Saturday, March 11, 2017

Day 6
As we approached our last full day in Haiti, our hearts were filled with the desire to make one last impact. Sad the trip was coming to an end, our group made the best out of the time we had left. Originally, we had planned to go to Gertrude's, an orphanage for disabled children, but as we quickly learned, in Haiti plans can change with no warning. We saw how God works in mysterious ways today, as we were able to visit Dios Orphanage, another orphanage for disabled children. Although the first steps off of the tap-tap felt a bit overwhelming, we soon realized that there was no need to worry. We were able to connect with the children through playing games, drawing, and laughing. Through the barriers of language and their disabilities, we realized that no matter what the situation may be, God helps us to form meaningful relationships with his children. It didn’t take long to realize that though these children live in a third world country, they were all well taken care of and loved very much. 

After we visited Dios Orphanage, we were able to visit Papillon Enterprise, a business consisting of a cafe, gift shop and factory, which aims to both teach parents how to care for their children and provide them with a steady source of income. Papillion Enterprise aims to “provide hope [to Haitians] through the dignity of a job, training, and the ability to create something new out of something discarded and seemingly useless.” After relaxing at the cafe we took a quick swim once again and the boys headed back to play soccer with the local neighborhood kids. They wanted us to tell you that is was “a very very close game” though, the score was 6-8 so we will let you be the judge of that. Playing soccer is yet another way we can connect with others without the ability to communicate through language. Whether it be through kicking a ball back and forth, or through the universal understanding of joy, we know we made an impact in their lives and they made an impact in ours as well. 

Bondye beniĆ³u,
Heather and Sage

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day 5 - Water Truck

Day 5 - Water Truck 

Today we had another water truck day. It was more relaxed than the first one because we had the routine down. Nonetheless, it was still very tiring as we were filling water buckets and picking up children. We got to see some of the kids we got to see three days ago which was pretty amazing. In-between our two stops we waited on a dock for the truck to refill. Just sitting by the ocean with the little children on our laps was a needed break from the chaos. Then we went to a restaurant called Fleri and had some very good pizza. Overall today was a little more relaxed and laid back. 

Bob and Jack

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 4 - Titanyen

Day 4 - 

Today was a more relaxed day, but nonetheless, was a blessing for everyone. We started the day with a delicious French toast breakfast. After that, we headed out to the city of Titanyen to visit Grace Village. Grace village is both a home and school for children of all ages. We saw how much progress it had made from the year before! There were many more students then last year, and they also had started a new garden for growing crops. 
 Next, we visited the elders. We brought them a meal and juice, washed their feet, and sung with them. Unaware, while washing the first group of elder’s feet, we applied “wash and shampoo” instead of the lotion we were supposed to be using. (We did find the lotion.)  The elders loved it nonetheless.
After that we went to the Grace Village bakery, which smelled amazing. It was called “Fleri.” And it happened to have perhaps the best cookies we had ever eaten. Their staple product was called the “lengue de boeuf,” or “cow tongue.” It earned this name due to the rough texture of the sugar on top. The cookie consisted of layers of fluffy, crispy pastry, and was topped with *just* enough sweet sugar to add flavor. They were VERY good. We also learned that we were to go there for dinner the next day to eat pizza, and we are all stoked for that.
Lastly, on the way back to the guesthouse, we visited the mass grave site of the 2010 earthquake. One of our drivers told his short story of where he was when the earthquake happened. We walked around and looked at everything, including the little lizards that ran around in the rocks. The monument was a reminder of the terrible events that happened here seven years ago.
And even though we enjoyed nice cookies and nice company, the most important part was how God worked in everyone’s life today. We all agreed that God’s blessing towards others was very apparent today. In Grace Village, hundreds of children receive a home, an education, and daily food, which is more than most Haitian kids get. The elders received much attention and care, and are continually provided for through sponsorship and other Healing Haiti teams visiting them. The bakery provides jobs for Haitians in the community. These things spoke to our hearts, and showed us that God loves us, no matter what physical conditions we are in.
It was a good day, But we still are pretty tired. We thank you for all of your prayers, and we ask that you would continue to pray, that we can glorify God most through our work, and that what we do tomorrow on our Friday water truck day helps as many people as possible.

-Iain and Karsten Anderson

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 3

Day 3 -
Today we had pancakes for breakfast. They were delicious. Then we went to Dari’s, an orphanage for the disabled, while some people went to The Home for Sick and Dying Children. At Dari’s we had fun playing with children who had disabilities. We pushed them in wheelchairs and gave them toys to play with. The people who went to The Home for Sick and Dying Children played with the kids, held them, and fed them lunch. Our whole group met up and went back to the guest house to relax for a bit. Soon after, we went to Laphere, another orphanage, and played soccer, and jump roped with the kids. Once back at the guest house, we went to the nearby pool. At the pool, we swam and relaxed. We watched Barcelona comeback and score 6 goals after a four goal deficit against PSG(soccer). It will go down in history as one of the greatest soccer comebacks. Later that night, we had tacos for supper that were very delectable. Some kids had the opportunity to go play soccer with the neighborhood kids. The kids were very good at soccer. We came back, and now we are here writing this.

