Church at the Bay supports an orphanage in Haiti. We do it by individually sponsoring the kids. Recently we took a mission team to Haiti. Susan Rose was on that team and this is her perspective.
Haiti was awful and wonderful at the same time. Haiti is the most poverty stricken place I’ve been, Jamaica is really poor and Mexico is pretty poor but; While driving through Haiti I was looking for the good section, you know you lock your doors and drive fast through the bad sections and the sigh of relief when you start seeing the comforts of home like a road, house, even a street light can give someone hope. There was no hope, the mountains where not covered in lush rain forest trees like they should, the land was hard, there was rubble everywhere and Garbage. People living in tent cities, and tin shanties and cement structures that where not compete. The roads were not paved but dirt paths plagued with pot holes with no order of signs and lights just chaos as people tried to maneuver to where they were trying to go. No we never got to the good section, we never saw a flower garden or a beautiful cathedral or a nice housing community. Everywhere we looked there was rubble. Haiti was really the most poverty stricken place I’ve ever been.
The poverty presents itself even bigger as we begin to understand the quality of life for Haitians. There is little to no running water so people must walk to the well, pump the water and then put the bucket of water on their heads and walk home. Because of the deforesting of the land the soil is very hard to cultivate so growing food is a struggle. There is very little produce in the market. Though the family may have water making a fire to cook the rice is a struggle. They have to have coals or wood to cook with which will cost money. There is no industrial jobs to be found, most people are selling something on the streets like bags of water to travelers to earn a little money for the days food. There is no guarantee there will be one meal a day. There is no privacy in the tent cities or rubble structures or tin shanties masses of people live in small spaces where sex crimes fester. There is limited toilet facilities, if your lucky there will be an outhouse type contraction. At one place we went there was not that much we had a semi private area to go and had to pee in a plastic gas can.there is no garbage removal system, garbage is swept to the streets or too a specific areas and then burned when able to. Disease and contamination spreads. Life is hard in Haiti.
Global Project Orphanages: Here we found hope. Children in the orphanage have access to a school have a building to sleep in that has bunk beds that sleep three high, separate building for the girls and the boys. Most of them have private toilet areas and some running water capabilities and even an outdoor shower. They get two hot meals a day, have momma’s and a pastor to look after them. For American standard they don’t have much, for Haitian standards they have more than most.
Church At The Bay Orphanage: it was nice to see the upgrades from the last visit with Hal. The kids have moved into a dorm type building and no longer sleep in tents. They have actually flushing toilets and running water that is truly a luxury in Haiti. They are still holding church and school under a tent with wood benches because the school is still being rebuilt. They have started a micro business of building beds to give the older kids work and draw revenue to the orphanage. The kids at this orphanage spoke more English than most. I was really impressed to see how far our contributions can go, that 42.00 a month can make a huge difference in not just one Childs life but the community that surrounds the orphanage . The orphanage schools are open to the sounding community and the kids that go are guaranteed at least one hot meal a day at school. The church is open to the community and people gather together to support each other and are given hope and the message of a savior.’
Our mission: Our team was assigned the task of taking supplies to 5 different orphanages and while we were there we were to play with the children. We were simply instructed to just “make ourselves available and love on these children”. That’s what we did we arrived to the orphanages, they greeted us in song, the children coordinator played a few games and then the kids were let loose to play with us. The kids mostly wanted to be held. Piggy back rides, on the shoulders , carried in your arms and holding your hand. They wanted to be touched and tickled and chased. The kids loved every minute of being the center of attention.
Walking away: There was for me a chemistry or emotional draw and I just didn’t want to let them go. Our time at each place was short so being told it’s time to go and say good bye was hard. Walking away made the mission hard, why were we here, it’s not enough. On the van ride back it was comforting to seeing the same look on some of the other team mates, they weren’t ready to say goodbye either. Our leader would stand up on they way back and help us talk about the experience. We as a team had support for each other. No one on the team was alone in our experience.
What did I take away: I can not fix Haiti, it is too big of a problem and I don’t have the answers. As a ponder all the issues and obstacles in the way it’s just frustrating. These children that are being cared for , what is their future? I don’t know, my contribution will not get them a job and a house or anything. So why donate the money, why the effort of going when there is no fix. Why bother it ‘s a lost cause.
God has opened my heart to so much on this trip. One thing is , it’s not up to me to give up Hope on anyone. Each one of those kids deserves to feel loved, special and cared for.God is in charge and he is the great fixer, my job was small….. Give myself, my time, my hugs, my kisses and let some child far away without a Mom or Dad feel special and loved and important. God has shown me to be available…… Never give up hope on anyone.
God has shown me to look at the tree: From the corporate world I was always taught to look at the forrest and not the trees to assess the situation. If I look at Haiti as a Forrest my answer would be drop a bomb on it, it is worthless. This corporate view is wrong, each child and person there is a child of God and God showed me to look at the tree’s one by one. Look at the difference one tree makes. One pastor stepping up to say I care effects 300 more people. God showed me that the individual, small stuff matter.
It was an awesome experience and I truly feel that I understand the depths of Gods love a little more today then yesterday.
Thank you for the experience.
For more information on The Church at the Bay Orphan Project- Click Here