Today we went to Monfort, it's an orphanage for the deaf. We started with a tour of the property, looking at all of the animals: rabbits, goats, pigs, cows, peacocks, and doves, then following up with touring the vegetable garden and trade school. Some of the workers used a machete to cut a few stalks of sugar cane for us to try - we all loved it! After the tour, we were able to hang out with the kids that live there and some that were there for camp. If we had any concerns of how we would communicate with barriers of language and also not hearing/speaking to each other, they were quickly forgotten as we immediately started to play. We did jump rope, played soccer and basketball, drew with chalk and markers, and played on the playground equipment. We were pleasantly surprised that they all knew American Sign Language, so those of us that took ASL in school or learned as kids, were able to talk with them - it was rusty, but they were patient with us, teaching us and writing down the words if needed. Our experience at Monfort showed me that you don't have to fully understand the language to make connection, as long as you are willing to try, they see that you care and I believe friendships were made today.
We were reminded today that PLAY really is something that crosses all cultures, and opens people up to making connections and memories. We are able to do this with the Haitian people and also among our team, which feels like a blessing. I'm a bit in awe that God would give us this time to join Him in what He is doing in Haiti, but also build friendships in the midst of it - bonus!
Our words of the day were as follows: Samantha - I love you (ASL sign), Jessica - camaraderie, Lauren - communication, Janae - tic-tac-toe, Jill - teach, Carter - nap, Hallie - catch, Stephanie - relationship, Todd - play, Donna - smiles, Noah - joy, Karlee - even though, Jorja - cough, Sierra - soccer, Nettie - iceburg.
~Samantha and Jorja