Port-au-Prince welcomed us with the heat of Haiti as we waited in line for customs. Several members of the other Healing Haiti team were on our same flight so it was fun to meet and fellowship with them. We picked up our luggage (all suitcases accounted for!) and met the Healing Haiti staff. After a short ride on the tap-tap, we arrived at the guest house. What a beautiful house, all made by hand! We spent the remainder of the afternoon getting settled in, figuring out sleeping arrangements and getting to know each other. We had a friendly competition with the other during a heated round of the question game and called it a night.
We jumped right in on our first day delivering water to Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil is the poorest area in the western hemisphere. It is a true shanty town with most houses pieced together out of scrap materials. Our 2 Healing Haiti teams joined forces, along with a refurbished milk truck, to bring water to 3 areas of Cite Soleil. Each stop was a unique experience, allowing us to deliver water and spend time with some amazing kids. It's crazy to think that something we take for granted is so rare and sought after by these people. Amy described yesterday as "sensory overload" which is a great way to describe the day. The smells, the sights, the sounds - everything was a bit of a blur.
During each stop, the team spent time filling and hauling buckets of water and spending time with the kids. We became human jungle gyms with kids wanting to be picked up, given piggyback rides and playing games. The beautiful kids kept saying "hey you!" and it was fun to see their smiling, welcoming faces as we exited the tap-tap. We all have sore arms after hauling all of those buckets of water!
We also stopped at Hope School and Clinic in Cite Soleil and were able to see kids practice for their kindergarten graduation ceremony. School was not in session but it was fun to see the impact that Healing Haiti is having in Cite Soleil. What used to be an 80ft trash heap is now a school that feeds and educates the poorest children in Cite Soleil. The campus also has a life-saving clinic and solar powered sewing and technology pods. We were able to get a tour and hear more about the building process from Smith, our guide. The children were dressed in beautiful easter dresses and it was fun to play with them and do silly dances. Julie and Ava were even able to spend time with girls named Julie and Ava!
After a long and tiring day, many team members decided to take a refreshing trip to the pool. It was a great way to relax and cool off. We had a delicious dinner of spaghetti made by the wonderful Haitian ladies who work at the guest house and spent some time as a team doing word of the day and Creole word of the day. Team time was a fantastic way to regroup and process the day. It was a moving experience for everyone and we talked a lot about the situations that these people are put in. It was great to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love these beautiful people!