We started off the day by visiting Deux Mains, a factory where Haitian fashion is constructed from local upcycled materials. It was inspiring to see how many jobs have been created by this organization. They now employ forty full-time employees in addition to granting them full benefits. Working alongside the Deux Mains company, Rebuild Globally is a nonprofit organization which partners to educate Haitian people. After their graduation, the students are entered into a job training program which offers an immediate job at Deux Mains. Our group followed a tour through the recently updated and relocated solar-powered factory. There, the employees hand-make beautiful items such as shoes, purses, jewelry and more. Most impressively, all items are made from tires and other locally sourced materials.
Our second stop was Monfort. Monfort is both a school and orphanage for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Although most students were home for the summer from school, there was a summer camp which we attended. The majority of our time was spent playing with the children; we danced, played soccer and basketball, drew tic-tac-toe, and learned to communicate with the people. We learned a bit of Haitian sign language and sketched on white boards to speak with one another. Most significantly, each group member adjusted in our own way to create unique bonds with the people; most of us felt that learning the children's names and them learning ours was an automatic friendship. In addition, we learned that the children worked on the campus farm in the morning to gain work-skills. The money made from the farm directly supports the organization and the children who live there. The most impactful part for many of us was the woman who was directing the camp. She was hard of hearing and she told us that her biggest goal for the children is that they will understand that hearing is the ONLY thing that they cannot do and that no matter what, they can do anything they put their minds to. She also wants to empower the older children so that some day she can step down from being the director, because again, she wants them to know that they are capable of anything they want to do.
Our last stop was Dio's which is an orphanage for children who have special needs. We were able to spend time with the 25 children who live there. Each child had a unique personality which each member of our team easily adapted to. Our favorite activities of the day included; jump rope, soccer, catch, and singing. One significant moment of the day was when the children broke out and directed several of us in a parade around the tap tap. We circled around for more than thirty minutes in pure joy while the children leading the parade sang. Another moment in which we saw God was hearing the beautiful singing voice of a young woman who lives at Dio's. The pastor educated us that the children take turns leading in church, and we were not surprised to learn that she leads worship. We also got a tour of the facility and the children were proud to show us their home.
In past trips some of our team members have visited the two sites that we went to today. They noticed some of the same children who had grown healthier, stronger and still seemed to be full of the same joy.
The night ended with a wonderful team reflection and we eagerly await to see what God has for us tomorrow.