Back in Haiti this month, read our reports here!
Late to bed and early to rise that always seems to be the norm for me in Haiti. After oatmeal and some good breakfast conversation we were blessed with the opportunity to go to Malenchall. It seems like attitudes can change like turning on a light switch here. I guess I will never get use to the craziness of back and forth issues, but I do pray God continues to give me the patience I need to continue building a good trust relationship here at Peligre School of Hope.
I was very excited for Deborah and Aiyana to have the opportunity to take this hike. We packed water and snacks for the trip. As most know from my previous blogs Malenchall is a very isolated area with its own problems and setbacks in the game of survival. The walk there is tough, but beautiful.
Once there, Deborah and Aiyana got a firsthand account of what I had been trying to convey to them about this place. We were met by a small group of villagers both young and old. This was probably our first real attempt at a focus group. Deborah and I asked many questions and we got various answers. The primary need up here today is school building. The structure they have now is very close to falling to the ground. This is the third time I have been to Malenchall and nothing has changed. I know Deborah will take the information that we gathered and come up with a plan.
We left after an hour or so, and visited an old man that Fede knows. This is also a home that I have visited before with Fede. Before we left this home we were treated with fresh coconuts to drink and eat. This was very cool and we were all totally stoked to get the treat. We made our way back to Peligre down the long, hard trail. Darlene had prepared a very good meal of traditional Haitian grindage. The meal consisted of chicken, pickles, plantains, and gravy. I will always be forever indebt to Aiyana for her help and patience as she helped me in my new Apple world. Her techo-saviness was perfect and she taught me a lot about this new GMSM tool. Praise God for whom all blessings flow.
Pride usually comes before the fall of many mighty civilizations. That is also true when people try to work for a common goal as a coalition of visions and dreams. When the focus turns to self and the goals begin to evolve into selfishness that can only come from man. With that said, it was another very strange day in Peligre. We must keep the prize in front and continue to work towards the dream of helping a small group of children realize a better life through health and education. Deborah, Harry, Aiyana, and I had the opportunity to have a small focus group session with Deacon the patriarch of Malenchall. Our original plan was to go to church, but the opportunity presented itself to have this session which we all agreed seemed to be the most important thing at the time. Fede had left and returned to see us talking to Deacon to his unpredictable displeasure. He seemed to think we had no right to do this. After a very intense conversation which I am growing intensively tired of we turned our focus to the event of the day which was the graduation ceremony of the children at the school. This is the first graduation class of Peligre School of Hope. It was such a special time for the children and it really reflected the reason why most of us come here. It is not about one person, but a community of people. They really threw down a big party with many visitors. There was much singing and people speaking on behalf of the teachers and students. Deborah, Aiyana, and I also had the chance to address the group, it was very special. Afterward we took a stroll through the village and visited the small Peligre clinic. After showers Deborah, Aiyana, and I stayed up and had good conversations about experiences we had and about the potential remedies for current situations. Praise God for whom all blessing flow, despite many distractions it was a good day.
Praise God for whom all blessings flow, we had a great night sleep. After breakfast Deborah sat down with Fede and Darlene and showed them how to use the supplies in their medical kit.
After lunch we all went to Mirebalais to visit the new construction of the Partners and Health medical training center and also to see the CTC (Cholera Treatment Center). The CTC is where most people go in the central plateau area to be treated for Cholera. Deborah was very interested from a medical standpoint, I was interested from my community relationship with the Haitian people. There are smaller centers around, but this appears to be the largest. Although it is nothing more than a field hospital it seemed to be fairly clean. It had many people around along with lots of children. I cannot say how successful the center is (they have no antibiotics). They do get treated (if they are lucky), but after the treatment most seem to fall back into the sick cycle again due to sanitation and infected drinking water.
There was no cholera in Haiti before the Nepalese UN dumped their human waste into a river outside of Mirebalais. Even though the CTC seems crude it Is somewhat affective. Post treatment is probably the hardest part to achieve.
Once we retuned back to Peligre we had a great time with conversation and a good intro to each one’s life views. From my point I thought it went well and have an immense respect for Deborah and Aiyana. Tomorrow will be a busy day with church and a graduation ceremony for the children of Peligre Hope.
What would a trip to Haiti be like without American Airlines throwing me a curve. The flight attendant in Pensacola called in sick so we were delayed waiting on an attendant to fly in from Dallas. This was going to totally mess up the timing to meet Deborah and Aiyana in Port au Prince. Deborah is a medical doctor from New York City and Aiyana is a high school graduate from New York City.
Deborah will be doing focus groups in the village and Aiyana will be assisting her. With a little devine intervention an attendant showed up and we were only behind about an hour or so, which will be a hassle when I get to Miami to make my connecting flight. I barely made my connecting flight and got to Port au Prince on time to meet Deborah and Aiyana in the baggage claim area.
From there we headed out of the Port au Prince airport doors like lambs being lead to slaughter with hopes of meeting up with Fede. As always Mr. Dependable was right there waiting to save us from the uncontrolled chaos that awaits anyone stepping out of PAP doors.
After a brief intro we bolted off to get groceries and to meet Harry. When we left the grocery store we grabbed some killer grind at a nice little restaurant on the way out of town. After we ate we headed off to, my home away from home, Peligre.
