Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Water truck day

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.

Sara W

Day 2 Orphanages and Metal Market


Today was the first day that we went out on a true mission.  It started like a normal day with breakfast and conversation, getting to know the team members,if they had kids, if they are married, career and all the small stuff that you talk about to make that awkward silence leave the room.  Once that was done is what I am calling dessert, the part of meal that you wait for the whole day to savor and hang onto till the next day.

We left for our mission trip at 9am.  We loaded into our truck called the "tap tap", and drove into the unknown.  As we drove, I learned that they do not honk when angry, but rather as a way to communicate with traffic due to no traffic light.  As we drove further,  we turned into an alley way, the gates opened and our new reality began.  We sat in a Gazebo and waited for the kids to take a break from school and join us.  All of a sudden you could hear little voices signing a song in a foreign language and a train of kids smiling and singing.  With the look that I can only describe as what my own children looked like on Christmas morning.  The kids came to the top step of the Gazebo, eyed us all up, and chose who they wanted to love on them.  We as the adults waited in anticipation until we each had a child or three, hugging, jumping, pulling our hands to follow us all while smiling and giggling. We had about an hour to do crafts, played soccer, held them, and some of us just cried knowing that this was there home.  I was amazed to watch these 4 and 5 year old children help each other find their shoes, put them on, grab one of us to tie them then when back into their train line singing happily and walking back to class. We all got back into the tap tap and off we went to the next stop.

We drove to a Metal Market where the workers pound out tin into amazing designs.  They work 12-14 hours pounding, scraping and begging us to choose their projects.  They hold the tin with their feet and most of these men's toes were permanently curved due to holding the tin for so long.   We got back into the tap tap after buying lots of decorations and onto the next location.

We drove to out next location which was Dio's, an orphanage for special needs/disabilities.  they opened the gates and we had the happiest kids greet us with smiles.  We kind of all stood there in awe not really knowing what to expect yet again.  In about 5 seconds we had kids in walkers and crutches playing soccer, coloring, dancing, rapping into the speaker and loving life.  We think that we go there to help them, but in reality, they helped us.  They Changed us.  They opened our hearts and our eyes to what love pure love is.  This experience at this home was so huge for me that I honestly cannot explain it in words. Probably one of the most humbling intimate experiences that I have every been shown by the Lord.  Everyone reading this and knowing anyone that came here, ask them about this experience at Dio's.  Everyone's story in unique and amazing and full of love.

As we left, the children's faces that were filled with anticipation and excitement was now gone.  They all stood there and waved as we left.  It broke me.  It hurt my heart and soul.  We loaded the tap tap and drove away, crying, questioning God "why",comforting each other and just digesting what we just witnessed.

I will close with this.  I and my team are blessed.  We are blessed to experience this.  We are blessed to be here to help and show these children that they are important and loved.  We are blessed to witness the power of love in each other and these children.  All in all, WE  ARE BLESSED.


P.S. Hopefully pictures tomorrow. Internet has been a little dicey here!