Welcome to the Healing Haiti + Eagle Brook Mission Blog. We invite you to follow mission team members as they experience what God is doing both through them and in them while in the mission field of Haiti.

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Friday, July 27, 2012

Days III and IV: Stephanie and Alexis

Greetings from Haiti on Day IV:
What a trip this has been thus far! Yesterday morning we began our day with Haitian church at 6AM. What a truly delightful way to begin the day. As we walked up to this "big tent church," I immediately became overwhelmed with feelings of humillity (one of the many times this has occurred during this trip already). As we approached from approximately a block away, we were able to hear the music already. Although the voices singing were in Creole, the notes and song were familiar. As a group, we joined in with our fellow Haitian worshipers singing, "Our God is an awesome God, he reigns from Heaven above." This experience was liberating and beautiful in so many ways. The Haitians were praising our God in such a powerful way. They were up and out of their chairs, walking, singing, hands raised, prayers spoken aloud. It was simply glorious. Many of us were overwhelmed with tears of joy and love for the people of this country who could praise God with such earnest joy while surrounded in such extreme desolation. It was a truly inspiring way to begin the day.
Following church we headed to the Home for the Sick and Dying which is an orphanage that houses children of all ages up to age 18. A few of us walked into one of the rooms with cribs lined up, each numbered, and picked up children with hands outstretched. Just like the kids in Cite Soleil, as soon as you pick them up they wrap their arms and legs around you as tight as ever. Each baby has a label around their wrist or ankle. My baby was 3 years old, and his name was Sifrey. He just wanted love. He was nearly emotionless the entire 3 hours I was there. We found a shady spot on the playground, and sat together. We played with a toy truck. Most of the time I just held him, walked around and sang to him. Sometimes he would meekly hum back to me. Around 11, one hour before our scheduled departure time, he began to fuss. Not cry, just fuss. I think this schedule is the same for the kids each day, and he knew I would be leaving soon. I brought him to the lunch table where I fed him rice and beans. Surprisingly, many of the kids don't consume their food greedily. They're clearly malnourished with their tiny limbs and swollen tummies, but I think they've become numb to the feeling of hunger. There must be 20-25 kids per caretaker. Their care is rushed, often overlooked and minimal at best. The caretakers do their best, but there are just so many kids. Most of the kids seem emotionless. They don't cry, and they rarely smile. Some kids have family members that come visit them throughout the day, but know they can't provide for them so leave them at the orphanage to be cared for there. We have a few people on this trip who were here on another trip this past November. They say that this place has improved immensely since then! They said that it used to be in a different building where babies shared cribs, there was no playground, and all you could do was hold the kids in a dark room. Improvement such as this is a promising sign for this country.
We left the Home for the Sick and Dying at lunch time, and headed to Gertrude's. Gertrude's is a home for the mentally challenged. Upon walking in it is small and dark. This home now houses both mentally challenged and abandoned kids whereas, last November it was 100% a handicapped population. This was a tough visit. The living conditions desperately need to be expanded and updated. We played music, sang songs and tried to be active with the kids in their grungy, small front yard. Hopefully, when missionaries come back here in the future, they will have positive updates to share as they did for the Home for the Sick and Dying.
Today 5 of us began our day with church once again. Then we took a long journey into the mountain and visited a place called entitled, "Real Hope for Haiti." Wow. Was this ever inspiring. Real Hope for Haiti was founded in 1994 by two American women; one of which is a nurse. They have an ICU which currently houses about 8 kids from 2 weeks old to 8 years old who are in very critical condition, a recovery clinic which currently houses 70 children (most of which were at one time in the ICU. Others have been abandoned in the lawn by their parents). They also have a clinic onsite which sees an average of 250 patients a day for specialty women's care to burns to a number of other more minor ailments. This place was incredible! These women who have dedicated their lives to serving the people of Haiti were so inspiring! The ICU was tough. Malnourished, sick babies. However, to end on a positive note, birthrate fatalities amongst mothers has substantially decreased since this clinic was opened. They are able to better prepare moms for delivery, and their goal is to keep families together. To nurse sick kids back to health, and return them to their families well and able to lead a healthy life at home.
The end of our day today brought me the deepest sadness. On our way home we stopped at the Mass Graves. Here is where approximately 5,000 of the 316,000 that perished on 1/12/10 in the earthquake were buried. This was so sad, because one of our translators was generous enough to share his story with us. Wilson is in his mid 20s and he lost his father in the earthquake. He was in school when it happened, and left the classroom for a bottle of water. The earthquake took the lives of everyone in his classroom. After he told his story of survival, we walked to the top of the graves (photo attached), and I stood beside Wilson as he shed a few tears. He said, "January 12th was a sad day for Haitians." We then shared our moment of sorrow together. We stood atop this mountain that overlooks some of the great beauty of Haiti- the Caribbean Sea- and I cried with him. I cried for this country that has exerienced so much devastation, this country that cares for one another and does the best they can to help one another even though more often than not they lose, this country that has seen more sadness and more loss than many of us will ever experience in our lifetimes, and I cried for this country that has so, so very little yet praises God each day. When we got back to our bus, one of our leaders gave Wilson a hug and thanked him for sharing his story with us. Wilson responded, "God is good." There is nothing left to be said.

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