We have experienced an eventful night of trying to sleep on our cots in our tents on the rooftop here at HATS. Sleeping outside in Haiti is much different than sleeping in our own homes. Sounds of drums, animals, insects, loud bangs, local music, etc. makes for sleepless nights. The day started bright and early at 5:30AM with the voice of Don softly (as always) telling everyone to get up and get ready to go for a walk with Karen (Todd and Jerry) or to the guard house to see local villagers walking on the paths with baskets, sacs of food, etc. on their heads. We also witnessed several men standing on the road waiting for their opportunity to get a job for the day willing to do anything to provide for their families. Most of these people walk several hours each day in search of work.
After this our group met for a well prepared, nutritious breakfast consisting of boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and bread with peanut butter and jam. As we finished eating, the children surrounded us for good morning hugs and kisses and a prayer before they were off to school. So special!! We then followed the children to school and joined with them in their morning devotions. The children start every day with song, prayer, and togetherness exploding with tons of energy and laughter. Absolutely priceless! After this, they proceed to the school yard where they gather in a line showing respect to their beloved country while raising the flag and singing the national anthem. What a great way to start the school day!
|Prayer time during morning devotions at the school|
|School devotions. Mama Karen’s Karena not feeling well|
After this the group returned to see what Karen and Emma had in store for us next. We have realized as a team that we MUST listen to these powerful women at ALL times – or else!!
We then finished unpacking all of the supplies that were brought here with us and organized them for Karen to give to the people in the community. There were so many important things donated that make such a difference in the lives of the people at HATS as well as in the community. We want to send the biggest thank-you for all of the donations and support. It is so appreciated, and seeing this first hand puts it all into perspective.
Karen then decided that the team should get together to portion the donated food (thanks to Emma’s mom and Jerry) for 30 families in the community. These families are carefully chosen and are asked to come to the orphanage to pick up their greatly appreciated food. In each bag we portioned rice, corn meal, beans, and oil. It works out to be enough food to last each family for approximately two weeks. This was definitely a great team effort as we all made an assembly line to conquer our goal.
|Huge sack of rice being moved by Don & Todd|
|Team members measuring food for distribution|
As a welcomed surprise to Todd and Jenny, Karen decided that today she would bring them on a tour to the local hospital. Can you say excited?! This was no easy task, with one way gravel roads, oncoming traffic and detours. But after some time and Karen’s crazy driving, a large stone building came into view. We had arrived at Hopital Albert Schweitzer. There were people lined up everywhere, every corridor had congestion with really sick patients on stretchers waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor. Some of these patients included children holding their own IV bags as their were no poles to hang the medicine on. There were areas just for malnourished children, so sad. We even got to see the premature baby unit. Unlike Canadian hospitals, there was no fancy high-tech equipment, no IV pumps, no emergency equipment, no chemotherapy, no radiation, no cardiac equipment, no feeding pumps. The basics seemed to be the lifeline of healthcare here. Sad. When you experience people who struggle for survival with so little, it makes what we complain about trivial. These people can only dream about the things that we take so much for granted.
|Dr Todd & Nurse Jenny had a tour of Hospital Albert Schweitzer|
What an eventful morning! At lunch, we all gathered for chicken baked in a cranberry sauce, salad, and whipped potatoes. The food here is authentic and SO delicious!
After lunch, the boys decided to build more drums for the church.
|Drum builders. Karen’s Newfie one is squish!|
|New drums for the church. One especially for Karen|
The girls gave out food to the selected local people. By that time, the children were out of school and ready to eat the lunch that was prepared for them by the house mothers.
|Meal time at Children’s Home|
After that, it was play time for the busy, energetic children of HATS. Alycia, Lacee, Don, and Jerry decided to play soccer with some of the bigger boys. Jenny and Joanne got some lovely new hairdos. Emma enjoyed some quiet time with Ti-Luc while Todd is super busy with two of the younger children on the swings while balancing the youngest on his shoulders! Busy man, but he loved every minute of it!
|Fun for all three|
At around 4PM, Karen decided she would like to drive us to Luckner’s house for a coke and a chance to cool off. It was a very hot day here – 50 degrees!!
|Temp in the shade|
|Temp in the sun|
Jerry prayed for some Newfoundland easterly wind all afternoon. On the way back, Karen decided to go to a local gas bar in search of propane, but had no luck. On the way back home, Alycia, Todd, Lacee, Jerry, and Jenny who were all riding in the pan of Karen’s truck were treated to a massive downpour. (Not quite easterly wind, but it did the job!) To our surprise, the rest of the team including Karen took no pity whatsoever and decided to miss the turnoff to HATS to extend our ride in the rain. But in 50 degrees, we did not mind at all! Dry Emma and Don got very wet hugs from us all upon return while Karen fearfully “napped” in her truck to avoid getting soggy hugs!
|Accidently caught in the rain|
We are now drying off and waiting for our meal. The smiles on our faces from these memories will last a lifetime. What a fantastic day, a fantastic experience, and we get to do it all together and with the most amazing woman on earth! Thank-you Karen, you are such an inspiration! Xo
~Jenny and Alycia