What an eventful day it has been! The morning started with an early walk along the canal with Mama Karen. She walks every Saturday morning with the older children. We walked in a new direction today that our team had not walked before. We met many friendly faces along the way. We then returned to the house for one of our teams’ favorite breakfasts, Karen’s delicious baked oatmeal along with fresh fruit. Emma was also filled with joy over “the best cup of tea she has ever had”, she even sent a message home to talk about how good it was!

 

After breakfast the energy was kicked up a notch. The last bits of painting on the church were completed; it was also swept and cleaned for the Sunday service with help from JJ. Emma baked a cake for later festivities. Lacee and Heather even taught Germaine some new cake decorating tips. Then as Karen, Don, Emma, Heather and Shirley prepared to go to market, Verdine showed up to braid my hair.

Jenny started decorating for what would be a huge birthday celebration and I made some signs and blew up some balloons in the four hours I sat getting the tiniest of braids in my hair.

Braiding of Lacee’s hair

When Verdine finished, Emma and Heather also got some beautiful braids. Meanwhile, Don, Todd and Shirley were hard at work making a tire swing for the children to enjoy.

Tire swing

Shirley also decided that if everyone was getting their hair done she would provide piercings. As she “pierced” my nose Heather, Todd and some of the boys went biking.

Nose piercing

Jenny also filled up tons of water balloons with the children; she even gave one to Eugene who then soaked Moise, JJ and Leica. As it was soon time for the party Mama Karen and Emma worked on some special presents and finishing touches were made to the cake.

Birthday cake

Myself and Jenny did not go to the market this year so here is a little about the market experience from Heather:

“So before I came to Haiti for our visit, all I heard from the team was ‘YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE MARKET’. Well now Shirley and I know why!!! Put it this way, for me once was enough. It was so hard to process how other people live. My heart was breaking the whole time. I’ve taken so much for granted in my life and hope that from this experience can learn to be thankful for what I have and never get upset or ‘want’ what I don’t need. You truly cannot imagine it until you see it with your own eyes. The picture shared below is of the Haitian ‘Parking Lot’, from this picture you may get a sense of why my heart was breaking.”   –So well put Heather, a life changing experience for sure!

Parking lot at market

When all were ready we started off the “Fun Day”. Toes were painted, bracelets and necklaces were made, everyone dressed up in their fancy dresses and slick mustaches. There was so much excitement and the party had barely even begun! Today we celebrated Tifi, Dieunel, Jofky, Mama Karen and Todd’s birthdays; one gigantic party! Each of the three birthday children opened a special present then we sang multiple versions of “Happy Birthday”. After the singing everyone was ready for cake and juice, YUM!

Princess Magdala at the party

 

Birthday girl TiFi with Emma

We should probably also mention that as all the fun was being had, the teams’ belongings, the school, and outside of the compound gate were all being flooded with water. Haiti hasn’t had much rain recently but today they sure got it. The wind was blowing water in through the windows and the thunder clapped while lightning lit up the sky. We walked out through the gates of the compound and stopped in our tracks. There was no distinguishing where the walkway ended and the ditch started. This sight was quite familiar to many of us as Springdale just recently got extreme amounts of water. The difference between flooding in Springdale and Haiti is that there are so few resources here in Haiti, not to mention the fact that many of the homes here in Haiti turn to mud when it rains so heavily. ..Mama Karen and Emma nearly had to swim over to the school to get a good look. As they peered in over the wall they were shocked to see the effects of the water. As they say, “when it rains, it pours”, and so it did. Food was being prepared to feed several hundred people after tomorrow’s Mother’s day service and the people cooking literally got stranded in the Haitian kitchen. Luckner to the rescue! He came quick then him and Mama Karen, the power duo, worked together to salvage the food and essentially save the day.

Little flooding outside and inside . . .

 

Emma going to school with Karen to check . ..

 

Taken from security tower

As we sit here and end the blog we are so so thankful for being in the presence of such beautiful people, both inside and out. We are glad that there were no issues too serious from the heavy rain and that we are all safe, sound and somewhat dry.

PS. Our tarantula friend “came out of his shell” during the rain and we got a good look at him.

Tarantula

~Lacee and Jenny