Where to start…..
Our summer in Haiti…I don’t even know where to start so I guess my A.D.D. will kick in and I will take you all over the place in this blog.
This was going to be the longest stay we have had in Haiti yet. I was so excited and sad all at the same time; excited because I was going to be in Haiti for 6 weeks and sad because I was going to be away for 6 weeks. Even though in Haiti we have no air conditioners, hot water, reliable electric and lots of HEAT, I can do without all those things but the family thing is the hardest.
It seems every year something special happens in Haiti, usually with one of the children, God always has us at the right place at the right time.
This year we did things a little different, instead of going to the orphanage everyday and doing things with the children, we brought them to our house. Voice of the Children Orphanage is just a short walk to our house. We split the children up into two groups, younger children and older. Kerby and Blondy would walk each morning to escort the younger children to the house. They all enjoyed skits, Bible lessons, crafts and games. Not only did the kids all enjoy coming to the house, I think the orphanage workers enjoyed a little quite time this summer. Each of the three volunteer teams brought different things for the children do learn and do.
With the older children we had sewing classes for the girls. They all made hand embroidery blocks that will be turned into a fundraiser quilt and they each made their very own skirt. The older boys learned how to use the power tools, they made a bed and corn hole boards (BIG SUCCESS). Phillip, our son-in-law, brought drum pads and sticks for the children and gave drum lessons, this was a big hit.
We visited with another small orphanage and took them tooth paste, tooth brushes, milk, lots of love and hugs. We sat an helped them hand wash clothes for the day (I think most of us got blisters on our fingers), but it was so worth it. We visited an orphanage of almost 90 kids who were all former street kids. We did all these awesome things but the two things that seem to be the most precious things during this six weeks happened at our house, these are the two things that will stick out in my mind when I think about this trip.
When we are in Haiti we love to our guest to have Haitian food, therefore we hire a Haitian cook to help out the week we have guest. The ladies who cooked last year was amazing, however we wanted to try someone new and see what other food we could try. I was a bit nervous about this because I knew how the ladies from last year cooked and they knew what we liked.
Moise said he had someone in mind that would do great and he had not steered us wrong before so we trusted him in this venture. When the young lady showed up at the house all smiles ready to meet us for the “interview” you could tell she was a bit nervous. As we started talking and she was sharing some of the things she would like to cook for us we became very excited and was so happy to have her on board to cook for us. She also told us she was going to be getting married in a few weeks and would only need the morning of the wedding off, it would not interrupt her cooking. Jonathan and I quickly told her nothing in the sorts will happen, you will take your wedding day and the next day after off and still get paid the same amount of money. We told her she had the job and when our first group would be here to start. She was very excited and so were we. Fenise showed up on her first day and we took her to the market to purchase what was needed to cook. We then went to the outside market and got all the veggies, greens and spices for the day. You see, in Haiti they don’t purchase a weeks worth of food all at once, its just one day at a time, much like their lives. Fenise cooked us the most wonderful meals every day we had our groups, she would take a taptap every morning to get all the materials needed for the day and would start our wonderful Haitian supper around 10 am and would finish around 5:30 p.m. We Americans live in such a fast pace society, we could not imagine cooking that many hours for our family, except Thanksgiving or Christmas. These Haitian ladies do it everyday. Fenise became part of us, eating with us, singing, even playing a game or two. It was getting down to the end of our last group and Fenise said she would like to talk to us. She came outside and sat at the picnic table with Jonathan and I and began telling her story. When she was a young girl she had a baby named Naomi. She allowed that baby girl to be adopted by a couple who lived in the U.S. when she was about a year and a half old. The orphanage director who they went through told her he would keep in contact with her with photos of the little girl, which he has NOT done since her adoption 11 years ago. She told us the adopted parents names and asked if there was anyway we could help her find Naomi just so she could see that she was ok. She started crying telling the story and said she would cry at night thinking about her often. I started my search quickly for the names she gave me and found a FB page and she said “YES! YES! Thats them!” However the FB page had not been updated since 2013 and only had one photo of the couple only, no children. I searched online for a while and sent a few emails with no leads. I told Fenise I would continue to look, I might have to send a letter once I got back to the U.S.
As I went to bed that night I couldn’t help but think of Fenise and that little girl, she didn’t ask to talk to her, visit with her or anything. She only wanted to see her, a photo or a smile. The next morning I was determined to find some kind of lead. I got out my computer one more time and went to the FB page I had seen the night before. I noticed the lady had a couple pages she liked and decided to check them out. One of them was an adoption group and I found a website with the same name. Once I got to the website they had a tab for coming home photos so I decided to take a look. AND THERE IT WAS…. This same man and woman in the FB photo they were in the picture with 6 adopted children….. They were white and had 6 children of different colors, different nationalities and the little girl who looked to be about 13 yard old looked a LOT like Fenise. I shouted for Jonathan to come look. He was like me, he took one look and just knew this was Naomi. We called for Fenise to come see what we found. She looked at the photo and said that was the people who adopted Naomi, I pointed to the little girl and said “I think this is your daughter”. She looked at the photo so intense I then blew it up to only see her and placed my hand over where you could only see her eyes (the same as her mothers), then she saw it…it was her! Her eyes swelled up with tears and she started jumping up and down, hugging us saying Mesi Jezi, Mesi Jezi. She could not stop looking at the photo, she was so happy. We told her we would print the picture and send it with her, she was all smiles. Kerlandy said she went in the other room to call her family and tell them the wonderful news. GOD is good.
Handing Out food
In Haiti, people set up little stands in front of their house and sell food, veggies, clothing just about anything you could want. I told the kids I was going to sell food outside in front of the house. During our third group we had a LOT of food leftover one day and I was saying I was going to go outside and sell it in front. The other girls in the group said “YEAH, lets do it”. So we were off, with several items in hand inside plastic bags. We stood infront of the gate and started yelling what we have just like the Haitians. LOL Someone stopped and asked me how much and I told them, “Today it’s free!” Another man stopped and got some and asked if we had a restaurant here and we said “No, we just had extra and wanted to share”. He told us that was great and there needed to be more people like us. We gave some of the food away very quick and by this time had drawn quite a crowd across the street (I think they were laughing at us). We were down do just a little rice and bean sauce left when a young pregnant woman walked by who looked like she could “pop” any moment. We asked her if she would like the rice and she said yes. As she was leaving I remembered a group had left some baby formula and cereal and asked her to stay here for just a moment as I ran to get it for her. When I got back she had told the girls she was having a baby girl. We gave her the boxes of baby formula and cereal and a bag of rice, told her we would pray for her and congratulations on the baby girl. We were so excited to meet this young lady. We came in telling the others about what all happened outside. Several days later, as we were up on the roof for our nightly devotions and a young lady on one of our mission teams was talking about LOVE being a verb. About that time Kerlandy came up and said “Mom, the lady who was having a baby is outside and wants to see you”. Me and one of the other young ladies went down to see her and there she stood with 3 mangos to give as a thank you for the gifts we gave her. This lady who probably had nothing brought us 3 of the most wonderful mangos. The other young lady with me had brought some hand-made crochet baby blankets and ran to get one to give her. We handed her the baby blanket and asked if we could take a picture. After posing she kissed us on the cheek and handed the blanket back to us as she was leaving. We told her NO! NO! This is a gift for you! She was all smiles as she left with her little baby blanket. We will most likely never see this young lady again and she will have the baby before we get back to Haiti. I know when she wraps that precious baby up in that blanket it will be wrapped in love.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next time.