S: Haiti Feb 2012
BC: DEPARTED | Haiti | 14 FEB 2012
FC: Haiti 2012
1: Haiti | Haiti | ARRIVED 8 February 2012 | Haiti is on the western part of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys.
2: The day we left I got up early, went to the gym for a run, and finished getting ready to leave. I dropped the kids off at school, Christian blew me a kiss and ran for the door, Aliya gave me extra hugs and kisses and said "have good day Haiti!". We met at the Jones' house at 10, said a prayer for our safe travel and headed over to Biggsville to pick up the Allamans. We got everyone loaded into Harmony's van and packed everyone's belongings into the trailer. Harmony Bible church was nice enough to loan us the van and trailer as well as paying for the gas and parking. Once we headed down the road Dan's parents went flying past us and motioned for us to pull over, we had left a box of Kids Against Hunger meals and they wanted to make sure that we got it. Jeremy drove the 4 hours up to Chicago then dropped us off at the gate and headed for the parking lot where he reserved a spot online. When he found the address he saw an empty lot with a chain between two cement blocks and decided maybe economy parking was the way to go. We all got boarded for our flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL where we spent the night. We got into the motel around 11:30 and had to be in the lobby again by 4:45am for the shuttle to take us back for our 7am flight to Haiti. Our flight to Haiti was a little over an hour and a half, we all arrived safely and all of our bags also made it. We made it through customs and out to the parking lot where Spring and Jack with the Mission Lifeline bus were waiting. We piled in all of our luggage and managed to still have room for all 13 of us. | Jeremy had gotten a middle seat on the plane and joked about who he was going to sit in between. Allie saw him and said, "Jeremy's sitting by two smoking hot babes!" She was instantly mortified at what she had said and covered her face with her hands, it was so funny!
3: Mission Lifeline Compound | The compound is enclosed by a stone wall and fence, it's also protected by a metal gate. There is a school there for the little ones in the morning and the older children in the afternoon. There is also a nursing school, sewing class and midwife class at the facility. The women in the sewing class sell the goods they make and 1/3 of that money is put into a savings account so they can buy their own sewing machine with it and start their own business. The village church and a clinic are also on the grounds and service the community. The clinic costs 50 goud (40:1 US dollars) and is manned by two retired nurses Judy and Janet. There are sleeping quarters for the long term missionaries and also places for the short term mission teams. The pit in the upper right hand corner is where they dump all their garbage and burn it regularly. Dominic and Jillson are in the bottom lefthand corner posing at the canteen.
4: The bread oven pictured bottom center use solar energy to bake 35 loaves of bread at a time. We were fortunate enough to eat some of it for dinner one day. They even put sugar and cinnamon on some of it for us. Yum! Everyday we had devotions at the prayer rock where Arnold Lempke had first asked God where to build his mission. We also went up to the cross for our own reflection time. The cross is lit at night and was built in December 2009. In January 2010 the massive earthquake hit Haiti. People flooded to Lifeline for help and the only way they could get supplies in was for helicopters to bring it. The helicopters were able to find the mission by the light of the cross and could land on the flat soccer field that had been hand dug and completed in October 2009. God provided a way!
5: The Canteen feeds 3000 children a day. It feeds the school children and goes out into the village with 5 gallon buckets to feed the village as well. It takes 500 bags of Kids Against Hunger meals everyday to provide this food. While we were there they had to use rice and beans until their shipment came in. | Matthew 25:34-36 The the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
6: After we arrived at Mission Lifeline on February 8th. They had us organize a couple of rooms at their warehouse. The first room was filled with medical supplies. There was no organization to it so we set to work. The second room we worked on for a couple of days had school supplies, clothes, odds and ends and SHOES! Over 40 boxes of mismatched shoes had to be sorted into pairs and trash. It was such an accomplishment because after it was cleaned out and placed in the same room as the medical supplies Lifeline could actually use it as a classroom. They could also disperse all of the donations that we had gone through to neighboring villages, schools and orphanages.
7: After lunch our guide Spring took us through the village La Digue and to the dam at the Mathieux River. The river runs into channels all through the village and that's their main water source. Along the way children kept joining us. They wanted to walk with us and hold our hands. Most of them knew "what is your name?" and "give me a dollar". We learned that many of the children do not like to wear clothes so we were greeted by many nude and half nude Haitian children. They were so precious the way they wanted to be our friends. They would say "zumi" which means friend in Creole.
8: When we were at the dam we saw naked little boys riding down the cement slope on 5 gallon bucket lids. Dominic, Danielle and Adrian from Lifeline also decided to cool off and get in the water.
10: Belle tet beautiful head
12: We walked to Barbancourt Thursday afternoon along the same path that several of the workers at Lifeline walk everyday. We again collected children along the way and they would point and say "blan or blanc" which means white. The journey was a little longer and a little more treacherous. We crossed a stream, crossed fields, walked along the canal, jumped obstacles and slid down hills. It was a fun walk and only took half an hour or so but I couldn't imagine walking that everyday to school or work, especially in the dark. Once we arrived at Barbancourt we helped with lunch for the village kids and helped measure, weigh and take pictures of some of the kids for the sponsorship program. We played with the kids there as well and Jeremy showed them the hand slap game and thumb wrestling. We also went to Pastor Louissant's orphanage and church. Some of the children graced us with a couple of church songs as well. There was also a sick girl on the cold cement church floor who had been sick since October. Her mother brought her to the church for help and healing.
