On Thursday we went to visit Grace Village. It is about a 45 minute
drive from the guest house. It is located in the town of Titanyen;
translated to English is "Less than nothing". This town was also
chosen as the site of the mass grave used for the victims of the
2010 earthquake, estimating 250,000+ souls.
It was amazing and heartwarming to see the changes just from last
year. The children are very well cared for and appear quite happy
and outgoing. We toured their dining facility, including the kitchen,
their school, library and medical clinic. All of the facility looked well
maintained. However, the facility and the children's care were not
the area of the most change. Since my visit last year they had
revised the way the children's housing was supervised. They had
also begun taking in the children from orphanages that the Haitian
government had ruled unfit and closed. They have also begun a
program to search for and contact relatives of the children so they
may be reunited if possible.
There has also been a partnering with other large non-profit groups
so that each organization can deploy it's strengths and fall back on
the facilities and strengths of other units when needed. Personally,
I see great promise in this arrangement.
At our evening team meeting I sensed that the others had also seen
great promise in what was being done at Grace village. After we left
the children's area we went the short distance down the hill and
stopped at their new commercial bakery that is just opening. We
toured the bakery and also saw where they will be opening a small
restaurant. They hope to pull in the crowed after church (which is
just next door) for the restaurant and sell baked goods to the local
villagers and possibly in Port-Au-Prince.
The whole endeavor is aimed at strengthening the Haitian
economy by employing only Haitian workers once each project is
I think the most emotional part of the day was our afternoon visits to
the Healing Haiti supported elderly living in the Titanyen area. As we
stopped at each home we asked, through an interpreter, questions
about how they were doing and what they needed. Then, with their
permission, we would wash their feet and rub body lotion on their
feet, legs, arms etc.. one of our guides brought an electronic
keyboard and guitar and played worship songs for us to sing. Then before we
left we said a prayer for them. The general reaction for the team
was that we knew they had a hard life, all their life and now, in their
declining years, they still had it hard. Yet, we saw Faith in God and
a will to keep on going. I think we were blessed at least as much as
they were. As we travel the streets of Haiti, God is teaching us
many lessons. Many of these people have not even dreamed of
having what we take for granted every day. Yet, they can be happy
and praise God for what they have.
More on Friday - October 28th
We started early today. Everyone was up and ready about 5:30am
because we were going to church. What a blessed experience. I
could not understand much of what I heard, but it was not
necessary. The sight of these people walking, standing, and
kneeling with hands raised in prayer and praise to God was
unmistakable and infectious.
After church we returned to the guest house for breakfast and to
change clothes for another water truck morning. We actually made
two stops today. I had the camera for picture taking. I got out of our
TapTap and was mobbed by little children wanting their picture
taken. They don't just want their picture taken, they want to see it as
well. It appears to give them great joy to see themselves on the
camera screen. The littler ones don't understand why you can't
hold them at the same time you are taking pictures. So, I had to
alternate with holding a few and then taking pictures. It was a
beautiful water stop morning.
After the water stops were over we returned to the guest house to
change into clean clothes for a trip to tour an organization called The Apparent Project that
manufactures clay into pottery and colored beads. They appear to
be growing and employ over 190 Haitians. We shopped for
souvenirs and had refreshments in their coffee shop.
Since this was near the close of our day, we stopped for pizza
before returning to the guest house for our closing team meeting.