Saturday, June 8, 2019

Day 5&6: Water trucks, sewing, Sakala, and beygs!

Friday we set out for Cite Soleil to help with a water trucks again.  We arrived at Hope Complex and waited for the water truck to return from filling up at the Water Distribution Center.  While we waited, we got the opportunity to see another of their cool projects.  Like the Innovation Center, the Sewing Center is housed in a remodeled shipping container.  They have 15 sewing machines, and three spaces for counting/measuring tables.  Here's whats extra cool:  they are making newborn baby kits: baby diapers, receiving blankets, and baby hats, and post-partum/menstrual pads.  Here's what extra cool:  they have employed a Cite Soleil resident to manage it and are training her in the patterns --then she will hire her own team and train them with the patterns. The photo shows the hanging diapers in various stages of the process.  This way they have a standard to work against.  The entire shop is very organized and is full of potential!

After the Sewing Center Tour, we headed out for a Water Truck distribution. The line to get water was 20-30 people long at any given time.  Much busier than our first day of it.  Lots of people and children out and about.  Carrying a 5 gallon bucket of water for a couple blocks is no joke - how they do this every day is something to marvel.  At one point, I took a bit of break from water and hauling and finally carried the little girl, probably about 7 or so, that had clung to my shirt and held my hand the whole time up to that point.  We stood in the shade of one of the shacks and I rocked her.  As I hummed "you are my sunshine" to her"I realized she had fallen asleep.  For a moment I closed my eyes too and focused on the sounds around me -  her little snooze noises, the water splashing out of the hose and filling buckets, the boys horsing around in the water, and adults scolding them to straighten up.  What I didn't hear were birds signing, or the rustle of trees in the breeze - there are not much of either of these in Cite Soleil.  As I stood there, with a child in my arms listening to the sounds, it really hit me how hard life is for these residents, yet no one is crying - i hear laughter of the girls splashing water on each other and "hey you"s that we are called to get our attention - usually to help with a bucket or play with a kid. It was humbling to say the least.  

We finished up and went back to the Guesthouse and hit the pool at Hotel Elite.  After splashing around for a couple hours up there, we walked the short distance back to the Guesthouse where we would greeted with  delicious Haitian cuisine.  We had roasted goat, papaya rice, mashed root veggies, fried okra, and peas and onion.  After dinner we played cornhole, or bags, or rather "beygs" if you have a deep minnesotan accent. :-)

On Saturday we had a bit of a sleep-in and headed back to Sakala for games with the kids.  A big group of teens and young adults we playing a very competitive game of soccer when we arrived. They definitely had some awesome footwork! Some of us watched the game, others helped some of the other boys wash clothes by hand, and others played with the younger kids with sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  If you are a chess player, I challenge you to game with Ketia - she's 11 and had me done before she actually got me in a check-mate.  I tried again, and she mowed me down in less than 10 minutes.  Miles also plays chess and he challenged her - nope, she sliced him down twice as well.  She's heading to the States soon for a National Tournament - no doubt she will be formidable.  
They produce Moringa oil and artwork done by the kids. Many of us found treasures to purchase to remember our fun times there.  

Saturday afternoon we ventured to a grocery store and found coffee, candy, honey, spices, hot sauce, more coffee -- oh and the boys got ramen noodles and ruffles--missing their US staples it seems.  ha! 

In Christ's steps, 
Heather Douglas