Thursday, January 9, 2020

EBC Day #3 - New Hope, Rebuild Globally, & Home for Sick & Dying Babies

1/8/20 - Day 3

Hello all, from Liz and Joel - naturally we were too afraid to write this blog post alone.  Day 3 started with sunrise yoga on the upstairs patio, led by Christian, a trip goer who is apparently in much better shape than anyone else here. Yoga didn’t last very long because patio needed to be mopped (the real reason was because we were struggling hard).  Following yoga, breakfast was served and we left for one of the many markets.  I (Joel) really helped support Haiti’s economy this morning, by buying allllll the paintings and now all my spending money is gone.

I (Joel) had the best experience at our second stop of the day to New Hope Activity Center.  Our crew walked into an open area where we saw 3 classrooms, filled with kids about 45 in total.  Dane (the Pastor leader) brought a guitar and I brought a cajon (a percussion instrument that looks like a wooden box).  We were ready to jam for the kids!  Little did we know that what we were about to experience was much more than playing some music for the kids.  We started playing in a room with kids who were about 6-10 years old and the room immediately filled with energy.  The kids, without hesitation, started pounding on the tables in perfect rhythm.  Once they grabbed some instruments the sounds multiplied and soon the whole complex was filled with music.  It was amazing to me - these kids who had never taken a music lesson or class in their lives had talent I couldn’t believe.  

The next room was filled with 10-14 year-olds.  In this room, I started on the cajon, but was quickly and respectfully booted off so those real musicians could perform.  This was an absolute treat to watch, as these kids who had never seen this instrument played it better than me, who has had one for years.  I couldn’t stop smiling watching these kids take turns absolutely jamming on this thing, with the rest of the class accompanying.  The connection I made with all those kids was immediate.  Music is all about a feeling.  I could look at a kid, they would look back, and we both knew where the music was going. It is truly an international language and I can’t find the words to describe how real and strong that connection felt. Stevie Wonder said it best, “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand.”

After the impromptu band was done jamming, we gave hugs too all of the kiddos and hopped back on to the tap tap. We came back to the guest house for a quick break before heading to the next stop, Rebuild Globally. This is a women-owned business that turns local leathers and repurposed tires into beautiful products. It was AMAZING to hear the origin story and learn about the impact that their business has had on their employees and the local Haiti economy. Throughout their 10 years of existence, they have grown from a hope and a dream to now employing 38 full time Haitians, becoming a solar powered manufacturer (meaning they don’t need to be reliant on the local energy sources and continue to work and provide paychecks even during an energy crisis), recycling around of 12,000 locally sourced tires and making countless beautiful products. After the tour and meeting some of the staff, we had an opportunity to purchase the hand made goods for about 20 minutes. In that small amount of time, the staff shared that the purchases we made, our team provided a full week’s worth of payroll for the company! We couldn’t believe that our purchases (which seemed so small) would have such a profound impact. It just goes to show that every little thing does make a difference and no action can be too small. 

Our last stop of the day was The Home for Sick & Dying Babies…and I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure how to properly describe the experience during our time there. We arrived in the tap tap to a seemingly random door on a road. We were greeted one of the nuns who quickly brought us to the lobby and let us know we would be spending time with these children, possible feeding or changing them, and just holding them to show them love. We were all a bit apprehensive, unsure of what to expect and how the afternoon would go. Within minutes of entering, all 17 of our team members had picked up a baby from their crib and were doing our best to show these children as much love as we could. It was an extremely humbling experience and many of us were overcome with emotion. For a group of pretty strong personalities, the room quickly fell quiet as we took each of ‘our kids’ into our arms and from their cribs. Many of the kids were just happy to be held and someone to snuggle up with. It’s crazy to think of all the things that we take for granted in life and all these kids are looking for is someone to hold them and make them feel loved. The hardest part of the day was definitely having to put the children down and walk away, not knowing what their future held. We do know for sure that they were loved today and those moments will always be with us.

If there are any lessons to take away from our day, I’d say:

  1. Big or small, every action has an impact that can make a difference in someone’s life – don’t be afraid to do what you can!
  2. Hug the ones you love, even if you don’t have a reason
  3. A little jam sesh never hurt nobody J