Today began with an early breakfast at 7:30 and we were on the road at 8. We left an hour earlier than past days in order to arrive up to Grace Village by 9 for a service with the kids led by Fan Fan. We arrived a few minutes after 9 and the service was already underway. It was truly an uplifting service. The kids were all standing together singing in unison. It was a packed house - with all 42 of the kids who reside at Grace as well as another 40 or so from the neighboring village of Titanyen. We were all amazed at all these young kids who walked up to the service from their village dwellings - a couple 5 or 6 year olds with their 2 year old sibling on their back! At the end of the service several of the kids sang, either individually or in a duo. I wasn't expecting a full-set concert from the Haitian youth! Fan Fan is an incredible leader and role model for the kids - very passionate, genuine and spiritual. After the service we had about an hour to spend with the kids before their faith lesson. We had been there a couple days prior so the kids remembered us and were happy to see us back again. I was impressed with their memories as many of them shouted "Hey, Conna!" at me... just a little trouble pronouncing those 'R's! We then had a faith lesson with the kids led by Dave, Alli and Fan-Fan. This was followed by some interactive games with the kids to help teach them some new english vocabulary.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Today was a very bittersweet emotional day for me. We started out by stopping at one of the mass grave sites from the earthquake of 2010. There was a new beautiful memorial that the president of Haiti recently had put up, but there were also all the crosses lying in a pile which had been put there by the loved ones of those who had parished in the earthquake; it was unbelievable. Although there were thousands buried here, Wilson told us there were more than 2000 other mass burial grounds just like it. From there we made a short stop at Grace Village. What a beautiful place and all the kids were so loving. We are spending the day there on Sunday so I can't wait to go back! One little girl told me, "I will miss you and I Love you so very much!" Talk about a day brightener!! From there we went to the market in Titan-yen; a little chaotic, but again all the children welcome us with open arms and just want you to hold them or hold their hand. We bought some hot meals to deliver to the elders and then we were on our way. We visited 11 elders in all and there wasn't nearly enough time to spend with each one of them. They were all so glad to have us there, and although we brought them food and drink; they put that aside and just wanted us to touch them and pray for them. It was amazing and very sad all at the same time. One of the ladies kissed each one of us, just for coming to see her. Junior had his guitar and played God is So Good, while we all held hands and sang to her in side her house. It was so powerful and beautiful, I couldn't help but cry. Not because I was sad, but because I could see what joy it brought her. It was a very emotional day, I just found myself wishing there was more I could do for them. The reality of it is, they were happy just to have us there. Beautiful simplicity.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Today was soo cool!! We went to this school for the kids! And than we did 3 rounds of the water truck! They were all feeling my hair and they were soo friendly and they would want me to hold them and I learned this Haitian hand shake by 2,13 year old girls names Marina and Jenny! It was soo cool! And than on the last one I met this guy named James and he spoke English soo well so he helped me translate! It was so cool and I tried to speak Creole and all the kids were laughing at me cuz all I said was Bon jour means hello! And chat that means cat Soo every one was laughing it was soo funny!! And than me and Alli Wiedemann, Dave McCarthy, Haley Ann Gazda went for a walk around the guest house that was soo fun every one talked to us on the streets and I felt safe! But it was kinda scary cuz I'm not used to people COMMING up to u and talking to u! But today was amazing!
Posted by Nathan Mills at 6:53 PM
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Today was indescribable...I am having a very hard time putting into words the emotions I felt from the moment the tap-tap pulls out of the driveway at the guest house until the time we got out of the tap-tap once again. Today started with meeting all the great guys who would stay with us and interpret for us the remainder of the day; Junior, Wilson, Nicholson, and Burnet - all fabulous guys. From there, half of us went to the Home for the Sick and Dying while the others went to Gertrude's orphanage. Haley and I went to the Home for Sick and Dying first with Dave, Connor and Kelly...with the exception of Dave I think we were all in total shock at the number of sick babies and how badly they just wanted to be held. Normally, I would see conditions on this and break down, but these babies just need you. Once I picked up the first baby and she melted into my arms, I felt God holding me and that baby and knew I needed to hold as many babies as I possibly could within the next 2-1/2 hours. Priceless...more so for me than them.Those of us who went to the Home for Sick and Dying in the morning, went to Gertrude's Orphanage in the afternoon. This was awesome, but in a totally different way. The kids were active, loving and just wanted us to hold them and play with them, happy all the while to have total strangers loving them without fear. When we got back to the guest house, we walked up the street to see some kids playing soccer, and once again we were welcomed with open arms, love, hugs and kind words. Even with the language barrier, we were able to communicate and Jesus' name was spoken. I gave my cross to a little 14 year old boy named Dickenson who hugged me and called me friend. What a beautiful day amongst all this devistation and destruction.
Today was amaazzinggggg! We want to Gertrude's orphanage and the kids where soo cool. I fell in love with this one little girl named Kendra she was soo cute! She was born last year! And than we went to Palm Inn and swam they have a great pool! And than we went to the orphanage of the sick and dying ! That was soo sad I got to feed a baby and hold them and the oldest kids where very happy and they were teasing me! Aaa it was soo funny! And I meet our body gard named Wilson! He's really funny! And I'm from China! Ahhaah! Today was amazing!!
Posted by Nathan Mills at 4:43 PM
Monday, March 19, 2012
Our team of 11 arrived safely in Port au Prince. All are looking forward to tomorrow when our work really starts. Many were surprised by the views on our decent of the city and country and all were excited to be finally be here. It was a long day, but that was soon forgotten as soon as we started driving the streets from the airport to the guest house. Those of us who have been here before notice the subtle changes, but most were taken aback by the seemingly haphazard commotion and chaos seen in ordinary Haitians going about their business on an ordinary day. As shocking as it might have appeared, I think they were even more surprised at how friendly they were as we simply rode past them. A simple gesture like a smile or wave is almost always returned. Some of the children would run to catch up with us and ride on the back of our tap tap. Many of the others would just laugh, smile and shout "Hey You".
By all accounts, it was a typical Haitian welcome. All in all a good start to a life changing week.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
What is it about Haiti that pulls me back? Tomorrow I leave on my fourth trip this year to a country I have only read about. I go to help and to try to make a difference in someone's life, if only for a little while, but why Haiti? Aren't there plenty of other countries/cultures just as poor, just as destitute? Wouldn't the gratification of helping be just as great somewhere else? Yes and no.
All one has to do is look beneath the surface to see the incredible need of an impoverished people in many countries worldwide. All need help and most would welcome it. Whole lives have been devoted to service to these peoples and have been richer because of their selfless devotion. So why go to Haiti? Why go back to Haiti?
I don't have a good answer. I believe that I never chose Haiti. Haiti was chosen for me. If it were left to me, I probably would have chosen Guatemala, Nicarauga or some other Central American impoverished area where at least I could have attempted to speak their language, but Creole seems almost impossible for me to learn. How can you help if you can't communicate? Yet, Haiti has shown me that a smile, a touch and a hug bridges more peoples than words. If I do nothing more than hold a sick child, I feel bonded.
While destitute, with their infrastructure in shambles and garbage in the streets, the beauty of Haiti is in their people. Their faith, their indestructible spirit, their sense of community, their friendly open hearts draws me back. I hear their voices and I see their faces every day. I feel their hugs even when I'm home and I know they've become a part of me.
Why do I go back?--- because there is a friend who needs help. How could I do otherwise?