I seemed to have gotten incredibly busy after I blogged day 5. Working in ministry, the closer it gets to Christmas, the busier you get! As I have been prayerfully considering and listening to how God wants to use me, I was reminded that I have left a work unfinished.
When I left off at the end of day 5 I forgot to mention a moment that seemed to sum up the dichotomy of which we live in. While planting trees, we were at one home which had its own well and backed up to a field of corn. The soil at this home was very moist and fertile. As we began to dig, I discovered an earthworm. I picked up the worm and held it in my hand and showed it to the village champions we were working with. Their reaction, to me, was at first hilarious. But then I realized their frightened faces held a true fear for them. You see, they can die from parasites and worms that enter into I tried to explain to them that this earthworm would not harm them and that they were actually a good sign. That earthworms denote healthy soil, but they were not truly convinced and not one of them was willing to touch it! The things we take for granted.
In any case, our 6th and last day was spent checking out other campuses of Mission of Hope. One right on the beach, used primarily for the school and during really busy times of the Mission. They were in the process of building a conference center there as well.
After leaving the campus we proceeded to the village of Leveque. Leveque did not exist prior to the earthquake of 2010. The Haitian government gave the land to Samaritans Purse to resettle people from Port-Au-Prince. The village was planned for 500. The Blue sided shelters so often seen provided by Samaritan’s Purse lined the hillside. But those blue sided shelters have turned to homes. Homes in groups of 4-5, sharing a well. A school and a church have been built and there is a large community of deaf individuals that live here. The community has already exceed 500 and, to me, it was a pretty little village. All of the houses painted in bright colors with tropical plants and fruit trees interspersed .
People still using donkeys for transport.
The Haitian community is a vibrant and colorful one. Although the people are lacking in basic essentials that we take for granted, they have a genuine love and joy of life that we rarely see in the United States.
People have asked if I would go again: yes! What would I change: the only thing I would like different, would to be connected with just one or two families for the entire length of the stay. I think relationships are what we are built for and designed for and what makes us thrive. So yes, I would have liked to get better connected .
If you have considered a mission trip but are feeling intimidated, Mission of Hope is a great place to start.
Day 5 was a day of work. We planted fruit trees, mostly cherry trees, at various homes among the village. The provide fruit (obviously), shade and sometimes a commodity. When we asked the homeowners how they would use the trees, they all said that they would feed themselves, but also their neighbors. The Haitian community that I have been witness to are some of the most generous people I have ever met. They have so little and yet live so largely and open handed compared to our country that has so much yet clenches their fists so tightly.
Our day was filled with a lot of digging in high temperatures. I did not take a lot of pictures that day, as I was getting my hands dirty but here are a few:
While many people can look at what we did was to simply plant trees, it was much more than that. When we planted a tree we explained that the tree, while providing multiple things for them, it should also serve as a reminder that a tree cannot bear fruit unless it is firmly planted in the ground. Just like ourselves and God. If we are not firmly planted in God, we cannot bear the fruit of His love. And like all trees and vines, we need to be pruned and watered and given much light.
After lunch we headed back to the village for a kids camp. It is basically like a one day VBS. There is a lot of singing and dancing, a short skit and a quick talk about the skit and its meaning. The kids then get a free meal and a craft. We were in this small school room, with resembles more like a lean to, with 100 kids. Here are some pictures of it all.
Peter and his posse.
Rrrrrro Rrrrrrro one of our Village Champions!
Katie getting her groove on.
Patty showing Ro Ro how it is done!
“And that kids is how you take a selfie!”
After the kids camp we went back to the compound and had some down time. We ventured over to Madame Cheap Cheap’s market stall. Madame Cheap Cheap is actually a whole family that sells wares and souvenirs and they are all related. However, they each have their own section and they try to out sell each other. It is quite comical. There is the matriarch, the original Madame Cheap Cheap, seen here:
Then there is her daughter, her son and all her grandchildren.
Michael was given the name “Big Booty Cheap Cheap” . Here he is getting his braids that they promised would make him look like Justin Bieber…..
The moon is creeping……
Kelly, our worship leader and jam-master K, also known as the “preacher!”
One of my favorite pictures, Port-Au-Prince at night.
The morning of our 4th day in Haiti we were taken on a tour of the Mission of Hope complex. Here are some photos of the complex, as well as a few of some more Strategic Village Time.
The morning light.
Souvenirs from nature.
Basketball court that doubles as a movie theater on campus!
All of these images are part of the orphanage. Mission of Hope does not do international adoptions, as they want the children to be raised in Haiti to become leaders of the next generation.
The next images are of some of the school buildings.
Mike Two Two
The interior of the church.
Paula trying to wash clothes. I did say trying. A for effort!
After hearing about Michael’s broken washing machine, the locals gave him a lesson on doing it himself. Not really, we all know Michael would just go buy new clothes.
This family ran a small market out of their home and this little girl was taking care of the customers and taking their money. I am thinking her math skills are superior to my own!
Heading in for lunch! The rest of our day was an adventure that will be continued in the next post!
Normally on these mission trips the last day is reserved for a “down day”. Meaning a day of rest and bringing one down from the service “high” that occurs while going on one of these trips. Its meant to help you start the re-acclimation process for when you return home. However, Haiti’s presidential elections were taking place during our trip and it has historically been a violent time. So our schedule was altered and we headed to our down time a mere 32 hours after we arrived. Here are quite a few pictures of our time at Wahoo Bay Resort.
Our view behind us, evoking the “Lava Song”.
Michael Two Two.
Like the goat, can you find the crab?
Paula and Patty!
Glass bottom kayak and we never tipped over. Thank you Michael for not wearing your Speedo.
How serious were they about the elections? UN and armed military everywhere. They are not messing around.
Just some traffic in the market. Not Kroger’s parking lot.
Double rainbow to wrap up the day!
And probably one of my best shots of the moon I have ever gotten. Now I need a telephoto lens……
Among the poverty there is so much beauty.
Michael with a couple of the kids.
This is Billy, Patty’s sponsored child (not really a child anymore!). We spent some time at Billy’s and this is where I met Woud Lyi. (pictured below) Woud Lyi, pronounced ‘Ooood Lee”, is a soft-spoken boy who was incredibly sweet. Sometimes you meet people and you just connect. I was not quite sure if it was just me that felt the connection and after that day, I felt pretty doubtful that I would see him again. When we returned to Mission of Hope, I asked the various Village Champions if they knew who he was, but no one did.
And this is Jerry, Billy’s brother and Woud Lyi’s friend.
After lunch we ventured back to the village to continue our SVT. Again, we encountered all different kinds of people, but ultimately there was a common denominator of struggles. One women who had the most vacant looking eyes, has been married for 30 years and has only ever wanted a child. She asked that we pray over her for God to grant her a child. I’ve heard this story from many American women as well. The irony of so many orphans wanting to be loved and a person who so desperately wants to love but cannot get beyond the giving life to a human being when they can give A life to a human being is not lost on me. I have looked at that right here in the states. I will not pretend to understand, because I cannot, the deep longing both have. I just wish one could see how much they could give each other. And on that somber note, find the goat.
One of our team members sponsors a Mission of Hope student and had some gifts to bring to him and his brothers, so after we had visited some of the homes in the afternoon, we stopped at his home to deliver the gifts. Of course the kids being done with school for the day, came out of the woodwork. And if a camera was seen, photos were demanded. Here are some of the kids and maybe a chicken.
There is more from this day, but you will just have to wait until tomorrow!