It’s our last morning in Haiti. We are all packing up and getting ready to say goodbye to the people that we have been working beside all summer. We spent our last few days here at a beautiful resort where we got to swim in the ocean and relax in the sun. It was like paradise and the perfect way to end an amazing mission trip. We are all sad to be leaving Haiti, but all plan on coming back at some point in our lives. Haiti has left such a huge impact on our hearts and it’s hard to say goodbye. We just want to give a huge Thank You to the Tlucek family for hosting us this summer, the other interns that we worked with for an awesome community, and the World Deputation program for giving us the opportunity to serve in Haiti this summer. It has been a blessing.
It is week 5 of English Camp and we have been here for 6 weeks so far! Time is flying by and it is incredible to reflect on all of the things that we have done here. Stephanie has been teaching Older Science, which is boys and girls ages 10-14 and Alessia has been teaching Younger PE, which is boys and girls ages 5-10. I have been a Group Leader for a group of girls ages 10-12. We have all been enjoying our positions a ton and love all of the kids here! There are super cute and it is going to be SO hard to say goodbye to them at the end of next week.
When we arrived in Haiti, we soon discovered that we would not be the only people volunteering at English camp. There are 11 interns in total and they are all amazing people. It was a bit overwhelming at first to learn everyone’s name and remember where they were all from, but now we have grown close to all of them and become a close knit community. Some of the interns will be staying here for a whole year, which definitely puts our 8 week mission trip in perspective. There have also been teams and individuals that have come down to serve for a couple of weeks at a time. It has been great to meet and interact with so many amazing people. Everyone serving here loves Jesus so much and it is inspiring to listen to their stories and testimonies.
On the weekends we have been taking day trips to other parts of the country. We have been to the beach twice so far and have heard rumors that we will be going again this weekend. The beach is beautiful and the water is so clear that you can see the bottom even when it’s 15-20 feet deep! We also get to eat Haitian food at the beach, which we all love because Haitian food is the best food on the planet!! We have also gone into the mountains once and that was gorgeous. The mountains are extremely green, which I did not expect when I heard that I would be going to Haiti. I imagined everything to be dry but the country side is very lush and we have had several thunder storms during our time here. They are really intense, but also pretty cool to watch because the lightning is so bright. When we don’t take trips outside of Port-au-Prince, we have gone to some little boutiques and street vendors. We savor every moment that we get to explore because we don’t get to leave the property during the week due to the high crime rate in Haiti right now. So far we have loved every part of Haiti that we have seen and are looking forward to seeing more of the country before we leaving in a couple weeks!
The heat here is intense and mixed with the humidity, we are all sweating more than we ever thought possible and that any human ever should (“so be thankful” -Alessia). Also, the mosquitos have been horrible. We are all getting eaten alive, but it is worth it when we get to see the kids’ smiling faces everyday. Camp has been really fun so far and has tested all of our comfort zones. We did not know that we would have required tasks to complete when we got here, but that quickly changed. We have to lead stretching in the morning at assembly, lead English songs during morning assembly, tell a Bible story during morning assembly, and give a devotion at the morning meeting or after dinner. These things definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but were also a great opportunity for growth. We are now preparing for the end of camp, which involves teaching the kids songs and verses to memorize for the ceremony on the last day of camp. It is kind of stressful right now, but I think that the end result will be really amazing. So that’s a quick summary of everything we have done so far because we have failed to post anything thus far…I hope you enjoyed reading it!
Haley, Alessia, and Stephanie
We arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this afternoon after stopping in New York along the way. Byron and some of his kids greeted us at the airport and soon after arriving at the Tlucek’s house in Tabarre, we were introduced to the other interns that will be working at the camp with us. We got to see some of the Haitian culture on the drive back from the airport and the heat is incredible. Andrew (the oldest son of Byron and Shelley) showed us around the property and gave us a brief explanation of what camp will look like on a day-to-day basis. We ate homemade pizza for dinner and enjoyed refreshing mango smoothies for dessert. The day was long and hot and exhausting, but we made it!! We are all excited to see what tomorrow holds and start doing the Lord’s work.
Hey, here we go! We will be embarking on our journey June 18th and we are super excited to see what is in store for us. We are all a little nervous, but know the experience will be amazing. We can’t wait to share our memories on this blog and share our journey with you all! Thanks for your support, it is much appreciated 🙂
Yesterday was a perfect ending to a perfect summer. Last night, Mollie and I were able to share in an incredible experience together we will both cherish forever. A family of five, whose three kids all came to English Camp this summer, invited James who lives here, Mollie, and me to come to their house for dinner. A little background story to how that all came about is because of Angeline. Angeline has been a translator here at camp, whom I’ve grown particularly close to throughout this summer. She invited me to come to her house a couple weeks back, and I of course agreed to that but also wanted to bring a friend or two with me. So we three came and were pleasantly surprised at their hospitality toward us. Needless to say, an hour with this family was just not long enough. The mom told us as we were leaving that she wanted to have us come again, but she would like to have a meal prepared next time. And of course this is all in Creole. We were so thankful to have James with us, because he basically translated the entire time for both us and for them. Haha
So, last night was that night where us three were able to come back into their loving home. It was so cool to see how God orchestrated it all in order for this dinner to happen. It would take way too long to describe all the situations leading up to it in which conflicted with us being able to come, but I can certainly say that God allowed it to happen, and for that I am grateful.
