Our team, Mark, Darcy, Robin, Jason, Penny and Barb arrived in Haiti on Saturday,May 28. we experienced heat, sweat and crowds with plenty of able bodied men wanting to help us with our luggage! the drive to the compound was a bit crazy for us Americans, but Craig our facilitator, and the Haitians know what they are doing! the church grounds are coming along. the new church building looks great and the Haitians love it. we took a tour of the grounds and saw the new chicken coop and Tilapia ponds that recently were filled with fish. the eggs collected are hard boiled and then given to local school children close by. We then toured the tent city behind us and saw how people are living and getting by. we saw a small school that a local man started for the children there that is free so they can learn. you have to pay for schooling here, so these kids wouldn’t have a chance to go if it wasnt for this school. A Previous team built him a small building to teach them in. we met two new believers through Mark (a long term missionary) and got to pray over one. saw the surrounding area with lots of goats, cows and donkeys wandering around. Lots of ruined buildings too. then we all had a great meal of Jambalaya. After dinner we experienced a very HARD rain storm pounding on the metal roof, many of us enjoyed “showering” in the rain. the rain came and went in an hour. they have lizards that sound like a duck or frog here! Half of us went to bed early and the other half played a killer game of UNO. Sunday we got up and headed to church. everyone puts on their Sunday best here, we were out dressed! worship was great and Debbie Booker spoke with a powerful message about being filled with the Spirit to empower us to live this daily life. We are all desiring that kind of filling, especially this week. mike dug up a tarantula for us and it got fed to the chickens – they love them! In the afternoon Mark and Jason fixed some doors and added some hardware to them. the ladies with the help of Mike sorted lumber and started digging holes by the well area for a project we will be working on. curious boys watched us and helped us pound in stakes and dig. Mark and Jason joined us later. Mark brought out his hacky sac and he and Robin played with some young boys. we visited with the locals as they came to get water. we will be starting to build a structure so eggs and fish can be sold. after a cool shower some of us went to the youth group service. they were honoring mothers and would sing to each one as she came in over the two hours. they were very enthusiastic worshipers and friendly. Mike and robin brought out a Soccer ball and played with some of the kids. Later we went to dinner in town and had chicken with a spicy sauce, rice and plantain bananas – yum! Monday we will be going to the hospital to do medical and construction work. will be visiting some schools later in the week to distribute books, schools supplies and clothing and shoes. more to come on. Monday or Tuesday! Keep on praying for us!
On Monday the women headed over to Yola’s Hospital to help with nursing and work in the pharmacy. Over here nurses are bumped up to Doctor status and they see and diagnose patients, so Barb and Penny talked with patients through an interpreter and Robyn got to observe them and also got to watch IVs being put in to a one year old. Because His veins were so very small, it took several tries and he was not happy! She also helped clean wounds. Many people had worms, possible malaria, and were anemic. Darcy helped with the pharmacy and it was a bit crazy. She filled prescriptions and wrote out prescriptions for medicine they didn’t have. That responsibility was a little intimidating but there was a nice woman Claudine who was very helpful. they served us lunch and Darcy tried it first, the Haitians like it spicy, and they thought it quite humorous when they saw her reaction to the first bite – everyone else decided to pass after that. Mark and Jason, with some locals, help move 5 large boulders in front of the water station to discourage large trucks driving up to fill their tanks and sell the water. The church wants it to be free and available for those in the area. Then they started working on the structure next to it that will be where eggs and fish are sold. the men took a break to help a local woman in her forties who needed to fill several containers of water and carrying large buckets of to and from her wheelbarrow and was then starting to wheel them back home. Craig decided to give her a ride back instead. wouldn’t that be something to “look forward” to everyday? Hauling water in a wheelbarrow over a rocky bumpy road alone. That afternoon, a group of about 25 from Medford came in, mostly youth, for one night before they flew out Tuesday morning. They had incredible energy and enthusiasm and had been up to LaCays to work on the base camp there. The ride back had taken 5 hours and they were ready to help when they pulled in. They got right to work and helped dig a sewer line here and moved dirt out front. Oh to have there energy again! We had a good time getting to know them and hear their stories. they had a lively worship and prayer service that night, that some of us attended. The worship was held at the church at night where there is no electricity so they worshipped by flashlights which was so cool.
