6:20am – Day three began early with rain on the roof and the bleating of a baby goat. It’s a foggy morning this morning, the mountains and ocean are barely visible. The whole team is silently hoping it stays that way as we prepare ourselves for a work day. We are going back to one of the sites we toured yesterday.
8:00am – the campus is buzzing with excited energy as we finish breakfast and load ourselves up on buses to go to our assigned projects. Today our team has been assigned Leveque, which is the site of MOH 500. It is a new village that the government donated the land to Mission of Hope. They will be charging the families $10 per month for 5 years and at the end of that time, they will own their land and their home. We will be painting some of the homes that have already been constructed. We will most likely also be playing with lots of the village kids along the way.
We just stopped for lunch after a morning of lots of work. When we first arrived in Leveque this morning the bus found itself face to face with a mob like scene as we entered. Every adult in the village and most of the older boys were wielding hammers and machetes. The leader of the team and translator got off to see what was happening. Apparently someone had stolen some of the communities solar lights and the whole village was going to get them back. As we got off the bus, we were greeted by the same kids from yesterday. They were all so happy to see us again. Many jumped into peoples arms and wanted hugs and piggybacks. My son was greeted again by his buddy from the day before. His name is Stephen and he was very excited to see us again.
On our way to Leveque, we drove through a market like I’ve never seen. It was a street packed with buses, trucks, tap taps, motorcycles, and people as far a the eye could see. People were lined up on the side of the road and in makeshift booths. They were selling fruit, food, clothes, and other merchandise. At one point we noticed a large delivery truck that had recently crashed into the side of the building…and it was still there. Right in the middle of the busy street and busy market with a truck half way through the house.
Once we arrived in Leveque, we gathered for our assignments, gathered equipment, and marched off into the village. Half the team was assigned digging trenches for the cactus fences and the other half was assigned house painting. We were terribly grateful for a cloudy day as we were all working outside. Many of the Haitians came to visit, talk, laugh, and help us work.
There were lots of kids excited to work the shovels and dig trenches with the team. As we finished painting the outside windows, we moved in to the insides. The houses inside consist of three rooms. One large front room and two rooms half the size of the main room. Each home has about 8 people living together. The houses were surprisingly cool inside. As we stopped for lunch, 40 volunteers piled into one house for lunch. They are surprisingly spacious and cool!
Our work in Leveque is finished for today. Our teams accomplished alot under a cloudy sky. The team dug trenches, hauled cactus, planted, and painted houses.
Just after lunch, we were waiting for some paint to be brought back to the village. One of our team members, Karin, got out her iPhone and speakers. Within minutes, we had a dozen kids gathering around clapping their hands. Earlier in the day, a little girl asked her if she had Justin Bieber. She told her, “No, but I’ve got Jesus!”
One of the interesting new things we learned today is that each home is being planted with 6 trees. The bark of the tree can be stripped, boiled, and put in rice as a major source of protein for each family. The team had the opportunity to plant those where they were digging trenches.
Once the afternoon got into the heat of the day our steam began to run out. We pulled out the parachute and gathered lots of the village kids. They played games with team members and had so much fun. At one point a little boy sat in the middle and the kids started flying him up and down. That game stopped pretty quickly, as the little guy got scared.
As we cleaned up our work equipment and got back on the bus, the kids gathered around the bus to say goodbye. My son’s little buddy, Stephen, chased our bus waving and smiling. George, a member of our team, speaks creole and told him we’d be back in two days. As he ran, he waved and held up two fingers with a smile. I think showers are next on our agendas!!
As we were leaving the village a story from earlier in the day surfaced. There was a man drilling at the far end of the village. He was working on his third hole to dig a well for this village that currently has to walk a mile for water. The drill bit got stuck today and there was lots of discussion from the oldest men in the village as to how to solve the problem. They reasoned that a demon had the bit and would not release it until he received something from them. They were preparing to offer the demon alcohol. As we left the village the man digging asked us to pray for Him and the drilling of this well, that had taken such a bad turn. So we stopped the bus and got off to meet the driller and we stopped to pray for him and his drilling equipment. We all look forward to hearing later in the week how the well is coming.
The sun has set and the day is winding down. Many are settling quietly into bed and others are talking or playing games. This evening after dinner a 14 year old boy and two younger than he led a worship service for the volunteers. The boys are living here at the orphanage. We found out that this orphanage is a non-adoption orphanage. They want to educate and raise these kids up to be a generation of Haitians who lead their country well!
Some things I want to remember from today:
The smiles on the kids faces as we played, sang, and walked with them. While we couldn’t talk to them, they understood kindness, joy, and love.
The simple trust the village kids offered each of us do freely.
Little Stephen running beside the bus holding up his two fingers as he said goodbye to my son.
The boldness, character, and confidence my son has shown on this trip.