August, New Beginnings: Haiti Missions Trip Part I

Entry: August 2, 2016
We are officially in a new month. Aside from it being the best month out of the year, my birthday month (the 4th) 😊, it’s also the eighth month of the year. Eighth symbolizes new beginnings. And this month is just that. Yesterday, August 1st, I traveled for the first outside of the United States. Not for pleasure, but a missions trip. I am currently writing from Haiti. (Still seems so unreal that I’m actually here.). It was my intentions to write a post nightly, however, I didn’t get a chance to do so last night. Therefore, I’ve decided to do a recap for every two days. So this is part one…

Upon our arrival to Haiti yesterday afternoon, you could instantly see the difference when we traveled to our set place to stay. We landed in Port Au Prince, but stayed in Croix-Des-Bouquet. We had a van take us to our destination, we were met at the airport by a few men. One was a pastor and another works hard alongside him. He speaks English and is able to translate. 

On our way to camp, we drove on dusty bumpy roads. No traffic lights. On the busier streets, there were police officers directing traffic. It’s almost as if there are no rules when in comes to driving. You do what you can to get to your destination. Even if it means driving on the other side of the road, or even on the sidewalk. There were buses that Ebony (who has traveled here in missions before) compared to the dollar vans in NY. They are called the tap tap. As the busses passed, you could see how packed they were through the windows. The people were literally piled inside, just to get to where they needed to go. There were trucks that had the back open, filled with men. There were also motorcycles stopping and picking up people and were paid to ride them to their destination. This seems to be their form of transportation if they’re not in close proximity to their desired location or if they don’t have a vehicle. Unfortunately by looking out of the window, you could see that we were in a country that has struggles when it comes to poverty. As I sat and watched, and listened to stories by Pastor Pullings, (who is the missions department president of the first ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ENY, of the Church of God in Christ), I was able to get a glimpse of what they had to face in this area. 

On our drive to the compound, I thought about what I wanted to give, and what I wanted to gain. I knew that we were there for a specific purpose, and I wanted to be sure that I fulfilled that purpose. It’s a new experience for me, so I want to ensure that I give and get all that I can. How will I approach the people, what exactly will I do, will I be able to relate, etc. ? I just wanted this experience to be all that it could be. 
When we got to the compound, we settled in a little. Picked our room and put our stuff down. Our living conditions were petty good. We shared rooms, 2 to a room, but it was still good. Two bathrooms, kitchen, running hot water, and wifi access.  
 We then went to meet the girls in the orphanage. Not knowing who some of us were, the way they greeted us was so beautiful. All of the girls one by one came up to each of us with a kiss on the cheek. Although they were in grossed in their television show, they were so polite and spoke to each of us. While we were there the very first night, we took a look at what they were being served for dinner. We weren’t aware of what it was, but it was a big pot a woman had on the ground and she looked to be cleaning a piece of meat of some sort. It didn’t look appetizing to us, but this is what they’re used to eating. After seeing the girls, we went shopping. Not at the markets in town, but at a market that’s considered safe near the embassy. This shows the different areas and parts of Haiti. There’s such a difference, a separation. 
  

Later that evening, after shopping, cooking, and eating; we set up all of the items we brought for the girls in the orphanage and the clinic as well. We all brought at least one suitcase full of essentials, and when we laid it all out we were so happy to have been able to have so much to give. 

  

  

Day 2: 8/2/16 Journal entry..
Woke up with a feeling of excitement to see the looks on the girls faces when they receive what was brought for them. However, a little more reserved than I’d like to be so far. I’ve been thinking of ways to be effective over here. How can I/we leave a lasting impact. Giving is one thing, but connecting is another. We have to be able to show them how much we care, in such a short amount of time. 
I want to give my time and service more than anything. I also want to learn as much as I can. And do it all over again. To be the most effective, you have to be a giver. Not only material things. In this case, it’s needed. But also in time. Making that connection is key. Forgetting about yourself. 
God uses us right where we are. Only when we allow ourselves to be used…
Before going to the orphanage and giving the girls the items, we took a trip to the clinic. There were supplies for them as well. Mostly over the counter medicine. According to the stories, the over the counter medicine from America heals the ailments that most of the patients have. Because it’s medication they aren’t used to using. Going to the clinic, you could see a few areas where they needed. It was a nice set up. They needed more medication in their pharmacy and a little more precautionary items. (Cleaning supplies, gloves, etc.). Just looking around and seeing the facility was a blessing. I was happy to see and hear that they’re able to serve the community with the facility and supplies that they do have. What concerned some of us most, was the medicine that they had to offer in the pharmacy area of the clinic. It didn’t look like much. But it may be because they don’t use as much traditional medication in Haiti as we here in America use. They did however, have a dentist area. And area with beds where patients get checked, etc. 

   
   

We then went over to the orphanage to set up the items and look around the orphanage. We used their dinning area to set up every item on the tab,e for display for the girls. We wanted them to be able to see and choose what it was that they wanted. After setting up, we took a look around the grounds of the orphanage, for the first time. We were able to see their rooms, etc. There are seventeen girls living in the orphanage at this time. There are four girls to each room. Two bunk beds. The rooms are s little small, but they fit the two bunk beds, along with dressers for the girls. There were about two in each room. But as we passed, we noticed that some of their beds were falling apart. They needed new mattresses. One of the needs that the caretaker expressed, was that they needed was sheets. Again, the facility was nice. And we’re so proud of the work that has been done so far, but there’s still more work that needs to be done. The the interaction began..

Nightly journal entry:

After visiting the orphanage today, I’m in awe of the way we were able to connect with the girls. Although they didn’t speak English, the connection was almost instant. They immediately gravitated towards us, the minute we initiated it. All it took was one small gesture. As we sat and waited, I had to initiate interaction with them. That was the reason we were there. So I sat and asked about the coloring sheet they were coloring, and it took off from there. We talked the best we could to each other, but the connection was so strong despite the language barrier. We laughed, we sang, and dance. Took pictures. And took more pictures. These girls absolutely loved taking pictures. I asked them to read, but it was an English book, so they wanted me to read it. As I read, they repeated every English word after me. We fooled around with snapchat. And they absolutely loved the filters. At that point, there were about three girls who clung to me. Their names were Daphnaika, Melissa, and Lisa. There were a few others that came and joined a little while after. After reading, some of the girls sang and danced. One song was, I love you I love you my love. They danced as they sang that song. Then they started to do the whip nae nae. Which was absolutely cute. We colored together. We sang When Jesus Says Yes. And we just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. 

 After our lunch break, we came back to distribute all of the material for the girls. They’d already been peeking in while we set up, so we knew they were excited about it. As each girl came in and received the bags and they pointed to certain things they wanted, you could see the appreciation in their eyes and in their faces. Many of them smiled as they looked and received. There was one, Melissa, who had the biggest smile on her face. She danced around as she looked at all of her new clothes and just continued smiling. There was another, one who didn’t interact with me as often as others, came to me and taped me. I turned around, and she pointed to her shoes and gave me a big smile. Another girl looked through her bag, looked in my direction and gave me two thumbs up. That was their thank you. They were so excited to get new things. And you could tell they were grateful for it. It was an amazing feeling. Not only for them to receive things they needed, but also to interact with other people. To be able to socialize with others outside of those they see on a daily basis. Amazed by this new experience. The start of a new beginning. There’s more. 

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