On Tuesday, we all headed back to the hospital. the men did some repair work on roofs and and the kitchen structure To help Yolanda pass inspection so that she can receive more funding. she is an amazing woman who lives in Florida, was here when the earthquake happened and decided to stay and help make free medical care available to people because there was such a great need. Her husband still lives in Miami and they each travel to see each other maybe once a month. she has sacrificed a lot to stay here and she is a great administrator. Penny and Barb went back to assessing patients and Robin joined Darcy in the Pharmacy. at first there was only One woman and Darcy there and she was asked to give a shot including mixing just the right amounts of three things in the syringe, she declined but said she would watch. After watching a five inch needle go into a woman’s behind, she knew that she wasn’t comfortable with that! when Robin joined her and we had an interpreter, she bravely gave a couple of shots to children! there was about 250 patients each day and everyone waited patiently and very quietly. Our interpreter was great. His name is Windy and he speaks four languages, very smart and has desires to be a pediatric Doctor someday. when we got back we sorted clothing and shoes to give out the two orphanages we will be visiting on Wednesday and Thursday. the men built cabinets and did more Handy man work around the church grounds. At night we had another nightly rainstorm that pounded on the metal roofs and blew over quickly. we played cards and headed to bed early, excited to see how we can serve God and the people tomorrow. There’d was a poem that was seen on the first hours of the trip and has become the official poem of the trip. It says very much. Here it is Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift We have hard work to do, and loads to lift Shun not the struggle face it, tis God’s gift Be strong! Say not, “the days are evil. Who’s to blame?” And fold the hands and acquiesce – oh shame! Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name. Be strong! It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong How hard the battle goes, the day how long, Faint not -fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
Weds. June 1st, 2011 We headed over to the hospital again this morning. Barb and Penny assessed patients and Robin observed. they saw Typhoid and Malaria, lots of sick children. Darcy helped in the Pharmacy again and is getting to know all of the drugs and dosages. Mark, Jason and two Haitians put a roof on the community center by the well. when we left the hospital Mark promised to make the women in the pharmacy stools to sit on, they were very excited. In the afternoon we gathered shoes and underwear and headed out to a girls orphanage across town that has about 36 girls in it. they lost there home in the earthquake and have been living in tents since. A local church has just finished supervising the building of a new dormitory and we hoped to help them move in. Before we left we heard that a hurricane could be coming and that we were in a code orange for tropical storm coming in at about 4pm. Later we heard that it was on the other side of the island, so as it passed the mountain range it would come to us as rain -whew! Driving through town was an eye opening experience. lots of street venders selling food, clothing, sugar cane, basic necessities. Children headed home in uniforms, different for each school. cars and trucks passed each other, weaving in and out within inches. Side alleys have concrete rubble, make shift venders and homes. there was a man who was a tailor with an old sewing machine in a side yard by the road. We passed a Historic sugar cane plantation that has tours and special events there. as we got close to the orphanage it was high walls with wall to venders on the street, sometimes right up to car tires. People run in and out of traffic. When we entered the orphanage the girls were understandably shy, but as Craig, our leader, got out the little ones got excited and climbed all over him like jungle gym and enjoyed his hugs. We tried to interact with the girls, but without speaking the language, it’s difficult. most of the girls enjoyed getting their pictures taken and seeing them on the camera. some of the tents they had looked ok but the main sleeping tent with their bunks was falling apart. the kitchen and eating areas were falling apart too. they have two big tanks for water that they get filled by a truck, Mark says it’s not clean water, so Foursquare plans to dig a well for them The new dormitory is nice, with 6 rooms. they will use four for the girls, with 9 in each room, with 3 level bunks,with a mixture younger girls and older girls to help watch over them. the older girls are more hesitant to interact, understandably, they see strangers come and go and take pictures of them – it makes me feel intrusive. Mark and the long term team,especially the men, try to show the girls what a positive male figure acts like and give them appropriate affection. Maybe as they grow they will choose men of similar character. The men started taking the metal bunk beds over to the new dorm and the Women helped with personal belongings and a few chairs. Some of the little girls carried old card board over, we found out that they used this as their mattress. as we cleaned out the bunk tent, a lot of their belongings and the few toys they had, would be garbage to children in America. We got most of the bunks and belongings inside their rooms and the head mistress assigned rooms. some of the little ones had tears because they didn’t get the room they wanted. Mark used this to have try to teach the girls about thankfulness even in disappointment. Mark (beaverton Foursquare) prayed a blessing over the group as we gathered all together. We handed out candy and bracelets that the girls enjoyed as we left. after this visit, everyone was more quiet and thoughtful – seeing it all stirs your heart. Our team would like to invite anyone reading this to join us by contributing to a fund to buy the girls mattresses, plastic covers (for little ones) and sheets for the girls, so everyone will know what it feels like to have a nice clean bed. Each mattress will cost $30.00, so if you would like to purchase one or more, you can place it in the offering at Beaverton Foursquare and designate it as “mattresses for girls, Haiti and we’ll see if can meet this need together. Thank you for caring, the girls are precious to the Lord and to us. the rain came later that night and continued into Thursday, our plans keep changing, as everything is curtailed here because of it – roads are hard to travel on, stores shut down and schools close. So we will probably stay on the compound or church grounds on Thursday. Lots of rain and thunder predicted for the next week…