13: Jack I love
16: One of the mornings Jeremy helped fix the tire on the mule. Another morning the boys went over to the house Lifeline was building to help them sift, dig and stack cinder blocks. The two bedroom house was being built for a woman living in a shack, it cost $6000 to build it. The shack she currently lived in was made of sticks and a tarp wrapped around it. We saw many of those same types of homes in the villages.
17: sydney harbor bridge | Dominic, Nathan and Tyler raised money to take soccer balls to Haiti. The boys took 55 balls, 10 pumps and several orange cones. They gave them out to every school and orphanage we went to. They also left 20 balls for Osmi, the director of Children's Lifeline, to start a soccer league between some of the local schools. Afew of the balls were left at the Lifeline compound for the local boys that play nightly on the field and the basketball court. | Dominic played with the boys several nights. One night when he wasn't playing I asked why and he said, "I don't know who's on my team and which goal is mine!"
18: Arcahie Mountain | Haiti
19: Visionary College school and orphanage 250 kids, 6-8 volunteer teachers that teach because no one else will
21: Dan, Jeremy and Dominic performed the story of Abraham and Isaac while the rest of us made pinwheels for the kids. The little bitty kids got scared when Jeremy took out the machete, they thought he was really going to hurt Dominic. Robinson read the track in Creole to the older kids and then we played soccer and jump rope with them for quite a while. The ride up to the mountain was quite exciting. The landscape was beautiful and the roads were what you would see on "world's most dangerous roads".
22: Kids Against Hunger in Haiti | Friday night the truck came in with Mission Lifeline's Kids Against Hunger meals. We were told to get our shoes on and get out the door to help them unload them in Barbancourt. The semi cannot get the container down Lifeline's road so takes them to Barbancourt's school. Dan, Jeremy and I all helped unload some of the boxes. It was hard work as the boxes weigh 33 lbs and they were being thrown at great velocity; I had the bruises to prove it.
23: When we had to leave so quickly Wendy did not have a chance to use the restroom so was shown the pitch black outhouse at the school. She used her camera's flash because she couldn't see anything in the cement room. Needless to say, she decided she didn't have to go that bad after all. Davidson was a boy that hung out at the mission quite often. He and Dominic became friends and he would call Dominic "brother". He would also point to me and call me "mom". He was so sweet.
24: Arcahie Market is the market the region uses to buy food, toiletries, cooking charcoal and everything else. We were told not to take anything with us and not to take pictures. One of the teenage Haitian boys, Mark, slyly took a few photos for us but we had to keep moving through the market quickly. We saw people selling live chickens and crabs, mud cookies and we walked on the sea of charcoal brought over on boats from the island across the water. | Melissa carried John Fritz through part of the market and received many dirty looks. Women were yelling at her "that is our child!" in Creole. She responded back by saying "this is God's child!"
25: John Fritz is a boy that was orphaned when he was just a small baby. His parents died of cholera and his aunt begged Lifeline to take him in. He is around 3 years old and has been at there for around 2 years or so. His longest caretaker is Adrian. When we had been there in February she had been there for about 7 months. There is an American couple waiting to adopt him but for now he waits. He is the cutest and funniest little guy and everyone loved playing with him.
26: One of the coolest stories on the trip was Melissa's. She had felt God calling her to go to Haiti once she learned of the trip. She dealt with feelings of inadequacy and self doubt but still she obeyed and went. The staff learned that she was an occupational therapy assistant and asked her to look at a couple village children they had just met the week before. Little did she know that they had prayed for God to send them someone to help just days before her arrival. She visited Ezekial's family and learned that he was over a year old and still could not scoot or hold his attention. She came up with some innovative therapies and even made him an exersaucer out of a bedside comode and various toys she found.
27: The night that some of us went to unload meals at Barbancourt, Madonna and her mother came to the compound. Melissa worked with her and made weights of rice to help her uncontrollable shaking. Her mother wanted her to be able to feed herself, brush her teeth and wash her face. God had a plan worked out months ago and here it was coming to fruition.
28: We had plenty moments of fun while on this trip. Several nights a couple of the local girls would braid hair or do manicures or pedicures for $10 US. It was great for them to earn money and for us to get pampered. | Many nights were spent playing games like Twister, cards and Scrabble Slam. We also updated the Lifeline blog every night and tried to keep everyone at home updated as well | Dominic and the world's biggest can of tuna. Everyday we ate sandwiches for lunch, usually pb&j or tuna salad.
29: One day Isaac and his friend brought souvenirs for us to buy. They had jewelry, wood crafts and paintings. Isaac even personalized some wrap bracelets with people's names on it.
30: Voodoo Party | During our time in Haiti we came across voodoo a couple of times. Half of Haitians practice it, even if they believe in Jesus Christ. We saw a black cross that represents the crossroads of life and death with a bottle of rum on it for their god and a burnt offering in front of it. We also drove through a voodoo party where they were going to sacrifice a cow and a goat that they had covered in red linen. It sounded very much like what you would think of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We also heard chanting and drums pounding in the village a couple of nights. Haiti is a dark country but has peaks of light shining through the missionaries that live there. | The people of the village had no money to donate to the cost of the church so were asked to tithe a stone when they came. The church was built using these stones. No matter how little we have, it's enough for God. We also had the great pleasure of worshiping our God at the village church on Sunday morning. The service usually starts around 6:30 am and can last until 10:30 or so. We didn't go until about 8:30 and it even ended early at 9:30. The whole service was in Creole, they had a praise band and they had witnesses testify. After the service was over we milled around outside talking with the children. Linda gave her bible to a young man who was learning English. We heard the band inside practicing and went back inside. We sang and danced with the kids and praised God for His blessings.
