Wednesday, June 20, 2018

PLC Day 3: An Eclectic Day!

Day 3: June 20th, 2018

Bonswa zanmi mwen!

It’s Max back again with another spicy meatball! But the catch is that it’s a blog and not a meatball. Today we are joined by Kira, Cameron, and Logan from the Peterson family and by Emma Wagner. This is Emma’s first trip and the Petersons’ second and third trips.

Today’s day started with another delicious breakfast of French toast and fresh fruit. The guys also had the opportunity to get a few games of bags in before we had to head out for our day. Cameron and I are still undefeated in bean bags and plan to keep that rolling all week. Our first stop of the day was at Peace Cycle, a small business that reuses plastic water bags to make products like purses, wallets, and other small fashion items. When I first came down here in 2016, the plastic bags and trash in general were an evident and immense problem. You can’t just throw the bags away because they can pollute the water and fish, and you can’t burn them either because it releases dangerous chemicals into the air. In the two years since I first came here, Peace Cycle was created and now employs 20 Haitians. We were all impressed by the quality of the products even though they were using such primitive tools (coal irons and pedal sewing machines) to create them. The staff are so kind and it was an overall amazing experience for us.

We also got to visit the Apparent Project and Papillon Enterprises. This is another small business that utilizes trash to make crafts, ceramics, clothing, jewelry, and much more. Apparent Project employs 200 staff members and sells globally. We had a quick lunch of pizza, fries, and smoothies before we headed back to the guest house to regroup before the rest of our day. After we regrouped, the team split up and headed to two different locations for the afternoon.

Emma had the opportunity to go to the home for sick and dying children this afternoon. This is a home run by nuns where sick kids are sent to recover. Emma said one of the most striking things about being with the kids is how unemotional they are until you pick them up, but when she was interacting with them, they lit up with excitement and energy. Food was also a very useful tool to bring happiness to the kids! One of the hardest parts was having to leave the kids after you put them back in their crib because they begin to bawl as soon as you put them down. One thing that was shocking to Emma was the ratio of kids to staff. You would think that a single nun would be overwhelmed by a room of 50 kids, but they find the strength through their faith to be able to take care of each and everyone of the kids in the home. It’s a truly eye opening experience and you definitely should try to experience it if you ever get the chance to come down to Haiti.  

The Petersons’ and I were in the other half of our group that went to an orphanage called For His Glory. This orphanage was home to about 40 kids across a broad range of ages. Cameron had a fun experience when a few mischievous kids got into an open backpack of ours and ran off with a can of bug spray. The high speed pursuit ended in Cameron apprehending the suspect, but at this point in time it doesn’t look like we will be pressing charges. There was also the case of the missing fruit snacks, but what we thought was super cool is that the kid actually ended up bringing back the fruit snacks even though it would have been so easy for him to just run off with them. I think that really speaks a lot about Haiti’s culture. Logan and I got to spend some time with two kids named S and K. We had some fun being able to break the language barrier by drawing on the ground with chalk. One of my Spanish teachers told me “When you go to a foreign country where you don’t know the language, you need to know 3 games to be able to get through your day: Pictionary, Charades, and Taboo.” We thought that was very true for us today. Kira said that she saw god today with a little boy who had cerebral palsy. Marijo and Braedyn were spending time with the boy and Marijo asked if she could pick him up to bring him outside. The staff said of course we can and that made us reflect on our boundaries and if we had created them ourselves. In this case it is really hard to go out of your comfort zone like that, but we are the one’s who make these boundaries and keep ourselves in our own comfort zone. Today we built bridges, not walls and I think that’s what God would want us to do. Kira said that the boys smile is what made it all worth it.

One other random highlight from today was on the TapTap when Pauline was trying to teach us songs and most of us didn’t know them so Jeff got a few of us to make up our own. Before I leave you with the song, I just wanted to thank you all once again for keeping up on our blogs and giving us support while on our mission. We will have more fun stories for you tomorrow, but without further adieu, to the tune of “Deep in the Heart of Texas”, Servant Leader by Bennie and the Jeffs.

Jesus is neat
He washes feet
(4x clap)
He is a servant leader

Loaves and fish
Are quite the dish
(4x clap)
From our servant leader

He rose from the dead
Thorns on his head
(4x clap)
He is a servant leader

He’ll come again
We don’t know when
(4x clap)
He is a servant leader

You know he is
We know he is
(4x clap)
He is a servant leader!

Thank you and we will see you all tomorrow!

Max Nelson