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 Because of the heavy rain we where not able to visit a second orphanage and we were disappointed, but did have other plans! Mark, Jason and the Haitians finished the four shelving units for the girls orphanage, so Mark, Jason, Robin, Darcy, three local leaders and Jacki who is Haitian, headed over to deliver them. I am so glad we went! the atmosphere was so different this time! All of the girls seemed happy to have us visit. the older girls were so proud of their new rooms, everything all organized, beds made, beanie babies, finger nail polish, etc. All lined up proudly on display. most of what I saw yesterday left on the floor that I thought looked like garbage, actually was and they were not using it. I was so glad to see that they did have some things of their own, that they were leaving to old things behind and starting fresh in their new place. It was a picture taking day. All of the girls wanted to pose sitting on their beds or holding stuffed animals and when the shelves got put in, they wanted pictures standing next to them. As I was taking pictures the girls were braiding Robin’s hair and she was having a great time learning their names and singing with them. they wanted her to sing Hannah Montana, Beyonce, Justin Beiber and they sang worship songs in English. Jason in the mean time had brought out a balloon helicopter toy and was encircled by girls who screamed and laughed every time he sent it in the air. It was definitely a hit! we also brought 2 frisbees that they enjoyed throwing. What a different atmosphere today! the guys were also able to saw off parts of the metal frames of three beds so they could fit in their rooms, so now everyone has a bed to sleep on tonight. With so much rain in the last 12 hours and a lot more anticipated, we were so glad that they were all in a dry place to sleep from now on. they are beautiful, sweet girls and it was fun to help them settle in to their new home. hopefully we will be able to fund the mattresses and their rooms will be complete! the time with them blessed all of us. Later that night we went into town and ate at a restaurant in honor of Craig, our facilitator, who is flying home tomorrow. He is a great guy and has been such a blessing to the team here, the community will miss him. He plans to come back for the month of August. At dinner, some of us tried goat, it was fun to try something different! more rain expected…we hope to visit the schools tomorrow. “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2
Friday, June 3rd Our last day here we experienced a lot. In the morning, the children from the church school came over looking for a ball, so we joined them and kicked the ball around together and gave the girls “helicopter” rides. We got dizzy, they didn’t want to stop. they were friendly and fun to watch as they played. One boy chased girls around with a dead lizard – typical boy! we gave them beautiful books with colorful pictures, posters for their classroom and candy. we headed to the school in the tent city that is run by Jonas. what a kind man and the children were precious. We gave them books too and they loved looking at them with us. we left other school supplies too. there were cute little four year olds and grade school kids. Jonas serves about 50 children during the week. he is making a big difference here serving the community and loving the kids. they sang Jesus Loves Me to us. We went to a second tent city school that is in a nice home with three classrooms. they serve about 60 children. they were excited that we came, some could speak some English, so we shared our names and toured their school. we distributed books and they sang us 3 songs. Another positive place where seeds of change are being sown. After lunch we headed up through Petionville. lots of traffic, lots of street venders – it was raining, so apparently, it is usually much more crowded. Brightly colored signs and buildings. there was a mix between wealthier homes and earthquake rubble and poverty. So much to take in. We saw the tent cities set up in Petionville that came after the earthquake because it is an area where there is more wealth and a better chance of making a living. the hillside was covered with cement homes and out door markets -saw live turkeys, ducks, chickens being sold. We got to the orphanage neighborhood and walked thru a little of the community. lots of tropical plants, much like a rain forest. When we entered the home the children squealed and came down the stairs and wanted to be picked up – precious! we enjoyed playing with them and handed out shoes and underwear. Bellande, the owner of the orphanage, does a great job. they are happy and healthy. We were able to go to the top of the mountain to a look out point, it was rainy, not much a view, but neat to go. Lots of the wealthy live up there. they had souvenir venders and we haggled for our goods. the way home was quicker, still lots to see, a bit overwhelming, we gained a new perspective on how they live here. We ended our night with a group prayer in the dark at the church – a fitting way to end the day. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. let the people’s praise you, O God; let all the people’s praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the people’s with equity and guide the nations upon the earth. Let the people’s praise you O God; let all the people’s praise you! the earth has yielded it’s increase; God, our God, shall bless us. god shall bless us; Let all the ends of the earth fear him!” Psalm 67 God is a God of hope and he is at work in Haiti. We are anticipating home, but really sad to leave – they are a beautiful, resilient people.