Sunday, September 17, 2017

DeWolf 17, Day 7

Day 7

Wow! Our last full day in Haiti! This week has gone by really fast but slow at the same time… it’s something that is really hard to explain until you experience it! Our last day started off like the others. We had a yummy breakfast, got ready, and packed up the tap tap. Some of us were a little sleepy this morning, as we were out pretty late salsa dancing with Jean, our guest house director J

Anyway… this morning we headed to Grace Village in Titanyen for church. It is always so inspiring for me, and this time was no different. The sound of a large group of Haitians worshiping together is simply beautiful. I personally love to just soak in the sound and pray silently thanking God for all He has done and will continue to do in my life and all of these beautiful people’s lives.

After church we got back in the tap tap and headed for the beach! With a little tap tap surfing (you may need to have this explained to you.. J) and excitement for the ocean, the hour drive seemed to go by pretty quickly.

We arrived at the beach and the beauty was breathtaking. Pictures to come.. J We spent the day swimming, having some lunch and frozen drinks, and talking with people from all around the world! There was a large group of Brazilian Marines there who were working for the UN, and a lot of laughter occurred as a result of us trying to understand Portuguese J We spent about 3 hours there and then reluctantly headed home sunburned and tired!

Our drive home seemed much longer as we were all pretty exhausted and ready to get out of the sun. We arrived home around 4pm and showered up before having our last dinner here, pumpkin soup! We then had our last team meeting/reflection time and we shared with each other our word of the week. Each night this week we have shared our “word of the day” (basically one word that sums up your day in regards to what we did or how you feel). Tonight, we shared our work of the week, which at first seemed nearly impossible, but we all were able to find one word. I’m going to share each of our words with you and I would encourage you to have your loved one explain why they picked their word J Thanks again for reading all week and supporting us and our endeavors! Ke Bondye Beni’ou (God bless you!)

Ashley: bittersweet
Jack: blessed
Erin: changed
Aly: eye-opening
Paula: full
Kelsey: Godly
Noah: community


DeWolf 17, Day 6

Day 6

So we have arrived at our last day of serving in Haiti.  We will be here tomorrow but today is our last to serve the people.  As many can imagine, spending a week together in close company day in and out, heat, dust and so many new experiences to absorb can take its toll on your energy level and ability to pop up each morning ready to shine.  So it was today.  We all needed a coffee boost and to strap on our mental coffee to get ready for the big day ahead. 

We began our day heading on what was to be a long drive to a residential area of Port au Prince called Carrefour.  We loaded into the blue Tap Tap as had been our usual routine and headed off.  After about 15 min we realized we were heading back to the Guesthouse.  In an unexpected turn of events, our great drivers discovered expired insurance and so returned to trade for the white Tap Tap.  We unloaded and reloaded for the trip again.  This time the trip would be even more of an adventure.  How to describe the difference?  Maybe the difference between riding a greyhound bus and riding a covered wagon J  What a journey!  Sitting on bench seats and hanging on to the hand straps we made our way through the wildest ride ever this trip.  Super crowed streets, bumping and swerving; horns honking along with a myriad of smells were with us for the more than an hour-long drive.

We finally arrived in Carrefour and the Hospital for Sick and Dying Adults.  We entered, most of us unsure of our role, to provide what we could to comfort them.  The guys went to serve in the mens ward while us girls went up to serve the ladies.  It was a touching experience to be able to provide some small amount of comfort and pleasure with massages and nail painting.  The time just flew and it was time to go…wait just one more hand to paint; we hated to leave without serving each person in need.

We left the hospital and took a short drive to the Musee de Pantheon National Haitian.  This was exceptionally interesting.  We had the museum basically to ourselves and were treated to a personal guide who explained the whole history of Haiti.  We walked away with a whole new perspective on Haiti.  The air conditioning wasn’t too bad either!

Next we took a short hop to La Loo Orphanage.  We had a bit of a paperwork snafu to begin with but with that resolved, we entered to a chorus of song from more than 40 young kids.  We got down to business with crafts for all and the kids colored and glued amazingly peacefully.  We so enjoyed connecting with kids at their level.

We made it back in time for a dip in the nearby hotel pool and a dinner of shepard’s pie.  In talking about our day today, we all agreed that throughout this week our perspectives of Haiti have evolved.  Where we first couldn’t see much beyond the garbage, smells and extreme poverty, we can now see the beauty of the people as they work, play and praise God!

Merci Haiti!


Friday, September 15, 2017

DeWolf 17, Day 5

Day 5

Have you ever felt that overwhelming feeling of joy in your heart? The one that you know can only come from the creator of this beautiful world? That feeling could be used to describe the beautiful encounters that God gave this team today. We started our day waking up before the roosters to worship with the Port Au Prince community at their daily sunrise service. We arrived as the community was already starting to worship. One song was sung in English and the rest were in Creole. Seeing the way the community came together to worship was an amazing way to start our day.

After eating a delicious breakfast prepared by the guest-house staff, we loaded up in the tap-tap (large truck/van that carries the team from place to place, also insane at off-roading), we toured Fleri farms. At Fleri farms, we walked through the fields and got to see all sorts of Haitian grown produce. We even got to drink fresh coconut water from coconuts we picked as well as picked avocados and limes!

After Fleri farms we took the water truck to Cite Soliel to give water to those that are in need. As we arrived in Cite Soleil the children ran and hugged us upon our arrival. While some of the team helped out running the water hose, the rest of the team got to love on the kids. We danced, sang, and even had a little water fight.