32: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney. | We went to Port au Prince after lunch on Sunday. The first area we drove past was Cite Soleil, the worst slum in the western hemisphere. It holds the largest market in Haiti but it's so dangerous that even the police are afraid to go in it. There were rows and rows of tin shacks and tarps, garbage, people and merchandise. We saw mounds of clothes that had been donated after the earthquake and were now either being sold or picked through at the market. The smell of sewage and trash burned our nostrils as we drove past what seemed like an endless trail of poverty. We turned down a side street that was known as automotive alley. Cars and buses lined the sides and there were parts stores at every turn. The next street we went down was Best Buy street, electronics galore. This devastation was in Haiti long before the earthquake, we pray that one day it will be better.
34: We got out at the presidential palace and took a few pictures at the destruction there. Directly across the street was a tent city that used to be one of Haiti's national parks. We bought a painting from one of the vendors there and Dominic lost his wallet with all of his money in it. Just down the street is a torch monument that was built and never lit because of lack of money. We also went by the high security prison that suffered damage during the earthquake. All the prisoners escaped and a shoot to kill order was issued. Most of the criminals were caught and put back in prison but some are said to be hiding out in Cite Soleil.
35: We stopped by the burial site of the earthquake victims on our way back from Port au Prince. After the earthquake 300,000 people died and were taken by dump trucks to be thrown on the side of the road. When the people complained they dug this huge hole and dumped the bodies in it, barely covering it with dirt and rocks. The top left corner is what it looked like after the one year anniversary when crosses were placed across the shallow grave to remember those that lost their lives that day. On the two year anniversary they ripped up all of those crosses to build a stage for the president to speak at. Now the site is littered with broken crosses, trash and bones.
36: Haiti | Clothing store | Security system | Tap tap
37: This space in Barbancourt housed 5000 people after the earthquake
38: The last day we went to Williamson school and orphanage. We saw the sleeping quarters for the boys and girls as well as the classrooms. Our ladies helped administer medicine, vitamins and fungal cream. Dan and Jeremy trained them on the water chlorination system we brought from the 12:1 run. Linda talked with our translator Robinson's cousin and exchanged email addresses. Danielle was offered a marriage proposal. The boys left the remainder of the soccer balls for the kids to play with at school and at the orphanage.
42: AYRES ROCK/ULURU the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark. | Candace bought us some fresh crab on the beach. The guy drug it in from his trap off the beach, cooked it over a fire and served it with lime and delicious spicy butter
43: Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. | Dominic and his giant chicken salad sandwich made from the homemade Lifeline bread
45: Au revoir Haiti. Goodbye Jeremiah, Adrian, Judy, Spring, Janet, Candace and Michelle
46: Tuesday February 7, 2012 I was up early (the clock said 4:45 when I finally looked at it). I was so tired the night before that I was in bed before 9:00 and fast asleep by 9:30 I decided to cuddle with Dustin a little longer and got up at 6:00, did a couple things around the house and then went to the YMCA to workout. I knew I would be sitting a long time that day so figured I should get a little run in. By the time I got home everyone else was up, the kids were getting ready for school and I made them all breakfast burritos with plenty left over for the freezer. I took the kids to school; Christian didn't hug or kiss me, just blew me a kiss before he shut the door and darted off to class. Aliya gave me extra hugs and kisses and told me "have good day Haiti!" I headed back home and Dominic and I finished getting ready to go. Dustin took us over to the Jones right at 10:00. Clearly everyone was excited because they were all there and loading up, even Jeremy who originally wasn't going to pick up the van from Harmony until 10. We said a prayer to start our journey and headed over to the Allaman's to pick them up at the Biggsville gas station. We got them all loaded up and headed towards Chicago. We hadn't gone too far when Dan's dad passed us and had us pull over, we forgot a box of Kids Against Hunger meals. The box was actually extra and we didn't need it but it was so sweet that they had tracked us down just in case. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, we were so blessed that Jeremy drove and Harmony let us use their van and trailer as well as paying for gas and parking. Jeremy had reserved a parking spot and after he dropped us off he found the address that was an open space with a chain across it. Needless to say he ended up parking in economy and making the trek back to the ticket counter. We had a nice plane ride to Ft. Lauderdale, Dominic did great on the plane. Neither of us slept but we did rest. When we got off the plane the smell of fish hit me, we were definitely in Florida. By the time we got in bed it was 11:30, our alarm was set for 4:00 so we could be in the lobby by 5:00 for our 7:00 flight. No one got too much sleep, Danielle and Sherry both slept on the floor. Melissa and I shared a bed and I think I got about 2 hours of sleep. The flight to Haiti was pretty short, only and hour and a half. We sat next to a woman we had talked to briefly in the airport. She had been to Haiti on missions as well, she lives in Atlanta and was going back to Haiti to stay with a friend for a visit. I asked her if she knew any Creole and she told me with her sweet southern accent "well I know that me-see means thank you". We joked about that throughout the trip. Wednesday February 8, 2012 We arrived in Haiti on time, made it through customs without any problems and all of our luggage made it. I found a spot in the crowd to pull some of our luggage but none of my other team members were nar me. I had accumulated a great number of the duffel bags and was frantically trying to get someone's attention. I was waving my arms like a crazy person, a couple of Haitian guys waved back and then finally Danielle spotted me. Once we collected all of luggage and with the help of a translator from Children's Lifeline, we made it to the their bus. Our guide Spring introduced herself and we loaded onto the bus for the long bumpy ride to their compound. It was so neat to see the landscaping of Haiti. On one side was the coastline and the other was a skyline of mountains. We saw many "houses" made of sticks, tarps, rocks and tin. In the mountains there were many tent villages but the government was using $500 US to entice people to move out of them so many of the tents were abandoned. Once we arrived at the compound we got settled and went for a tour of the grounds. we saw the prayer rock that's nestled under a thatch roof. It's the rock where founder Arnold Lempke payed and asked God to show him where to build. Every morning they have devotions there. We also went up to the cross on the hill. It's a huge lit cross that they go up to for inspiration and prayer. It had been built in the fall of 2009 just before the earthquake. The huge dusty soccer field had been built by hand in December 2009. After the earthquake many people were coming to LIfeline for help and food but it was hard to get in. The only way to get food to them was by helicopter and the only way the helicopter knew where to go was because of the cross. It could land on the flat soccer field, the only flat open space for miles. It came three times a day with provision for 2 weeks. God had answered prayer and provided for them. Lifeline has little kids come for school in the morning and bigger kids in the afternoons. They also have a nursing school, teach mid wife classes and have sewing classes. There is a church on the site for all of the nearby villagers. The villagers tithed a stone every week before it was built because they had nothing else to give. The stones that make up the walls are those very stones they tithed. There is also a kitchen that feeds 3000 kids a day and a clinic that only charges 50 goud ($1.25). There are two nurses (Judy and Janet), translator (Robenson), director (Ousmi) and 4 missionaries who work there (Spring, Adrian, Michelle and Candace) One orphan boy live there with the missionaries. A family who has been to LIfelin is in the process of adopting John. After the tour we ate lunch and headed to the warehouse to move things around. We organized one
47: room full of medical supplies in record time. During our down time we played with a few kids and tried to relax after a long day of travel. Dominic made friends with some boys quickly and played soccer on the big field. He soon realized how good the Haitians were and was so glad he had brought so many soccer balls. Once we were done working we walked to the dam. There's a canal running through the village of La Digue that people use for bathing and washing clothes and dishes. We took a walk through the area and picked up children along the way. They would see us and say "blan" or "blanc" which means white person. Many of the children are naked or half clothed. Lot have no shoes. we were told it's not usually because they don't have any but they just don't want to wear them. They have to wear clothes and shoes to school but they strip down once they get home. We collected at least 50 kids who wanted to hold our hands and asked our names. Once we got to the dam we saw kids jumping and playing in the water as young as 2 or 3 years old. There were kids sliding down the large cement ramp completely naked with only a lid from a bucket protecting their bottoms. Dominic has been making friends very easily and soon became part of their crew. he took his socks and shoes off and waded through the water beneath a hillside of loose rocks. It didn't take long for him to become soaking wet from splashing with the kids. We stayed and played with the kids at the dam for quite a while before heading back to Lifeline. After we got back we ate a delicious spaghetti dinner cooked by some local Haitian women, we would tell them "limon" which means it was good. At 5:00 the young men (16-25 years old) come to play soccer on the field and the younger boys (Dominic's age) play on the basketball court. It's fun to watch both sets of boys play. We got cleaned up and everyone went to bed pretty early that night. Between the slim cots, barking dogs and roosters there was not a lot of peaceful sleeping. Thursday February 9, 2012 We got up bright and early so we could be at the prayer rock by 7 am for devotions. We studied out of Isaiah 58 and it was such a great reminder of why we fast and sacrifice, not for man's approval but for God's glory. I really needed that reminder because I often get "busy" and lose my purpose. A happy and willing hear can be very hard for me. Our project that morning was to empty the other store room so they could use it for a classroom. We sorted boxes, love bundles and shoes. The shoes multiplied and took extensive sorting as many pairs were in separate boxes. We only got about half way through when we had to stop for lunch. Some of the crew (mostly the boys and Danielle) worked on a 2 bedroom house. A person has donated money for this specific house to be built for a woman living in a shack (sticks with a tarp on top). They carried bricks and cinder blocks and hauled things for them. Once lunch was over we took a half hour hike to Barbancourt. The walk was across streams, up large hills, down rocky paths and through rough terrain. We saw the school Lifeline has there and helped measure and weigh some of the kids in the sponsorship program. Dominic again played soccer with some boys and left a couple of balls with the gate keeper for them. WE helped clean up and dish out lunch for the village kids. Once the school children are fed the village kids come in and can eat whatever is left. All the kids had fun playing and asking our names. Jeremy showed them the game where you rest your hands on top of the other's and they try to slap them. Those kids loved it! They also loved touching Dominic's fuzzy head. Dominic asked someone what the kids kept saying to him and they said "you have a beautiful head". On our way to Pastor Louissant's orphanage a couple of girls Dominic's age were pointing, talking and giggling at him. Robenson said they were looking at his eyes. I presume they don't see Asian people too often. We we got to the orphanage we had several kids picked up along the way. We looked at the grounds and went into the church. The church had walls and a thatch roof. We were told not to tough the walls because they could possibly fall. There were spaces between the walls and roof, a makeshift altar using a card table and a tv. The kids got together and sang us a few songs. After they were done we awkwardly stood there and looked at each other. Jeremy suggested we sing back so we began to sing Jesus Love Me, they joined right in, it was great! We prayed for a girl laying in the church who has been sick since October. They asked the mother what was wrong and she said typhoid as well as kidney. Janet looked at the medicine they had and none was for typhoid. One was for TB and the other two were for something completely different. They will take her to the hospital in Port au Prince after she visits their clinic. While we were praying I became very emotional. I couldn't help but think of how spiritually poor we are in our big fancy American churches. How the Haitians barely have a building but it's filled with joy and faith and hope. It made me so sad to think of how our possessions weigh us down from getting closer to God. Wow! We've got it all wrong. We waited for our ride to come take us back to the compound. As we waited we played with the kids. many of them wanted their pictures taken and the girls played with Melissa and my hair. Nathan wasn't feeling well and another boy was very concerned for him. He kept saying "fish, fish" and pointing to the
