Wednesday night’s “English Evening” has been the most interesting expereince for me so far. Amanda already posted about the logistics of it. I spent time with the advanced group, and I cannot get over how well they all speak. I especially bonded with two 18 year old girls, Tereza and Lucia. They were so smart and intriguing, and as cool as they were, they were just so excited to be talking to me because I am American. They are fascinated with everything American and they hung on to my every word about my life and home. Gloria asked us if we would lead a singing time with the group. Most of the people that attend English Evening are not Christians and they never have singing during this time. The group was very open to it and we had a blast singing praise songs (and even some Beatles tunes). One man in the group turned out to be very good at guitar and we all had so much fun singing and dancing along. Hopefully someone there will want to lead in the following weeks and they will continue that. Tereza and Lucia told me that this was the best English Evening they had ever attended.
Yesterday was our last day of Kindermusik English camps. The morning with our two/three year olds was so special and sweet. They all had learned so much and were so proud of themselves. We spent the afternoon helping Gloria with her library and making photo books for her. In the late afternoon we had our last camp time with the 4,5 and 6 year olds. There are so many of them at this time was always a bit chaotic, but they all showed so much improvement in their English and they seemed to have so much fun. We so enjoyed getting to know the little ones and their parents.
This morning was “Moms Club” here at the mission where Moms and their toddlers come for several hours and we had the chance to play and talk to the Moms. This is another great mission opportunity that Gloria has to bring families to the mission house. Her mission/home is truly an open door. We spent the rest of the day working on the library and preparing for tonight’s grill party. We enjoyed several hours of fellowship with our students and their families. It was a bittersweet time saying our goodbyes to these sweet people and precious children. They will all certainly be missed!
After the party, Gloria took us to see a Medieval castle on the other side of town. It was built in 1213 and was stunning with gorgeous countryside all around it. We leave early tomorrow for Italy. We are so excited about our last few days of the trip, but we will certainly miss Gloria and all of the friends we’ve made here. Gloria has been so good to us and we have been so blessed to have this opportunity!
What an incredible day it has been! At camp ABC English and Me this morning we had one new student in addition to the ones who have been coming. This group is from ages 2-4 and there’s only about 4 of them. But they are SO fun and special to watch as their faces light up. They get so excited to see a picture of a cow and answer correctly that yes! It is a “cow”! We truly have the best time with them and find ourselves speaking to them in the same accents they use when talking to us. Our “Hellos” and “Good-byes” are sounding very Czech-English these days….
We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon today helping Gloria with various projects. Mom and Meredith mainly worked in her garden while I attempted to go through her computer and get pictures organized to have some picture books made of different weekly events that Gloria leads here.
We made it back to Fayetteville around 9 pm tonight. Sarah Barefoot & Sue Byrd picked us up at RDU on the church bus. It’s great to be home. We look forward to seeing everyone Sunday and sharing the stories from the trip.
We made it back to Miami on time around noon and have made it through customs. Our flight to RDU is at 5:15 pm. Looking forward to getting home.
The entire team went up to Repatriate today to finish work there . Jane & Gail finished painting the trim on the caretaker’s house. The rest of us moved gravel from one area of the compound to another to level the area under the shelter we completed earlier in the week. We had to do so by shoveling the gravel in 5 gallon buckets & carrying it to the shelter area. That seems to be the Haiti way when they lack equipment otherwise.
We then helped the concrete crew that was working on filling a LARGE area with fill dirt and rocks. They had one wheelbarrow and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets. So we shoveled fill into the buckets & carried them into the foundation area. There are no bobcats, backhoes, or other heavy equipment to do this sort of thing, so they make do with what they have. It’s very inefficient by our standards, but they make it work. We just jumped in and helped.
The home we are helping to build was at a point that the professionals had to do all the work. The block is all laid and they began putting the final coat of finish on the masonry to give the house a much more professional look. It will really look good when complete.
