Monday, December 10, 2018

Final Day

Day 7
Today was our final full day in Haiti, it is hard to say goodbye to this beautiful country. Our week here has been such a blessing to have had the chance to serve and love on the people of Haiti. And to be loved on in return.  We have so many fond memories to take home with us, the faces, people and experiences we’ve had here in Haiti. The countless stories we’ve heard from people about their families, hardships, interests and dreams. This week has shown me that there is no dream or prayer too big for God to answer. 

As for our last day here, we went to church up at Grace Village. It was great to have the Creole and English translation during the service. 
After church let out we headed to Wahoo Bay for a little fun in the sun and some rest & relaxation. The water was a beautiful crystal clear blue color. We nearly had the whole beach to ourselves. The kids on our team spent almost the whole time jumping on the trampoline, while the adults swam for a bit, then watched from the shoreline.

At 3pm we headed back to guest house to pack our things to head back to the states. Praying for smooth and safe travels home tomorrow. As well as for wellness for some team members who aren’t feeling the greatest. 

Until next time,

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Day#6 - Play Date!

We went back to Cite Soleil this morning. No water truck today, we were just there to play with the children. 
While many kids played soccer or jump rope, some of the girls started playing with my hair and combing it. It bothered me that they used their own comb. I prayed that I would not get lice from this experience. Then the comb dropped in the gutter, which is their sewer, so I said no when they went to pick the comb out of the gutter. The little girl that was sitting on my lap did not want to get off, because she was afraid someone else would take her place. The call came that it was time to leave, so the little girl had to get off. 

Back to the guest house to shower and get ready for the next orphanage. This orphanage consisted off a Pastor’s family that had six children, they took in 18 more children after the 2010 earthquake; so, a total of 23 children. These children were very well behaved, they loved to the coloring books and loved using the water colors. One fellow instead of coloring found bland paper and traced the whole coloring book, I was very impressed with Him. They did good job of cleaning up after themselves. They played basketball, but not in a basket. There was a hole in the wall near the ceiling.  Some children were playing soccer in the side lot.
Always in Haiti there is a soccer game being played.

We ended the day at a swimming pool near the guest house, which was very refreshing.

Mona and Joe 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Day #5 - Elder Visits and Grace Village

Day #5 – Elder Visits and Grace Village

Today half the team got up before 6am to attend Haitian church. It was quite a unique experience, especially for the younger team members. At Haitian church, everyone walks while they pray. One older gentleman welcomed us with hugs and a smile. Everyone enjoyed the visit. 

After breakfast, the team went up to the city of Titanyen (which means “less than nothing” in Kreyol). There we visited Grace Village and learned about the school, orphanage, and clinic. We then went to visit some of the participants of the Elder Care program. Each of them welcomed us into their humble homes. We brought them a hot meal, and our team cared for them by giving them massages, painting their nails, shaving of a man’s face and praying for them and their families. It was so wonderful to see how the team jumped right in, even the kids were happy to help. 

After our elder visits we toured Fleri Bakery, our first job creation program. It was amazing to hear the back story of how the organization grew to where it is today. Healing Haiti’s Fleri bakery has hired nearly 50 Haitian employees as and has a goal to hire 50+ more Haitian employees in the future.

At the Bakery enjoyed delicious pizzas before venturing home. The ride home would normally be 30 minutes, but tonight it was closer to 3 hours. This team continues to amaze us with their flexibility and patience, nobody complained, they just made the best of a rough situation. They are incredibly adaptable, and so generous to each team member and the people we serve here in Haiti.  We are so grateful to be here in Haiti serving alongside them. 

Carissa & Taylor

Day #4 - Orphanages and ASL School

Anyone that has been on a tour to Sweet Home or No Place like Home Orphanage will remember the story told about the Forget me Not tree. The director tells how we as American’s come visit and love the children then pass

under the Forget me not tree and go back to the states to live our lives forgetting about Haiti and its children.  I don’t believe we ever forget any of the children we have encountered. What I do think is we may want to forget because the pain felt while here is too much to bear. The love you see in each of the children’s eyes brings so much joy. 

Visiting three orphanages today left us feeling joyful and relieved as we see all the children truly being caring for. Our first stop was Sweet Home where the children smiled and ran around giggling. Our next stop was a special needs orphanage where there were a number of children of varying abilities. A few young men used walkers and were very quick with the soccer ball. All five children on our team interacted with the children with love and care. They assisted the kids with watercolor painting, building towers with blocks, and playing soccer of course. Our last stop was to Montfort Deaf School which was a favorite for some of our second time teammates. Here we communicated with them with some basic signs. It is always amazing as these children are so intuitive and ask so many questions as what child belongs to what parent and how old we are. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Day #3 - Papillon, Teach Haiti, Home for Sick and Dying

Day 3

Today the team started the day at Papillon, an organization that focuses on job creation for parents so that they will not be forced to give their children up for economic reasons. There, artisans are creating all types of goods, from pottery to textile goods. Each of them a master in their craft. After the tour, we did some shopping and enjoyed frozen beverages on their patio.

