Saturday, March 10, 2018

King's College - Day 5

We started today with a quick visit to one of the local markets in downtown Port-au-Prince. We enjoyed meeting the vendors and "discussing" prices of their handicraft. After finding a few souvenirs to remind us of our time in Haiti, we went to an orphanage that for babies through teenagers. A little girl who was missing part of her leg and hand decided to adopt me for the day. It was difficult to think of her life as she got older, knowing that she may or may not have access to a prosthetic limb. But I tried to stay in the moment and got to be her wheels for the time that we were there. She had fun ordering me around and peeking through the windows at some of the smaller children who were still in their room. Another team member who is a nurse worked with a child with cerebral palsy who had fallen from his chair the day before. Others had a chance to introduce the kids to the wonders of sidewalk chalk and held bubble wands for blowing approximately one million bubbles! A few of the teenage girls were creating a dance routine to a Justin Bieber song and were thrilled when one of our team members popped her head in and started to sing the song with them. Music and love really are universal languages!

We then drove to Papillon, an organization that was created to provide jobs to people so that they can provide for their families. They have a large cafe and employ over 200 people who make handicrafts. The even have on-site childcare for their employees, something that most U.S. entities lack. As a business professor, I am particularly interested in having my students see first-hand how job creation can help develop a sustainable economy, and Papillon is a terrific example of a sustainable enterprise that continues to employ more Haitians each year.

Finally, we traveled to a hospital for sick and dying babies. We were all a bit apprehensive, as it can be difficult to see anyone who is sick, let alone a baby. Half of our team fed some of the healthier babies their evening meal. While we fed them, other older children played hide and seek between our legs, enjoying hiding in the folds of our skirts. The other half of our team helped feed and change diapers of the sickest babies. Like other places we have seen, supplies that we take for granted, like wipes and diapers, are in limited supply. While some team members continued to care for the sicker children, others were able to take some of the healthier babies and children outside. We all enjoyed being on the large playground. My specialty was pushing the swing for two children at a time. Even the girls cried for me to push them "plus fort" - harder so they could grab the leaves on the tree. While we there, another team of volunteers arrived, and it was great to see so many people who had come simply to love and be with these kids. And in the process, we got some pretty amazing love and hugs in return. 

- Kimberly