Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cookies and Chopsticks and Slippers! Oh My!

Hello friends!

Today was another wonderful day as we visited two orphanages.  Our Saturday morning kicked off with a stop at Esaie's orphanage where about 20 children energetically greeted us. Shelley showed the children where Haiti, China, and Minnesota are located on a world map.  After describing how Chinese people eat their food, the kids had the opportunity to eat fruit snacks using chopsticks.  Many of them were better than us! Then the girls at the orphanage got dolled up with new hair accessories and their nails painted, while the boys showed off their homemade kites and fantastic basketball, soccer, and jump rope skills.

After snacks and a quick ride on the tap-tap, we arrived at Juno's orphanage and were greeted with many hugs and smiles.  We had the kids channel their inner shoe designer as they decorated slippers with a variety of fabric paints and sprays.  Shortly after we broke out the legos, jump ropes, and more beauty supplies.  Once again the girls were treated to a mini-makeover while the boys played soccer and created masterpieces with legos. Before we left the kids all enjoyed frosted cookies and sang us two lovely songs (actions included!).

Once back at the guest house our group split up.  Those with plenty of energy picked up the neighborhood soccer enthusiasts and took them to the field to play.  The other group explored the nearby pool and cooled off after a hot day.

We can't believe that tomorrow is our final day of our trip.  While we all miss home, it will be very bittersweet to say goodbye to Haiti and it's wonderful people.

Written by "The Triplets" (Catty, Sydney, and Morgan)

Friday, July 12, 2013

A High Schooler's Perspective on Haiti

Haiti is a place unlike any other, it is a place where people are more grateful for what they have even though they have less than us in the USA. People in Haiti constantly praise God for what they have even though over half of the population would be considered the poorest of the poor in the US. Haiti is a place were wherever you go it feels like you personally know others. In Haiti it is acceptable and encouraged to greet someone with a smile and wave as you are walking past them in the streets.

An aspect that is truly amazing about Haiti is the way they praise God, they believe that God will provide for them and is always watching over them. They are by no means ungrateful however as they thank him constantly for the little they have, even though most of them only have a few possessions  Houses consist of a small metal and wood shack that is hand built, yet if they invite you in you can tell just by looking at their eyes and the way they talk that they are proud of what they have.

A little bit about me now so you can understand my perspective. I am 16 years old and becoming a sophomore in high school next year. Truthfully, I went into my Haiti experience with a bad attitude. I reluctantly agreed to go and didn't plan on truly embracing the experience. Haiti however has changed me. It has showed me that something we all take for granted such as taking a hot shower is actually a huge luxury. It has taught me that things I  and others call, "needs" really are not relevant or important at all, such as having a new car every 3 years, not having the top of the line computer or wearing the, "coolest" clothes in your school. I believe that Haiti has done more for me then I have done for it, I came to Haiti to help the people here but they helped me be a better person.

Kyle Spencer

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Day Full of Blessings

After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and the best oatmeal and fruit in the world, we were split into two groups.  Half went to Gertrude's House (home of children with special needs and also orphaned children) and the others went to the Home for Sick and Dying Children. 

What fun we had at Gertrude's!  School was in session when we got there, but we were still able to hold and play with some of the little ones.  The kids there range in age from infant to older teens with various needs.  One little one came to the orphanage just a few weeks ago with burns over much of her body.  She had also lost four fingers on one hand.  I was blessed to be able to hold her for most of our time there.  Other children were busy playing sight word bingo, swinging on the playground, jump roping, and listening to one of the interpreters sing and play the guitar.  We were able to stay most of the morning and enjoy every minute of their laughter, energy, and hugs.

The other group spent time with very sick children, children who were not as sick, and also orphaned children.  Many spoke of holding babies, changing diapers, and playing with some of the older ones on the playground.  I heard many of them speak about how most of the children looked much younger than they actually are.  But everyone who was there felt they were blessed so much more than the children they held and loved for that short amount of time.

We came back to the house for a quick lunch and then were off to the General Hospital.  The hospital was in the heart of Port au Prince, so it took a while to get there.  The traffic amazes me; there seems to be very few stop lights and signs, and it feels like mass chaos at times.  When we got to the hospital we needed to wait to get visitor badges.  While we were waiting, one of the patients came to greet us.  She was probably 8-9 years old, and her stomach was so swollen it was hard for her to stand straight.  It makes one feel so helpless at times to see such need, and feel like there's nothing that can be done about it.  At the hospital the parents are expected to bring their own food and supplies for their child and their was only one nurse to each room with at least 12-15 cribs.  Some of the parents had a piece of cardboard and a sheet on the floor next to their child's bed to sleep on.  We passed out some of the supplies that we brought, such as diapers, toys, coloring books, and children's Tylenol. The parents were so appreciative of what was given to them.  Most were very willing to take a break from parenting and let us hold their sick children.  The little girl I was holding was about the size of a 2-3 month old baby.  I was very surprised when she started to cry and I saw she had all of her teeth leading me to believe she was over a year old.  She was so tiny not weighing over 10 pounds.

Again, a long ride home in the tap-tap with much traffic.  For dinner we had pizza, ice cream, and cupcakes to celebrate Lizzie's birthday! 

One of my favorite bible verses kept coming to mind today:

Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

All of us feel so blessed to have spent time with the least of these! 

God bless!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 1 - Water Truck!

Bon wit!

Our first day out in the field, we headed out with the water truck, making a quick stop at Elder's school on our way. Although regular school was not in session, there were plenty of kids around for summer camp!

