Friday, May 22, 2015

May 21, 2015

Today I felt a little bit selfish. We were going to Grace Village and although I was excited about visiting the elderly I wanted nothing more than to spend all my time with my babies at the orphanage. It's been 3 years since I have seen them and I just wanted to see them and love them and hear what has been going on with them. 

This morning we got up and got ready for the day. We had a wonderful breakfast, as normal, and then left the house for the day. There were a couple other girls that were staying at the home for the sick and dying babies that had nothing to do today, so they decided to join us. We picked them up, and headed for Titanyen.

We got to Grace Village and I could not stop smiling. I was so excited to be back to the place that was the source of so many life changing moments for me. We got a tour of the grounds, and the things that they have done over the last 3 years are so remarkable, but really i just wanted to see the kids. The first kid that I saw was Ronaldo. It was during the tour of the school, he was leaving his class and as he was walking past he stopped and said "Haley, I miss you!!" and gave me the biggest hug. I almost started crying. He was the one of the first kids that I had a real connection with at Grace and he referred to me as his "Mama" the whole time I was there. AfterIi finally let him stop hugging me, he was trying to help me find and seethe other kids that were there. I saw many of the kids, all so happy to see me, and i was so happy to see them. I found out how they were doing and what they have been up to. One of the boys that I was very connected with is no longer living at grace village but he goes to school there so we were so lucky to be able to see each other. I only saw one of the girls, and found out another one just had surgery so she was resting. I asked if I could go see her, the lady giving us a tour said that I could and she was sure that Laika would love that, but we ended up having to leave so she assured me that i would be able to see her on Sunday. Laika and I met my first trip to Haiti and we spend my whole time at Grace together during that first trip. She remembered me when I got there right away for the summer and we were also very close throughout the whole summer. I am so sad I did not get to see her today, but seeing her Sunday will make me just as happy! It is crazy how much the kids have grown in 3 years. They are so much taller, more mature, and the boys have voices that make them sound like men. Seeing them for such a short time was sad, but I was thankful to see them and to know that I will see them again in 2 days.

Once we left  Grace Village we went back down the hill into the village of Titanyen to visit the elderly. The work "titanyen" mean "less than nothing" which gives some kind of idea what the people who live there have. The village got that name because the people there are so poor and have almost nothing. It was amazing to be able to go and visit them. Our acts of simply washing their feet and face, and rubbing some lotion on the, brought them so much joy. It was awesome to see the joy that the actor singing and praising God brought to them. We gave each person a care at filled with things that we use everyday such as hygiene products, snacks, and water. These things that are never ending for us, are things that they do not have and they wereso thankful for. We brought some instruments with us and sang and prayed with them. They were just so happy and appreciated it all so much. It is eye opening to see their joy and thankfulness for so little. 

May 20, 2015

I started out the day at a home for sick and dying babies. This place has changed quite a bit since I was there last. Last time I visited, there were multiple. Abides per crib, and so many cribs crammed in each room. It seemed that there were more babies and help, and the babies didn't seem to be getting the help they needed. This time, the home had moved to another building that was bigger, there was enough space around the cribs to get to each baby,and there was one child per crib. The state that some of the children were in was just heartbreaking, but it gave mes feeling of joy and the child a feeling of comfort it seemed, as we just held them, rocked them, and sang to them. I enjoy this so much because although you cannot stay there forever with these babies, you an see for the moment, the difference you are making in these babies life. The first baby that I picked up was a little girl. She was so thin that there was less than no fat on her bones that her skin was wrinkly because their was nothing in there but her bones. The sight of her broke my heart to pieces. She was burning up and had a scarf or some type of fabric wrapped around her arm making me think that her arm was broken. She must of had something in her lungs because she tried to cry and she couldn't. It was one of the saddest things I have seen on this trip. I teamed up as soon as I saw her.

I held many different babies, as one fell asleep, I would lay them in their crib and grab another one to love. I felt that there were more than enough people in there (there was 10 of us there, as well as other volunteers that were either staying there or just there for the day) caring for these adorable babies and I felt that there were kids that were a little bit older not getting as much attention because the sight of these babies are just heartbreaking and some people just don't get past that to visit the other kids. as I walked over there, I was about to go in the door and a mother handed me her baby. I took the baby from her not really knowing what she wanted me to do. I just held her baby for awhile and realized she maybe just needed a little break. I walked around rocking the baby for a while just giving him the same attention as the other kids even though he had someone visiting him. Once the mom seemed like she wanted him k, I handed him to her and she said "thank you".