48: bottle of water. Once our ride came we had the privilege of riding in the Lifeline cantor truck. It reminds me of a small military vehicle that jumps and bounces along the way. The metal bars and covering shaking the whole time. We stopped by a roadside stand to get some more water and while we waited Adrian bought us a few peanut cookies to try. Dominic asked if he could try the slushie thing that Hakeem had and when I reminded him of not eating the street food he responded with "well I ate that sambosa thing and it was really good". Talenson had bought him a pastry and Dominic didn't want to be rude so ate it. Fortunately he didn't get sick and it was so nice of the boy to buy it for him. We had dinner when we got back, a Haitian chicken dish with rice. It was very good. The rest of the evening Melissa and I watched the big boys play soccer on the big field. I had mistakenly brought a soda down from dinner and a few of th players tried to persuade me to give them some. We sat high on the stone wall around the field but a couple of balls still managed to whiz past our heads. Dome of the boys watching talked to us. One older boys asked "hable espanol". I said "un poco, hable espanol", he laughed, said no and walked away. Another boy and I shared a small conversation of spanish before he laughed and also walked away. I saw Dominic playing soccer by the play equipment with some younger boys, probably 7 or 8 years old. He said he didn't want to play with the boys on the basketball court because he doesn't know who's on his team or which goal is his. Friday February 10, 2012 We went up to the mountain in Arcahie in the morning. It took us about an hour to get up the winding dirt road in the Lifeline cantor. It reminded me of the show about dangerous roads truckers use where they are inches from falling off a cliff. The principal has buildings the Germans built in 2003 but abandoned when Haiti had become unsafe for foreigners. They have a school for about 250 kids with 6-8 teachers. The teachers are people in the community who want to see the kids become educated and work for free. They are trying to get money so they can pay the teachers and feed the children. Many of the children walk up to four hours one way to get there. The school only goes up to fourth grade but some of the kids are 12 or 13 because they started when they were older. Lifeline gave he kids love bundles and soon many more children wanted to come and receive "presents". We did a short VBS for each of the four classrooms. Dan read the story of Abraham while Jeremy and Dominic acted out the story of sacrificing Isaac. They had borrowed a machete from someone there for their performance. In the little preschool class a couple of the girls got very scared and thought Jeremy was going to really hurt Dominic. We all sang father Abraham and gave out pinwheels to represent faith that you can't see, like the wind. The older kids also received tracks in Creole and they explained them to the kids. The kids sang The Saints Go Marching In in Creole for us. Melissa and I learned how to say God bless you in Creole "bonje bunye". The trip down the mountain seemed much better and faster. On the way home we picked up a couple people and then dropped them back off somewhere else. It's very typical for the driver to pick up people or stop and talk to people along the way. We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with our chips on the bumpy ride back. On our way back we also drove through a voodoo party. There was a large group of people walking and dancing in the street playing music and following a cow and goat clothed in red fabric. It reminded me very much of what you think of when you think of New Orleans and Mardi Gras or even their funeral processions. That night I experienced a dream where I was at a party and a dark woman was behind me. I could feel her right on my back and everywhere I moved she moved. I elbowed her just as hard as I could and she let out the most ear piercing shrill scream I have ever heard. I woke up instantly and had a headache just as soon as I heard it. I woke up knowing that it was satan. I verbally rebuked him, started saying any scripture that would come to mind, praying and singing praise songs. It was the first time I have ever felt evil like that. We had a little time to ourselves once we got back to the compound so I caught up my journal and then we went over to the warehouse to finish the store room. We sorted the remaining boxes of shoes and got the store room cleaned up, ready to become a classroom for the nurses. We ended up with about 35 boxes of shoes and 5 boxes to throw away. We sent the trash to the "pit" where all the trash gets burned. We waited for dinner and learned the container full of Kids Against Hunger meals finally arrived. Dominic, Dan, Wendy, Jeremy and I all went to help unload. We took the cantor to Barbancourt and picked up several guys along the way. I asked how the guys knew when to get on and where they were going because it seemed like they just hopped on pretty randomly. Spring told me they all have cell phones so they call each other and tell them where to be to help unload. One of the guys was half dressed and was putting on his belt, a shoestring. He said this was a "Haiti belt". When we got there it was already starting to get dark and the truck was on its way but still not there yet. Wendy did not have time to use the bathroom before we left so Spring showed her the outhouse at the school. By this time it was pitch black so Wendy used the flash on her camera so she could see something. She took a picture inside and saw a wall, she turned and took another picture and saw what looked like a giant pvc pipe shoved in the ground. She decided that perhaps she could hold it until we got back to the compound. Once the
