June 2014 Team – Day 7 – Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien and Mission Baptiste d’Haïti

Lisa:

“Today started out with a 2-hour drive in the tap-taps. What a thrilling feeling of wind (and grit) in your hair! Smelling smells and hearing sounds that Americans in their air-conditioned cars rarely smell or hear. There was the occasional bonked head against the roof of the tap-tap, but the experience was worth it. We arrived at the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien and got a wonderful tour of Haïti’s horrific past as well as the incredible spirit of the Haïtians to rise above that past.
“Then another hour ride in the tap-tap up into the much cooler mountains to Mission Baptiste d’Haïti for lunch and shopping. There may have been some miscommunication while ordering, but somehow we managed to eat all of the accidentally bought food!
“Then we drove back down to the Heart to Heart International guesthouse in Pétionville – and found it air-conditioned. A great end to a great trip!”

HA140608 team just before departure from Petit-Goâve, proudly displaying their certificates from l’Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti; Mme. Dorcely at center

HA140608 team just before departure from Petit-Goâve, proudly displaying their certificates from l’Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti; Mme. Dorcely at center

lead tap-tap on Route Nationale #2 / “Route du Sud,” descending from Morne Tapion toward Grand-Goâve

lead tap-tap on Route Nationale #2 / “Route du Sud,” descending from Morne Tapion toward Grand-Goâve

roof of Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien on the Champ de Mars in Port-au-Prince (photography is not allowed inside)

roof of Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien on the Champ de Mars in Port-au-Prince (photography is not allowed inside)

cultivated mountainsides in Kenscoff area as seen from Mission Baptiste d’Haïti

cultivated mountainsides in Kenscoff area as seen from Mission Baptiste d’Haïti

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June 2014 Team – Day 6 – CHE/EKS Celebration

Christina:

“The CHE program started right on time according to the schedule. The pastor led the congregation in singing a hymn, which was absolutely beautiful. They sang out loud with spirit and soul. Most impressively, they had the lyrics memorized! One lady’s soprano voice was so angelic, it almost brought tears to our eyes.
“The program was very well organized. The leaders of CHE talked about the project and did an ice-breaking exercise by having each community tell a riddle. A volunteer came, and did a short and sweet four-step stretching exercise! It was funny, short, and yet effective. People were laughing hard at the end.
“After their breakfast, We sang them This Little Light of Mine. One of the Haïtians recorded it, and played it back. It seems to us that the photo taking definitely goes both ways. We take pictures of them; they take pictures of us.
“The SODIS project was a huge hit. The method is so simple, which is to use a plastic bottle not bigger than 2 liters, fill it up, put it in a sunny place from 6am to 6pm to let UV purify the water, and voila! The participants were very interested, and many questions were asked and answered.
“Then we went outside to see the demonstration of ti pitap. It is a method for washing hands without touching the bottle. The structure includes a lever, string to tie, a tree and a water bottle. It is definitely a method that could be used in camping also.
“We walked back to the guest house to eat a light lunch. When we returned, they had already started the soap project explanation. The group then moved to the spot to see the demonstration of the soap making. The group ground the leaves with a large mortar and pestle. It took a long time to mash the leaves into mush. The participants were patiently waiting to see the entire process. They diligently took notes, and asked questions. It is our hope that they will take the knowledge back to the community and be able to start implementation.”

program (which was modified as circumstances required)

program (which was modified as circumstances required)

informational handout about Chikungunya being presented to CHE representatve from Meilleure-Eau

informational handout about Chikungunya being presented to CHE representative from Meilleure-Eau

instructor (with water bottle) explaining SODIS method of water purification, which you can read about at http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN

instructor (with water bottle) explaining SODIS method of water purification, which you can read about at http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN

page from SODIS manual in Kreyòl

page from SODIS manual in Kreyòl

demonstration of “tippy tap” for sanitary handwashing, which you can read about at http://www.tippytap.org/

demonstration of “tippy tap” for sanitary handwashing, which you can read about at http://www.tippytap.org/

first stage in production of soap for sale

first stage in production of soap for sale

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June 2014 Team – Day 5 – Celebration Preparation and Visit to Meilleure-Eau

This morning the team walked over to Centre Méthodiste, the main EMH compound in Petit-Goâve, a few hundred meters west of where we are staying. Tomorrow there is to be a joint celebration among several local branches of Community Health Evangelism (“CHE” in English; Evanjelizasyon Kominotè Sante, or “EKS,” in Kreyòl), an organization several prior COR teams have worked with on public health projects. We helped clean and decorate the room in the conference center where the celebration is to take place.