I walked into a room in a separate building, which held kids that were a little bit older. There was a little girl that would just look up and smile and laugh anytime someone walked by, she may have been sick but her face showed so much happiness. There was also a mother there. She was visiting her daughter. There are no parents allowed in the building, but this parent was an exception because her daughter was so sick. She sat in this hot building with her sick daughter. They spent their time together with the mother doing her daughters hair. It was so cool to see the care this mother had for her sick daughter. As I walked farther back down the row of cribs I saw a little girl that looked so sad, and a little boy sitting in the crib across from her eating his "medical mamba" which is a peanut butter with extra nutrients in it and we was just calm and happy. I went over to the girl first. I saw that she was sitting in the crib soaked in her urine. I walked over to one of the workers and used my best creole to ask for a diaper and new shirt. She handed me one and walked me into this room, patted on a tile counter letting me know that that is where I could change her, and she walked away. I changed this girl and walked outside. I sat on the ground and tried to turn her around so she could see what was going on. As I tried to let her go, she would not let go of my neck. It was like she was holding on so tight to make sure that I wouldn't let her go. Eventually I got her turned around and we sat there for a long period of time. I just loved her and sang to her. I went back into that room to visit that little boy that was sitting across for her. I set the girl down next to me and fed the boy his peanut butter. As he finished I threw it away and picked him up to give him a little bit of love. I held him no more than 5 minutes and a woman knocked on the door. She saw him and each of the, got the biggest smile on their face. I knew right away that she was his mama. I handed him overland she also thanked me for caring for her baby. I felt do much hope in that moment for a couple of reasons,the first is that there are still parents that love and appreciate their babies. So many parents in Haiti have kids due to lack of sex education, and to make child slaves, it is so awesome to see those parents that have their babies and they just love them. The second reason I felt joy was because I felt appreciated and that I was doing good for these parents who are dealing with such a hard thing in life, and I'm sure are also dealing its so much more. 

We spent the afternoon at General hospital. Before we walked in, our translator/driver warned us that it would be warm because the air conditioning was broken. As we walked in we realized just how hot it was. The building was somewhat of a tent. It was a round top building, not made of cement. Because of this, the temperature in there was probably about 120 degrees. We gave out the bags and had to walk out the other side. We brought about 45 care bags filled with toys, stuffed animals, snacks, and personal hygiene products. We brought these bags in and people were so desperate for them. They were following us around begging and grabbing for these things. There were more people than bags, so it was so hard and sad to decide who needed them most and who was not going to get one. We all eventually went back in and tried to visit and pray for the people and children in there but many people were not welcoming to us. I didn't understand until after we left. We walked in there to see what it was like looking at these families as if they were animals in a zoo and they were on display. If we were back in the states and people came to see what was going on in the hospital rooms, it would not fly. I know we went in with good intentions of delivering necessities and sharing prayer, but I definitely understand where else people were coming from. I felt as if I was helpless there. There was nothing more I could do besides giving SOME people bags, and then walking out. I couldn't help these kids because I have absolutely no medical knowledge or supplies. All we could do was pray and leave. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19, 2015

Waking up in Haiti is an awesome thing. I would do it everyday if I could. I woke up this morning and went and sat up on the roof and looked out over Delmas (the area of Port-Au-Prince that we are in). It was so awesome, and exactly what I loved waking up to. 

We spent the day out on the water truck. When doing the water truck, we deliver water to tent cities in a city called Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil is the poorest city in the western hemisphere. There are no other organizations that deliver water to them due to the danger of the cite. This seems like such a strange thing to me considering I experienced nothing but loved rom the swarms of kids that wanted hugs and love from us. On past trips I witnessed and experienced some dangerous things, but nothing that wasn't dealt with or that was dangerous to us missionaries. 

As we drove to the water truck fill station I saw huge changes in the cities since the last time I was here. There is no longer garbage lining every street. There are still some large piles of garbage around, but it isn't literally everywhere as it used to be. I also noticed that the infamous Haiti smell (which was a horrible smell basically a mix of food from the markets, feces, and animals) was not nearly as prevalent as it was before. Although it is only a short a ride and I'm sure that smell is in other parts of the country still, the smell was a lot less "smelly" I guess, in cite Soleil and the surrounding cities. 

Driving into Cite Soleil I didn't see many, if any changes. There were still the tents on top of tents with garbage surrounding them. There were children that came running in packs yelling "hey you!!" and trying to get our attention. The lines of women and children waiting for water were just as long. There were a couple of men in line, but most of the time it is women who are to do the work. 

