Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 7

What a fantastic, unbelievable, and life-changing trip this has been!  Our day today was one of hope.  We attended a graduation ceremony for both kindergartners and sixth graders.  The ceremony was beautiful; all of Haiti seemed to be celebrating.  The ceremony took most of the morning, and then we had lunch.  The group of us who spent the week at the church visited them after lunch and it was so great to see what our dedication and hard work had done for this church.  Saying good bye to the children that we had played with all week was hard, but we knew that because of our efforts they could now attend school even when it rained.  When we returned to the compound we as a group pitched in and helped out around the Mission Lifeline compound.  We handed out donated clothes to children from the village and we organized and cleaned the tool and storage rooms.  A few of our group was invited to visit a home outside of the compound which they described as modestly sized.  The family owned 2 chairs, a table, and a cot to sleep in.  Their kitchen area was a small two foot by two foot square.  The last part of our day as a whole group was to visit the church and it was clear to see how much this new roof meant to the pastor.  It was truly an answered prayer for this man, and it was so humbling to see this man’s passion and love for Jesus.  This week has been an unforgettable experience, and we will be forever changed by the experiences we shared while living here.  I hope and pray that we do not too quickly forget the people that we met here and the unconditional love they shared with us.

Day 5

What a shock.  The day began as it had the previous days; the groups split up, one to the wall and the other to the church.  I went with the group to the church but instead went on an adventure with my dad transporting supplies to a nearby port that would go to help build a school on the island of La Gonav, which is about 5 miles from the mainland of Haiti.  Both groups ended early so that we could witness what a Haitian market day looked like.  Food was laid out on dirty blankets on dusty roads.  We traveled through the meat section of the market and quickly lost our appetites.  Flies swarmed everywhere which went seemingly unnoticed by the men and women that sat and tried to sell us goat hearts, and the butt of a pig.  Thousands of people were gathered in little wooden tents all selling fruit and meat to the locals.  At one end of the market was a mountain of charcoal, packed in bags and ready to ship to other parts of Haiti.  We learned that Haiti was at one point 95% forest and because of the deforestation is now down to 5% forest.  Wood is now being taken from La Gonav to be shipped to the mainland and made into charcoal.  When we finished our tour of the market we made our way back to the bus where it promptly died.  It was a patience learning moment.  All of us were hot, sweaty and hungry and we were stuck in the market without a means of returning to the compound.  Through prayer and quick thinking by one of our team leaders, the bus was fixed and we eventually drove home.  Our meal was a classic Haitian meal; rice and beans, plantains, goat, Haitian chicken, bread fruit, and a special Haitian sauce.  We again played basketball and swung on the swings until it was time for devotions.  We finished our day tired and drained but hopeful and happy.

Day 6

It is unbelievable how much beauty and sadness can reside in the same island.  We began our day early, 4:00 early.  Our plan was to climb Mount Matthew to a village located at the top.  The hike itself was a task.  It felt almost like a straight vertical climb, even though the entire path was switchback turns that zigzagged up the mountain.  The village if possible was even more primitive that some of what we had seen around our compound and Port-Au-Prince.  We sang a few Haitian songs we learned to a group of children that congregated around us.  The children loved it!  After our tour of the school and church we made our way back down to our compound.  We had lunch then visited a resort that was owned by friends of Donald’s.  We paid 10 dollars to go snorkeling and it was unbelievable!  The colors of the coral and the variety of fish were breathtaking.  We had a beautiful dinner at the resort.  It was hard to comprehend that such a beautiful resort could exist on the same island were people are starving every day.  It was a very relaxing and beautiful day, and it was wonderful to see a different side of Haiti than what we had seen.

Day 4

Day 4 of our trip was much like Monday, with one key difference.  Wanting to help as much as we could, we felt as if our entire group was not being as productive as we could all situated at the church.  About half of us decided to work on another project that had come to our attention.  This group’s job was very labor intensive.  A wall needed to be built at an orphanage within walking distance of our compound so the group hauled rocks from a dump site not too far away over to the mason who cemented them into place.  They felt at the end of the day hot, tired, dirty and thirsty, but proud at what they had accomplished.  The group that stayed at the church mostly hauled cement buckets over to the mason who had to level out the walls to prepare for the roof to fit on.  We learned Haitian songs from the children there, engaged in a spirited water fight, and eventually returned to the compound.  Our afternoon was spent catching up with group at the wall and playing basketball with a few of the older Haitian boys.  We played with the kids on the swings and really tried to integrate ourselves into their culture.  We had devotionals at night and settled down, dog tired but glad that we were able to help in even the smallest ways possible

