Day two proved to be another great day! After a night with little sleep we awoke to the crowing roosters at 5 a.m. We needed to be up by six anyways to attend school for the first time. The first item on the agenda, though, was devotions with the orphanage’s kids who are too young for school and the staff who care for them. They meet early in the morning each day for a time of singing, dancing, prayers and sharing. We introduced ourselves and Darren taught them all to say “G’day,” just like he does during the announcements at church (though the Haitians were much
better at the accent).
After quickly eating a yummy breakfast we were off to school. The children were sitting quietly in their green and white uniforms, soaking up all the knowledge the teachers were giving them. In one classroom, the little children attacked Grant like a school of piranhas to give him a very warm welcome. The older kids were working furiously on their exam papers.
|Saying hello to Luckner at schoolAdd caption|
Shortly afterwards, it was recess and we all got a chance to play soccer in a very rocky field. The kids demonstrated their friendship, enthusiasm and soccer skills. We tried to avoid getting twisted ankles in view of the limited medical resources in the country. We also had a chance to visit the small kitchen where several dedicated women were making meals for the kids. This is the only meal that many of the kids will receive for the whole day.
|Recess time at school|
|Steve & Ti Luc|
|Team playing soccer with school kids during recess|
We visited an open, uncultivated field behind the school which we called the “Field of Dreams.” Karen shared some possibilities and dreams for the space. Maybe Brentview can be involved with this? We will see!
|Checking out HATS unused land|
After the school tour and soccer, we were all dehydrated and drenching with sweat. We sought cover and fluids. The four of us devoured a five-gallon jug of water
single handedly. We also treated ourselves to Coke which has never tasted so good. Pete had a nap on the concrete floor which was the coolest place he could find. The day was very hot – mid-40s (celcius) – with about 90% humidity. The temperature is sapping all of our energy. We had lunch, a break and then off to the local hospital for a visit.
We went to the Albert Schweitzer hospital in Deschapelles. We drove on the rocky roads through the village to arrive at the hospital. People were littered everywhere but we were told it was probably worse in the morning. Due to security issues, Karen took only Grant inside while the others enjoyed time in the air conditioned truck. (Note from Karen here. Grant only went in with me as he is a doctor.) From the minute we entered, the hospital was packed with people waiting to see a doctor. There was a strong smell of chlorox and illness. The rooms were filled to capacity with often ten to 15 patients packed in a small space. Conditions appeared to be far from sterile by North American standards. There was anguish and hopelessness in the eyes of many. We saw premature babies, malnourished patients and many who were battered and struggling for survival. In the distance, there was the shriek of a woman most likely wailing for the loss of a loved one. This visit was a real eye opener! The outside courts had concrete benches which are used are used as pediatric examination tables. Fortunately, there are many dedicated people trying to do their best for these poor people.
After this experience we explored some other places in Deschapelles before heading home. We passed many shacks and impoverished people which is now becoming the normal view for us. Later we went for a ride to a shop to pick up plumbing supplies. It was unlike any other store we had seen. It was an unmarked shack down a back road somewhere. Without knowledge of the town you would never find this place. Sitting in the back of the truck with many locals looking suspiciously at us was uncomfortable but we were just fine.
|Daren, Peter and Pete in plumbing store|
|There is just something about that face, Pete|
Back at the orphanage we engaged in a game of basketball. As expected, much sweat was lost to the court. The net was particularly low so we all took turns showing off our dunking skills. There were flying leaps from Darren and Pete. Steve had fun playing with the little kids whom seem to love his company. Now for a break and supper complete with cinnamon buns.
After dinner, we had devotional time. We sang songs, clapped loudly and praised God for our day and His provisions. The Brentview quartet (Steve, Pete, Darren and Grant) sang “There is a Redeemer” by Keith Green. Steve closed in prayer and all were blessed.
The kids wanted to play hockey with the Canadians. Unfortunately, two of us are from Northern Ireland and one is from Australia, so this put a lot of pressure on Grant but he took it in his stride.
|Mama helping Ti Fi play hockey too|
A thunderstorm has now moved in and heavy, tropical rains have started to fall. There is an incredible light show on display from the verandah on which we sleep. We are hopeful this will bring some freshness and relief from the heat of this day. We will rest reflecting on what we have seen and done, praying for the Haitian people and praising God for His many blessings on us and our families. Good night.