It was dark by the time we headed up the mountain. I am glad Fede is now the proud owner of a good vehicle (thanks to IUMC). It makes the trip safer, faster, and easier. Once we arrived in Peligre Harry and I helped the ladies set up camp, made more introductions, and got situated for the evening. I am stoked to say that Deborah and Aiyana were the first gringos to use the new latrine, another nice addition to Peligre School of Hope since the start of partnerships for this mission. We all hit the rack in hopes of getting a good night sleep and as usual Harry and I spent hours catching up on life. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
With an early morning wake up, we began the process of getting our chum together to climb the mountain to Dos Pilon. Fluids are a must and we had plenty of them for this climb. Fede, Curt, Bob, Harry and I walked to the base of the mountain to wait on some other men who would help us find our way. Fede was not going on the trip with us; he was making sure that we connected with our tour dudes. This is a very difficult climb, but hey, I think most that know me know that I am always ready for an adventure.
As we discussed the difficulty of the climb, Curt who was feeling a little under the weather decided that it might be best for him to go back to the village with Fede and take it easy. So it was Bob, Harry, the Haitian guides, three horses and me. The village at Dos Pilon is absolutely cut-off from any other place. The only thing at the top is a small church/school with small homes dotting the countryside. This is my second trip up here and the need in almost unimaginable. The closest source of water is over an hour walk away and any other supplies other than natural resources have to come from Peligre which is a least four miles down the mountain. The school has about 125 students with four teachers who make (when they are able to get paid) around $7.50 per month. The students have to pay tuition of 350 goudes a year which equals to about $8.75 and most can’t even afford this.
We were met with the sweetest singing from the hearts of the children. They were so stoked to see us! I must say that as we worshiped with these beautiful children, the director, pastor and deacons the Holy Spirit was almost unbearable. God continues to break me while in Haiti. He is only worthy and He allows me to see the real world. I shared from I Samuel 10:10-12, about when Samuel anointed David. I told them that no matter how small and cut-off they were that God had great plans for them. God laid it on our hearts to help the church and school. We were able to assist with unpaid salaries for the teachers, food/water for the children, school supplies for the coming school year and gave an offering to the church.
We stared our descent by being invited to the director’s house to share a meal of goat, plantains, rice and beans. Talk about sacrifice! This family has nothing that the carnal world would see as fit for anything, but they do have what a lot in this world don’t have….the love of Jesus. Time and time again this is revealed through “the least of these”. The trip down the mountain was glorious and our time spent up on the mountain could not be touched by anything. It was a special time with Harry and Bob. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Tomorrow will be spent reunited with our families and our “over the top” country. Much to learn many miles from nowhere only if you have eyes wide open.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Today was a slow day but not by design. Curt stayed involved with the kids today while Bob and I took a long walk by the river. I must say that this trip has been a strain. There is definitely a constant learning curve, but there also has to be a lot of give and take amongst the vision and mission. As far as I am concerned we are here for the children. The other needs will fall in line as God sees fit.
We had a meeting with the members of the church this afternoon at 3:00. We finally made it to the meeting at the church after a little miscommunication. We were trying our best to share with the church council about Kristen’s goal and vision to raise money to help with renovations.
As some know, there is something about that church that exudes the Holy Spirit. I shared that I was only the messenger and read Mark 12:41-44. I told them that the amount of money that is raised was not important, that God is looking for what comes out of the heart. It was so beautiful and God was all over that place, everyone was truly blessed! The church council are very sweet people, we all left totally stoked!
Fede seemed to have something on his mind and I attempted to make sense out of it, but not to much avail. There is much to work on here as far as a true understanding of who we are serving and one must keep “eyes wide open” as we seek God’s guidance in all things.
Tomorrow is another day and I’m stoked because we are going to Dos Pilon, the village that I visited in April. It is a death climb up three mountains; this place is totally cut off and I can’t wait to go. God never promised that things would be easy and sometimes I think that He is testing me to the max! Oh well, here I am Lord use me as You will.
I know that all blessings come from God, but I must admit that I don’t understand all blessings or recognize all blessings at times. We are constantly put through many trials in Haiti and today was no exception. If I lived in this country for 100 years I would still be considered an outsider. Praise God that I have Harry by my side to help me understand the Haitian culture. I guess we are really a whole lot different from each other in many ways. Trust should be gained by earning it, and sometimes I am too trusting in that I usually allow someone to burn me before I make a true character judgment. It breaks my heart to have to feel like we must continually prove ourselves, but on the flipside I understand and respect the leadership on the ground at the orphanage.
Today was a slow day all plans were changed, welcome to Haiti! That’s the way it goes sometimes. It was a good day to do “gut checks” and rest.
I thank God that GMSM has partners who do see the bigger picture that God has for us here in Haiti. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
God knows all things and does all things. He did provide me with a good night’s sleep and today would prove that I needed it! Fede took us to Mirebalais to the World Vision office to meet with one of the field personnel who is involved in all operations in the Central Plateau area of Peligre and surrounding areas. Although it was a short unannounced visit it did open a door for Fede and I to make an appointment to meet with him.
We were going to go and meet the bank dude but the bank was closed so we went to a small restaurant and ate some rice and beans. Fede went and bought a few supplies for the orphanage, he went alone so that the price of things would not jack up because of the blancs (us). We headed back to Peligre to find refuge from the heat only to find that there was none to be found.
After much fellowship, I got my shower and Harry and I walked to the dam to use the phone and have some much needed conversation about GMSM, Savon Blonde Baptist Church and Peligre School of Hope and Harry’s personal issues with the house he is trying to build for his family. God only knows how much I truly love this man and his family and how much I want to help them. After about two hours we walked back in the dark to the orphanage to find Curt in his new element playing with the kids. He is normally clicking away at his camera so it was nice to see him without it around his neck. He was doing a skit about David and Goliath and the kids were digging it! My brother Bob was leading the children in some songs and all were blessed. Praise God from whom all blessing flow!