Day 1- 3

My name is Nick Sibley-Jett, and I am 19 years old and live in Connecticut.  I attend the Congregational Church of Eastford and this year our Youth Group decided to spend a week living in Haiti.  What an unbelievable trip it’s been, and we’re only on day 2 of our 7 day journey!  We partnered with an organization called Children’s Lifeline Ministries, and they have been outstanding in taking care of all of the details that have made this trip so far unforgettable.  Day one of our journey began when we landed in the Port-Au-Prince airport.  Within about a half hour of landing, we found our guide, Ray, and the director of Children’s Lifeline Ministries Donald -------.  Our transportation was an old school bus and we headed out from the city on very bumpy, dusty roads.  Our first stop before arriving at the village was at a deserted plain that had because of the earthquake become a mass grave for hundreds of unidentified Haitians.  It was truly sobering to know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of Haitians were buried there.  Sunday began with a church service where we worshipped with Haitian locals.  Despite the conditions that they live in, they praised God with unrivaled passion.  We joined in the worship by singing two American worship songs which the congregation loved.  After church we toured the capital, Port-Au-Prince.  The conditions there were unbelievable; garbage everywhere, the streets still dusty and much of the capital still recovering from the earthquake nearly 18 months ago. We stopped in front of the National Palace, and it was now abandoned and largely destroyed.  A local street vendor who we talked to took us for a tour of the tent city across from the Palace which used to be a park.   We were amazed at the stamina of those who lived in these cardboard shacks.  Monday we finally began the project would be working on for the week.  An orphanage nearby by that is supported by Children’s Lifeline doubles their church as a school for the children.  The roof on this building leaks so badly that when it rains (and it rains quite frequently) school is cancelled.  Our main task on Monday was to take down the roof completely.  Our task for the rest of the week will be to rebuild the roof on the building so that the children can attend school rain or shine.  We are tired, but are feeling content because we know that the work we do here will mean the difference between whether a child gets an education or not.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 6 in Haiti

"Adam and Lauren" 

Well today started off at 6 am so we had a little time to sleep in which was very nice. The boys/MEN got an earlier start then the little girls who did no labor at all today. The men went out to another village to unload two crates from the shipyard full of materials for houses. it took about 15 men to carry one part of a wall for the houses. Jimmy finally broke a sweat today and was extremely exhausted and took a two hour nap when we got back. Also surprisingly jay did not fall at all today. I believe he is finally starting to realize that you have to put one foot in front of the other to be able to walk. we gave him a two hour lesson last night on how to do that... jk. Later on in the evening we helped with johns house and did as much as we could. Today was not very eventful so we had to cope with all of the sick people from our team. Lets just hope that they dont have cholera. Maybe lauren will get it and they will have to put her in the quarantine camp so she wont have to come back with us. that will make the whole trip worth it. Now i will let her tell you the day in her eyes.
Today  we all woke up around 6 am, for some reason i cant figure this hot water thing out because im the only one that has been taking cold showers and its not by choice.  Let me correct Adam.. the LITTLE boys all went out this morning around 7 to go unload some crates. AND the WOMAN not little girls went out to a school in a village to record medical records for all of the children... We kinda got off on a late start because Robinson didnt have a driver, Beth wanted to drive but i dont know if that would have been a good idea.  We normally just ride the bus but today we rode in the back of a truck... lets just say its not as fun as it looks haha we felt like our insides were being all shook up! Once we arrived to the village/School all the kids were so welcoming giving us hugs and holding our hands...Beth, Kayla, Emily, and I all taught the girls a cool handshake type game! they LOVED it. Then we began weighing,measuring, and taking photos of the children for the records. This took about 2 hours after we finished we left and went back to the compound.  As the day went on we hung around the compound and played with the kid i once again reunited with my little boy named Lavo he is the sweetest boy ever. Throughout the rest of the evening i was called to bandage and comfort those that were hurt with the help of Jay and Adam. Jay gave them candy and welcomed them with a big smile. :) 
Now we are all just hanging around playing card games, and such.
btw i DONT have Cholera and I WONT get cholera ADAM so i wouldnt get your hopes up :) haha

P.S I would just like to let all of ya'll know that one of the haitian children that has truely touched my heart, His name is Noah we believe that he may have contracted Cholera please pray for him. He was driven to a Cholera camp in Mercy and Just pray for his recovery. Also pray for Billy Kline he isn't feeling very well.

