The Haiti team is doing well and is hard at work on our project site in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. After getting the team settled in and our kitchen set up in a thatched-roof gazebo, we jumped into work! We cleaned up the worksite, dug a ditch for the footer of the security wall we will construct, and helped pour the concrete slab that will function as the first story roof (and eventually the second story floor) for the orphanage. When we arrived, we were incredibly excited to see a toilet/shower block on property–and one of our projects will be laying the pipe to carry water to it. (The team seems especially motivated by the thought of being able to have actual showers!) The team got to enjoy a delicious Haitian meal today for lunch–we had rice, beans, and chicken. Some team members got the surprise of chicken feet included in their lunch.
We are looking forward to spending time with the orphans on Saturday and worshipping with local believers on Sunday.
For many team members, this trip is their first outside of North America, and they have been coming to some significant realizations.
For example, Raina Gardner wrote about first entering Haiti and seeing the living conditions here:
Today we came into Haiti. We drove through the town, which is really more like one giant slum. Children stood around barely clothed, and some were stark naked. People stood in groups and watched our bus go by through the narrow, rutted, and muddy alleyways. The whole time, i couldn’t help feeling like I had no business being there in my white Canadian richness. I was painfully aware that there is nothing i could do to make all this suffering go away or to make up for it. They just need Christ, plain and simple. Material things can alleviate physical pain, but you can tell it goes so much deeper. They wanted us to wave and say hello. At first I felt I had no business saying hello because I couldn’t relate at all, and I was afraid they would be offended at me even trying to identify with them since i clearly have not seen this kind of pain in my life. But they were so overjoyed when we smiled and waved and were friendly to them. A group of children were running after the bus, smiling and yelling. One even grabbed on to the bus for a bit!
Joe Lewis makes the following comment:
What has God shown me these past few weeks? Well, I believe He has shown me it is possible to love people you don’t know with natural Christian love. He’s allowed me to experience this during Boot Camp and also when we arrived in Haiti. I don’t know how it works like that, but I know that I’m willing to give my life for anyone here–whether they are on my team or any soul in Haiti. Once you enter this place, it hits you swift and hard, with such a force that it just turns your heart sour…sorrow and conviction were two feelings that consumed my heart. To come from a place on top (my home in America) to a place so low that most people don’t and won’t go. It’s not easy to eat our meals while the Haitian kids stare because I know what’s going on in their heads, and I don’t delight in the fact that I can change shirts and pants while they have to flip theirs inside-out for the next day. Though they don’t have much, they express so much joy in the little things, something most of us forget to do. I thank God for this humbling experience and everything He is doing here. He loves these kids and families here just as much as He loves any of us in America. I’m glad i get to be a blessing to them, and I’m sure they shall be more of a blessing to me.