Our mission team has been in Haiti about a week, but this is my first attempt to blog. We have had many experiences this week, both joyful ones and sad ones. This is my first trip to Caracol, Haiti with a Trader’s Point team. My first mission trip to Haiti was in the southern part of the country about twenty years ago. So I was already very familiar with the extreme poverty in this country. My 14 year old daughter, Christina, is also on our team, and I was interested in her reaction to the very poor living conditions in Haiti. The first time experiencing Haiti is the most shocking, in my opinion. I’m sure she will return home a changed person.
We took pictures of the school children for sponsorship this week, went to many church services, did craft projects with the nine little girls who live at the orphanage at the mission compound, and led Bible studies with the church members here. Lawanda, a member of our team, has also done some physical fitness activities with the ladies here, and hand washing education with the school children. Good hygiene is a hard thing to teach when there are no toilets, no toilet paper, and no soap! The children use a latrine in back of the school.
So, overall it has been a busy week. Yesterday we had some R and R, and met up with fellow TPCC members Doug and Julie Pitts. They rented a bus to take us up to the Citadel, a beautiful fortress on top of the mountain. It used to be accessible by horse or mule only, but recently by bus also. Unfortunately, the bus could not make it up the steep mountain because the street was wet and slick from the recent rain. But Haiti badly needed the rain, so that was okay! Our Plan B did not work out either. We ended up stopping for lunch at a beachside hotel and restaurant. It was a beautiful location, and it refreshed us.
Then we stopped briefly to buy some souvenirs to help their economy. Shopping in Haiti is quite an experience. The people are so desperate for money that they come up to you when you first arrive, begging you to look at their wares and buy from them. You feel overwhelmed, and try to be polite. Your heart goes out to them, and you wish you could buy from all of them. But, realistically, you know you cannot because you only have a certain amount of money to spend. One little old lady broke my heart! She had made bracelets with “Haiti” on them, but had written “Haiit” instead. She kept pointing to her eye, and I think she was telling me that she was blind in that eye. I was finished shopping, but I felt so bad for her that I bought some bracelets and gave her double what she had asked for them. I just wanted to help her!
The people in Haiti are an extremely loving people. They shower us with hugs and smiles all the time! The church people really have a heart for God. They love Him deeply, and spend lots of time with Him. I hear them in the church until 11pm and again at 6 am! That’s great, but I was trying to sleep! Seriously, the people are great, and have a desire to learn more about God. God has blessed them here in Caracol with a great church, school, and mission house! If you feel God calling you even a little bit, I would recommend you go to Haiti on a mission trip. It can be a life-changing experience for you, and it helps the Haitian people as well.