Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Haiti day 5...

 rice paddys above and drying rice on the road below

We drove the same way as before plus went about a half an hour further this day.  We went to this church and fed around 300 school children. 

 Each kid got beans and rice, a chicken leg and 2 pieces of candy.

Once all the area kids found out there were "blah" {they actually say blan for white, but it sounds like blah!} in town they came in too!  Including these teens who were trying to take our pictures when one of the girls snapped theirs!

 This is the school.  I cried.  I don't know why this hit me so hard, we had been seeing hard things since we landed, but it certainly broke my heart.  I think what got me the most is that I know in my hometown {not where we live now,} each child k-12th is given an ipad.  Ipads for each kid, and this place has no roof, no walls, no desks, no floor, absolutely NOTHING!  So sad.  But, with some of the money we raised and brought down with us, we were able to purchase the remaining tin and wood to finish the roof so they don't have to sit in the direct sun and are protected from the elements a bit!
We were also able to give these and 20 other teachers a small monetary gift.  They are all volunteers, they receive no salary.
Once again the pastor invited us to his house for dinner of beans and rice and chicken and pop.  So generous when they have so little! Beans and rice dinner #3
 The pastor at this church is Wilkenson's father,{in the bright blue} Wilkenson {in black}was one of our faithful helpers, his father is blind.

Of course I grabbed one of these little beauties and snuggled with them.
Once again we left early and got home late, lots of driving, but we had a great time of fun and fellowship and of course singing with each other!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Haiti day 4...

 Day 4 was Monday and we headed out in the morning for our first conference which was 3 hours away.  It was crazy to think about driving that far for a few hours and heading back, but that is what we did.  I am so glad we got to see so much more of Haiti with all of our driving, too bad most of the days we drove the exact same roads as before to get where we were going, lots of time spent riding and singing!  The guys we were with LOVED to sing and so we sang. I think that is why my voice was nearly gone by the time we got home.

 Lots of people everywhere.
 markets were set up on nearly every street.
 When we arrived at the church, there were already a lot of ladies there, so we had to quickly try to figure out how and where to set up all of our things.  We planned to divide the ladies into 4 groups and they would rotate through the 4 classes.  My friend Hannah and I taught a health class, there was a Bible class, a sewing class, and a medical clinic.  Well, the first 1 and 1/2 went okay, but once they got wind of the medical clinic going on, all they wanted to do was to sit in line and wait for the clinic.  We gave up on teaching our last 2 classes because it got pretty chaotic.  I was so frustrated, I wanted to pack up and go home!  I couldn't understand, at the time, why these ladies didn't get the fact that they didn't have to push and shove and crowd each other to get to the medical clinic.  I mean, I knew they were going to get their turn, why couldn't they just wait for it. It wasn't until later that God softened my heart and showed me how judgmental I was being.  I can just bring my self or my children to the dr. whenever I feel the need.  They do not have that luxury.  These dear ladies are struggling to survive and trying to keep their families safe and healthy.  If my child was sick, as several of these kids seemed to be, I would do everything in my power to get them the help they needed. I would want to be sure that they had their turn in the clinic before the rest of the town showed up and started cutting in line, which is what started happening.  Once I sat down and watched what was going on I realized the towns people started flowing in the doors.  While we would have loved to help everyone, we didn't have the time or the resources to do that so we shut some of the doors and they would walk right in through the back door and try to sneak into the clinic. There were so many people there, we had paid for someone to prepare beans and rice and chicken for the ladies at the conference, and now we had more than just the conference ladies, we had men and teens and lots of others we weren't planning on. 

This was the first group of ladies, they were a lot of fun.  We did a hand washing demonstration, and showed them proper hand washing techniques and explained that they should wash for as long as you sing the "Happy Birthday" song.  They really got into singing the song, they sang and clapped and had fun with it.

Of course I found some sweet babies to hold!
 Somehow, the men who were helping us settled the whole crowd and the people were fed, and we were able to head out at a decent hour, we knew we had a long drive ahead and they wanted to get us home before dark.  But, the pastor and his wife invited us to their house to eat, so we went.  There were beans and rice, sauce, chicken, fried plantains, cole slaw, and some vegetables and of course pop.  But, Pastor Jorel came in and told us we could only eat the beans and rice, plantains and chicken, no sauce or veggies! I was so thankful for his protective input.  So we had beans and rice dinner #1.

I think it was Isaac who climbed a tree in the pastors yard and got this fruit which is in the same family as the fruit that Luisa LOVED in Colombia.  In Colombia it was orange and sweet, in Haiti, it is yellow to green and citrisy, but same texture and nearly the same name. {Granadilla, I think.}

These are rice paddys.  Apparently, the Chinese came over and helped them develop and learn the techniques to grow rice in Haiti!

 This is one of the churches that the mission has built, Pastor Jorel showed it to us on our way back home.
 The sun was starting to set as we drove past the ocean, cool picture, but what it doesn't show is all of the garbage and junk in the water.  Haiti is the only place I have ever seen where the ocean front property has some of the poorest shacks, tents and makeshift homes.  It was very surprising to me.

