I write you from heaven in Haiti: drinking hot tea in an air conditioned room after a hot shower when no one else came in to use the bathroom. But there’s so much to tell before I ended up here!
Last Friday, July 22nd, we left for our mini local outreaches. We were basically split up into our international outreach teams. Africa went to Cite Soleil to build two rain catchment tanks and do a medical clinic; Brazil went to Mont-Rouis (Mo-wi) to build two tanks and Haiti/DR hiked two hours up the mountain to do a medical clinic and then they came down and some of them did a clinic at an orphanage and church while the rest joined the Brazil team. My team went to the island in the bay called La Gonave to build one tank and do a medical clinic. One of our students, Bernard, is from there, so he set everything up for us.
My team consisted of Nathan, Robert, myself, Genese, Wiclif, Desure, Derose and then we lost Johnny to be a translator for the Haiti team, but we gained Metellus, Solner, Bengy, Berline, DanI (from the Water for Life team, to make sure we built the tank correctly) and Dr. Cas to help us with the clinic. There is SO much to tell, so I’ll give a quick run down and post some pictures.
We got a boat ride from Bernard’s old boss, Rod. Dolphins swam with our boat and jumped around it for 5-10 minutes. We stayed in Bernard’s house that him and his identical twin brother, Jean Bernard, built. It had running water and electricity all the time. The first night, we went to the church to check out where we were going to build the tank. The pastor was very welcoming and excited for us to be there. The next morning, we went to start on the foundation. Dani went with Bernard to get supplies while the rest of us set up the forms we brought with us, marked it out, dug it down, set up the re-bar, made a mound of dirt to set up the wire to pour the dome-shaped lid on, got the wire all laid out, and had to wait for the sand to arrive. We did the base with 3 parts sand, one part cement and one part gravel to make it really strong. We got the foundation finished, went to lunch, then came back and poured the lid. We used the same ratios except left out the gravel. We also left a hole big enough for a person to get into in case anything ever goes wrong with the tank or needs cleaned out or something. We also poured the “hat” for the lid. You make it dome-shaped as well and put sticks in the top to make holes so water can go in. (When the tank is finished, you put rocks in the bowl to strain out any leaves and other big particles.)
The next day was Sunday, so we went to church. It was a really good service and while I couldn’t understand everything the pastor said, he kept people engaged and even laughing at times. After church, Rod had invited us to go out on his boat with his family and a team he was hosting to a reef a little ways out. So we went and it was really fun. Several of the Haitians didn’t know how to swim and were a little frightened even with lifejackets, but for the most part everyone enjoyed themselves. I stepped on a sea urchin and got about 30 points in the ball of my left foot. We weren’t out very long because it started raining. The rest of the day was spent lounging around the house, I picked out some of the points from my foot with a hypodermic needle, thanks to Dr. Cas. Sunday night, we went out and did a worship/ministry time in a public area. We prayed for quite a few people.
Bright and early Monday morning, we headed over to start on the walls of the tank and to do the clinic. The church already had a bunch of people waiting for the clinic when we arrived. Most people just had little aches and pains or something we couldn’t help with the resources we had. I ran the pharmacy and I handed out a lot of Tylenol, Tums, Ibuprofen, vitamins, Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, anti-fungal cream, and a couple amoxicillin. Dani and the guys made quick work putting the first layer on the tank. I think in the afternoon, they did another layer. Tuesday, we did pretty much the same thing. Although right at the beginning, Dr. Cas got to do an injection for pain caused by arthritis in a lady’s knee and later Nathan got to do another one. Wednesday, the inside was started on. We had to leave to go meet the bus waiting to pick us up on the mainland, so we didn’t get to see it finished. Oh, I forgot to mention, that as we were building the tank, we were also teaching several guys from the church that are masons, so they could learn how to build them too. All they had left to do was put the lid on after the inside was dry and seal it on, then put the bowl on top, seal it and put rocks in it, and connect the guttering. This tank will hold 11,000 gallons of water. If you average out the rainfall in Haiti, that gives 150 people clean drinking water for a year. So with building 5 tanks, in 6 days, we provided clean drinking water for 750 people for one year.
God was so faithful on this trip because our budget was $5/person/day. That’s not a whole lot to go off of, but we made it work and we brought money back. In the clinic on Monday, Bengy and Solner prayed for a guy that came in leaning heavily on his cane. He decided to accept Jesus, then Bengy felt like he should pray for his back and legs. He was not able to straighten one of his legs, but after Bengy prayed, he told him to straighten his leg and he was able to. Then Bengy told him to get up and walk, and the man did. I didn’t realize all this had happened, but I do remember seeing him walk to the pharmacy and get his medicine. When he was leaving, Bengy told him to put his cane up on his shoulder. He did so, and walked back to his home. WOW!!
Since we didn’t get a weekend last weekend, Sean gave us Friday off as well as Saturday and Sunday. There were a few of us staff that were possibly going to take a short trip to the Dominican Republic, but Chimene is from Cameroon and needed a visa, but didn’t get it in time. So Friday, I went to Mais Gate and then decided to go to Lifeline on Saturday. I was thinking about trying to get a Haitian to come with me, but no one was available. I really wanted to go because I hadn’t been to visit since the beginning of June and didn’t know when I’d have the opportunity to go again. I was trying to be wise about it, and was talking to God about it, and I felt a peace to go it alone. I asked some of the Haitians how much it would be to take a moto (motorcycle taxi) and from two taptap stations away it would be 100 gouds (about $2.50). So I took the two tap taps and took a moto to Lifeline. Nicole has a very sick brother in law and Saturday is the only day she has to spend with him, so she wasn’t able to come. But Nicole is so wonderful that she was still mothering me from afar. I was expecting to stay with the girls up in the dorm, but she had them set up a room in the guesthouse with an air conditioner and fan and sheets and towels. She also sent some food from her restaurant. I am very humbled and grateful. We got electricity during the night, so I actually got cold with the A/C on. I took a hot shower this morning, Jasmine made me some wonderful eggs and I had some amazing mint tea. It has been so wonderful to spend time with the kids here. They all ask for people from the January teams. Especially Emily, they all want to know when she is coming. They all look pretty healthy and happy. I’m going to church this morning, and I’m so happy to get to see Nicole and Daniel.
Ok, the internet is too slow to upload a photo right now, so I’ll try to put some on Facebook soon and put the link on here.