Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our adventure started out with seeing this. Through the river we went to the House of Hope.

Rhina holding a little newborn who ate a whole bowl of rice and beans. It was a sight!

The river you have to get through to go to Port-de-Paix. An adventure always.

The second week and our fuel was dwindling. The mornings were a little harder to get up. Sometimes we found ourselves dragging on the way to camp. The second week had to be the hardest. Days seemed to get hotter and longer. Our good food, Cliff bars were all gone and we were starting to live on bananas and mangoes. We wanted peanut butter and we were without it.
We worked with children ages 10-12. The week was full of crafts, football, musical hula hoops, soccer, bubbles, films, and smiles. The highlight of the week was being able to visit the House of Hope. It is a place that houses 80 children ages 1-18. The children that live there are either malnourished or suffering from TB. The goal of the house is to treat the children and be able to send them back home. If they are without a place to return to they are able to live at the House of Hope.
We had the neatest moment while we were there. Last year when my sister and I went to the House of Hope we got to meet a little boy named Jean-Baptist. He was suffering from TB and scoliosis. He was walking, but it appeared that it was very difficult for him. He looked weak and tired. This year we went back to the House of Hope to find Jean-Baptist, but this time it was smiles and running. We had the opportunity to talk with the woman in charge and she was able to tell us that after 3 years of treatment, Jean-Baptist was going home with his mother. Jean-Baptist came to HOH blind and paralyzed and he was leaving restored and happy. I will never forget seeing Jean-Baptist's smile as he took his mother's hand and walked down the corridor to a new life. God is working in Haiti and on this day, we were able to see it in Jean-Baptist.

Wilfet, our prayer

Wilfet strolled in looking like he was trouble. Wilfet soon became the protector of the younger boys and took on the role of our goalie. Returning back to Haiti I found Wilfet with the same smile and energy. He plays on a soccer team and within days that I arrived in Haiti he came to me asking for money to buy a pair of cleats. I did not feel right giving money away, but I also wanted to help a friend. Instead of giving it to him; I offered him a job. To come help with the children at the camp Wednesday-Fridays. The catch was he needed the money before Wednesday so I had to let it go and have faith that he would stick to his word and come on Wednesday. Wednesday came and Wilfet arrived with a smile and helping hands. This was God's next favor to our team. Wilfet worked with the children like he was born to be a teacher. He guided them in the activities and brought energy to the sports. Sometimes Wilfet found a break and we caught him coloring, like a child. An 18 year old, who missed the opportunity to be a child, finally found the opportunity to play. One day I had the opportunity to talk with Wilfet and ask him about his family. He had lost his mother when he was young, without a father, and living with an aunt. Unfortunately, this is usually what happens in Haitian culture. Wilfet shared that he was in school and had Jesus in his heart. But I could not shake the feeling that Wilfet needed and still needs to be prayed for. Our last day of camp we sat with Wilfet and shared a prayer that he would continue to know the Lord and have a desire to seek him with all his heart. This is Wilfet. Join us in praying for him as he continues with his studies and plays forward on his soccer team. Pray that the Lord may bless his life and Wilfet will continue to seek his face.

Week one with SMILES

The artwork of the children that colored a cement and gray wall. It was so neat to see their minds work and create.

Balloon hats was a riot. Our team did not know what we were doing, but the children never knew.

Watching National Geographic film on a 8" inch DVD player. I think you could have heard a pin drop.

"Chat, chat, sourit, sourit," were the words cried out as the children begged for a turn at the parachute. Chat in English is cat. Sourit in English in mouse. Three mice would go under the parachute and three cats would walk on top of the parachute and look for the mice. We laughed and laughed. Everytime we brought the parachute out the first word out of each child's mouth was CHAT. This was week one with the younger children ages, 6-9. From 9-12 we would conduct the camp and on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays we would incorperate a food program that feed all 35-40 children. The first week was filled with arts and crafts. Making bracelets, paintings, crosses, balloon hats, bubbles, and face paint. We ran and jumped as we played with the jump ropes, footballs, and frisbees. We also incorperated a daily bible study. Each day we focused on a different miracle that Jesus gave to his people. One day the children shaked a blue table cloth as Caitlin, our Jesus, descended from the mountain (table) to walk across the cloth and reach for Peter's hand. We strived to make each lesson interactive and new. The first week we were on fire and full of energy. The second week folowing was a little different.

The Team

Jackie holding a baby that came to use malnourished. After a month she went home plump and healthy.

