Head over heels for Haiti

Keso showing off his acrobatic skills

We're head over heels for Haiti! 

The group (Lauren Beck, Rose Adamson, Andrea Himmelberger, DeAnna Gallardo, Jim Quayle, and me) arrived yesterday after a very long travel day, highlighted by one of the roughest flights I have ever been on. The first leg of our trip was from San Francisco to Las Vegas, and we bounced our way through some pretty severe turbulence. 

We arrived at Maison de Lumiere, received our orientation briefing, and then made our way immediately to the boys' home to hang out with the kids. There were many happy reunions! I especially enjoyed watching Lauren, my daughter, reconnect with kids she loves but hasn't seen for two years. I also got to spend time with nurses Ashley and Brooke. I formed close bonds with them during the time I spent at the orphanage following the earthquake in January 2010. 

Today has been a very full day! We went to church this morning at Port-au-Prince Fellowship. We all got something out of the sermon. Following church, we went to lunch with a few of the locals at Epidor restaurant. And it was when we were leaving the restaurant to walk back to our cars that one of the most random and whacky things I have ever experienced in Haiti happened. We were between two cars, getting our group all together. There were people walking back and forth on the street as normal. All of a sudden a Haitian man walked right in front of us, without a stitch of clothing on. I saw him, but I waited until he was a ways down the street before I mentioned it to anyone else. The funny thing was that he was walking quickly and purposefully, like he was late for an important business meeting. On top of that, no one on the street said a word. No screaming. No hiding children from the sight. No police taking him to the station. I wondered, “Does this happen every day or something?” Crazy!

Isguerda, Lauren, and Pharra
After church Lauren and I got to see Isguerda, the girl our family sponsors. That was a sweet reunion! I showed her some photos of Susan and the boys, including a video greeting Spencer and Nathaniel had recorded for her – which she loved! Then Lauren left with Isguerda and Pharra for some girl time.

The late afternoon was play time at Quisqueia Chapel, which has large, closed in grounds. It is a safe place to play soccer and whatever else the kids want to do. That’s where Keso showed off his skills for walking on his hands. I played soccer with about 15 kids from our orphanage and the nearby neighborhood. What a blast! The Haitian boys didn’t pass to me very often – probably because I didn’t inspire confidence in my level of play. It was girls against boys, and the girls won. Or at least they said they won. I don’t know who was keeping score. :-)

In the evening we celebrated the 10th birthday of Yvenel, one of the boys at our orphanage. Any kind of birthday celebration with the kids is a blast.

We went from there to singing worship songs with the girls in their house. To worship with the kids is even better than playing soccer or celebrating birthdays with them. It’s very tender. It also has funny moments. One of the little girls was sitting against the wall, and during the final songs, she started going to sleep. Her head kept drifting down and then popping back up again. Lauren and I loved that. I also helped accompany the singing by playing percussion on the bookcases with Adeline and Chedline, two of the teenage girls.

We capped off the night by spending an hour or so talking with Ashley Hapak, one of the nurses. We gained many insights about Haiti and brainstormed some new ideas for how we might be able to enhance Child Hope’s presence in the neighborhood.

It’s hard to pack more into one day than we did today. It’s almost too much to keep track of! We’re looking forward to tomorrow.


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