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.