Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 5: Elder visits, Grace Village orphanage tour and Fleri bakery

Hi, our  names are Danielle and Grace, and today we're blogging about our fifth day here in Haiti.  We started the day by going to visit some Elders in the city of Titanyen. We were able to visit three homes. The elders were so grateful for the time we spent with them. We were able to bring them a hot meal, wash their feet, rub lotion on any of their aches, sing with them, and most importantly pray for them. These simple things that we provided for them really meant a lot to these people. In Haiti, the life expectancy is much lower than in the US. This means that many of them have outlived their children. For many of these elders, we are the only "family" they really have. For me, it was really fun being able to bring a guitar with and make these visits more vivacious with some songs that they could sing and dance to. There was one especially lively elder who could not stop smiling, laughing, and dancing. His smile was contagious and brought so much joy to us all, as well as an inspiration. While visiting these three homes I think it was a good view to see how truly happy they are and that they put all their trust in God and his plan for them. They were all so joyful over the little things people have and I truly think it opened all our eyes to us in the group to how grateful we should be for every little thing we have in life.

After the elder visits, we went to Grace Village and had a tour of the whole set up of the area. Grace Village is a family style orphanage and school in the mountains with a beautiful view. Lots of kids call Grace Village their home after the hurricane. A family style orphanage is where there are 4-6 kids in a house with two adults that are fulfilling roles as parents and teaching them things such as cleaning their own clothes. Healing Haiti firmly believes that children should be able to experience growing up with a family, not in dorms. There are more than 60 kids in the orphanage, about 450 kids in the school, and they have helped over 11,000 in their clinic. It was amazing to see all the cool opportunities these kids have at the orphanage/school.
~Danielle Gjerde & Grace Rieckhoff

As an addition to our Grace Village visit, we were blessed with the opportunity to both take a tour of the Fleri bakery and enjoy an incredibly delicious dinner there. The tour was led by Jake Stebbing, Fleri's manager. During the tour, we were surrounded by Haitian employees making their products, and restaurant employees preparing for the dinner hour.  Jake shared how the mission of the bakery has changed quite a bit since its inception due to Healing Haiti's focus on job creation. Originally, they were going to use part of the facility as a baking school, but as those involved in the project sought God's will on the matter, it made far more sense to start a restaurant.  And proof that the project is in the center of God's will is shown by the amazing success and growth they are experiencing. Last year the bakery/restaurant made nearly $200,000, which is a tremendous number in the Haitian economy.
~Mark Magnuson

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