Today was another eventful day at HATS. A few of us gathered at the security tower at 6am as the sun was rising. It overlooks the canal and provides an excellent vantage point to appreciate the reality of how many Haitians begin their day. Women can be seen walking with items such as sacks of rice, vegetables, wooden tables, water, etc on their heads as they go to market to sell items. Men can be seen walking towards the nearby bridge with a hoe over their shoulders and a machete in their hand. They wait by the bridge hoping someone will pick them up and give them a days work on the rice fields. Sadly most are seen returning by 7am indicating today wasn’t a day they will be working.
|Returning home. No work means no money today.|
Occasionally you will also see children heading to the nearby corner where they get a bun of bread and coffee which can be the morning sustenance for the child’s whole family as they start their day.
|Little girl next door having picked up a bread & coffee for family|
From the tower one can appreciate the positive impact HATS is making as one sees what life is like outside the compound and after being here just a few days we know the quality of life the children experience inside is so much better.
|Inside HATS. Outside HATS.|
Before breakfast we had devotions. The kids had no classes today and the three older ones took a trip to the beach with the HATS school. The younger ones hung out with us.
Jenny, Alycia, Joanne, Lacee, and Emma organized a fun morning with all the kids. It was Spa Day at HATS and the kids loved it! The ladies had 3 stations with different activities; Jenny and Alycia cut, filed, and then applied polish to their nails. Jerry wanted his feet done also but was declined! He will have to wait until he gets back home. Joanne and Lacee helped the kids make bracelets which was a hit! Emma was busy overseeing kids putting individual designs on their t-shirts by themselves.
|A special day was held for the children|
|Individual designing of t-shirts|
We were most impressed with Ti Luc’s t-shirt. For those of you who haven’t met Ti Luc, he is an 8 year boy who lives with Karen in her home and is a very bright, cheerful, humorous, intelligent young boy. T-Luc has cerebral palsy and when just an infant Karen was told he would never see, never hear, never walk, never talk and his quality of life would be extremely poor. Our visit has shown us they were wrong! T-Luc ambulates without assistance, loves to play soccer and has quite the kick especially when playing with Gerry. He attends school and does very well, and is a very social young boy. He doesn’t have full function of his hands but has developed the skills necessary to use his feet for many things including writing and using his toys. Today he put a design on his t shirt by using the marker between his toes. He is a remarkable boy! He is evidence how hard work and lots of love can really make a child have opportunities others thought were impossible.
|Ti Luc putting a design on his shirt|
As many of you know, our team worked hard and many of you supported us as we raised funds for a new generator at HATS. It is definitely needed to help with the daily operation of the orphanage. Jerry, Don, and Todd were busy assessing the daily need for power by itemizing lights, appliances, etc. This will help Karen decide which generator to purchase. She is targeting this fall to have the generator on site.
|Don & Jerry working on electricity things|
In the afternoon all hands committed to painting Karen’s gallery/front porch. Fortunately she already had all the needed supplies. After a few coats it looked great and we had lots of fun!
|Energizer Bunny & Lacee|
Joanne also went to the roof and swept off the concrete where it was 40C. Joanne also helped Karen in the office today as she finalized her payroll.
Emma helped Ti Luc with his homework.
|Speech Therapy time again|
We (Todd and Gerry) are becoming quite concerned that blog viewers might be having great expectations of us when we return home when seeing all the hard work we are capable of but let it be known, we will need a rest when we return! Ha
The ladies in the group also presented the house mothers with flowers today to show thanks for their hard work. The children here live in 2 buildings… One for boys and another for girls. Each is staffed with house mothers who are hired people from the community who cook and care for them but Karen is there real mama and will always be!
The afternoon ended with everyone playing games with the kids on the roof of the main HATS building. The kids had so much fun!
|London Bridge on the roof top|
Sadly, the team are now also starting to realize that we will soon be leaving. We all wish we were staying longer. This experience has been one of friendship, love, an appreciation for those less fortunate, and most of all for the precious work being done at HATS! We are so gracious for the opportunity to be here and help Karen, an amazing soul, and we are eager to share our experiences with you when we return home.
~Todd & Jerry