Levi A. Button and Ben H. Horn 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 2: Water Truck Day - Siena & Abi

               Today was day two; we started off with good breakfast and a typical morning to a very non-typical day. The first thing we did was go to the water truck station, once we got there they told us the water truck was broken and in typical Haiti fashion, our plans changed. We headed off to hope church and school and learned a little bit about its history; so far, they provide kindergarten and an adult schooling program and are changing the environment day by day. After that we finally headed off to our first water truck station. As we drove we noticed our surroundings getting worse and worse. Once we had arrived in a very poor spot, we got out and were immediately surrounded by children who were longing to be loved. As others helped pour and carry the water we held as many children as we could. The joy on their faces when we picked them up and gave them attention was indescribably impactful. The more children we picked up the more others wanted to be and it seemed like they were never ending. We experienced the same type of thing at the other two stops. The more time we spent growing attached to the children the harder it was to say goodbye. However, being able to make them happy, just for a small portion of their day, was a beautiful thing. We left exhausted and heartbroken that we could not stay with them, but joyful that we could be a source of love and compassion in their difficult situations. Today was a day that we will never forget; a day that not only humbled us, but truly changed us.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 1 - Travel Day

Today was a rather uneventful day for the most part. We arrived at the airport around 4 in the morning full of energy and ready to go! Not really, we were all pretty tired, but it was exciting to start our trip. This is the first time that we, Landon and Ryan, have gone to Haiti. The plane ride had a little turbulence, but overall it wasn’t too bad. When we were preparing to land at the Haitian airport, we looked down over the country and saw the beautiful mountains and the rolling ocean. Haiti seemed like a vacation spot from above. As soon as we landed, we saw just how wrong we were. The airport was nothing like the Atlanta airport. It was hot and steamy and the escalators were rickety. We loaded up onto the tap tap with some unwanted help from the locals. The tap tap itself was crazy and the roads had zero rhyme or reason to them. We arrived at the guest house eventually. We had a great dinner, enjoyed the view from the house and played games until night. We also met some friendly neighbor goats who were very entertaining. We are all running on an hour and a half of sleep and we will be early to bed tonight. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Ryan Grill
Landon Smith

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Days 2 and 3 - Touch

My mom took leave from her job to spend the last weeks with her father before he died. She's told many stories of this time she spent with him, but the one the stands out the most is the story of rubbing his feet. At the time, I'm sure I thought this was a strange thing that my mother did - how she spent time washing and using lotion on his feet...cutting his toenails and while doing this, I'm sure having conversations while he was awake. Maybe they told stories of her childhood, maybe of his own, or maybe they just spent that time in silence together just knowing that this would be it in this lifetime together.

I cry as I type this because even six years ago I didn't understand the gift and honor my mother gave to her father before he died. The gift of touch.

For our team, this word - touch. This action - touch. This everything - what our days have been this week. It's the connection that we can all give to one another so freely - to put a hand on a shoulder to tell someone we are here, to give a hug, to kiss a forehead, to give a fist-bump - it's a universal and beautiful human experience. There is no language barrier to touch, and no special skills needed to make that easy connection.

Yesterday we traveled west to the Home for the Sick and Dying adults. I think we all wanted to believe that this home would be filled with the elderly - dying after fulfilling a long and beautiful life just like my own grandfather. But it wasn't. There were also teens, and young mothers and fathers who came to this place to be loved and cared for before they go to meet God or even for their own miracle of health to happen.  As a non-medical team, I think many wondered what our calling was to serve at here - but it became clear quickly - it was to spend time with them - rubbing their feet, their arms, their backs - holding their hands and just touching them with our love, our hearts, and our hands.

My mother taught me well with how she honored her father. How we can all learn to honor those who need us most in such simple yet profound ways.

This happened again today as we visited the elderly that Healing Haiti supports in the greater Titanyen community. They didn't ask for anything except our time, our love, our prayers, and our touch. We washed their feet, rubbed their hands, and lifted them in songs and love.

We visited an orphanage after leaving the elders. It was a place some of us visited last year - and it was a favorite because of the joy of the children. I told a story tonight about how I spoke to my mother last year after leaving these children that day - and she reminded me that someone else was right behind me giving them love and hugs. I held that close during this year apart - and she was right - they did have love all year, but yet - they remembered our group and the songs we sang! It was a wonder indeed and I know I will see and hug the beautiful children again someday.

I think we all need to remember that we don't need big gifts to make an impact - we just need to give a touch or a hug or some extra time with someone to let them know they are not alone ever in this big world. We need to let them know that for that moment, that minute, that hour - you are everything to them - and are in full service to them through our simple gift of just being human.