Saturday, July 6, 2019

Monfort and Neighborhood Play

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 returned to the guesthouse and headed out to the street to play with the neighborhood kids. There were about 15 to 20 kids ready to challenge us to a soccer game, play frisbee, draw with chalk on the road - tic-tac-toe, play duck duck goose, and blow bubbles. These kids had been seeing us go in and out of the guesthouse gate in the tap-tap all week and now we were able to step out and spend time with them.We were able to really hang out and build relationships with those in the community.

After our time of serving was over, we were able to make it to the pool for some cooling off and relaxing. One of the things I'm noticing on this trip is that the kids on our team really enjoy each other. They are so creative and playful with each other. None of us knew each other prior to this trip. Watching them serve with all their heart when we are out serving and then be silly with each other at the end of the day is really fun to watch. They are making memories with each other and friendships are growing in the midst of serving.

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