Our team of five flew into Port-au-Prince Saturday afternoon. After a bumpy ride to HATS we arrived just in time for a bowl full of soup-joumou (pumpkin soup filled with noodles, chicken, vegetables). Did I mention it started to downpour the last part of our journey? We arrived in the dark while the heavens opened up and poured down sweet rain. We ran inside the main house and were greeted by many eyes upon us. Little peeks, and waves came from some very excited children. We sat chatting and laughing. In just a few moments we had kids climbing all over us and playing with our strange hair.

After the men hauled up the suitcases to our wonderful accommodations, we slowly started to turn in. The night was cool from the rain and we were tired after travelling for 24 hours. We zipped ourselves into our beds and all fell into a deep sleep. We woke up to roosters making as much noise as possible, and went downstairs for a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and sweet Haitian coffee. Today was the day of time chance, except last year it was decided that it would not happen in Haiti, but this year there was debate on if it would. So we have spent most the day just pretending we know what hour of the day it is.

After our fantastic breakfast we put on our church clothes and headed over for church. Oh what a wonderful service it was. The singing was fantastic, and so much rhythm. We tried our best to sing along (some did better than others). The church is filled with kids from HATS and local kids from around the area. It was so great to see bigger siblings bringing in their small brothers and sisters.

When we finished church we ate a great lunch of tuna melts. We spent most of the afternoon unpacking our 10 suitcases and organizing the supplies we brought. Then we went out to play with the kids. At this point I (Deborah) and Ashley sat down with some kids and had our hair so wonderfully braided and brushed.

This was really fun, though we did end up with a few knots. After this we decided to go for a walk to the field to play some soccer. It started to lightly rain, and we had so much fun with a game of soccer. We played hard and for some time.

When our game was finished we ended our walk with a stroll to the mango tree down along the canal. This was a lovely time where we got to see a cow and it’s baby, which entertained us all for a while. We walked back to the compound for an excellent supper of fried chicken, beans, rice, and salad. What an amazing first day.

~Deb Gilbert