They fixed us a beautiful and delicious Haitian dish, in which included rice, chicken, lettuce and tomatoes, and a beet and potato salad. We weren’t offered water until about two thirds of the way through our meal and we didn’t exactly have a cool breeze coming in the house (a.k.a. we were dripping in sweat) ….however, it was probably one of the coolest and most authentic experiences I have had yet here in Haiti. We were later offered this yummy watermelon juice, which basically crushed up watermelon, and then also offered this alcoholic drink, called cremas, which was served to us at the end. I believe it had whiskey, whipping cream, and a couple different ingredients I cannot remember. It was good, however, it was just really strong. Haha Mollie and I kept looking at each other and laugh subtly at the funny faces we were making as we would swallow. But man, we felt so so SO blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend a night with this family talking over this incredible meal they prepared for us. The cuteness of the kids probably play a role in it as well as they sat in the corner while we ate and would whisper to us sweet nothings in our ears.
Saying goodbye was really hard. The dad prayed for us as we were about to depart and thanked God for us and the fact that if we aren’t able to see each other again in this lifetime, we would surely see each other again in heaven. That mind set has seriously been what I’ve been telling myself as I’ve been saying my goodbyes to others. And it helps! …We have hope, as Christ followers, that this is just the start to the beautiful relationships we will encounter with one another in heaven someday.
-Heidi and the rest of Team Haiti
Lots of excitement to the southeast.
One of my highlights was when trying to tell a lady her hair was perfect, I accidentally said her dog was perfect. She was confused.
Tropical storm warnings meant we closed down camp for a day! It hasn’t rained here this week but there has been some nice cool wind. We’re just hoping and praying it stops at that. The house we are in is big and safe, but most people around here can’t say the same.
Haiti’s greati but being stuck on a cot for a week is less so. When you get a deep cut while you are living in a place with infinity times more dirt and germs than Seattle, you might get an infection. (Note: being sick in a third world country is like, the worst.) Then you might not be able to walk for a week or two. It happened to me (Mollie) and I find myself getting so frustrated, as day after day I’m still wobbling around and I can’t hang out with the kids or really be of much use to anyone. Today I kept thinking how this isn’t what I came here to do! But then I thought, maybe it’s not about that. It’s about what I came here to see God do. God didn’t make a mistake, and even though it’s a curveball to me, He always knew this would be part of my experience. It’s cool that He planned it. Kind of annoying to me right now, but still cool.
I may not have had a whole lot of expectations coming into this, but I guess I thought I’d be running around all the time, and now that’s literally not possible. But a hurt leg won’t hold me back from where God is calling me. God doesn’t do sick leave. He’s more understanding and enveloping than that, with you all the time and moving in every situation. This has all just been a reminder to me that I am following God into unexpected places. That’s what I signed up for when I signed up for Deputation: going somewhere. The journey didn’t stop when the airplane landed, that’s for sure, and I know I speak for all of us. I may not always be hopping from country to country but God will never stop leading me to new places.
Not much else to say for now, but I’ll send another buddy to blog soon so they can tell you what happened in camp.
Mollie, Ethan, Heidi, & Meghan
This week in Haiti was the first week of English Camp, which we were sent here to help out with. English Camp is a 6 week day camp for kids ages 5-14. The kids are here from about 8:40 a.m. until 2 p.m. The kids are separated into colored groups based on gender and age, and they learn English, Science, P.E., and Bible. Monday through Thursday there is a new Bible story that we act out, and a new verse of Psalm 95 is presented. The goal is to get the kids to learn all of Psalm 95 & 96, and if they have both memorized by the end of camp they get a prize. Friday is Friday Funday, which is a typical day of camp. No learning and all fun. The different teams are also competing for a pool party at the end of Friday Funday. This week the Purple Team won (13-14 year old girls).
Our roles in English camp have been scattered, and will change weekly depending on how much staff we have. This week, Mollie and I were group leaders- Mollie lead the Purple Team, and I lead the Pink Team (10-12 year old girls). Heidi was the camp photographer on Day 1, then helped out with the Red Group the rest of the week (5-7 year old boys). Last, but certainly not least, Ethan was the camp’s water boy (pretty self explanatory). We all work together to teach kids about Jesus, keep the older boys from killing each other, and keep the little kids from peeing their pants. They are adorable kids, and very sweet at heart, but they can be very aggressive. I always have kids climbing on me, playing with my hair, and grabbing my ankles. I did bring makeup and stuff to do my hair, but I haven’t touched it, and probably won’t for the rest of the trip (and for good reason).
In addition to the 4 of us, there are 6 others here on staff for the whole duration of camp. There are several other teams coming in throughout camp who will be here short term. For the past week we’ve had a team of 15 from New Mexico, and a team of 11 from Firefighters for Christ. These guys have saved our butts this week, working theirs off to help us get camp ready and running. The New Mexico team is leaving tomorrow, and the Firefighter team leaves Saturday. I seriously don’t know how we are going to be able to do camp without them; they had a lot of extra hands, and they were all needed. Maybe you guys can pray for that.
Speaking of which, the New Mexico team are members of a small church called Cottonwood. The 15 people that came are about 15% of their entire church. The pastor of their church is Dan Cooley, and he gave us a homework assignment earlier this week that we all found very powerful: write why we chose to follow Jesus in 100 words or less. Has anyone actually tried this????? It’s A LOT harder than it sounds. That’s less than the average paragraph. I can easily explain in a paragraph why I chose to follow Jesus, but 100 words? We all managed to do it, all 50 of us in the group. It only took about 10 minutes to tell all the stories, and I learned so much about everyone in the group in that short time. It’s amazing how little it takes to say or do something that will make a lasting impression. I need to remember that for the rest of camp. While we’re here, why don’t you guys at home give this 100 word challenge a shot? We’d love to hear your stories.
Heidi took a zillion pictures on Monday and I’m sure she will be back to post them all soon. If you’d like to take a look at them, here is the link to the photos on facebook you can scroll through:
For now, I think I’ve said more than enough.
Meghan, Mollie, Heidi, and Ethan