Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Haiti Day 1 (July 2)

(Continued from last post, this is the afternoon of Monday, July 2)
After lunch, we received a tour of the mission...from the Miriam Center (for kids with special needs) to the birthing center to the medical clinic to the elderly care home and so much more.  I was so impressed with not only the work that NWHCM is doing in Haiti but also with the motives behind their work.  They are doing so much more than just passing out food and medical care and such to the people.  They are providing for spiritual needs as well as physical needs.  They are working to shape the children of Haiti, who will grow up to be future leaders in Haiti.  They are caring for some of the most neglected people in Haitian society.  They are searching for real ways to help real people with the goal of providing solutions and not just adding to the problem.  It really was inspiring to see all of it.

I should have taken more pictures of the mission, but I didn't.  Here is the girls dorm where we stayed.  A lot of people slept outside on the roof under the stars (or clouds).  But with my insomnia problems, I didn't think I would be able to sleep outside.   It also rained two of the nights we were there.
This was the view when we walked out of the dorm each morning.  Not too shabby!
Later that afternoon, we helped teach an English class at the school.  This was a class for older teens and young adults.  We were each partnered with a Haitian student and given a list of vocabulary words to pronounce and discuss with them.  I discovered that my student was super smart and already knew all the words, that I stink at giving definitions to common words, and that I am really not good at pronouncing Creole (the language of Haiti).

When we went out to find the English class, we also had our first encounter with the "bracelet boys" who hang out right outside the missions' gates.  These boys try to sell you a personalized, embroidered bracelet every time you walk out the gate.  They have this practice down to a science.  Most of them know just enough English to walk you through this script.  First, they ask your name and tell you their name.  Then they ask where you are from.  Then they start asking about your family:  brothers/sisters, are you married, do you have babies, etc.  Then they pull out a piece of paper and ask you to write down the names of your family members.  After you do this, they tell you that they will make a bracelet for each person you wrote down, $2 per bracelet.  Before you know it, you have committed to buying a ton of bracelets from these boys.  Of course, once you see that they have a completed bracelet with your family member's name on it, you HAVE to buy one.  If you don't want to buy one, they give you this line:  "You love Jesus?  Buy a bracelet!  If you don't buy a bracelet, you don't love Jesus."

And wow, those boys don't forget about you.  They make the bracelets, and then find you the next day and the rest of the days you are there.  They are very protective of you, and they don't like to share you with the other boys. 

I did come home with eight bracelets, but if these boys would have had their way, I would have many more.  I wish I would have taken a picture with my bracelet boys, Andrew and Tillis, but I didn't.  Here is a picture of our leader Jody with her boys (and a few of her bracelets in hand!):

We spent the rest of the night at the mission for dinner and devos.  There were 130 of short term mission trip people there at the same time.  That is a lot of blancs (white people)!  Our time at the mission felt like church camp in a lot of ways:  sleeping in the dorms, eating meals, going to devos in the morning and evening...all with a Haitian flair!

That was the end of a very, very, very long day.  All of this post (and the previous post) took place on just our first day in Haiti!  And there was still so much more to come!


Elisabeth said...

the bracelet boys are hustlers! some good, some bad lol

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