This morning the team I was with went to a special needs orphanage. We hung out with the kids and played with them and it brought joy to them and also to us. The kids just love to be held and to be shown love. After a fast morning there we went to the hospital, the hardest part of the trip for me. It isn't anything like what you could imagine. I felt sick to my stomach seeing the conditions of the hospital. It felt wrong to me. I couldn't stay inside the hospital I had to step outside with a group of people. I am thankful that I got to go to the hospital and to be able to see how great we actually have it.
Today my word was "hard." That's really the only way I know how to describe it. I went to The Home for the Sick and Dying this morning to hold the babies. When I walked in, a man from another organization that was there handed me a small boy that just rested his head on my shoulder. He was so sad and I loved comforting him. I also held a 7 month old girl that was absolutely tiny but so sweet. The hardest part for me was when all the visiting moms had to leave and we needed to comfort the crying kids. After we got them mostly calm we got to feed them their lunch, which was amazing. Overall, that was a great experience even though seeing the conditions some of the children were in was hard to handle. This afternoon we went to a general hospital in Port-au-Prince. This hospital is like nothing any of us have ever seen before and I can't really explain it because it's nothing we'd consider a hospital back home. It is made up of only wooden walls and tin roofs, with cribs everywhere inside. Babies suffering from all kinds of things lay there and look around and cry. I thought it was beautiful how all of the mothers were with their babies. There were moms feeding, bathing, even just sleeping on the floor next to their sick children. It was amazing to see how much they cared. I felt awkward and sad that we couldn't really do anything except look, but I'm glad I got to see the conditions these people are dealing with. This hospital really gave me a new perspective on how blessed we truly are for all of the trained professionals, effective medications, and sterile conditions we have when we need to be taken care of. I have a hard time even comprehending what I saw today and I really can't describe it. I just know that tomorrow we go back to Cite Soleil to deliver water and I am so excited! Water truck days are by far my favorite days and I can't wait to wake up and be off! I hope everyone at home is doing well and knows that they are all in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep us in yours!
It's Becca again! I can't believe how fast this trip is going. It is astonishing how close our team has grown through the things we have experienced together. Coming back to the guesthouse every night is like coming home to family. At the end of every day, whether it was filled with joy or sadness, I look forward eagerly to the laughter-filled dinners, worship on the porch, and of course the spontaneous outbreaks of the game "zoo" (even though those happen throughout the day haha). Today was one of those harder days. The morning brought me so much joy as I had the opportunity to return to the Home for Sick and Dying Children. It was much more peaceful this time because another missions group was there so all of the kids were being held! Yay! The parents who were holding their kids during family visiting hours had to leave and many kids started crying. I ended up picking up 3 kids at once, and though one was always crying, it was one of the most peaceful and joyful times on this trip so far. In addition, I got to see my friend Rebecca again at the Home! I met her last time we were there. She is a parent to her single daughter, Alancia, who is sick and staying at the Home right now. Despite the fact that I speak no Creole and she speaks no english, we were still able to discover that we share the same name, and I enjoyed sitting in her company even if we weren't able to speak with words. What a joy that so much can be said when nothing is said! The afternoon today was very difficult. We visited the 'general hospital' for Port-Au-Prince, and let me tell you, there was not much hospital to this 'hospital'. It was literally 4 plywood shacks next to each other filled with dying children, babies, and a few adults. It was incredibly frustrating how useless I felt being there. I feel as if we were only getting in the way, and they wouldn't let us even pick up or hold the children. I wanted to help or serve, yet there was just nothing we could do. All of a sudden this complete feeling of hopelessness and despair about the hospital, the city, the country even washed over me and I was very overwhelmed. It was then when we met a young mother who was not allowed to feed her child because the mother was HIV positive. Our translator was able to give her a small amount of money so that she would be able to buy formula for her baby. We got to pray for her, and Fan-Fan led her in a prayer of restoration as she explained that she knew The Lord but had strayed from his path. I know that she was the reason we had to go to the hospital at that place and time, yet it was hard to see beforehand why in the world it was God's plan for us to go to a place where I felt like we couldn't do anything. Tomorrow will be a trying day physically as we are doing more water deliveries and also visiting another orphanage to run a sports camp. Please pray that we will make the most of our last day of serving/ministry! God is good!
