Thursday, July 22, 2010

Every Day is a New Adventure

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for four full days; each day has been packed full of action. Monday and Tuesday we were working in the orphanage with a team from Grace Chapel in Boston doing repairs, fixing ceiling fans, and repainting some of the classrooms. Its been hot and hard work, but we’ve got a great group helping us out. Tuesday night we came up with the Grace Chapel team to Dr. Bernard’s guest house up in the hills above Port-au-Prince. (Dr. Bernard is also the director of the HFC school and orphanage, as are Mark and Marsha Romens; it’s a little complicated.)

Wednesday I had my first day of vacation! Mark, Marsha, and I traveled with the team to the Baptist Mission headquarters and hospital. The Baptist Mission isn’t actually Baptist, but they keep the name for the recognition. They run schools and churches all over the country, many in places that other people aren’t going to. Sometimes they have to walk for two hours on foot after driving as far as they can to reach their sites. It was great to see their facilities and hear about the work that they are doing. When we got back to the guest house on Wednesday night, we discovered there were protests planned in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, and it wouldn’t be safe for us to go back down to the orphanage on Thursday. So we occupied ourselves with various tasks, and we’ll head back to the orphanage tomorrow to get back to work.

If I had any fears about working with kids in an orphanage, those fears quickly vanished. The kids are really wonderful. In some ways they’re very similar to kids in the US, but in some ways they’re very different. They care for each other and share with each other better than any other kids I’ve seen. They don’t have much, but they realize what they do have which is mostly each other. And they’ve been great about taking care of me too. They have welcomed me into their community with open arms and smiling faces. The first night I was there, a few of the boys started teaching me Creole, and I’ve been picking it up pretty well. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to have some decent conversations in Creole. But I really can’t say how great these kids are. I am so blessed to be with them.

I’ve not been here long, but I already feel at home. Mark and I started brainstorming ideas of how to get more involved in the community around the orphanage, and we’ve had a few ideas, but we’re still trying to make sure we’re not, in Mark’s words, “putting a band-aid on a mortal wound”. So please pray for guidance in that direction. And as great as it is, there are still difficult times, so, as always please pray for continued perseverance (which seems a little funny to say, seeing that I haven’t been here for even a week yet, but nonetheless).

*The internet is fairly reliable, albeit slow, so that’s nice that its working. Means I should be able to post updates fairly regularly. I’ve also figured out (actually my mother did) a relatively cheap way to use my US cell phone, although it is a little unreliable.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Here at Last

I arrived in Haiti safely without too much hassle, and I have settled in quite nicely. There is a team here from Grace chapel in Boston, so we got right to work yesterday. I've had to jump in feet first and over my head, but its been wonderful. Mark and Marsha (the American directors here) have been wonderfully welcoming and helpful, always with helpful advice.

Everything I've heard about the kids here has been right. They're wonderful, and although they're still kids, and they get into trouble sometimes, they are great. They share better than any other kids I've met, and they really look out for each other. A few of the boys have been teaching me Creole in the evenings, and my pronunciation makes them laugh.

Time to head back to work, but the internet is working for now, so I should be able to post more later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Now Boarding

In less than 24 hours, I will be two feet on the ground in Port-au-Prince. There's always a bit of anxiety before a big trip like this; like going to college, its another step out on my own. There's a lot that I don't quite know what to expect, but I do know who is picking me up from the airport, so I should be fine. In my experience, the anticipation of the days prior to departure are the most difficult. I'm as prepared as I can be, so let's go!

Its tough leaving my family and all the people that I care about. But it is precisely because of all of you that I am able to do this. The financial support that has been generously given, as well as the advice, friendship, prayer, and emotional support from all my family and friends are what has allowed me to embark on this adventure, and I am sincerely grateful. I really could not do this without y'all, and I hope I do justice on your behalf.

A few notes about communication:
Latest word is that internet at the orphanage isn't working, and they're not sure when it will be up. So if the blog posts are slow, be patient. Apparently, cell phones are the most reliable form of communication, and I will have both my US phone, and a Haitian cell number.