49: truck arrived they had to get the generator going to power some lights. They had two high powered construction type lights to shine on the doorway of the school that all the meals were being loaded into. The guys formed to chain gang lines and started throwing boxes to each other. Jeremy and Dan got in a couple times to help and I did too. My back was sweating and sweat was running into my eyes after just a few minutes of tossing those 33 lb boxes of food. It only took one and a half hours to unload 40 pallets, 280,000 meals. The meals were packaged in Cincinnati, OH. It's pretty cool to be a part of something so big. It's amazing God chooses us to be a part of His great and holy plan. Random thought: Haiti is a beautiful country but we've seen some very desolate areas. When we were traveling up the mountain we saw one lone tall palm tree in amongst the dry rocky barren landscape. It stood out, obviously out of place, but looked strong and beautiful. On the way back to LIfeline from Port au Prince we passed many sandy rocky hills and mountains. Again I saw one lone tree standing out in a hillside. It made me think how strange to ee something so beautiful and full of life surrounded by such dry waste land. Sometimes we are that lone tree full of God's pure light, out of place, in a barren landscape. There may not be anyone else around us nut our purpose is to be life when it is needed. Even when we are alone, we know God has a purpose for us right where He has us. Stay encouraged and stay on the path He has set before us. Saturday February 11, 2012 Saturday started off pretty relaxing. I had a headache and slept a great deal of the morning. Some of the crew worked on cleaning out another storage room. Jeremy helped fix a tire on the mule. Dan tiled a few loose tiles on the porch. Melissa was out helping Ezekial and Madonna with some therapy. After lunch we went to the market in Arcahie. It's in the next village over and only takes about 20 minutes to get to. It's where the missionaries from Lifeline get most of their supplies. We were told not to take anything once we arrived and they don't appreciate having their pictures taken. I gave my camera to Mark, one of the teenage boys at Lifeline, to sneak a few pictures because Adrian said that would be okay. She also bought a few mud cookies for everyone to share as souvenirs. We walked quickly through the market as we created a lot of attention. We saw fish, chicken parts and live crabs for sale. The waste and smell were unforgettable. We also walked through a huge area black with charcoal. They make the charcoal on Loganoff Island just across the sea and sail it back to Haiti on little boats. The people bundle up bags to sell all over the countryside. In the center is a large pole surrounded by packed leftover charcoal. It signifies where the charcoal once was and shows how high it's getting. After passing through the charcoal are we came to the shoreline where a dozen or more boats were floating in the water transporting the charcoal. Melissa carried around John Fritz while we walked trough part of the market and was met with daggers in the local women's eyes. They glared at her and yelled something as she passed by. She asked what they were saying and was told they were saying "that's our child!" She replied with "no, this is God's child". After the market we headed home for dinner and pedicures. Isaac was there with his friend ready to sell us souvenirs, they would also be there at the beach with jewelry, paintings, wood products and lots of globes. Two girls from La Digue came to braid hair and do nails so I got a pedicure for $10. She used cold water in a big metal mixing bowl to soak my feet and what looked like rolled up sandpaper to slough off the dead skin on my feet. She did a great job on my toes and put a design on all of them. They looked like flags once she was done which was not my favorite but they still looked great. One of the girls Melissa had been working with came up to the house with her mother. Madonna was 24 years old but looked like she was 13. Melissa made a couple of weights out of stocking fabric and rice for her wrists. She needed some weights to help control her shaking so she could eat, wash her face and brush her teeth. Even after just a few minutes you could see the improvement and she was able to get cereal in her mouth. Sunday February 12, 2012 We got to sleep in a little because we didn't go to church until 8:30. Church actually started around 6 or 6:30 but it's all in Creole and can last 4 hours or more. There were hard wooden benches closely set together in a stone sanctuary decorated with paper ring garlands, fake flowers and hanging beach balls. It was so cool to see them use whatever they could to decorate their church. We don't need big fancy churches or decorations or sound systems. We just need Jesus. We found out later the man who was preaching was not the usual pastor but he usually teaches the kids club and does the yard work. It was amazing to see him so passionately preaching. Once church was done at 9:30 we hung out in front of the church with many of the children. We hugged and talked to and loved on all the kids. Eventually we ended up back inside the church listening to the band singing, dancing and jumping up and down to the praise music. It was so much fun to be in God's house with God's children
50: praising His name. That was our church! After lunch we got on the Lifeline bus and headed to Port au Prince for a tour. The first place we went by was Cite Soleil, the worst slum in the western hemisphere. It holds the largest market in Haiti. There were lines and lines of tins shacks selling any goods you could ever think of. Mounds of clothes from donations after the earthquake were littering the side of the street with people just picking through them. Piles of trash lined the streets, the smell of garbage and sewage were overwhelming. It's an extremely dangerous area so we only drove past it. Down one street was mechanics row where many cars were being worked on and they sell all the car parts. We also went down "best buy" street that sells all the electronics. We got to the president's palace and stopped the bus for pictures and guys were out selling paintings. Dominic bought one for $10 and either dropped his money or was pick pocketed. he had all of his money in his little money pouch so lost around $60 or so. He was very disappointed but hauled it very well. I was also disappointed and kept reminding myself "it's just money". The reminder actually came from Scott, but it was definitely needed. The palace had suffered fairly extensive damage from the earthquake, parts of it were in ruins. It's interesting that it still hadn't been fixed even though the earthquake happened two years ago. Across the street was a beautiful park and outdoor amphitheater. We passed several other parks in the city but most of them had been converted to tent cities. We stopped at another little market to buy souvenirs and then headed back to Lifeline. On the way back we stopped at the burial site where 300,000 bodies were dumped after the earthquake. They had originally been picked up by dump trucks and slung off the side of the road an hour or so north of the city but had received many complaints about how the bodies were being treated and the sanitation of it. The president then designated this site and had a huge