Day six was a full, full day. As a result, this post is going to be VERY picture and video heavy. Enjoy!
Although we were staying in the blue building that you can just see a corner of in the picture below, this structure is identical to the one behind it. Two of those windows are for each room – one for the room and the other for the bathroom. We had the 11 girls on our team in bunkbeds in the room.
Speaking of bunkbeds, after several members of our team lost their battles with the mosquitoes, we were able to hunt down some nets to use for the next few nights. I’ve never slept under a canopy before. I learned a few lessons from mosquito tent sleeping – 1) if you want to be tucked in tight make sure you aren’t the last one to bed and 2) make sure your bladder is empty before you get in bed – especially if you get tucked in tight! (see also: why I was up early on this morning)
Of course, what morning is complete without an hour of bricks moving? I think by day six we had it down to a science.
Our first stop off the property on this day was an area named Bercy. Mission of Hope is just beginning construction on this 55 acres of land that was given to them by the Haitian government. When we were there, the “clinic in a can” was on site and they were busy working on the school building.
Just as on the main property, there will also be a medical clinic, food warehouse, church, and orphanage on the site. There are also plans being made for housing for the elderly on site so that the children in the orphanage can be matched with “grandparents”.
The property is right on the water and it was so beautiful.
However the poverty was very evident in this community as well. This is how it was described by one of the staff members –
They were not terribly directly affected by the earthquake of last year because their house structures were not strong enough to cause the people damage when they fell. Most live in stick and mud houses and some live under a tin roof with a one room concrete house. Many of the kids have no clothes and shoes and parents can not afford health care for their kids. Teenage pregnancy is high and self esteem low.
There was a rousing game of soccer that was too intense for me to join for more than 5 minutes. We enjoyed another game of “Devon. Deyey.” this time at the edge of the water. And of course, we danced, sang, and played all sorts of silly games together (including spelling your name with your butt – in case you couldn’t tell from the video)
After lunch back at Mission of Hope, we headed to the village surrounding the compound to visit an orphanage called “Victorious Kids”. I’m not sure exactly how you “rate” orphanages, but if you were to do that, this one would be near the top.
The children had continuous on-demand access to clean water to drink. A husband and wife run the orphanage, providing both a strong male and female role model for the children. And the children? They looked healthy, happy, and treated each other and the guests with respect.
Music is a common connector that helps us overcome language barriers, so we started out by singing some of our favorite songs. After we would sing them in English, the children would respond by singing them back to us in Creole. It was so beautiful!
Then orphanage father asked the children if they would like to sing some of their favorite songs for us. We happily enjoyed their mini-concert.
As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is inspired by God and still applicable for our lives today. When it came time to share a Bible story with the children, as a team we knew what story would be the most relevant to their circumstances. We acted out the story of Moses.
Moses was born during a time of oppression for the Israelites in Egypt. God spoke to him and told him that he would lead his people out of slavery. There were many magicians performing signs and wonders for the Pharaoh, much like today’s voodoo priests. Through Moses, God proved that he is stronger and will help His people through situations that seem impossible and hopeless. For children and young adults (and even the elderly) in Haiti, the situation often seems helpless and they may feel that there is no hope since it has been that way for so long. It is easy for them to believe in the workers of voodoo who pretend to give them hope as they steal their money and further exploit their situations. Hopefully we were able to communicate the hope that they can have when they put their trust in God ALONE.
After the story time, we headed out into the yard to play. It wasn’t the prettiest or most organized game of soccer, but boy was it fun!
You haven’t lived until you try to kick a soccer ball in a pair of TOMS and instead miss and kick a large rock buried in the packed dirt.