At the first stop there were 3 girls that decided they were going to do my hair. They gave me some crazy hair-do's and I think they ripped out about half of my already thin hair, but they loved doing it so I let them. I did have to tell them a couple times that it hurt though, good thing I know how to say that in creole!! The first stop weren't to is also the location of where Healing Haiti is building a church for the people of Cite Soleil. It was cool to see the site of the church, and the process of it going up. They had to dig through garbage, feces, and bodies of people in order to find a spot that is just right to build the church. That is truly amazing. 

The second stop that we delivered water to seemed a little quieter. Many of the children at this stop were babies or infants. I sat with 3 babies on my lap for awhile and then I made my way over to help with the hose to full people's buckets. I haven't done that part very much on past trips so I wanted to get some experience with that. While I was filling buckets, the people were almost getting in fights wanting me to fill their bucket first to assure that they would get water before the truck ran out. It is crazy, and very sad to see the desperation and severe need for something that we have at the tips of our fingers whenever we want it at home. 

One thing that I was reminded of today is that in Haiti, there is no such thing as on time. Haitians have their own sense of non-hurriedness. I am someone that hates to be late for things and I need a schedule and I need to stick to it. That is actually 100% impossible here. I need to learn to relax and just let things come as they do.  It's totally fine that things switch around and schedules get changed, but I am not a fan of slacking around. I am getting back into the Haiti way of life, and by the end of the week I will be on Haitian time. 
May 18, 2015

There are a million different things going through my head just being back in Haiti. To go along with those thoughts, I am feeling many different emotions. I don't know if I could pick just one word to explain what I'm feeling, but ecstatic seems to cover the biggest. I am more than excited to be back in this country working along side a great teem to serve the Haitian people in the ways that God intended for us. I am more than excited to see all the familiar faces of the people that touched my heart and my life 3 years ago. 

Flying into Port-Au-Prince you see all of the devastation and loss that the country still holds. It is sad too see, but to me, I see somewhat of a challenge. The challenge that I saw as I looked out the window is to touch as many lives as I can while I'm here. I plan to share god with as many people as possible. I will try to help anyone that I can. I will work with the team to go the extra degree in effort to do as much good here as possible, to help as many people as we possibly can. Challenge accepted.

It seems that we are all too connected to home still. Myself included. The first thing we all wanted to do when we Got to the guest house was connect to the wifi and talk to our loved ones back home. My hope for this week is that we can all find a way to disconnect a little bit more from our reality in order to be able to fully accept the reality that we are currently in. That is not to say that we cannot talk to people at home, it is just that we are so caught up in that that we may not be fully accepting what is going on around us and what god wants us to do. 

As we were sitting in our room last night with the air conditioning on, and in our nice comfy bunk beds I was struggling with whether I should feel blessed or guilty. I am blessed with these living conditions in a country that has people struggling to find food and shelter every day. Although they are nowhere near the conditions in the United States, I am staying in conditions that are 20 steps up from how the people right outside our walls are living. I am blessed to live in even better conditions than this everyday back in the states. At the same time, I feel guilty that I have all these things and there isn't anything I could do at that moment to share those blessings. After all these things went through my head I stopped for a second and thought "I am blessed to have these feelings of guilt so that I am able to realize just how lucky I am to have the things that I do. This is God's plan. He has done this for a reason." 

The team that I am here with this trip is much bigger than the last time.  Prior to the trip I was worried that it would be much less personal, and I would not be able to get to know everyone on the same level that I was able to last time. It is the first night and I can already tell that that will not be a problem. After pit tim we say in the living room and just talked about anything. It was a really nice start to getting to know everyone, and it will be interesting to get to know each other better and to see how each person works while we are out doing our thing outside the gate. 

While we were sitting in the living room talking tonight, one of my teammates was talking about the couple that she sat next to on the plane ride from Miami to Haiti. She was talking to them about the work we are doing here and they were telling her about the mission work that they have done. She told us that the woman told her "if I could give you any piece of advice about mission trips, it is to find God I every little thing that you do. It will make the trip so much better and you will get so much more out of it." All of us that were sitting there talking thought that was so awesome and that we need to try and do that on this trip. 

One cool thing about this trip is that we have a team member that can play guitar. While we were doing our devotional and praise time tonight we sang a couple songs. I suggested we sing "Glory to God" or as it is said in Creole, "Glwa pou Bondye" because the back of our team t-shirts say that, and because every time I've ridden around in the tap-tap that is what the Haitians wanted to sing. It was so awesome to all praise together through music. 

I've been back in Haiti for one afternoon and I am already so excited for the week. I cannot wait to see what is in store.