shallow grave dug, the bodies dumped in and then covered with dirt and rocks. The grave is so shallow in fact that bones are often found when just walking around the property. Allie found 5 bones while she was walking around the grounds. For the two year anniversary the president had all of the crosses friends and family had placed on the site yanked up for the commemoration. He had two buildings erected for the celebration and because of the outcry from the people had them immediately demolished after the ceremony. A few crosses dot some of the mounds of graves nut it is mostly littered with broken crosses and garbage. A large stone monument still remains at the site to remember those who were lost, nut most that are buried there are nameless. People who were never heard from after the earthquake are assumed to be buried in that pile of bodies. Ousmi lost a cousin that day and thinks he must be there. They have still found more bodies even now in rubble they are clearing. Many were lost that day, but many are still left behind. Our duty is to take care of those and introduce them to the love of Jesus Christ. Monday February 13, 2012 We decided to save devotions for the evening again since we knew we would be at the beach for the sunset. We started out the day going just up the road to Williamson to the school and orphanage. Dan and Jeremy demonstrated the water filter for them and left the girls' house mother in charge of the unit. It's so interesting how the device works. It makes chlorine by using 2 cap fulls of regular table salt in water and charges the ions using special electromagnetic plates powered by a solar battery. 10cc of the chlorine purifies 5 gallons of water. The unit will provide 5000 people with clean water for 5 years. The other two water filters that Jeremy brought from the 12:1 run ended up at Joules and Ptitbor's. While there we also did another bible school lesson but this time did the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. They sang us a couple of songs and we sang Father Abraham for them. We also gave out coloring sheets and crayons to the kids. Spring had told us they really treasure anything you give them so when they wanted to give the coloring sheets to us we were so honored. While they were performing for us one tiny little girl had tears in her eyes so I reached out to comfort her and she let out a scream. Then Jeremy tried to help and that just made it worse. Robenson made a crack about it and teh whole place roared with laughter. We had a lot laughs that morning. When we were coming up to the orphanage our driver hit a huge hole and Linda went flying out of her seat. She yelled "HOLY SHIT!" and everyone burst out laughing. Jeremy said she officially failed the pastor's test,lol. At the school all the kids were out and Dominic pumped up a couple of soccer balls for the boys to play with. He and Nathan were running around the yard surrounded by a pack of boys hungry for the ball. The girls gave out jump ropes to the rest of the kids. Some of the older girls were really good at it. Linda spent a great deal of time talking with Robenson's cousins. He spoke English pretty well and was trying to get people's email addresses to find them on facebook. He would come up and ask "are you on facebook? Can I be your friend on facebook?" The Jones also learned that he and his "cousin" also wanted to go to English school but it costs $200 and are trying to figure out way to help them do that. Danielle got a marriage proposal from a young man and when she told him "no, I can't I have to go back to America" he replied with "i go with you". Then she said, "no, I'm too young". He told her
51: "we'll grow up together". It was so cute, he was very persistent. Dan had a boy that was hanging onto him and talking with him name Miguel. Miguel kept taking his arm and saying "leave, leave". He wanted Dan to take him home with him, it was heartbreaking. When we left we collected the soccer balls and jump ropes so they could be used for recess and for the orphanage. We also left a few more soccer balls and a couple of pumps. On the way out we managed to avoid the huge hoe as to not instigate anymore foul language from Linda. We went straight to Wahoo bay resort and ate our lunch on the bus. Dominic had packed the biggest sandwich by using a loaf of the homemade bread and filling it with chicken salad. Lifeline negotiates a price for us to be able to swim on the beach. All of us except Dam also went snorkeling. It was a decent resort with a nice pool area and small strip of sandy beach. We swam in the salty water for a while, playing on the floating raft. Jeremy forgot his swimming trunks so had to wear his regular cargo shorts. He showed the kids his suicide dive, it made the most interesting double splash. Eventually we took a small boat over to the reef. One man rowed all 13 of us there and back. For $10 snorkeling we got a guy who doesn't speak nay english, not quite enough equipment so a boy ran along the beach and tossed us some more but still had to share, absolutely no instruction and a marginal reef to look at. Dominic and I were both a little uneasy as neither of us have ever done it before. We both panicked a little, but Dominic got back in and became more comfortable with it. I was having a hard time and decided to get back in the boat which didn't pan out too well for me either. I had motion sickness all day and night from it. We got back to the beach and all of the vendors finally had left. Dan had been the only one left on the beach and found that if he looked like he was sleeping that they wouldn't bother him to buy anything. He actually ended up getting a little burnt because he was too scared to move. We continued to sit on the beach while the kids played in the water for quite a while. Candace bought us fresh crab to try. It cost her $15 for the whole crab. The guy pulled in his cage just off the beach, cooked it over a fire and served it up with a delicious spicy butter and fresh lime. It was the best crab I've ever had. I had to remind Dominic to share with everyone because I'm sure he would have devoured the entire thing. Eventually we went up to the pool area where the padded lounge chairs were. We stayed there until our dinner was ready in the restaurant. I had a delicious saute shrimp in garlic butter sauce and Dominic had the conch creole. After dinner we went down to the beach for the sunset and devotion. Danielle revealed that she felt God calling her to become a full time missionary. It was so moving to see how the Allamans rallied around her and supported her. She wasn't even supposed to come on this trip but her sister Allie had raised enough money for her to come. She was meant to be on that trip. We all prayed for God's work in Danielle's life and what He would do with her. It will be awesome to see where she goes and what she does. During prayer time she began to feel