"Stupid Friday" in Haiti


Our last day of the trip was aptly named by my teammates “Stupid Friday.” None of us wanted to leave Haiti, and we had been dreading our last day. However, while it was stupid in that sense, it was still full of the things that make Haiti great.

Belinda and one of the boys at the MDL school
While I sat at the guest house writing a blog post and uploading photos, the rest of the team went to Friday chapel at the school. They came home raving about the songs performed by the girls. It seems to be common at Haitian church services for women to sing for the congregation. In the services we held after the earthquake, there were many such songs performed. At chapel they do this too. The singers are not necessarily the most talented vocalists. I have never seen men sing, only women or girls. It is an expression of worship. The songs done at the school on Friday morning really touched the hearts of my teammates.

With Tecia, Gigi, and some street kids
We then went on a field trip to find some candy to take to the Ben’s for the school recess at noon. On Fridays, the kids gather in the Ben’s and play games. It is great fun! Along the way, we finally found someone I had been wanting to connect with all week: Tecia Senterra, the mother of Johnny, Lizyanna, Gigi, and Lickson. I love those kids very much, and whenever I am in Haiti, I make it a point to visit their mother too. We got to say hi to her and pray for her and the family. We even met Mr. Senterra. I don’t often see him.

We then went to a street merchant and bought all her candy to take to the Ben’s. We played with kids from the school and handed out our candy. For me, this was a very sweet time, as I got to see Roseline, Rosena, and their friends from the Ravine. We had fun taking photos and looking at photos on my camera. The kids love to view photos of themselves, our families, California, and everything else. Once you turn on a camera, you get an instant crowd.

Faces of the feeding program
In the afternoon, the rest of the team went to help with the feeding program. I stayed at the Guest House to participate in a meeting with other board members and staff about the Transition Program. This is a fairly new program we are refining for kids who are aging out of the orphanage. In Haiti, it is illegal to have a youth over 18 years of age living in an orphanage. So our kids graduate from Maison de Lumiere when they are 18. However, we want to help them launch a productive life as a young adult. That in-between stage is what the Transition Program is all about. We had a solid meeting, and I left confident that we will be able to refine this part of Child Hope’s ministry.

Isguerda at the top of the hill
At 4:30, we met up with Ruth, the oldest girl at the Girls’ House. Several other MDL girls went with us, and we hiked up above the Claireville Ravine to the top of a hill that overlooks that part of Delmas (a region within Port-au-Prince). The view was stunning. Unfortunately, we were harassed by four boys who decided to follow us up the hill and throw rocks at us. Interestingly the worst of the rock throwing didn’t start until we gathered to sing a worship song.

A street kid named Ti-Junior was the boy who was throwing most of the rocks. While we were singing, I walked over to keep him away from the group. He looked at me and threw rocks at me. I told him I could see him as he squatted behind a bush. Then he grabbed a stick and started toward me, snarling. I wondered, “What is this kid doing?” He took a few steps and then retreated again for more rock throwing. Being harassed and with darkness approaching, our group decided to leave. As we were starting to walk down the hill, Ruth got a look at all four boys. When we got to the bottom of the hill, she reported the incident to the men in the Claireville community. While we walked out of Claireville, one of the boys was being sternly lectured by a man.

Worship time -- Ruth has an amazing voice!
But this is where a beautiful story of redemption emerges. Later that night, we had a worship service with the kids and staff from Maidon de Lumiere. It was our farewell service. Ti-Junior had been discovered outside our boys’ home, crying. He was homeless. He had been accused of stealing something elsewhere in the community, and he was afraid of what might happen. Someone from MDL saw him, and they let him come in. He sat in our service while we singed and I talked about God’s mercy that forgives no matter what we have done. I didn’t even know he was there. A couple of people prayed with him and comforted him. They allowed him to spend the night in the boys’ home. We heard that our MDL boys had been gracious and gentle with him. The next day we found out that he had been received as a permanent resident of the MDL boys’ home! It’s the perfect ending to this story.

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