I have so many stories, moments and unexplainable experiences from Haiti. It is going to be really hard to fit in what all our team experienced and worked on in the week we were there. The week seemed so short but we tried to accomplish and help the most we could in the short time period.
There were fourteen of us in the team that went to Haiti. When the organization greeted us at the airport we soon learned that we would all be riding in the back of this truck everywhere we traveled for the week.
We then rode an hour and forty five minutes to the base where we would be staying for the week. The round room on the far right upstairs is where we stayed.
The first afternoon we were there we went and visited a village. The village was primarily families not orphans. When we arrived the kids started running from all directions to meet us. They speak Creole in Haiti which is a combination of Spanish and French. Since there was somewhat of a language bearer we had several translators with us each day. At this village we played games, sang songs, acted out bible stories, pumped water from their well for them and just loved on the kids.
Pumping the water during the week was definitely a workout!
I was amazed by this seven month pregnant woman that brought us her five gallon bucket to fill with water. Once we were done she literally just picked it up and put it on top of her head and walked off. A five gallon bucket full of water, no hands and on top of her head all while its 90 plus degrees outside AND seven months pregnant. We wanted to offer to carry it but were told the women in Haiti are usually the ones that work and provide and that this is something that is completely normal to her. Amazing.
We worked primarily with two different orphanages and two different villages during the week. We spent a large amount of our time at one orphanage named C.A.D.
C.A.D. stands for Center Action Development and is an orphanage started for children who are considered to be in the worst of the worst situations in Haiti. To put it in perspective, child slavery is legal in Haiti. This orphanage is made up of children who are in such bad situations that the government sees the need for them to be in a special facility. To be able to enter the orphanage a child must be brought in by the police.
There are currently eighty-one children living at CAD. An additional twenty kids attend during the week and only for school.
One day at CAD was spent as working day for our team. We helped wash all of the children's clothes and bedding. The kids wear one outfit the entire week. They do not have washing machines or dryers at this orphanage. Washing machines are very expensive there and dryers as well but also use far too much electricity. For bedding some of the kids had a light throw blanket and others had a fleece throw blanket. No sheets or pillows. Once the clothes and blankets were washed and rinsed we were told to hang them on top of the roof to dry.
Another day we spent at CAD putting together a VBS. We had face paint, painted their nails, played games, read bible stories and sang songs. They really enjoyed this. One boy came back to have his face, arms, legs...head painted fourteen times! The boys even loved getting their nails painted. We used clear polish, no worries hehe.
They had so much fun with just the simplest things. My sister helped with games and she said they loved anything that was boys against girls. As simple as a baseball in pantyhose on their heads while trying to knock over a bottle was GREAT to them! I really learned a lot by seeing them be so content with literally the smallest things. Us Americans have a lot to be thankful for.
I was "Joseph" in our group that acted out the story of Joseph and his brothers. Below is me in my robe (towel) of many colors. ;)
Some of our team helped with their school work. They helped clean their classrooms in the school house as well as helped them with their math. We had a couple of home school moms in the group so that was really great and helpful!
This was the view from the school house. I know I did not have this kind of amazing view where I grew up and went to school as a child!
These kids were part of the twenty that came just for the school portion of CAD. The little boy with the wild hair was crazy! One afternoon he was on top of a tied up goat trying to ride it, he was a total mess but gave us lots of laughs!
This little boy asked me every single day we were at CAD if I was coming back the next day. Broke my little heart to have to say not tomorrow on the last day.
I know this is already very long but I will try to shorten this part of our trip as much as I can. The other orphanage we worked with was Eve Rose's. Eve is a Haitian woman that was married and had twelve miscarriages. Her husband divorced her because she could not carry his children. She remarried shortly later and little did she know God had huge plans for and her husband. In January of 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti Eve took in orphaned children in hopes of finding their parents. She found all but four of them. God then gave those four children to Eve and her husband and for the first time they were parents. This is where her orphanage began to form. They began to take in children that were abused, "street children", dropped off by the police...they all have their own story. They now have thirty-one kids living with them, that all now have a mother and father! What amazing hope for these kids. Eve has a school and we were able to help her by painting one of the school houses one day.
Three of the evenings we were there we spent at Eve Rose's worshiping with her and her family.
This was one of the most amazing moments. Every. Single. Night they have worship for an hour. The kids of all ages are fully engaged and worship God with overflowing hearts.
When I signed up to join this team in Haiti I did not know a single person besides my sister. They are a part of my sister's church and I attend another church. I was not too worried about this but they immediately welcomed me with open arms like they knew me for years. I had a wonderful time getting to know each of them.
There is so much that I had to leave out to spare you from reading a novel. I know, this is could be considered a short novel so I guess a chapter book. But, I had a wonderful experience and wish that I could bring each of those loving beautiful children home to live in Oklahoma! God did amazing things through our group and I pray that we touched the lives of the children in more ways than one.
It was an amazing experience in itself to be able to do it with my little sister, Caileigh right beside me the whole time. I am so glad God to put in on her heart to invite me and I am even more thankful that God opened doors that allowed me to go share his love.
I have one more post to share and it will include the most touching part of the trip along with my journey getting there for me.
If you are still here...thanks for reading about my Haitian experience. Or at least a small part of it. If you are interested in sponsoring an orphan in Haiti contact Chasing Eden.