In December 2007 I was beyond blessed to travel to Haiti to stay at an orphanage for a week in the capital, Port Au Prince.
To get there, a few friends and I, raised support by selling these totally awesome shirts that said,
I'm in a Love Haiti Relationship. Clever right?
God faithfully provided all we needed to get there and as soon as we finished finals, were on our way to Haiti.
We were a little held up in Miami because our plane had multiple problems. We got to experience some true Haitian flare before landing, while on the turn pike, waiting to get off the plane to spend the night on the airport carpet, though. Haitians were screaming and shouting at the flight attendants and at each other because the plane was unable to take off. Everyone was angry and not afraid to show it. The pilot had to come out and threaten to call the police on them. It was intense.
Needless to say, us 5 white girls were questioning what we had got into by going to Haiti.
All our doubts were put to rest when we landed in Haiti late the next day.
It's a beautiful country with even more beautiful people.
I fell in love with their dark skin and beautiful, white smiles.
While, it was overwhelming, for the first time, to be in a 3rd world country, and see true poverty, it was also humbling. Humbling to see how much I take for granted and how much joy people can have, with so little.
We heard amazing story, after amazing story about God's goodness and work there.
Dancing, in their Sunday best, at Sunday worship.We visited a church a few times and set up a medical clinic next door. The picture up top shows people flooding out of the church, carrying their own chairs. They meet several times a week, as most people don't have jobs, and are left with nothing to do but worship together at Church. I was so impressed with their church "building." It was so different than the huge, luxurious churches at home. Their church, was a two story concrete frame of a building. There was no bathrooms or air conditioner. There was no carpet or Sunday schools, just a big open building.
The site of the church was previously a Satanist temple, these are very common in Haiti. The leaders of the Church prayed for years for the priests of the Satanist temple to turn to Jesus. Finally one day the priests came to the leaders and said, "Your Jesus is too powerful for us!"
And basically said, "We're outta here!" And so, they tore down the temple and built a church in its place!
Though we spoke different languages, we never failed to communicate with the little ones. We could somehow understand each other through laughs, toys and smiles.
All of the 9 kids at the orphanage were adopted the year after we left.
The view from the top of the orphanage.
My sweet friend, Carly and I. I'm sporting my Haiti T-shirt.
It was devastating to here about the earthquake in Haiti, a year later. I couldn't help but think of all the faces on the street I saw while I was there and mourned for them.
I found out almost immediately, that no one that I had known personally while we were there, were hurt. They had all contacted our friend, the owner of the orphanage, to let her know they were okay.
And thankfully all the babies we held while there, were safe.
And are now with families.
To end on a light note, we were pretty excited to attend a free Wycliff Jean concert, with over a million Haitians, while there. It was a very "cultural" experience. :) Wycliff, who's a Haitain American, put on a free concert. Awesome!
But for real, going to festivals and group events, is one of the best ways, (besides dinner around a table in their native tongue) I've found to experience a culture.
Has anyone else been to Haiti? What did you think?