Some of the men who were always there to help us.  They were our translators, body guards, teachers{they liked to try to teach us Creole}and friends.  They are great guys who really love the Lord and it showed on their faces.  They were always smiling and having a good time, many people we met did not have that same joy, it was neat to see how God gives that joy despite circumstances.  Some of these men have unimaginable stories they could share, but still they smile.  All the while having to tote all of us ladies here there and everywhere!

Inside of the fruit mentioned above. There were 2 Haitian ladies that helped us in the kitchen, both named Mylude {I am sure I spelled it wrong, but how funny they had the same name, got a tad confusing until we started calling them #1 & #2!} and a man named Abel who made the most amazing drink from this fruit.  It was so good!  We also enjoyed mangoes almost every morning which were amazing!
We didn't get home until pretty late that night, and Mylude #1 had made us beans and rice, chicken, sauce, cole slaw, fried plantains and veggies, which pastor Jorel said we could eat it, so we did. It was very good. Beans and rice dinner #2.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Haiti day 3...

We got up around 5:30 Sunday morning, we had to be at church by 7am!  Church starts early and goes long.  It was over 3 hours!  

 Pastor Jorel's church was so much fun.  Although we couldn't understand the words some of the tunes were familiar, and the ones that weren't were still pretty amazing!  I love how they worship, they could not stand still!  They take a 5 minute song and sing it for 20+ minutes, no joke.  Someone asked the worship leader about that and they said, we can try to stop them, but the spirit keeps them going!

Cute baby with chubby checks near me, very distracting!!!
We sat facing the rest of the church in what may be called a choir loft?  The pastor encouraged us to get up and take pictures.{He always told us when we should take pictures, too funny!}
Our group with Pastor Jorel and our pop!
We were able to have communion while there, they use wine, at first I thought the juice had gone bad, it was nasty!   I am not a singer, love to sing, but just not good at it and guess what...they asked us to sing, as in up in front of church sing! Thankfully the others are all good singers so I quietly blended in.  After church they gave us pop.  Everywhere we went they had pop for us, we felt bad, they have so little, yet they always had something special for us.  After church, we went back home and sorted, counted and labeled pills with some of the Haitians, they were much faster than we were and they thought it was funny.  I was too busy working to get any pictures of that.  It was another fun and busy day, we packed everything up that we needed to do our first conference the next day. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Haiti day 2...

Most of the day was spent sorting and counting pills for our upcoming medical clinics.

Hannah and I were in charge of getting gift bags packed for the party we were hosting for the pastors, deacons and their wives.

We sorted through lots of donations and put together around 20 large gift bags for the ladies. 
A few of the ladies were in charge of the dinner we planned to serve them.  I helped serve the people then grabbed this baby so his momma could eat!  He was so sweet!

*I should probably explain that I am wearing a head covering and skirts all week because the mission we were working with is very conservative and so were we for the week!
The view of the mountains and the ocean from our roof top.

*I have been waiting to publish this until I got all of the pictures from everyone, but I am still missing several, so I am posting without some of the pictures for now...

Since this was an all ladies mission trip, we decided to minister to the ladies of Haiti.  After the dinner we hosted we had the ladies go up on the roof top and we washed their feet and prayed over them.  It was something that we wanted to do to show them the love of God, and it made a huge impression on them.  All week it was brought up over and over again how in God's family, there is no black and white.  We are all one!  We also spoke to them about the importance of their role as wives of ministry leaders and encouraged them to continue to pray for their husbands.  There was lots of singing and praying and our fun night came to an end, we took our cool showers and hit the sack as we had to be up early for church the next day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Haiti Day 1...

A few of us with all of our luggage!  We each {10 people}checked 2 bags full of supplies and donations, and all of our clothing went in our carry ons.  We had 2 team members back out of the trip due to illness the day before we were to leave, so we ended up having 3 extra bags of supplies to check.  Long story short, there was a baggage embargo and we were told we could not take the 3 extra bags.  After an hour and much prayer, the lady finally checked them as sporting equipment and allowed us to take them with!  We were so thankful.

Our first glimpse of Haiti with Isaiah in the truck with our luggage.

Though it's been 3 years there was still a lot of rubble.
Lots of garbage everywhere.

Unpacking all of the food we brought down.

A few of the men who helped us.  We definitely were well taken care of and felt very safe.  Sometimes we laughed because they were like over protective fathers, telling us what we can & can't do.

We had great flights and made it through customs and immigration without a hitch.  Several guys helped us with all of our luggage, and we walked out of the airport where we were supposed to be met by Bev and Hannah who had flown in the day before.  Except, they weren't there!  We waited a few minutes and started wondering what plan B was?!  We hadn't any addresses or phone numbers or anything.  So we sent a few people out to the parking area to look for them.  I was so happy to see their faces when they finally showed up!  We all piled in a van and a pick up truck and headed to the mission house.  We unpacked and got settled in to our home away from home. It was hot.  We took cool showers {no hot water} which felt okay in the heat, and went to bed.