Thursday, July 19, 2012

Haiti Day 5 morning (July 6)

Our last day in Haiti!  This morning we took a field trip with a group of kids from the Miriam Center to a playground.  A real Haiti!  It looks a bit out of place, but the mission owns a super nice playground that was provided by a company who builds playgrounds in needy places around the world.

The playground is kind of out in the middle of nowhere in a place called Bonneau, and it was a bumpy, bumpy 1 1/2 hour bus trip to get there.  At one point on the ride, we traveled for a short distance along a cliff that overlooks the ocean.  I tried to be brave and hold my camera up for a photo of the scenery (because it was so bumpy on the back of the bus there was a good chance I could have dropped my camera at this point)...this was the best shot I got:
It was gorgeous; this picture doesn't even begin to capture the beauty.  But it was a little scary too.  We were driving right on the edge of the cliff on one of the bumpiest roads we had been on yet.  We were in a school bus, and you could see the bus tilting from side to side as it went over the massive holes in the road.  At this point, the translator turned to me and said, "There are many accidents on this road."  Not exactly what you want to hear while bouncing all around in a school bus on the edge of a cliff!  We made it safely, though this was one of the most difficult trips for my stomach to handle!

Before I write more about the playground, I need to go back and give a little backstory.  In 2003, Daniel went to Haiti and worked with NWHCM.  Daniel became buddies with a boy in the Miriam Center named Jimson.  I don't know exactly what condition Jimson has, probably cerebral palsy as that seemed to be the most common among these kids. He cannot speak or walk.  His legs are in a permanent bent position.  He can walk a little with his legs bent, and Daniel would often walk around with him back then.  Here are a few pictures of Jimson in 2003.

Before I left for my trip, Daniel told me to say hi to Jimson for him.  Honestly, I wasn't sure if Jimson would still be there.  Nine years is a long time, and I didn't know if they would even allow him to stay at the Miriam Center for that long.

So it was very exciting to get there and see Jimson's picture and name on the bulletin board of Miriam Center kids.  I spotted him from a distance a few times, but I didn't get a chance to actually meet him until this morning before we left.  I was excited that he was also a part of the group that got to go to the playground with us.
 Jimson's not a kid anymore, as he is now 19 years old.  I don't think his condition has improved any over the past 9 years.  He now has his own wheelchair, and he seems to spend most of his time in it.  He walked with me a little bit (someone took a picture of that, if I ever get it, I will post it here!), and I saw him take a few steps with others, but he didn't seem to walk too much.

 Okay, back to the playground.  Here's a picture of it:
 Super nice!  It is designed specifically for kids with special needs, so it is a great opportunity for these kids.  Here is Jimson going down the roller slide!
Isaac was another kid I got to know during the week.  He didn't talk at all, but he most definitely tried to communicate and was very insistent that you understand what he was trying to tell you!  He loved to pose for pictures too.  Here he is going down the slide and sticking out his tongue when he saw the camera on him!
While at the playground, a little boy from the neighborhood climbed up a tree and knocked down some coconuts for us.  This was my first time to try raw coconut, which was kind of fun.  The kids REALLY thought it was fun to enjoy such a special treat!!


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