Caitlin walking with Faline and taking care of the baby.

Sharing a laugh in the kitchen.

Leah holding a little girl at House of Hope.

Jackie with Kalu.

This is our team acting out the story in the bible when Jesus walks on water. We used a blue table cloth for our special effects.

It was a prayer that we had a team of 5 people. We set out with 4. We gave it to the Lord and let it go. We prayed that 4 would provide enough adults to facilitate the camp. God had something else in store. We got to Haiti and met a young woman from the Netherlands, Amanda, who had traveled to Haiti to see a friend. She came with no mission in mind, but to see a friend. We asked if she might be interested in working with the camp. First day of camp she was a hit. Great with the children, loving heart, and a great spirit. Day after day she came; she was hooked. We prayed for 5. We went with 4. God gave us 5.

MIchelda, our angel.

Michelda, an angel. The first day we arrived she rounded the corner with a hug. I had never seen this child, but she knew the name of Miss. Leah and hugged me like it had been stored up for weeks. In a little black, velvet dress, worn with holes, bare feet and broken. Daily she came with a smile and a melon. A gift of love. Poor she may be, but she held an indescribable love. Michelda started coming to church with us. She would arrive in her Sunday finest, a blue dress with a hole, a pair of cleats, and braids with beautiful white barrettes. She would insist that she carry my books. As she took my books she would fix the bottom on my shirt and make sure that it was pulled down. She always took care of us. She brought smiles on a rainy day as she jammed to our CD player on the porch. One might worry that a child might walk off with the new found toy, but Michelda just listened, swayed her head to the music, smiled, and giggled when we poked our head out to say hi. God's child. A child broken by poverty. A child with nothing, but somehow gave one of the best gifts I will ever receive, simple LOVE. Michelda, was our little angel that brought smiles to us everyday with her giggle and watchful eye over us. Michelda held the love of Jesus. One day in camp we were rounding up the dirty plates from the food program and I overheard children laughing at Michelda. I found Michelda with her head down and an old plastic bag filled with food that she had put aside to bring home to her sister. Children mocked her because of how poor she was and the fact that she was bringing leftovers to her sister. I tried to restore her confidence by sharing a smile and holding her hand, but knowing well that her heart had been hurt. The following day I watched in amazement as Michelda got up and passed out cups of water to the children that had been mocking her the previous day. Amazing love how sweet the sound.

A night's sleep in Haiti

A night’s sleep in Haiti. We are adjusting slowly. First night in Haiti and we were exhausted and craving a hot shower, but instead we got a cold sprinkle. I want to paint a night's sleep in Haiti for you because it is one of those things that just make you smile. Each person gets to tuck herself into a cot and then tightly stuff the bug net under the mattress. You make sure that every inch is tucked in; if you don't you could be one of the lucky ones in the morning with legs that look like they have chicken poxes. After you are quietly tucked you try to bring your body temperature down so that you might be able to sustain the night. You quickly learn that it is impossible and it is going to be a night of tossing and turning, but at least you have the silence of crickets and a peaceful night. WRONG! It does not take long for the frogs to orchestra a beautiful choir for you. One after another. Then the donkeys chime followed by the barking dogs in the distance that add a little flavor to the choir. If you make it through the opening act you are awoken by an encore of roosters who have forgotten that they are only supposed to crow at dawn. The start at 3 and continue until dawn. It is joyous, but it is Haiti! I love it!


After a weekend in Fort Lauderdale we were pampered with hot showers, a comfortable bed, with silence. That was about to change. We touched down into Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immediately our patience was tested. The wind was blowing hard in Port-de-Paix and the planes were being delayed. We waited patiently for 5 hours and were finally told that we were unable to fly out. A night in Port-au-Prince. The following day we got on the earliest flight out and had another great opportunity to wait patiently at our next airport for 7 hours. We were off to a great start. I was waiting for my team to break, but it was neat to see the smiles and laughter shared as we lied sprawled out on the concrete waiting for our ride and bags to arrive. Finally, we had our 5, 50 lb bags (one never gets his/her bags the first day) (God's FAVOR) and our ride arrived. We walk to the street to find our ride. An old Toyota truck, with what looks like a flat tire, two drivers, and a truck bed that is calling our names. We load the bags and tie them down with a bungy cord and find ourselves crammed in the back bed of the truck. Through the river, over the mountains, a couple million bumps, and sore butts, my team's smiles are fading, but we made it to the little town of Passe Cataboise, Haiti