We met the entire family around 1 pm at the house today. It was delightful. It is a husband and wife with three small children, ages 6, 3, and 1. As we’ve mentioned before, they are devout Christians and attend the Cite Soleil church. They will be a great influence on the neighborhood. We then had a chance to share “Sweet Sweet Spirit” with them and Wayne gave a wonderful prayer to dedicate the home. Photos follow this post.
We took the afternoon off, and the manager at the compound took us up to Ibo Beach . It’s 30 minutes from Cite Soleil and a more rural setting, but no less needy. Haiti Outreach Ministries has a church and school there, but not enough room or resources for a medical clinic yet. The church started in 1995 and became part of HOM a few years later. The heartbreaking part of that visit was the sanctuary of the church. The roof of the sanctuary collapsed in hurricane Isaac in August of last year. It would cost $30,000 US to get a new roof & they have funneled their resources to other areas to help the community. About 500 people attend the church every Sunday, even as it is. Photos follow this post. We also saw the homes in that area & took a few photos of the local scenery.
Another interesting tidbit – when Snyder sponsored a mission trip to Haiti in Sept. 2010 with the NC Baptist Men(9 months after the earthquake), we built shelters for homeowners near the Ibo Beach area. I am happy to report that the shelters we built are still standing, and in use.
It is quite evident to each team member that God had a plan for our trip, and the work we would do. It was not exactly what any of us thought it would be, but He knew and it worked out perfectly. Our one regret was that Joanne & Gary Copeland could not be with us. They had plans to go, prior to his diagnosis. We are praying for his recovery and look forward to both of them joining us next year on our Haiti trip!
We will leave for the airport at 7 am tomorrow morning & look forward to a uneventful flight and some cooler weather. Thanks again for all your prayers and comments.
Your blogger for this post is Jane Smith.
The community of Repatriate formed in 1997 when the Dominican Republic expelled all the Haitians who had been relocating there over the previous 30-40 years in the hopes of making better lives for themselves. The Haitians were therefore, Repatriated to Haiti. Part of our team has worked there almost every day this week.
Haitian Outreach Ministries has another community center there. The church was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Young Tchaikovsky Bill from Gail’s post yesterday, was sitting in that church with his mother at a Bible Study when the earthquake hit. The six room school has Pre-Kindergarten in the morning and the air is constantly filled with children singing and chanting lessons. Remember, this is all open air. We left air-conditioning behind at the airport Saturday morning.
The school is adding another 2 story unit and that’s what kept George, Wayne, and Robert preoccupied. They tackled the task of erecting a scaffold that will enable the bricklayers to do their work much more safely than ever before. The contractor who works with them says they’ve never had anything that stable. Our men have made a real difference in the ability of these folks to get the work done that will make this community stronger.
Gail and I have been painting for two days. Yesterday we finished work on the Caretaker’s Cottage, today we finished a shade shelter for parents waiting to pick their children up from school. There isn’t a tree in sight and I can say without hesitation that it is HOT down here. 94 degrees in February HOT! We have enjoyed the work and watching these precious children coming and going to school from our scaffold perch has been simply indescribable. Bon Jour! Bon Soir! I love you! Merci!
I’m reading Richard Stearns’ The Hole in the Gospel. He reminds us of the parable of the person trying to save the starfish dying on the beach with the mindset that he might not save them all, but he’d made a difference to the one he just threw back in the ocean. Stearns goes on to write, when we think about the poverty and the plight of the poor, do “we see just a beach littered with bodies, or do we see each unique starfish – a precious part of God’s creation – lying there, with a better life just waiting to be lived? The truth in this familiar story is important; we must never see poverty or injustice as “issues” that need solutions; rather we must see the human beings at the heart of those issues as people who need and deserve our love and respect.”
I think I speak for everyone here when I say thank you for allowing us to come here, to share God’s love through smiles, words, and deeds with these very lovely and worthy human beings.