very sick. It was as if satan was unhappy with her decision and trying to get another dig in her. She could feel the war going on inside of her. We all shared about our experiences on this trip after we prayed. We talked about what it will look like when we get home and how this will change us and those around us. Wendy remembered the incident with Linda on the bus and started inappropriately laughing to herself during prayer time. Allie reached over and patted her on the back because she thought she was sobbing over Danielle's decision. This only made Wendy laugh even harder to herself. Before we left the beach Wendy and Allie stood on the ledge overlooking the water and said their goodbyes to the ocean. Tyler got the perfect picture of Wendy kissing Allie with the sunset behind them. It was such a beautiful moment between mother and daughter. Tuesday February 14, 2012 We had to get up early to make the trip back to Port au Prince for our 10:00 flight. Of course I was nervous about not getting up early enough so I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't get back to sleep. I lad on the couch for a little while and a little before 5:00 decided to go ahead and get ready. I put my contacts in and headed up to the prayer rock but decided to go all the way up to the cross instead. I spent some time at the foot of the cross praying. Praying for God to open my heart to what He has planned, praying that I can love my children better, thanking Him for what He has already done for me. It was the first time I had ventured up there alone and it seemed like the perfect place to say goodbye to Haiti. As I came back down I enjoyed my last few moments in the warm weather with my shorts and flip flops. I would be returning to the snow and bitter cold very soon. Once everyone got ready we all piled into the bus and at the last minute we were told to take the cantor instead. the registration papers had expired and the new ones had not come back from Port au Prince yet. All of our luggage was loaded underneath the seats, then we all piled in. The cantor has a covering over the top but is mostly open in the front and back. our driver, Jack, was making up for lost time and drove particularly fast. One day when Jack was driving us some kids kept calling "blan, blan, blan" so Jack yelled back "black, black, black" in Creole to them. We were all cold and windblown by the time we got there. Along the way we saw Melissa's favorite store, the AlmightyGod auto parts store. I enjoyed the huge blue water tank labeled Deleiux Car Wash. We also saw an array of colorful tap taps, buses and many super banks. During the time we were on the road was also the time kids were going to
52: school. We saw a rainbow of uniforms on teeny tiny children all the way up to teenagers. We saw kids waling by themselves, in groups and quite a few with their fathers. We saw a few on motorcycles and one moto with one man on it and several in line to get on. It looked like they were trying to see how many he could fit on it. One little bitty girl was riding side saddle on the handle bars of a bike while a boy pedaled and another girl was on the back. Melissa took a picture of a tap tap and one of the guys gave her the finger. When we got into Port au Price we were met with varied degrees of looks and comments. one man scowled at us and made motions like he wanted us to leave. Minutes later another man yelled "hey you!" and waved. We got to the airport in plenty of time and were met by men in red jackets wanting to take our luggage and help us in. Spring told us to pay them whatever they ask. When we got to the check in desk the guys asked Dan for $50, he said that was too much so gave them $20. They seemed angry but oh well. We waited in a decent waiting room after making it through security. Dan told us that when he was there a year earlier that it was some plastic chairs in a room with cinder block walls. There was even a closet where a man and woman were selling concessions and a counter where there were a few souvenirs to buy, like Barbancourt Rum. The flight from Haiti to Florida was uneventful, I slept most of the time. We had four hours till our next flight and it was a good thing because we went through several security checks and had to recheck our bags. Dominic and I were happy to eat gourmet burgers at a real restaurant while we waited. We also splurged and bought some candy for thee long flight back to Chicago. I called Dustin while we were waiting and checked out some facebook photos he posted. Dustin learned how to put beads in Aliya's hair, it took him 7 1/2 hours. It looked great and I was incredibly impressed. It was funny because Aliya was wearing a Christmas dress that's a couple of sizes too big and I have explicitly told her not to wear. I presume that she had been getting away with that sort of thing all week. Dustin also said that bedtime was pretty loose. I'm sure they probably ate frozen pizza and Wendy's a lot while I was gone. He said both of the littles were very good the whole time we were gone. Once we got to Chicago Jeremy trucked out to the van and pulled it around for us. We had considerably less luggage on the way home versus on the way there. We stopped at the same place that we had stopped at when we came home with Aliya. Everyone was really craving ice cream so we were excited to see a McDonald's. Of course their shake machine was broken. I ended up getting a caramel frappucino type thing as it was the closest thing to ice cream I could get. It was funny because four of us in a row all asked her for ice cream, I'm sure she was annoyed with us. On the way home we all slept off and on. We dropped the Allamans off at the end of their driveway because they weren't sure the van and trailer would make it out. They had to drag their luggage in the freezing cold up their gravel. The rest of us got dropped off at the Jones. It was 12:30 before we finally got home. It had been a very long day of traveling. The next day I had to go to church and see if there was any additional money that had come in for our trip. There was $200 that I could use to help buy some supplies. We had the nurses make a list for the clinic and we also wanted to bless them all with some little things that they might need. Melissa and I went shopping and spent about $300 on odds and ends. It fit perfectly into a duffel bag I had and we sent it along with $40 for Jeremy to take to church for a group from Sperry that was leaving just 2 days after we had gotten back. It was perfect to be able to send some of these things with a team that would be there the same week we left. We found out later that they were all so excited about the "presents" that they took them and set off for their rooms. We were so thankful for their hospitality.
53: Isaiah 58 "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?" "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.