Much of Haiti gets their water delivered via water tank trucks. We delivered water to Cité Soleil (“Sun City”), an area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Cité Soleil is the poorest area in the western hemisphere. It is home to an estimated 300,000.
The first stop was at a location that Healing Haiti frequents, so the families were waiting for us, with the children chanting “Hey You!” as we approached. Before the door to the Tap Tap (the truck-like vehicle we are transported in) even opened we saw many raised arms — kiddos asking to be held. For some, the brief time we hold them may be all the love they experienced today. Knowing that makes it all the more fulfilling to hold and play with them.
(On a personal note, I was thrilled to get my baby fix by holding a couple very small children for a while. One little girl named Dufla (not sure of spelling, but pronounced “dew-FLAH”) was just six months old. What a tiny, precious gift from God!)
At each water stop, a large hose is used to quickly dispense water into whatever container the families have brought, from small buckets to 5-gallon buckets to what amount to small wading pools (tricky to carry!). A couple people are on hose duty, others of us help carry the buckets back to peoples’ homes (or nearby anyway, as we don’t go down small alleyways or wander too far from the truck), and others show love to the children. And we switch up duties as well. It is hard work, especially in the hot sun (today’s heat index was 102℉), but so enlightening and fulfilling, providing such a basic necessity to those who may not have it otherwise.
|Water truck delivery|
The kids take this time to wash off as well, pouring buckets of water over their heads and laughing and splashing!
After the truck was emptied, we were treated to a tour of the Innovation Lab and Sewing Pod. These are converted 40’ shipping containers (complete with climate control) and are ministries of Hope School, run by Healing Haiti. The Innovation Lab is a classroom outfitted with iPads and large LED monitors, where the vision is to give some kids from Cité Soleil an education in technology, including coding. The goal is to show them a potential future for themselves by providing an opportunity. Typically, life for these kids in Cité Soleil is devoid of opportunities and filled with messages that they don’t matter and won’t amount to anything. 😢
|Inside of Innovation Pod|
Next was a second water truck stop, where we dispensed about half the water (there were fewer people in line) and then visited a nearby pier in the Caribbean with some new zanmis (friends) in tow. We made a final water truck stop several blocks away and then headed to SAKALA.
|On the pier|
SAKALA is a youth community center with which Healing Haiti partners. It is an acronym for “Sant Kominote Altènatif Ak Lapè,” which translates from Creole as “The Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives.” As a word, sakala roughly translates to “approved by the community.” It is an after-school, safe place centered around sports, providing an alternative to getting involved in gangs for pre-teens and teens.
After that it was time for much-needed showers and a delicious dinner of Haitian lasagne! Thank you, Healing Haiti kitchen staff!!!
What an incredible day God provided to both us as volunteers as well as the people of Cité Soleil, to whom we strove to be His hands and feet. Thank you all for your prayers and support!
Bondye beni ou (God bless you)!