Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 6: Water Truck delivery & Home for the Sick and Dying Babies

Hello blog readers,
Today was our last day serving the people of Haiti. We started off our day by doing two water truck stops. Water truck day always brings on tons of emotions. It's overwhelming, fun, exciting, heartbreaking, and eye opening all at once. Being on the water line means you are directing and holding the hose. If you aren't a part of the water line, you are helping carry the buckets of water being filled up or loving on the kids. Today after delivering a bucket, Abby and I had the opportunity to help some ladies wash their laundry. Washing laundry in Haiti is not throwing all your darks in one pile, your lights in another, and then throwing them into a machine. Washing laundry in Haiti starts with a large bucket of soapy water and your hands. Clothes become clean when you rub your hands back and forth with the fabric in the bucket of soapy water until it makes a squeaking noise. We helped them wash clothes for about ten minutes. Most of the ten minutes was spent laughing at the fact that we had no idea what we were doing. This was actually one of my favorite experiences I have had while in Haiti. It really allowed me to be apart of the culture here and that was super cool. Something I have always loved about water truck day is watching the kids dump the water on themselves and dance while they're doing it. It shocks me every time how joyful the Haitian people are even though they are living in the conditions that they are. The littlest things can and will put the biggest smile on their faces.

-Rachel Nagel

After our last water truck stop we went to the grocery store! The grocery store is always a somewhat exciting adventure. The best part of going to the grocery store is the air conditioning. Besides AC we enjoyed buying a whole bunch of different Haitian food such as ice cream, candy, and drinks to try! Dana was especially excited about finding limeade! After finding all of our delicious snacks we got on the taptap to go to the home for sick and dying babies. When we arrived we were led into two different rooms of babies. Each room had at least 30 cribs. We started off by feeding each child their lunch which was soup. After lunch we were allowed to take the babies out of their cribs and bring them outside on the playground. Some kids had to be held because they were too little and sick to play. In America we have the luxury of technology and here in Haiti they have little access to care for the sick. This was one of the most heartbreaking experiences of the entire trip.

-Rachel Nagel & Grace Rieckhoff

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