitian women are and how hard working they are. Some of our team members held onto the hose and directed the flow of water into the buckets, but we had to work fast! The water came out quickly and water is precious. Other members of our team carried the heavy buckets of water down the road to their homes. The Haitian women would carry the buckets on their heads! Some of them even asked us to help lift the buckets up. We watched in amazement, the sun beating down on them, and their strength showed us how proud they are.
After the first water truck stop, we toured Hope Clinic, located in Cite Soleil. Hope provides affordable health care for the people of Cite Soleil. They can range from infants to mothers to grandmothers and grandfathers. We heard about an expecting mother who with the assistance of an ultra-sound was able to see images of her child, which allowed for her to bond with her child sooner.
We then split the team into two and visited four elders. We were invited into their homes where we prayed and sang with them and delivered a hot meal and drink. It was a moving and humbling experience for us, as the elders' prayers were for basic human wants and needs such as their families, their health, and their security.
Next water truck stop was District 26. The buildings were concrete and two-story. We gathered children into a circle and played games with them, their laughter and smiles lifting our spirits. This stop seemed more organized and the road was a bit wider than the last, allowing for more space. We also understood what was happening and what was expected of our team as the people gathered for water. We felt much more comfortable at this stop.
The last water truck stop was near the pier and the view to the ocean was beautiful. Children were jumping off the pier into the ocean, having fun and cooling off in the heat of the sun. The roadway was narrow and this stop was crowded and loud, the need for water was very obvious.
Amongst this chaos, we saw beautiful people and beautiful children who wanted basic things: being held, talked to, and laughed with. We are in awe of the strength this country has, and felt its beautiful chaos.
Abby, Jennifer, and Melissa