Wow. Today was very hard, but also so good! I went to Gertrude's this morning, which is basically an orphanage for kids who are mentally handicapped. We just spent time with the kids, pushed them on the swings, and held them. I had such a strong desire to go to Gertrude's and my experience was amazing. After Gertrude's, we came back for lunch and took a break. When we were done, we all loaded up into the tap tap and headed over to the hospital to see what it was like in Haiti. This was the hard part of the day. Seeing these kids, knowing that I can't do anything to help them just broke my heart. I saw a couple of babies that couldn't have weighed over 3 pounds. There was another baby girl who was born without arms and one of her legs hadn't formed completely. I had a hard time staying inside the hospital, so I went outside with a couple of other people. The whole time I was here I was thinking what it would be like if this was my family here, sick and not getting much help. My heart really went out to these families. Ending the night in worship helped me relax and just thank The Lord for all he has given me and my family. I can't even explain how incredibly blessed I am.
My word today was "smile". Smiling seems to be the universal language. I felt so lucky when I got to go back to the home for sick and dying children. I immediately went and looked for my sweet Johanna. When I saw her she had the biggest smile on her face! I had been waiting all morning to go see her bright face. At the home there was another group from America there to hold the children as well. It was cool to talk to people who spoke perfect English :) I got to share my experiences with one lady, and she told me this was her groups first day in Haiti. It warmed my heart to see all the volunteers there to love on the children along with many of their parents. The parents have visiting hours where many just come hold and feed their babies. After lunch we went to the general hospital. The worst part about it was I wasn't doing anything to help. All I wanted to do was hold the crying babies, but we couldn't. But it made me so happy when I saw a girl fanning her little brother who was in his crib to keep him cool. I just kept smiling at them and the little boy smiled at his sister then at me. I love all the smiling children and I can't wait to smile at more throughout the week!
Everyday I think "This was the best day of my life." Then the next day comes and it's even better! This morning half of our team went to Gertrude's Orphanage, a home for mentally and physically disabled children. It was awesome to hangout the kids and see how happy they were just to have us there with them. Our time there went by so fast! I felt like I could've stayed there all day. Later this afternoon after Gertrude's, we went to a general hospital in Port Au Prince. This was such a difficult experience for many of us. The hospital is multiple little buildings that are crazy crowded with people, desperate for medical attention that they most likely cannot afford. I felt like I was in a zoo. All I wanted to do was pick up all of the crying babies but we couldn't do anything to help them. One thing that made our trip to the hospital worthwhile for me was the ability to pray for a woman who had just delivered a baby, and had somehow left the hospital even though she wasn't supposed to, in search of anyone who could give her money to buy formula to feed her newborn baby. This woman had just tested positive for HIV and wasn't allowed to breastfeed her baby. Even though this was really hard for most of our team I think that I was important for us to go there. It was a really eye-opening experience for all us.
Today it finally hit me how hard it will be for me to return home. I fell in love with this country and its people. My heart just breaks for all the orphanages and the sick babies. Before I left for Haiti I had a totally different outlook at children due to the fact that I work at daycare. The home for the sick and dying has definitely changed my original view of children that I had from working in a daycare. In the US we have rules about touching the children and feeding them too much, etc. But here in haiti these kids just want to be loved. They want to be hugged, kissed, and held. Its crazy how different these worlds are apart from one another. After spending 2 days holding kids at the home for the sick and dying I have had my heart melted in ways that I never thought was possible. Tonight I have come to the conclusion that when the time is right for me to start a family, I will be adopting a child from Haiti. It will just be so hard for me to come back to the USA and see all these kids who have everything when I know for a fact that there are people in Haiti dying because they don't have water or food. There is no possible way for me to explain how much I have grown in my faith and as in a person on this trip. Our God is so crazy!
// tomorrow, we head back to citi soleil to hang out & play with kids amidst partnering with the water-truck...