WOW! That was my word of the day today. You know how we've seen on TV third world countries, countries that are impoverished, with the children running around naked and no shoes? It's real life. It's what we experienced today.
Our day started off like it has the last couple of days; waking up, enjoying coffee and eating a nice big breakfast. Breakfast consisted of pancakes, scrambled eggs, avocados that are HUGE, bananas, oatmeal and fresh squeezed juice. Our ladies (we have two ladies who work here at the guest house who cook our meals for us) treat us very well. We loaded up into the "Tap-tap" aka an enclosed truck. Our first stop was at the Elder School. This was a school located in Cite Soleil, which I've learned is the poorest city in the Western Hemisphere. Driving through the streets of this city brought a flood of emotions. It's real. It is an area that is highly populated, with garbage and smells you can't fathom. The school had kids of all ages, most of the kids are SO EXCITED to see us - they immediately cling to someone and just want touch. We talked with and played with the elementary and middle school aged kids. They love games, dance, and music. There were teenagers here and honestly, they're not much different than our teenagers back home. They have attitudes, inside jokes and some even had cell phones! They were learning calculus and English. One of the girls even tricked one of us to help her with her homework.
After this stop we went to a zone to help deliver water. This was the moment that I personally felt a flood of emotions. Seeing these shacks, naked bodies, kids as little as 2 years old running the streets barefoot. Running after our "Tap-tap" and immediately clinging onto us as we got off the truck. The water truck was already onsite and there seemed to be hundreds of people - of all ages - lined up with buckets. There's a method to how they get water and they know this. They are supposed to stand in line, but it's not uncommon for a small child, and when I say small, I mean like 3 years old or someone we would consider a very elderly grandma "cut-in-line" with a sense of desperation for water. Each one of us did something different. We learned that the part of serving was to hold the children, who seemed to climb on you like a little monkey. Another part was to hold the water hose as there was mass chaos of people trying to get their buckets under the hose, to people like me (and a few others) who tried to help by grabbing buckets, filling and QUICKLY pushing them out of the way. Part of this was constantly yelling at people to get to the back of the lines. Some of us carried 5 gallon pails (or larger) in both hands back to the homes. But what was a sight was watching kids who are maybe 3 years old and up putting these buckets on top of their heads and walking barefoot back to their homes. It is hot, roads are pebbles and rock, and they walk barefoot. Could you imagine walking with a 5 gallon bucket on your head, barefoot, walking on rocks and pebbles in 100 degree heat?
After this water stop, we went to Hope School. To go to school here you have to pay. Not all kids go to school. Again, the kids are so excited to see us. We helped serve them their meal and learned more about the construction that is currently taking place on site. The school was built on a landfill. There is so much garbage they had to dig down many many feet to bury garbage to build on top of it. It was exciting to see that they are building a clinic that will employ many more Haitians.
After this stop, we had two more water stops and visited a farm. The water stops were pretty much the same as the first as in what we were doing. Luckily the staff who are employed through Healing Haiti were incredible in guiding us, ensuring we're safe, and taking charge during the water stops because things can easily get out of the control.
At the Fleri Farm which was developed through Healing Haiti we walked part of the land, learned about the purpose of the farm and enjoyed fresh coconut and sugar cane.
We ended our day with our third water stop and headed back to our guest house. We had Team Time while it down poured before dinner. We'll probably end our evening at the pool decompressing or playing an intese game of Mafia with the other teams here.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
We each have to give a word of the day. This is suppossed to sum up our day. Here are our words from our team: Desperation, frustrating, judgement, wow, mannerisms, guilt, "hey you," strength, happy, survival, humor, joy, and heart-warming.