After that stop we headed out to Cite Soleil with the water truck. We made a couple of stops, filled lots of buckets, and played with the children. It was a workout for our arms, but worth every second! The kids who came to greet us at the water trucks were so wonderful - I know I speak for the others when I say I wish I could have spent time with each of them (and maybe had a few extra arms for carrying and holding hands!)

After leaving Cite Soleil, we headed to our "home base", changed shoes and picked up the neighborhood boys for a soccer game at nearby field. We gave it our all, but the boys prevailed. I guess we need to be doing more footwork drills in the off-season...

After a delicious spaghetti dinner we sat down for a little debriefing session as a group. Although it was tough to leave the people of Cite Soleil (we really did want to hold every little one!) we are lucky to have the opportunity to work with and serve the wonderful people of Haiti. We feel this experience changing our lives with every moment, and hope that when we return home our stories may inspire others as well.

p.s. The smiles are even better in person...and they look pretty darn good in the pictures so that says a lot. 

(posted by Mary & Maggie)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sisters, friends, cousins, aunt's, and a mom

We arrived safely!
Looking forward to going out on the water truck tomorrow.
It's storming here tonight so this is it for the blog.
More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 7 in Haiti

First things first, my word for today is blessings.

I woke up this morning to the song "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" running through my mind. It would serve as a fitting soundtrack as today was filled with nothing but blessings......

The blessing of sleeping in.

The blessing of waking up to a warm breakfast with multiple options when just 20 yards down the road children were waking up hungry with nothing to satisfy.

The blessing that was the water delivered to Cite Soleil.

The blessing of laughter with team members.

The blessing of wonderful translators and drivers who work hard to keep us safe and take care of us.

The blessing of blowing bubbles with Diversen and giving piggy back rides to Fetsen.

The blessing of giggles as I spun kids in circles at the water truck stop .... And then we all fell down laughing from dizziness.

The blessing of antibiotic ointment.

The blessing of spaghetti for dinner.

The blessing of friendships, old and new.

The blessing of a cold shower.

The blessing of hugs from Dickinson and Jean as we walked down the road by the guest house.

I know this is nowhere near 10,000 blessings, but I'm confident that if Facebook allowed longer comments, I could have thousands more in no time.

"You're rich in love and You're slow to anger, Your name is great and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find."

Written by Debbie

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Week With The Elderly

I love the children at Grace Village and feel so blessed to have been able to spend the week staying with them. I have watched them grow the past three years and it's been a wonderful experience. I got to meet the new additions to Grace Village this week and spend time getting to know them.

I also got to spend a lot of time with the Elderly of Titanyen. They stole my heart.
There were a few I really wanted to check on the first day so I am happy to report that they are doing well.
Antonia's bedsores are healing, Angeline said she felt better, Edmond is always full of love.

Thursday the kids went to the beach and I stayed behind to have a spa day with some of the elderly at Grace Village.  I first picked up 4 of them and brought them up to take a shower.  I could hear the men laughing while they were showering. Then I fed them peanut butter sandwiches and gave them some juice.
Then it was Marie's turn. She is about 103 years old. I had to help her a little, but she was singing and laughing. Then I dropped them off and picked up another 3 to do the same. After they ate I rubbed lotion on their skin and wish I knew Creole to ask them about their lives. What they have seen, how they have survived. With the average life span being about 53 I can't imagine the stories I would hear. One day I will come down here only to sit and listen.
Then I got to go deliver the meals on wheels to the 10 elderly Healing Haiti feeds everyday.Henry Claude, our Haitian elderly worker let me go deliver the meals myself.  I loved it. I blessed each one as I delivered the food.
Then I went back to Grace Village and Henry Claude went to check on some of the elderly we did not feed.
I thought my day was finished until he came back and said some of them were not feeling well. So off we went to deliver pain meds and cough syrup and other things to those who needed it.
My heart just breaks for them. What do they do when they are sick? Who will take care of them? Most of their families are already gone. They have lived through so much. Are they ready to move on from this place and meet their Savior? What keeps them here?
One of my top priorities of being down here was to get a man named Dieufort to the lab for tests. He has been waiting for a month to get this done. So I told him I would bring him on Friday morning, be ready at 7am because we had to go downtown Port Au Prince.
Friday morning Fanfan and I picked him up we arrived at the lab about 8:30, I gave the receptionist his papers and she asked him if he ate anything in the morning. He said yes and she said then no test. My heart sank. The look on his face was so sad. She said come back tomorrow. Oh how that hurt.
So we planned to bring him again on Saturday. I told him he could eat but not in the morning.
Saturday morning we picked him up again and off to the lab. We arrived around 9am, got our number and waited. Dieufort told us he didn't eat or sleep, he was so worried he wouldn't be able to have the test again.
After 2 hours he finally got in. When he came out they told us, come back Monday for the results.
Everything in Haiti is hard. I wish I could stay to bring him back and be with him when he finds out the results but I have to be obediant to what God's plans are.
I went with the team to do the elderly visits when we got back. One of the stops was Marie's house. Some of the kids who were with us sponser Marie. I asked her how she liked her shower. She said she never slept so well as the night after she had it. The sad thing about it was after the showers, I had to dress them in their dirty clothes. The kids all prayed over Marie before we left and she cried. We asked her if she needed anything and she wanted candy and cookies to sell so she could make a little money. Remember she is 103.
Sunday, Laura and I decided to bring Edmond, one of the elderly, up to Grace Village for the service.
Edmond is blind and very weak but we got him there. This was the blessing to end my week here. He was so happy.