Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Haiti 2016 - Day 4



Saturday saw a little bit more of the same. The guys continued to sift and transport sand to the work site as well as prep the ground a little more. 




They planned out the layout and began to mark out where things were going to go and where they were going to need to dig holes. 


Towards the end of the day Saturday they went to start digging there first hole and it didn't take long to realize the holes were not going to be easy to dig. The ground was very hard and they were going to need more than just a shovel.... I think I even caught a glimpse of a few of them using pitch axes! 

(Any time the guys were working at the playground sight, they would draw a crowd of kids standing around the edges watching them. All of the men were so great with the kids, they would play games and tricks with the kids making them laugh and smile. The kids would constantly call out "blanc" "blanc" and "you" "you" to get our attention .... I love how you can see the kid in this picture actually saying it.) 


The ladies spent part of the morning reorganizing and regrouping our supplies to prepare for the sponsored student parties and more home visits, after we were done we headed over to the orphanage to spend some more time there. 


The purpose of our visits on Saturday was to just hang out and spend time with the kids having fun. 


We played catch with some the kids for a while. 


Painted fingernails and toenails. 



Got our hair done (they loved playing with our hair). 



Shaun's daughter (who is 9 years old) had made and sent a long a bag of crocheted flower hair clips to hand out to the girls. We decided to hand them out at the orphanage. 


It was so much fun to see the excitement on the girls' faces to get hair clips that another little girl over 1000 miles away had spent time to hand make for them. 


It just goes to show that anyone can make a difference in the lives of others with just a little time and creativity. 


We eventually ran out of Breigh's hair clips and started handing out some other (store bought) hair clips that had been sent along. 


The girls were a little disappointed. They all wanted the ones Breigh had made!! 



While we were there on Saturday I snapped some pictures of the actual orphanage. Like I mentioned before, I've never been to any other orphanage I don't really have anything to compare Lavaud's orphanage to, based on personal experience. However, I have done a fair amount of "research" regarding orphanages around the world and based on what I know from books, seminars, and documentaries, Lavaud's orphanage is designed and run very well. 

The kids at the orphanage, for the most part, are as well off (if not better) than those not in the orphanage, as far as actual physical needs go. They are automatically sent to school and church. They are guaranteed 3 meals a day and clothing. There are several workers at the orphanage and while they are certainly out numbered :) they are not so outnumbered so that children are not well provided for or not known. At almost any point I could walk up to a worker and ask a specific question about a child and they knew the answer, without needing a file or asking the child directly. The workers know the children and that is very crucial when it comes to the emotional and mental development of any child. 


All of the children in the orphanage spend time together without separation of age (which is also important to development). The kids are continually given access to people who come in to show them love, they are not left alone in dark rooms with little access to people or the outside world (like so many orphanages around the world). 


I spoke at length with a few of the ladies in the orphanage on Saturday and asked a lot of questions about how/when the kids age out of the orphanage. The orphanage itself is not actually that old, so they haven't actually had a lot of kids age out yet. The oldest child currently in the orphanage is 17 years old and it is my understanding that she is being trained to help work at the orphanage. 


(While we were there, food was delivered to the orphanage, one of the bags of rice busted open, here is one of the orphanage workers and few of the children scooping up the rice. I assume it is to still be used.) 


The workers assured me that there is not a specific age at which children are "kicked" from the orphanage but that they work to ensure that the child would have a place to live and a way to have their needs provided for, whether it's finding placement in an already established home or the ability to provide for themselves. I look forward to my next trip to Haiti when I can speak more with Lavaud about the orphanage from his perspective. 

(So a couple of the boys at the orphanage had these little hand crafted kites made from tin cans, string, sticks and a plastic bag.... they worked really well, Tim and I were very impressed with their creativity and craftsmanship :)) 


While we were there on Saturday, Lavaud took the time to walk us ladies down to where the market is held. 


The corner field near the Rhode school and orphanage turns into a busy market every Saturday where people spend all day negotiating, buying and selling. People come for far away to participate. It was a very unique site to see, I can't think of anything here to compare it to. 


We had some of Lavaud's workers go to the market to buy 3 goats for sponsored families in the program whose sponsors had sent funds down to do so. 

The goats were housed near our bedroom at the compound while waiting to make it to their new homes.... lets just say that goats make a little more noise than what I had realized. While they're certainly not as bad as the roosters, they weren't exactly quiet either. :) 

Tim and I talked once about getting a goat one day.... I am now rethinking that decision. 


While walking to and from the market we met a lot of kids a long the way. Walking through the Rhode area around the school and orphanage I found it impossible not to fall in love with the people there.


While it could be overwhelming at times (a better word might be exhausting), people constantly looking to you for something, wondering what you had, if you were going to give them anything.... it was also a reminder of why we were there. 

These people are desperate in many ways, and it can be defeating when you realize you will never ever be able to fix all the needs and problems. What I had to remember as we walked along the roads and visited families in their homes, was that while it would be easy to think that their greatest needs were something physical (food, clothing, etc.) what they really needed most I have in abundance and I could never run out of it to give. And that is Jesus. 


There is a language barrier, yes, but that's never hindered God before! We did our best to communicate through our translators at every home we visited that we were there in the name of Jesus. We handed out creole Bibles to every family we met, and we shared the wordless gospel bracelets. It's hard not to think, we could have or should have done more. But I refuse to let the enemy work in my head and heart that way. 



The reality is we did as much as we could, and everything we did we did with a heart of prayer and with God's glory in mind. It's easy to look at the pictures and to be moved emotionally (at least it is for me) but that means nothing if we aren't actually moved to action. (BIG SIDE NOTE: and that doesn't necessarily mean "going" to another country). 

Going to Haiti helped me to realize not only the work that needs to be done in Haiti, but also here at home. The great commission is not just for overseas and its certainly not optional. Am I spending my life (not just one week in Haiti), giving people what they need most? 


It's easy to see needs among the poor, but do I also see the desperation among the rich? It's easy to have a heart for Haiti, but do I share that heart for the people and place where God has placed me to live my daily life? 


The trip to Haiti changed me, in a lot of ways, but one way that I particularly want to remain zealous in is for the life long mission that God has called me to, here, there, wherever. Am I willing to give all that I have for His service and for His glory and to make HIS name great among ALL peoples? 

(This picture is just a frightening reminder to me that Tim did in fact drive in the crazy traffic of Haiti. 
For him this was probably some sick check mark on his bucket list, 
for me.... it was quite possibly the most nervous I was the entire time we were in Haiti. 
He of course did great, and as far as my knowledge goes no one was ever harmed while he was behind the wheel :)



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