Today was the party day! Today some of the kids’ families came to pick up their children as they were sent off on their summer vacation. It was very long day and well worth it. We woke up at 7 to a breakfast of mangos, pancakes, eggs, and cooked “spam,” it was enjoyable. Some of the breakfast items were definitely more enjoyable than others. After breakfast we immediately went to filling a pool with water that quickly went from crystal clear to a murky brown after the count of five kids. Throughout the day we had many festivities. We had an very fun water balloon fight that ended with a few welts on everyone from the staff and the kids. After cleaning the pool festivities, the adults began to arrive. The Mefibochet house kids were dressed in their best and performed for the families. Meals were served to everyone who had come with almost enough cake to go around. As the days events began to settle down we said our goodbyes to the kids who were leaving with their families and began to clean up. When everyone who was leaving had gone we settled down for the night with some dominoes and our final evening meeting on the rooftop of the M House.
Tomorrow is our day at Kaliko and we are excited for our wind down day. But not too excited, because personally I think another day with the kids would be better.
Yesterday there were no photos so I added extra today.
T’was very hard for us to get up this morning we were all feeling very tired. The good news is we finished the painting! We know the purpose of coming here is to serve God through the children but I think we all made it our personal goal to get all the painting done and we feel GREAT about it. The only semi-low about painting today was that we had to paint inside the bathroom. For those of us who went in there I’m happy to say we all survived. Paul was the best sport of us all though, while he was painting in the bathroom he was just filled with joy and humming the entire time (the paint fumes may have gotten to him).
After painting, a couple members of the team went to the store to pick up lunch while the rest of us stayed back and rested. Today was the last “normal day” since tomorrow is the big party. The kids had a blast today just hanging out and learning how to play 4 square. Tomorrow is going to be tough saying goodbye to most of the beautiful faces, but we will always meet again one day in an amazing place.
Everyone is alive including Grace Lewis.
This morning we split up into two groups. Some of us went to Pastor Dio’s church, while others stayed at the M-House to worship with the kids. The worship at the M-House was very different from church we have back at home. Francky led the service with lots of singing and prayer. Andrise also helped lead prayer and song with the rest of the kids. Then all of us returned to church later in the day for a second service. The Church welcomed us all and prayed for our health and safety. They also sang Happy Birthday to Paige.
Everyone is feeling better now. We’re hoping that everyone continues to remain well for the rest of the trip. Tomorrow we will start decorating and preparing for the party on Tuesday.
Today was again a bit out of the normal – whatever normal means. After breakfast, we all jumped into Dio’s truck and headed through town and up the side of the mountain to an overlook area. We were able to look over Port Au Prince and see the beauty from a distance. The kids also were able to do some bargaining for some souvenirs. The view was spectacular and it was nice to be up in dust-free/smell-free fresh air. On our return trip, we stopped from lunch and had pizza for the second day in a row which made us all happy. The only downer was that Paige and Kathy stayed behind at the M-house because neither was feeling particularly well. The good news is that both are feeling much better now.
Before heading up, Steve had talked to us about how things that are very ugly look beautiful often from a distance and that’s what we saw from the overlook over Port Au Prince. He also talked about how things that are ugly also look beautiful when you get close as well. Our prayer is that we would allow God to let us get close to the “ugliness” of Haiti so that we can see the beauty rather than pull back from the ugliness to see the distant and detached beauty. There is a life lesson in this that we could all benefit from living every day.
After returning to the M-house, we made bead jewelry with the kids. It was amazing watching the persistence of some of the kids and they strung beads with very limited motor skills. Oh, for that kind of patience.
At dinner, we all shared a word of encouragement to Paige who is celebrating her 18th birthday today. We also decorated with balloons and sang “Happy Birthday” with all the M-house kids.
At our evening debriefing meeting, Dio shared his life story with us which is always a highlight of the trip. We enjoyed hearing how God directed his path from an early age to bring him to be doing what he is doing today. The weather is a bit cooler tonight, so should make for pleasant sleeping. Tomorrow is Sunday a day of church and rest.
Today we took a trip up to the city of Bethel, about an hour and a half away from the M House by truck. The city used to be a Haitian Vodou stronghold. The trip was an event in itself – getting up close and personal with Port Au Prince from the vantage point of an open pickup bed. From Highway 1 (a two lane paved road) we saw the blue Caribbean Sea, the sights (and smells) of downtown Port Au Prince
and hills after hills full of huts of folks that were displaced after the earthquake.
We arrived in Bethel late morning. The Christian church and school here are thriving, the first of their kind in Bethel.
Even though school was out for the summer, a few children recognized Anna and Paige from last year and came running over. The girls’ lives could have been much different – as sex slaves for old men from the village. Marriage was formerly forbidden here, and men from outside villages who tried to take girls out were killed.
Pastor told us that Bethel means “house of God” and how God used a tragic event to urge him to start the school there years ago. How the love of Jesus stopped every attempt to take back the village, freeing these girls from a life of oppression and sexual slavery. There is power in the name of Jesus!
Today was great. We started off with an amazing breakfast playing a game Bill created where each student had a challenge and the goal was to complete the challenge at some point throughout the meal.
After breakfast we finished the walls we started yesterday and started painting the third wall, of three, with the mountain design. Today Franky, an M-House kid who is roughly our age, joined us in painting the wall. It was fun to see him take pride in making his home look nicer.
After painting we had lunch and some rest/ refection time. We read Mathew 25:31-46 today in our Haiti journals. Many of us appreciated the break and used the time to take a nap.
After our rest time Steve took the second half of the group over to Santo one and two. The team handed stickers out, played games and had their hair done by the kids. Their outing was cut short by the untimely but greatly appreciated rain storm. They then experienced an eventful truck ride in the pouring rain only to return to the M House totally soaked with lots of laughs and stories.
Those of us who stayed at the M House also had an eventful afternoon. We taped lots of coloring sheets up to the walls in the porch and handed out stickers, which we found all over the floors, walls, and wheel chairs for the rest of the day. When the rain came here we continued to played soccer on the slippery cement while many of the kids laughed at us from the sheltered porch. During this time a few of us went on an adventure in to the back rooms where we found two little tiny babies, who we later learned were a year or so old, and we held their hands, sang them songs, and just generally loved on them.
Dinner tonight was amazing, we had these crazy onion, breaded, deep fried things that nobody could figure out what they were but they were amazing. After dinner we spent more time hanging out with the kids and had an amazing roof top discussion. We are all excited to take a trip up to the village of Bethel tomorrow.
My favorite part of the day was holding one of the kids tonight as she desperately tried not to fall asleep but kept falling asleep then jerking back awake. It was adorable.
The first full day of our time in Haiti has started with many of us trudging sleepily to breakfast as the heat from last night kept some of us awake. All the while, we arrived with smiles to see the amazing food the cooks have prepared for us and to begin what a Haitian day has in store for us. After breakfast we began to paint the wall of the complex and the boy’s bathroom. With Ethan taking charge like a captain on a ship, we were able to finish the whole section of the wall that we planned on before we even began to prepare lunch.
After lunch, the group split up with half staying at the M house and the other half hopping into Benito’s truck and exploring Santos Village 1&2. At Santos Village 1 we were greeted with a group of excited and shouting kids anxiously waiting for us to get off of the truck so they can begin playing with us. The group became both learners and teachers as we played games with the kids. We arrived back to the M house and spent the rest of the time enjoying the company of the kids both before and after dinner. We finished our day on top of the roof debriefing before heading off to bed with no electricity to run the fans as we sleep.
Painting the walls
Abby holding the soccer ball and being mobbed at Santo