Thursday, September 27, 2018

Birthday shopping

We are sitting at a nearby hotel pool watching the Vikings game with sweat dripping down our backs. There is just no relief from the heat.  We miss Autumn!!

Today was a nice midweek reprieve, so different from yesterday. We moved up in digits, which means a better neighborhood.   Once again we had hope!

We first visited a place called Peace Cycle. In Haiti water is sold in many different sizes but the most common is individual 8 ounce bags.  8 million of those 8 ounce bags are consumed EVERY DAY!!!!!!  There is no garbage collection so those bags are everywhere.  Peace Cycle up-cycles the plastic bags into various products such as bibs, bags, purses, wallets, etc.  So cool! Check them out here to learn more about their story....

Next we headed to Papillion, (Karen's personal favorite!!).  Shelley Jean is amazing! She is the founder of Papillion, a dedicated advocate for the poor working in Haiti.  You can learn more about Papillion and Shelley right here;) Papillion employees 200 + Haitian artisans during peak season.  We toured the production area and saw all the proud craftsman making everything by hand... from the clay beads to the pottery to the hand sewn stuffed animals.  So much pride in their work. The best part is their children were being cared for nearby for free and mothers were encouraged to leave as needed to breast feed their babies.  One of Shelley's founding goals of keeping families together.  Across the street from production was the retail store where we could buy the artisan made items.  Many of us bought beautiful gifts for friends and families. It felt so good knowing how we were helping by doing this.  We also enjoyed smoothies and snacks in the upstairs restaurant which uses its profits to buy items such as sewing machines to reinvest into the business.

After enjoying a traffic jam with our amazing driver Valerie we finally arrived at the Croatian Relief Services Orphanage.  The most joyful part of this orphanage was that the children were not starved for love. They were not desperately longing to be touched and love. This spoke volumes to our group as we realized this group of children had received more love and affection than many other children we had encountered thus far. The stickers were a huge hit!!

We end the day as always, dinner and group time.  We always contribute a word of the day to sum up our day.  There were so many and I did not write them all down.  The 'defiant' Denise gave the phrase of the day instead of the word of the day and I think it sums up this amazing journey so well........ "Do small things with great Love".

This has been an amazing journey.
Linda and Karen (the Birthday Girl!!)