I debated whether I should even bother with this last post on Haiti. It's been almost 2 months since we arrived home, and it is somewhat of old news. I have sat down to write this many times and have simply not found the words. We finally had our missions presentation on Sunday and it has motivated me to write.
First of all, I MUST share about our presentation. I chuckle every time I think about it! There were at least 6 churches represented. It may not seem unusual at all, but it is...at least to me. I grew up in a super conservative Mennonite church and quite frankly thought they were a little "off" on their believes and as a result I had very little respect for them, even though they teach the fundamental basics and are believers. This church, called The Old Bergthalers, donated $8000.00 to GLA...money collected at one service! This church is small and I'm guessing has a regular attendance of about 80-100 people. Many of their members came to our church...as in one of the most liberal churches in our area! Do you get the picture? Picture men with neatly trimmed hair...no facial hair...dressed in dark long sleeved shirts and dress pants...women wearing dark dresses and head coverings...and then picture men with long hair and beards/goaties, dressed in jeans and sporting their favorite teams' T-shirt, and women wearing jeans, make up and all kinds of jewlery! Oh, the contrast was BEAUTIFUL! But, the most beautiful thing of all was that everyone was there for the same purpose... to worship GOD!! Almost makes me burst out in joyful laughter! Needless to say, my eyes have been opened a little more, and as a result I am a little less judgemental and a little more loving and accepting! :)
This is our team after a VERY long and dirty day. We drove 1 1/2 hours to Port Au Prince to unload a cargo container. After unloading heavy playground equipment, 1200 2x4s and many other items, we drove back to Fort Jacques...another 1 1/2+ hours of driving..standing on the back of the cattle truck, dodging wires and branches and having Watson, our driver, scare the cr*p out of us! (He was a great driver for the most part, but on this day he drove around a hairpin curve at about 50km/hr with a water bottle in one hand and cell phone in the other!)
That's Watson on the right...a big man...but Martin out worked him by a long shot!!
A few locals were watching and apparently kept talking about how hard and fast we worked...especially the women! I now understand the concept of "running on Haitian time"...it is a slightly...actually a lot different, than running on "Mennonite time"!
There is a LOT of garbage in Haiti due to a lack of organized garbage disposal. Most nights we could smell the putrid smell of burning garbage...yuck!
There are some sights I did not get a picture of, but that will be forever etched into my memory. It was on one of these garbage piles that I saw a young man seated comfortably, scrounging for food. :(
On our last day in Haiti we finally had the privilege of visiting the Toddler House. Visitors are only allowed to spend a short time at this house. The kids crave adult attention and "bond" very quickly and it ends up causing a lot of heartache. As much as I understand and respect this policy, I was disappointed we could not spend more time with the older kids.
This was painted on the wall in one of the girl's rooms.
Martin's heart melted when this little one extended her arms to be picked up.
Grandpa Phil...as we called him...handing out candy. One of the older boys (whom I had made a connection with earlier) came up to me with a huge grin on his face to show me what his little heart candy said,... "Marry me?". I got a good chuckle out of that one! A few minutes later he showed me one that said " I love You!". I smiled at that one too...but it really shows how much these kids need a stable, forever family.
Little Miss K touched my heart to the core. She arrived at GLA a few short months ago and spent the first months at the Main House and had recently been moved to the Toddler House. Her eyes looked empty, lost and hurt. When I picked her up, her entire body was limp and lifeless. I pray that someone will soon step up to give her and her little brother a forever family. (Yes, I have checked into adopting from Haiti, but Saskatchewan is currently closed to Haiti)
The kids at the Toddler House all attend school. These kids were about to begin classes for the day and within a matter of minutes I had them singing "Jesus Loves Me". Even though we could not understand much of what the other said, we could communicate enough to sing the song...how cool is that!!!???!!!
These 2 boys attended the church service on Sunday and followed us all the way to the Main House. They desperately wanted some money...and how could we resist??
I was continually amazed at the incredible spirit of the Haitian people! They were clean, well dressed and happy. This little girl saw me taking pictures from the truck and immediately hammed it up for the camera! I absolutely LOVE this picture...it sums up the tenacious spirit of Haiti!
I do know that we will be planning another trip to Haiti for next spring, although it is unlikely that Martin and I will travel this time. My brother Dave, an experienced framer and concrete worker is planning to go...who knows...perhaps I can convince a few of my other brothers to go as well...I'm pretty certain that the 7 of them could have a building built in no time at all!