After the water truck we loaded up and went back to the house for snacks and to clean up for the rest of the day. We took off after a little siesta and went to Laphere’s orphanage in Titanyen. The kids were so happy to see us and participate in the craft that we brought. We played with the kids, cuddled the baby (Aly), and played soccer with the boys (Noah and Jack).

After an amazing time with the kids, we headed up to the mountain to tour the mass grave site from the earthquake. The mass grave site is on the side of a large hill where almost 300,000 people were buried after the devastation in January 2010. The memorial was a very beautiful place to honor all of the lives that were lost that day.

After visiting the memorial we took off to Fleri’s restaurant where Healing Haiti provided us with delicious pizza and appetizers for dinner. We took the tap-tap back home after dinner and enjoyed some team bonding time complemented by some beautiful singing by Grace. We ended our night with Salsa dancing lessons from Jean, the Haitian boss man at our guest house.  We danced and laughed until we couldn’t anymore. Such a beautiful end to a beautiful day. Thank you Jesus!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

DeWolf 17, Day 4

Day 4

Hey guys! It’s Jack and Noah, oh wait… It’s just Jack.

Today brought a lot of joy, sweetness, motivation, inspiration, beauty, and much more as we went through different parts of Titanyen.
We began our journey of the day with the blessing of meeting some of the elder women in the town, and bringing joy to their morning with hand and foot massages, prayers and good company. The opportunity to hear directly from each individual what it is that they want prayer for, and what their needs are gave an entirely new perspective on the mission work we came to do, and why it we are here in Haiti.
A little further down the road we had a chance to check out Fleri, a sweet new restaurant and bakery in Titanyen! Fleri is a part of Grace Village, a new community in the town that is run currently by both Americans and Haitians, with the long term vision of being 100% Haitian. We met some amazing bakers and chefs and had some incredibly delicious baked goods and a taste test of a new BBQ Chicken recipe!

Sorry guys, Jack is a bit crabby and took the computer. It might be because he just had his 8th cup of coffee today.

Anyways, after checking out the bakery/restaurant we took a tour of Grace Village, with a rad tour guide named Don, who ended up to be friends with Jacks grandpa. Grace Village is a place that centrally encases the vision of Healing Haiti, it has many classrooms incorporating modern day technology, housing, a playground, a medical clinic, farming, a church, and also the bakery/restaurant mentioned earlier.  My last trip was 7 years ago so I had the pleasure of seeing first hand how far Grace Village has come, and it is incredible how God is working there. After the tour, we drove back to the guest house to chill, take a quick dip in the pool and play soccer with the neighbors. While on the sidelines 2 little girls hung out with us and showed us their dance moves to the music one of the teens brought. Lets just say we had our fair share of laughs. This was an unexpected highlight of the day as we had the opportunity to interact with the neighboring community and meet new friends. Jack and I got killed playing soccer, unfortunately they told me I sucked and so they made me play goalie. However it was still a blast. Afterword we came back, had delicious local Haitian food, and recapped the day. Continue to pray for us as we have fun, work hard and spread love in this country!

-Jack and Noah

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

DeWolf 17, Day 3

Day 3!

We all slept so well it was 7:59 as we rolled out of bed.  Thankful that our air conditioning functioned well and we all slept like logs.  Another yummy breakfast served by our gracious staff and we were on our way to Sweet Home Orphanage.

When we arrived at Sweet Home, we met a small group of tiny preschoolers who weren’t too sure about us.  It didn’t take long sitting on the floor before they were engaged in coloring paper fans and having fun with our group.  We were blessed to have the company of part of another team from Serenity Village Church in Crystal MN too.  After a time a big class of grade school kids came running out and we broke out the craft project we brought.  It was building and decorating clothes pin airplanes.  They really got into it and soon airplane parts, markers and glue were flying around the group.  After the craft, our grade school kids left and we played parachute with the little ones.  As a final treat we were given a tour of the orphanage, learned about its history and how it is growing to include up to 50 more children to meet the huge need.  It was so uplifting to see kids well cared for and learning so they can have a better future!

Soon we were off back to Healing Haiti for lunch and then leaded up the Tap Tap for a tour of Apparent Project.  This place was most amazing.  Its mission is “Orphan Prevention thru Job Creation” with the goal to provide meaningful work so that Haitians can provide for their families.  We enjoyed a delicious smoothie (cold and yummy J in their coffee shop and then toured their myriad of business opportunities, from ceramics to jewelry to sewing, they employ over 300 people in making, selling and shipping their product all over the world.  They even provide daycare for their workers so the women can work and support their families and communities.  It was so inspiring to see the empowerment at work.  And as a final treat, we shopped their store and each found beautiful items to bring home to family and friends while supporting their important mission.

Our next stop was to the home for sick and dying babies. We put on our serving aprons and walked down some stairs to find two large rooms filled with babies. One room had slightly more sick babies with IVs, etc., and another with babies who were healing and starting to get better. Most of the babies there suffered from malnutrition and a variety of other illnesses that occur due to malnutrition. Our job there included holding babies, feeding them, and helping their caregivers change them. It was an emotional, but rewarding experience that left a few of us in tears. We were only there for about an hour, but it felt like so much more snuggling sweet babies to sleep. 

After we were done serving, we came back to the guesthouse and had another great dinner of ramen noodles with peppers, onions, and some great spices. We then went to the pool again for a relaxing, distressing swim. It’s now 9pm and we just finished our group reflection time! A portion of the team is also now at the grocery store getting some ice cream J Thank you for your prayers and for supporting our team! We are looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

-Paula and Erin