sweeping

sweeping

inflating and tying balloons

inflating and tying balloons

stringing up balloons

stringing up balloons

 

This afternoon the team met with 22 CHE representatives at Meilleure-Eau, officially the 11th Communal Section of Petit-Goâve, which somewhat ironically translates as “better water.” It is located a few kilometers south of downtown on the Rivière Caïman, which is dry unless there has been a recent rainfall and, its name notwithstanding, entirely lacking in crocodiles. The CHE representatives explained that the community, which has a population of about 10,000, has a school and one good working water pump – but no marketplace, park, cemetery, health clinic, connection to the electric-power grid, or good road; travel is difficult whenever there is much water in the river. There is a nearby waterfall that could be developed into a tourist attraction. The team walked through the area to see the working water pump and cisterns and briefly toured the school, courtesy of its principal, who is one of the local CHE committee members.

landscape near Meilleure-Eau

landscape near Meilleure-Eau

girls drawing water near Rivière Caïman at Meilleure-Eau

girls drawing water near Rivière Caïman at Meilleure-Eau

Ecole Communautaire de Régale

Ecole Communautaire de Régale

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June 2014 Team – Day 4 – College Brakeman Teacher Training Photos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

teachers with new tablet computers

teachers with new tablet computers

teachers, volunteers, and Michelet (at right-hand end of back row) after completion of e-mail setup

teachers, volunteers, and Michelet (at right-hand end of back row) after completion of e-mail setup

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June 2014 Team – Day 4 – Petit-Goâve Eye Clinic Photos

Susan Brooks of HPUMC giving a tour

Susan Brooks of HPUMC giving a tour

patients waiting for examinations

patients waiting for examinations

laboratory annex

laboratory annex

HA140608 team sorting and labeling surgical supplies

HA140608 team sorting and labeling surgical supplies

view eastward along Rue du Quai Douane

view eastward along Rue du Quai Douane

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June 2014 Team – Day 3 – Quick Note and Photos

Note that due to limited connectivity, most team members are unable to check e-mail at regular intervals.
Today we spent the morning at College Brakeman and the afternoon at the Methodist church in downtown Petit-Goâve assisting with teacher training. We also attended a church service this evening.

new classrooms under construction

new classrooms under construction

playing with younger students

playing with younger students

COR team assisting with teacher training

COR team assisting with teacher training

Inveneo technician Michelet training teachers, with Marc-Anny translating to English for COR team

Inveneo technician Michelet training teachers, with Marc-Anny translating to English for COR team

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June 2014 Team – Day 2 – Photos of Petit-Goâve

charcoal for sale in downtown Petit-Goâve

charcoal for sale in downtown Petit-Goâve

hermit crab we found on shore at Baie de Petit-Goâve

hermit crab we found on shore at Baie de Petit-Goâve

old house on Avenue La Hatte in Petit-Goâve

old house on Avenue La Hatte in Petit-Goâve

HA140608 team at Baie de Petit-Goâve

HA140608 team at Baie de Petit-Goâve

boys fishing in Baie de Petit-Goâve

boys fishing in Baie de Petit-Goâve

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June 2014 Team – Day 2 – Tour of Petit-Goâve

Christina –

“We woke up early this morning and gathered at 6 AM to have a light breakfast with toast, cereal and coffee. Karin showed us the bracelets beautifully made by the orphanage children. The team were happy to find the beautiful colors and chose what they liked to take home.
“We divided into two groups and got in a truck and a tap-tap, the local taxi, to travel from Pétionville to Petit-Goâve. It was a two-hour drive and passed through downtown Port-au-Prince. We were very lucky with the smooth traffic. We had the opportunity to see the largest market in Port-au-Prince, the mango-sellers, and the vendors who prepare food outdoors.
“We settled in the newly built guest house. Shortly, we walked to downtown Petit-Goâve, and had the opportunity to visit the Methodist Church, and the Clinic. We met Hillary Barnard from Highland Park United Methodist Church at the eye clinic. There were lines of patients waiting for medical care. We were lucky to see the ocean, and enjoyed the breeze. Some team members showed the bookstore they helped build on previous trips.
“It was a wonderful cultural experience to walk to downtown. Greetings to local Haitians, even just smiling, did the trick to break the ice.
“We enjoyed a light lunch with hot dog and cookies, and most importantly, a nap!”

