Haiti (Part 1)
Well, you have all been so patient awaiting my return from Haiti. What can I say? It was amazing. Really, it was so much more than anything anyone ever described to me. My expectations of Haiti were dark, evil, and foreboding… yet none of that was what I experienced.
Let me lead you through it:
Thursday we awoke early and took three different planes to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When we landed, Ashlee McAdams was at the airport waiting for us- ready to escort our team through customs (and through the throng of men trying to “help” with our bags). Although the Haitian workers were pushy, they were kind. We walked right through customs without any problems- the Haitians never opened a single bag! All of our medications (estimated at over $10,000 worth!) made it into the country. We rode in an old, rusty bus for over three hours to Gonaives. The countryside was green and beautiful but turned dusty and brown as we headed into the Haitian desert. Port-au-Prince is still devastated from the earthquake but they are working to clean it up. Some people still live in tents two years later.
Jan Thompson’s orphanage, called “Christopher’s Hope Orphanage,” is an amazing place. She gives the children the best she has to offer and treats them like her own children. Each child has medical care, three large meals a day, schooling, play time, clean rooms and bathrooms, and healthy discipline. All fifteen children of the orphanage are happy, secure, and well-loved. Contrast that to several other orphanages that we visited where the children were sick, hungry, and unclothed. It was heart-breaking to see.
On Friday we toured other orphanages, the deaf school, the bread “factory,” and the purified water house. We also prayer walked through Lot Bo Kanal- a poor town on the outskirts of Gonaives. Lot Bo Kanal is set upon something like a trash dump/sewage site. Two large canals run through the town- full of waste and human debris. Jan explained that several bathrooms were built for the people of the town but they are so dirty that the people do not like using them- so they defecate on the ground instead. People and animals defecate all over the streets. Regardless, the children are beautiful and happy. They ran to us with hugs and smiles. We had to make a conscious effort to put down our “walls” of safety and cleanliness to play with these children- many were naked, some were sick, all were dirty. We sang and prayed with them.
Margie Russell said it best, “When we first arrived in Lot Bo Kanal I thought, ‘How can I touch these children?!’ but as I left the town I thought, ‘How can I NOT touch them?! How can I leave them?!'”,,,,
Story will be continued nezt week!
However, if you want to contact the author for more information concerning her amazing experience, you can do so in the following ways:
Britt is a Marriage & Family Therapy Grad Student at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas and a Journal Therapy facilitator. She is a wife, mother, poet, blogger, duck enthusiast, coffee-lover, and social activist – longing to the serve the “least of these” as Christ called the church to do.