Missions Trip #1: Haiti 2008

One time a few weeks ago, (months?! I don't know...) Amanda asked where I have gone on my missions trips. (Did you notice all those pictures on the side bar on the right?)

And I was all like, 'Awww yeah! Perfect post series!!!!"
Cause my missions trips hold a very special place in my heart.

And that's how I got here today. And I would've forgot about doing it, except I remembered because of my upcoming trip to Haiti next Monday (YAY!)

So, here is post one of my mini series! Get excited, yo!
HAITI 2008
So. Young. 
This trip was my first ever missions trip, and my first ever trip to Haiti! This was in the summer of 2009, right after I finished my freshman year (Grade 9, for you Canadians ;)

My Dad had been to Haiti before, and so I saw some of his photos and thought I knew what to expect. You think you can prepare yourself for Haiti. You know it's a poor, third world country, you know it smells bad. Right. 

But I was so not prepared! As soon as we stepped of the plane, (off of stairs.. onto the runway) it was like you stuck your nose into a huge sweaty mans armpit who had just played a pickup game of basketball on the hottest day in August in Florida on an outdoor court in the middle of a toilet and trash infested landfill. Not even exaggerating. BUT the good news is you get used to it very quickly; however, every now and then the breeze picks up and it's like you're gonna die because your nose is having a heart attack (It's possible, right?!). Also when you get back to America your pillow smells like garbage, which is neat.

OH. Before we even got to Haiti, there was just one little problem. 

We drove up to the Tampa airport, (an hour from where we are) and got a flight to Miami. Once we got to Miami, we were to fly to Port-Au-Prince. That didn't happen, and apparently it was because the pilot of our plane 'didn't feel like flying' today. SWEEEET. Thanks guys.  So we stay in a hotel over night and fly out the next day. No biggie, really. But still... Our plans are messed up because he 'didn't feel like flying.' It just makes me laugh. Once we got there, we understood that that is just how Haiti is! They are so laid back, they kinda do whatever they feel like doing! Time means nothing. 

So we get to Haiti finally, just a day late. This trip was awhile ago, mind you, so I can't remember too many details. I do remember that for work, we painted the orphanage, which was great! Quite a bit of our time in Haiti was spent with those precious boys at the orphanage. I seriously love each and every one of them SO much. Here are some photos of us with the boys at the orphanage.
This is Louisis, my 'little brother'. When my dad went down there, Louisis quickly became his little sidekick. So when I went, Louisis knew I was Merlin's daughter, and we were quickly connected at the hip. There's just something about his sweet gentle spirit, shy smile, and raspy voice that you just can't help but fall in love with!

Smitty! He is one of the coolest kids ever! Such a little jokester! I even named my cat after him. (My cat died though.. :( funny story about that to share for later! Not that it's funny my cat died. At all. DREW LANTZ....)
I think, but am not sure, that this is Anne. If not, it's her baby sister Rose (pronounced as 'Wose')  haha. It's very strange to hear the ages of people in Haiti because they all look SO MUCH YOUNGER than they really are. The kids do, at least. I'm thinking this is Anne, and she was 3, almost 4, when I was there the first time. She seemed so much younger! 
 Notice the clothes they wear. Ringling College of Art and Design : A college in Sarasota. The blue baseball cap : My high school baseball teams. Everything these boys own has been donated and given to them. I can't imagine what that would be like, having a single thing that was truly yours, but they don't know any other way.

 This is Steve, Smittys little brother. Smitty and Steve also have another brother, named Christopher. All three of them without their parents, in an orphanage. It's just heartbreaking :(

Smitty teaching me some kind of hand clap game

 This is Andres. He was the youngest boy at the orphanage. He can break dance like nobody's business. Seriously, this little guy has got swag. (Whatever that means).

This is me with a few of the boys inside of the orphanage. Behind us is their cubbies, where they keep everything they own inside. Take a peek at this, really. Those small little cubes hold all that they own. But looks how happy they are with what they have. This is a concept that we Americans just can't seem to grasp. 

Something that was fun about being in Haiti is the driving. There are literally no rules. If you do get stopped by the police, it's probably because they noticed you aren't Haitian, and they will threaten to arrest you until you pay them some cash money. Yep, this is real life people! Also, as you can tell, we piled into the backs of trucks.. Regular trucks and cattle trucks. It pretty dang obvious that we're not from Haiti too.. So literally every person on the street stops to stare at the cattle truck going by FULL of 'blan' which means 'white.' In my next trip two years later, I was walking down the street when a group of school kids pass by and stop to point to me and say, 'blaaaaaan...' I felt like an alien! It was pretty funny. Anyways, here are the photos I could find of our transportation. 

We rode like this for two hours to get to the beach! And the roads aren't paved. Ever. Lots of potholes!

Oh! And we also got to go to the beach, which happened to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to! Like I said, it was a two hour drive in the cattle truck. We got pretty burnt! But the place we went to was called Wahoo Bay Beach Resort. There were the mountains, and the crystal clear ocean. Pretty much heaven. 
The best of both. The mountains and the sea.
Sarah and I jumping off of the cliff! We all spent a good portion of the day doing this; it was SO fun! One time though, I jumped in, and a crab jumped in my pants! COOL. That was very, very painful. There are also vendors here who sell bracelets, necklaces, earrings, paintings, belts, keychains, pottery, etc. They are sort of fun to bargain with, but you don't wanna low ball cause you know this is their income. 

It was so weird to go to a place like this in Haiti after experiencing a third world country at its poorest. It's hard to believe we were still in the same country. People at the beach we went to, which was a resort, were from all over the world! People come from all over the world to vacation in Haiti! It just leaves me in awe, because if you saw photos of the real Haiti, you would see it is NOTHING like the vacation part of Haiti. It's so so weird. And sad. 

So that concludes my first missions trip! Some quick other facts about this trip...
-We went to church, where the service lasts for about 3 and a half hours and is in Haitian Creole, their main language. It is also SO SO SO SO HOT. Like really. No AC, and about 200 more people in the building then it's actually supposed to fit. The photo above is me in church, holding the 3 year old, Anne. BUT, aside from being hot, long, and in Creole, church in Haiti is awesome. It's incredible to see these people praising the Lord with their entire being, when they really have nothing and could easily be angry with God. But they aren't. Haitian people are just amazing and I love them.

-There were 4 showers for 40 people. And 3 of the showers were upstairs, in the boys' sleeping quarters. So, as a freshman girl, taking a shower was a daunting task!

-We played a lot of Dutch Blitz and other card games in our free time, which I totally regret. I'll talk about that more in my other Haiti post. 

So there we go! That was my first Haiti trip! Sorry for the lack of photos.. I think I have a lot better ones from my 2nd trip! This was just so long ago. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask :) Haiti holds a very special place in my heart and I love to talk about it! 

Now go have yourselves a happy hump day! We're halfway to Friday w000t woot!

xoxo V.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm Amanda. My husband is trevor. T. And A. So confusing, I know. Tanda! hahaha! Anyways...this post makes me so unbelievably jealous. I crave Mombasa, Kenya! LET'S GO TOGETHER! haha. such a great experience. You're one humble awesome girl!


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