 

Lisa –

“After a two hour HOT tour of Petit-Goâve, the Methodist church, and the eye clinic, we came back to the Pastor’s for lunch. CHE was supposed to be coming at 2 PM, so after lunch, we took a brief nap, then got up and waited. And waited. And waited. We finally took it upon ourselves to learn the Cups song and motions to teach the kids at the school in the next few days. We got Paula (the pastor’s daughter), Marc-Anny (our translator), and Samuel (part of the staff) to join us for a hilarious attempt at the very quick motions. The older folks had a harder time, but the younger people picked it up and we attempted to do it in time to the music. It was so completely out of rhythm, that we could hardly stand up from laughing. Then Samuel taught us the Pepsi-Cola song, which had hand motions. Starting with the younger group of us, we managed to quickly get up to speed. Then the older group of us got up and also got the rhythm down. We all enjoyed this spontaneous set of cultural sharing immensely in an unexpected downtime (and several power outages). Lesson learned: God is at work even when we aren’t expecting Him.”

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June 2014 Team – Day 1 – Arrival

The team has arrived safely at the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM)-Haïti compound on the Freres Campus of l’Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti (EMH) in Pétion-Ville. During final approach into Aeroport International Toussaint Louverture, we encountered a fair amount of turbulence over the Chaîne des Matheux, but we still arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. The arrival process has become much more orderly over the past three years, and there was relatively little traffic on the streets, so we were at the compound less than an hour after deplaning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHA140608 team at ATL shortly before boarding flight to Port-au-Prince

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Friday March 21

laughing girls

Today was a very special and completely different day for our team. It was our Compassion day – the opportunity to go a Compassion International program and to meet children that some of our team members have each sponsored.

We loaded up bright and early once again, with all thirteen of us piling into one big van  – - quite a snug fit! We headed north for our two hour drive to the town of Cabaret.

Along the way, we drove by the site of the mass grave where some 260 thousand Haitians who were killed in the earthquake are buried. They were buried all together because it was impossible to recover any of the individual bodies amidst the rubble and debris that crushed them. It is located just off the highway marked off by a concrete wall forming a very large square on the hillside. Everyone in the car spontaneously fell quiet, observing a moment of silence as we drove by. At the entrance to the site, there is a sign denoting the date of the horrific disaster – January 12, 2010.

The hillsides outside of the city were dotted with many makeshift homes. We were told that many Haitians fled Port Au Prince after the earthquake and moved out into the mountains north of the city. One community we drove by is called Canaan because they consider it their Promised Land – where they somehow feel safe and protected from the devastation of another earthquake.

As we approached Cabaret, for the first time we had the opportunity to see the living conditions of some Haitians close up. It was truly shocking. These people are really the poorest of the poor. Most live in one-room cinder block shacks with corrugated tin roofs. They have no running water and no electricity. Their village has no water so they have to walk about a total of an hour there and back to get water at a nearby village and carry it back to their homes – what a hardship.

When we arrived at the combination Methodist center/church building/Compassion center we once again were treated like rock stars! It’s just the strangest feeling to step out of a van and be greeted so excitedly by a crowd of cheering children who are just so happy to see you. It felt like God was just somehow giving each of us a great big hug.

bubbles

It was then that we met the children we are each sponsoring through Compassion. What an indescribable moment that was. To see a child that you have only known through a photograph standing there in front of you in the flesh is so incredibly special and such a wonderful opportunity.

caroline2

We were ushered into the center where the entire school had prepared a special program for us – singing us songs, reciting poems, reading from the Bible and praying. Once again we all felt so unworthy of all of this attention but also so grateful for their efforts and their kindness.

ryan

After a quick lunch with our sponsored children, we divided into groups with each of the sponsors going to the home of their sponsored child, meeting their families, talking with them through an interpreter and giving them gifts we had brought from home. They were all so very gracious to us. It was very hard to see up close the very sad living conditions they all endure but it was a special time of sharing and bonding with the families and something we will always remember.

We left with so many mixed emotions – happiness to have met the children but very heavy hearts to see the realities of their daily lives. When one of our group asked the pastor of the church what were their greatest needs at the church his answers were so basic it was shocking – they don’t have any toilets and they don’t have water. It doesn’t get more basic than that.

We returned back to Port Au Prince and to the Heart to Heart guesthouse. Part of the group then did a little shopping at a nearby market, coming back with some wonderful Haïti mementos. We shared the guesthouse tonight with a group from a Nazarene college in Ohio. Caroline, Hailey and Ryan had fun getting to know some of the kids and hear about their time in Haïti.

In our final devotions and sharing, we all agreed that this trip has been far more impactful, engaging and life changing than any of us could have imagined. We also marveled at how very close we all have become in such a short time and how wonderfully we have all meshed together as one united team.

As we are all packing and preparing to leave early in the morning and return to the reality of our daily lives, a part of each of us finds it hard to say goodbye.

It is said that once you come to Haïti you leave a piece of your heart here. I think there is no question that we all have.

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