Last night was a special night. The team, along with Karen, sat in our newly painted and freshly cleaned (by us) gallery and enjoyed hot tea (minus the salt that we added the night before, mistaking it for sugar!). We also got the pleasure of listening to some stories told by Karen which we all look forward to so much each night. Listening to her tales of joy, of belief… belief that anything and everything is possible even when the whole world is against you. With God by your side, anything is possible. Tales of triumph, of despair, of hope, and of sadness – she has so much to share and we are so eager to listen! We sure will miss our nightly gatherings.
After this, we all proceeded to our cots as we were pretty tired from another wonderful hard day of work at HATS. As we settled, some stayed awake while some were off to dreamland within minutes. The sleeping beauties were quite the harmony! First Don, then Joanne, and then Emma and it went on, and on, and on!
Bright and early, the beautiful sunrise above the horizon awakened each of us… our last full day here had begun. We knew this would be a special one – special with Karen, special with each other, and special with those precious children. We began our morning with our healthy breakfast which included the most delicious fresh fruit and fresh bread from the bakery. After breakfast, we helped the two older boys, Moise and JJ, wash Mama Karen’s truck. Thanks to Lacee and her early morning thinking, we used freshly picked limes as a natural deodorizer to remove the fishy odor from a spill inside the truck.
With a freshly cleaned truck along with Karen and Richard (the head security here at HATS), our team was off for another Haitian adventure to Ti Riviere to visit an old palace (198 years old) that has 365 doors! On the drive to the palace, we witnessed real everyday Haitian life. It is difficult to describe in words the emotional impact of seeing this first hand from the pan of Karen’s truck; however, we will try our best. We saw children and their families bathing in the dirty river, while some others were doing laundry. We also saw many locals working, whether it be in the rice fields or working in local stores (don’t picture a walmart, more like run down sheds). Despite the poverty and poor living conditions, the view we encountered was breathtaking. Haiti has the most amazing natural beauty with its rolling mountains and rich plantation views – what a treat!! On the way back to HATS, we stopped at one of the local side stores where we were treated to a nice cold pop to cool off on this very hot day. We also visited a local “pharmacy”. Unlike our pharmacies, this was a VERY tiny store, with not much medication at all – not quite like a visit to Lawtons.
|Group photo at the palace of 365 doors|
|Enjoying the view of the valley|
|Looking to buy cold drinks on a hot day|
After we returned and ate our delicious lunch, the boys headed to the school to set up the benches for tomorrow’s church service. Meanwhile, the girls decided to go play with the children. This turned out to be a disaster for Jenny! Moise, who is eleven, had no experience with doing hair; however, without Jenny realizing, he decided to wrap her hair around a small comb into a big knot!! The housemother came running with a huge knife ready to cut the comb out after realizing what Moise had done. Joanne panicked and sent Jenny running for Emma’s help! One hour and plenty of oil and patience later, Emma finally extracted the comb. Jenny was SO relieved, but had to medicate with Tylenol for the pain in her head. We haven’t laid eyes on poor Moise since!!
|A horrible thing had been done to Jenny’s hair|
Karen specifically told Jenny, Alycia, Lacee, and Joanne to go take two children each by the hand and bring them up to the house for a treat. Upon returning, we could not figure out why the door was locked. Surprise! Water balloons came flying off of the roof and the water fight had begun! The kids and adults alike had so much fun!
|Surprise attack from the roof|
|Don was very wet|
|Josie says – Got you Emma|
|Fun water fight|
After supper, it was time for us to pile in Karen’s truck for the last time to head to Radio Creole at Luckner’s for our one and only debut of Newfie music. We rocked! Although Lacee was disappointed that she wasn’t allowed to whistle on the radio, she still managed to make a good beat on the homemade drum. During our radio session, Luckner announced that our team had brought some medication along with us to help relieve the symptoms of Chikengunya. Within minutes, people were lining up at the door and Jenny distributed the medication – it almost looked like trick-or-treating! We ended our evening by presenting Luckner with a monetary gift and some treats. He is a Haitian role model who, as most of you know, works very closely with Karen. He was so thankful for the efforts of our team and our supporters – you guys!
|Fun evening at Radio Creole with Luckner|
|Jenny distributing tylenol while at Radio Creole to help those with Chikungunya.|
We are closing in on our last night at HATS with so many mixed emotions as we miss our families at home but are not quite ready to leave our Haitian family. The experiences from this past week have been life-changing and will be instilled within us forever. We have made so many wonderful memories and long-lasting friendships. Karen, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you. And to the children, your laughter, acceptance, and unconditional love will never be forgotten. We will return next year, whether you want us to or not! (Haha)
~Jenny and Alycia