I would just like to say that i am very blessed to be here in Haiti and everyone here has been such a blessing and i would like to thank everyone that has gotten me here. I just want Haiti to know that this is the first time i have been here but it most defiantly will not be my last.

Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.
Please Pray for Noah, he is the one in the plaid shirt. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 4 of our trip ! Adventure time!!!

Today's experience was quite adventurous! Of course, since it's Sunday, we went to church. We didn't go to the church in the compound, i am not exactly sure why.. but i DO know that Lauren, and I know exactly what the songs would have sounded like this morning in that service ! The ONE day we did not have to get up at the crack of dawn to do something absolutely different, we were both awoken by the Haitians worship practice. Although their voices are amazing, and beautiful beyond compare, we didn't exactly care for them starting at 6am extremely loud, and practically in our window. lol. 
So today's morning service was unusual to us. Mostly spoken in their language, a ton of singing, and dreadfully HOT. (that is,of course, to be expected.)  We did hear the Haitian children sing a few songs, and the church as a whole though. The not-so-unusal part of todays church trip, was the fact that we had to travel about 15 minutes to get there, whereas we would've traveled two seconds (in walking) to get to the church in the compound. haha. Donald ended up preaching today, which was really nice. He read from Ezekiel chapter 37 talking about how we need to trust in God, and his unimaginable ability to do things we never think are capable. However, we have to trust and follow Him no matter how crazy the idea sounds. (Even if it's waking up dead and dry bones hahahaha) I encourage you guys to all read and look into the first couple verses, and think about what i just said. 
After service, we were thanked with hugs and hand shakes for visiting. We, then, came back to the compound and changed into our bum clothes to prepare for lunch, and an outing to Port au Prince (i believe that's how you spell it..) There we saw some intense devastation that pictures cannot even BEGIN to explain. We stopped at a few street shops to buy gifts and items for relatives, friends, and our own selves. Billy and Lauren learned to break down the prices at the markets. Billy does it so often, that he does it to the people he doesn't even want things from. hahaha ! 

After being out, we came home and Emily, Sydney, and I goofed off and relaxed after that long, sweaty outing. A little boy that we all often see in the compound somehow got cut under the right eye. Em and I both bandaged him up and Hannah gave him a banana to calm his nerves (:  We watch Hannah, also get tickled to death while getting a pedicure from the Haitian girl. Hilarious. but we ate, then Billy, Kevin, Josh, Emily, Sydney, and Me all went down on the basketball court and played ninja !! greatest, most time consuming game EVEERRRR ! lol. After that i was called to do this blog, and now our group and a few of the compound boys are heading up to the cross for a worship sesh again! I love worshiping at night, best time to do it! Marck says he loves Blessed Be Your Name, and anyone who knows our church and attends it , knows we love us some Jesus dancin music !! :D
well, Stout's outt (; 
love you guys, and miss you. but were not gonna be excited to leave <3 
Miss you all, see you soon.-Emily

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mission Impossible?

I think we are all walking around like zombies today. We were up at 4am for a two hour hike up a rocky mountain to a village.  All but two made it all the way up! 

