Day 5- Tuesday
Our team started the day bright and early as usual, congregating upstairs in the coffee line before heading down to the patio for French toast and fresh mango’s. Cheerfulness and excitement filled our breakfast table as we chatted about what the day would hold for us.
After our meal we headed into our own personal “tap tap” (Haitian word for Cab), as everyone decided where to sit for the long and bumpy ride down the mountain. On the way down each day, we always notice the lush variety of greenery, as well as colorful flowers. Our van is mostly quiet as we all reflect on the people we pass along the way as we gaze out at the rubble and devastation of this 3rd world country. Some team members snap pictures, while others attempt to make mental notes to capture lasting images in their memories.
Our van finally parks at our first stop, and we all unload walking a few short steps to a spot at the STEP Seminary where Zach knows of a beautiful view for us all to see. We stare out onto the side of the mountain, filled with concrete homes, as well as tarps and tents. We also see bare spots filled with rubble where homes once proudly stood before the earthquake. We notice the many sounds of their busy lives as we hear the chatter of Creole echoing throughout their hillside.
After the view, we made a quick trip to view the progress of some concrete homes built by The 410 Bridge for five different widows picked by a local church. A few of us sigh, picturing what life would be like in these tiny homes, wondering if we could make it, wondering why we have lived such different lives than these precious people of God. Although the homes aren’t done, they are looking pretty good compared to some of the other living quarters we have seen.
Our day continues at another home, also built by a previous group. We walked in single file down the curvy road, motorcycles racing by us, the air filled with chicken frying, mixed with piles of rotting trash. We were told that the home needed painting, but since the paint was heavy, it was delivered for us a couple days earlier. When we arrived at the location our jaws all dropped as we see that the house had already been painted. The Haitian mother was so excited to move into her new home, as she had previously lived in the tent city. She took the liberty of painting her own home! And there she proudly stood with a glowing smile on her face. She graciously gave us a tour of her three room home, complete with two beds, a dining room with a red and white checkered cloth, and a roomy kitchen and sitting area. She was living the life of a queen.
We all soon became thirsty and began to fill our water bottles from the five gallon jug. We carelessly spilled water as we poured onto the brand new floor. Selfishly, we hadn’t stepped outside to pour the water. Her floor was the same to us as the one outdoors. Both were filled with dust. We then reflected, of course we wouldn’t do that in someone’s brand new home in America. How could we have been so inconsiderate? The mother of three gracefully cleaned the spilled spot in her new home with an old frayed black cloth from her kitchen.
Our carelessness, however, wasn’t able to break her spirit. Clearly, her worth, happiness, and joy lied solely in her unshakable relationship with Jesus Christ. This was reflected in her every word, and through her kind eyes through which we could all see God’s love.
We began to paint the wooden open window doors of her home, which overlooked the most beautiful and peaceful view. Others painted spots here and there that had been missed in the first painting. Luckily, we brought our suitcase with us filled with children’s activities. We decided to get a neighborhood group of kids together to have some fun with us. Some of the children colored, some made paper airplanes, and origami, while others sang. All the children enjoyed “bon bon’s” (cookies). When the final touches were put on the house, we decided that the pile of rubble sitting in the front of the house by the street should be removed. We formed an assembly line, filled with our team, as well as some of the precious children who had played with us earlier. The rubble was shoveled into buckets, and then passed along the assembly line and dumped into a pile away from the house and the street. With all of our help, the pile moved very quickly.
The time in our day was ticking away so we headed to the HCF (Hope for the Children of Haiti) Orphanage. We couldn’t spend much time there, but we did want to make a fun scavenger hunt for the teens with our candy that we brought. We knew they would be excited when they came home to their dorm rooms filled with hidden candy.
We ended the day at the Baptist Mission where we fine dined on a snack of French fries and ice cream after a long, hot day. We were bombarded by desperate men and children of all ages trying to sell their beads, paintings, and other Haiti memorabilia. We laughed and joked about how much they bugged us, but we all managed to bring home a “boatload” (our new Wisconsin word) of goods.
After another WONDERFUL dinner at the guest house, we listened to Dr. Bernard tell us about how he was raised on a farm, how he was educated in the States and how he began the guest house and the HCF orphanage. He gave the short version of his incredible story as we all listened to his beautiful French accent that stands out as such lovely part of this poverty stricken country. We smiled as he spoke of God’s goodness and faithfulness though hard times, and examples of how God has provided time and time again for his specific needs. To date, Dr. Bernard has overseen the adoption of over 500 children. He began to cry as a member from another group recited a poem by heart for his appreciation of the model way in which Dr. Bernard has chosen to lead his life. After a wonderful devotion we all made our way down our rooms for some much needed rest!
Submitted by Elizabeth Martin