Monday, November 17, 2014

Home from Haiti

This time last week, I was attempting to recoup after a week in Haiti.
This morning, we woke up to this, and I'm trying to ready myself for cold days ahead. Not. Ready.

Our week in Haiti was a good one. With only 3 'rookies' in our 13 member group, it was a 'dream team' of sorts. The rookies fit easily into the group, and included a cancer survivor, a hair stylist (nicknamed 'cheve', which is pronounced 'chevay' and means 'hair' in Kreyol), and 'Ken', who came to Haiti with his 'Barbie' for the first time. Since most of us have made multiple trips to the mountain community of Fondwa, our leader, Jamalyn, was able to send us off in different directions each day, knowing we were comfortable and capable with our Haitian friends and our work. We were greeted and assisted by Chris and Natalie, who are newlyweds living in Fondwa for a year, much like Dave and Jamalyn did 10 years ago.
One of the rookies in our group compared coming home after Haiti to the time that astronauts 'decompress' after a space flight. It is certainly true that 'reentry' presents both emotional and physical challenges, and it takes some time to process. I hope to write in more detail about some of our projects and experiences during our week, but I wanted to give a little overview in the meantime.

It was awesome to see the new school, nearly finished and already in use by the students.
In the 4 years since the old school was destroyed by the earthquake, classes have been held in small wooden structures like the one on the left side of this photo. The new school provides larger classrooms. and a much more comfortable learning environment for the students.
There are only a few things that need finishing in the new school, and our group was able to help with that process by scraping and painting the concrete walls in 3 classrooms.
Of course, we spent time with the kids in the orphanage, including giving them the shirts made by the children and youth from our church here in Greensburg.
The older girls especially loved the tie-dyed shirts.
Our group enjoyed lots of good food at our meals each day.
We were able to treat the kids to a movie night, complete with jiffy pop and glow sticks. In the photo, some of them are also sporting the headlamps our church was able to provide for all of the kids in the orphanage.
The ladies on our team posed with Sister Claudette, who made sure we had everything we needed while we were there, including my morning tea. :) My family was blessed to have her visit us at the lakehouse last summer. She spent some time on the dock, but passed on a boat ride!
It's fun to visit with the neighbors, and we witnessed a serious game of dominoes. The guy with the clothespins on his face and arm is not winning, by the way. :)

Laundry on the 'line.'
Heading to market.
The beautiful road to Fondwa.
A misty morning in the mountains. One of our group members was not at all enthused about the rooster alarm clock by which we are awakened in Haiti. And in case you've never listened closely, a rooster actually says "I'm a roo-ster," not "cock-a-doodle-doo." True story.
Beautiful Haiti. Bondye beni ou.


Terri D said...

What a wonderful experience for you all. God bless you! Thanks for sharing the photos and stories!

Cathy said...

I look forward to hearing more about your experience.