I will let you try to figure that one out..and it wasn't the youngest or the oldest. It was a tough climb but we all worked together to get up there. Some of us got to ride a donkey up a ways which was fun. Water was a definite must! It was amazing to see the villagers climbing up and down the mountain with pounds/gallons of food and water on their head and in flip flops. The view was absolutely beautiful....words can't describe. When we made it to the top 2 hours later...we visited a voodoo church...don't worry..Greater is he that is in us; than he that is in the world! We prayed with the voodoo priest in his church and he was very receptive. We then headed to the church where we gave out shoes and some dresses to some children. When then had time for about an hour VBS. We sang motion songs with the children, face painted..which was a hit...Lauren did well at doing lizards, blowed bubbles which was also a hit, played a game and also had a puppet talk to the children about Jesus. We enjoyed the experience! ...but then it was time to head back down. You would think it would be easier, but for this old person it was a lot harder on the knees! I just don't know how the Haitians do it walking in flip flops!  I decided to take me good old time... unfortunately that got me an hour behind most of the crew getting home! Nicely enough Lauren, Dan and Adam joined in on the scenery walk. A Haitian family walked with us bring their little girl Filencia to the medical eye was swollen shut. Not sure yet what is wrong but please keep her in your prayers. Once back at the compound..we ate lunch. After lunch, some of us fell asleep, some went to finish the floor of the house we are building for John Renel, and  some went and played with the kids of the village. Later on we gave out more shoes, and the guys played basketball in the rain with the kids. Mud is the common link  with our shoes right now. We then had the opportunity to eat a Haitian dinner!  We ate Plantains, Bread Fruit, Goat, and unique dishes that we have at home just cooked another way! The majority loved it! We voted to have it another night. The guys were late for dinner they were putting up a tent in the village down the street for our church service tomorrow. Needless to say they were very hungry and finished everything up. The kids and Dan are currently up at the 30ft cross in the compound praying and wrapping up the day. They are tired, but laughing and enjoying the children especially. It is truly an experience that they will never forget! We did accomplish our mission for the day and are all feeling it...well, some of us anyway! Have a good night from Haiti! Love and Miss you all! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Call to Duty

FYI - we are an hour behind you guys at home...we just found out they do not participate in day light savings so when we sprang forward they stayed behind! In October we will be back to the same time again.
Anyway we woke this morning: lisa, carrie and tim, to the sound of that lovely rooster...he is still alive! lol We climbed a small hill to our devotion time..where Kevin and Cayla lead with worship music and Don encouraged us to again be the hands and feet of Jesus to these wonderful people. Yesterday when we stopped at the mass grave site of those thousands of people, I took a picture of one of the crosses laying on the ground. It was a picture in my mind of someone else's burden. Christ wants us to help carry the burdens of others. Here in Haiti what any opportunity we have to lay down our own cross and help others carry their cross (burden) we realize that we might not be able to fix the burden... but God says to HELP..and that is what we have all set out to do this week. The teen's hearts are great and their compassion overwhelming. Dan, Adam, Jay, and Billy all set out after devotions to help finish laying the foundation for John Renel's house. They were exhausted after three hours from the sun and hard work. Cayla, Emily, Sydney and I all sorted and created care bags for the school kids, who were finishing their last day of school today. We were able to pass them out to every class(Kevin and Lauren came and helped) and their response was a song Jesus Loves the Little Children and Read Your Bible and Pray everyday. We were also able to give the principal a bag full of small supplies such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, notebooks and erasers. Jimmy and Donald, the leader here, headed to Port au Prince to pick up rice that the Air Force had brought in.
Then we had lunch. Some of us ended up taking a nap...waiting for Jimmy and Donald to get back...they were to be back at 12....they didn't make it back until 6pm....three flat tires on the way back! Around 3 we went into the village to see the old house of the man we are building a new house for. We all fit inside the one room...he is so overwhelmed with the thought of having a house by the end of the week. The children of the village just flock to all of us. Joshua had a hard time holding hands with little girls who just loved him. He kept asking for help! lol  We walked to the village dam where the children just striped and jumped in to swim...some also bathed. I had the opportunity to try to carry a 5 gallon bucket of water on my head and Dan got to ride a "tap tap" (motorcycle).  The entire walk the children of the village were glued to our hips and wanting our sunglasses, water, shoes and cameras. The kids also taught our teens a new foot game.
My neatest experience for the day is when we came back... I walked by two girls playing jacks with rocks...we had two set of jacks packed and I had the opportunity to sit and play with them for a while. The kids just love you loving them!  We have been having a late afternoon rain each night. Tonight the teenagers decided to play soccer with the village boys in the about mud!! oh my..if you moms only new...there are plenty of pictures....they were wearing it, throwing it and I think eating it...but they had a blast!! Dan, Jay and Adam helped load the bags of rice by carrying on their backs..50 lbs each...they were carrying up to four bags at a time...somebody dropped their four bags but I won't disclose I don't embarrass can guess! nah..jay..cough cough!  We ate a delicious dinner..with bread from the sun oven. We then passed out shoes to some of the workers of the compound and now we are sitting and relaxing..playing the guitar, girls are getting their hair braided and Dan and Jay are no where to be found...oh well! Tomorrow we are up early at 4AM for a 3 hour hike up a keep us in mind! We love you all and miss you. Have a wonderful night! We are loving it!!!