Our next stop was Teach Haiti, a school started by a Haitian woman who came to Minnesota for college, and returned home to teach students who otherwise couldn't afford it. The students all have massive vision and dreams, the most common career aspirations were doctor, engineer, chemist, soccer player, and lawyer. These students were incredibly smart and so welcoming to us. They all are learning English, French and some Spanish along with Kreyol.

After a short rest at the guesthouse our team visited the Home for Sick and Dying Babies. Though the name is discouraging, the children being treated there made everyone smile. These kids are primarily malnourished, and some are being treated for serious health concerns. The team fed babies, and held those who wanted to be held, and many were able to go out and play on the playground with out team. This visit came with many mixed emotions for our team. They so badly want to help, yet the need in Haiti is overwhelming. What they are beginning to see is how we need Haiti, not to "fix it", but rather to fix us. We are the ones being changed this week. Not one of these team members will leave unchanged.

I am so grateful for this family, and that Taylor and I get the privilege of serving alongside them this week. God is doing some really cool stuff in and through each of them.


Day #2 - Water truck / Fleri Farm / Hope School Church

We started our day at Fleri (flurry) Farms.  It was started by Healing Haiti and is now an independent for profit, organization. It is 28 acres. It is located in the most impoverished neighborhood in this hemisphere called Cite Soleil (City under the sun). There are many existing as well as future plans.

Currently there is a banana and plantain orchard, Mango, coconut, mango, papaya and passion fruit. They too may eventually be orchards as part of the farm. These were called the canopy crop. Under the canopy there are ground crops. Peppers, squash, eggplant, basil, and several others wrap up those items.  They are hoping to get four good ground crops to pursue. There is a large area of sugar cane that will be sold off to the highest bidder, and that land will be used for a new crop. They have an irrigation canal that is flooded when needed; to assist in watering.

They are starting a new program of planting a nursery to sell/give plants as well.  
Along with this step is a demonstration garden of around a half acre will be set up.   The purpose is to teach local farmers how to maximize their plots. They are hoping to eventually start buying produce from the neighbors. When they can’t sell their crops at the market it is tossed. The farm is hoping to start dehydrating the fruit and shipping it. This will be teachable to the local farmers as well as selling the farms goods globally. They want to be able to ship produce fresh/dehydrated, so they are not competing with the neighbors.
They have been given a goal of the 28 acres impacting 1000 lives. Between hiring workers, teaching neighbors, and allowing a handful of poor neighbors to receive and sell in the market to earn enough to survive.  

After the farm, we had three watering stops.  Healing Haiti has a huge tanker, everyone in Haiti must has water delivered via truck. Everyone either has a cistern that needs to be filled or the impoverished areas they have to bring their own containers which come in many sizes and shapes. There is lack of medical, educational and many other goods and services that are lacking.  Our main job was to help fill and carry the water with the people. Love the babies.  Every child wanted to be held including the larger older children.  When we put a child down another was there to replace them.  Plus, while you were holding someone, another person would want you to carry their water, so we did double duty. Also, when someone wrangled you, they held your hand and pushed other people away until all their containers were home.  

Healing Haiti built the community several buildings.  They asked the community what they wanted, and they said a church. That is where it started.  Because of the enormous mounds of garbage, they planned on needing to put the pylons down 20 feet.  Once they started it wend down 80 feet.  It was a considerable larger cost to them.  They all dropped the equipment and went to pray.  As always, God had it all worked out.  
Today, the church is used for 0 students and teachers that come and are fed each day, in the church facility.  Apple and JAMF (their programmers) along with a container/pod company donated many laptops, iPads, etc. as a trial program.  They have three years to show its value.  It is the first one of its kind.  There are so many miracles attached to the story it is hard to post them all here but please ask me about them and the main teach “Ash”.

They also have built a medical clinic on the property and will be hiring all Haitian staff.  Three doctors, nurses, educators, etc. The equipment is currently in customs and they hope to have it up and running in January. The community chooses all of the students and has input on the other matters.  

I am stopping here, but please do ask any of us about the many details left out. 


Monday, December 3, 2018

Travel Day #1

Today, it all started waking up at 4 o'clock in the morning to head to the airport. We had two flights to get to the final destination. Once we got to Haiti we were welcomed by people playing music while we were getting ready to get our bags. Then, we got on a tap tap that took our to the guest house. When we got to the guest house we were surprised by the dogs around the house. We got to play with them and give them our leftovers. When we finished unpacking our bags, we played an enjoyable game of soccer with the kids next door. The kids had very impressive soccer skills for being so young. Once they wore us out on the game of soccer, we came back home to an awesome taco dinner.  Finally, we all had a meeting about the rules of the guest house and the plan for the next day. Now, we our off to bed for an exciting day tomorrow!

Sydney and Julia