Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Compassion Haiti 2014

We are here. In Haiti. We landed in the capitol around 12:30. We got our luggage, found our transportation and headed to our hotel in St. Marc. We are staying in a hotel/resort called Club Indigo. Haiti is a country that lacks infrastructure. There isn't much industry to promote employment. In fact, the unemployment rate is about 80%. When driving down the road, you would see people everywhere, just outside, hanging out. Children are not required to go to school. You  must pay to send your child to school, even public school. Since scrounging out a living to pay for food and walking sometimes miles for water is of the utmost importance, education isn't seen as very important. Plus, when babies are born, birth certificates aren't always issued, so the government doesn't even know how many children are in the country or have any way to enforce education. So children can very easily fall between the cracks.
Boarding the plane in Miami--Haiti bound!

These are called "tap taps".

They are the major form of transportation in Haiti. Most people don't own automobiles, and so they ride these.  They are usually crammed full. There's always room for one more! :)

Our brightly painted room

Our waste basket made out of woven cardboard 

The pool at Club Indigo

Play area

Ocean view

It felt strange checking into such a beautiful place after driving through some hurting, impoverished areas. But Compassion's theory is that they want the sponsors to have a place of calm and peace to return to at the end of each day, to be able to process what they have experienced and seen during the day. This is also where the children will come for the visitation day. Most of them have not seen the ocean, or swam in a pool.

Our first full day in Haiti we drove about an hour and a half to a place called Gonaive. We visited the Child Survival Program (CSP). This program is for mothers of young children, ages newborn to 3, or pregnant mothers. The program teaches mothers how to care for their children, and also teaches them life skills and vocational skills.  This was the scene that welcomed us when we arrived…..

We walked off the bus and these little cuties were sitting under this pavilion just waving and cheering and clapping. It was so precious! I almost started crying up at the gate! They had the cutest matching uniforms. Oh, the joy!

So we did what any human being would do, we walked down and hugged and smiled and blew bubbles and passed out stickers, and basically just hung out with these kiddos. 

We went inside the church then and the mothers were inside. We met the pastor and other staff that worked there at the project. The mothers then sang some songs for us. It was so beautiful.  We ate lunch and then we broke into four groups and went to four different homes, of mothers who participate in the CSP. 

We went to the home of a mother who had two children and was 9 months pregnant with her third. Her husband was not employed. She has been attending the classes at the project center and has learned how to sew. She has also learned how to take care of her children better and what to do for them when they are sick. They lived in a two room house. It had a concrete floor, concrete walls and a tin roof. The kitchen was outside. There was no electricity, running water or bathroom. There weren't screens in the windows. She did have a mosquito net for the one bed in the house. She was a lovely woman. So pleased to have us there. So happy to talk to us.

Her nine year old child came into the room. What beautiful young girl. She had such a joy and cheerfulness about her. We asked her, through the translator, what she wants to be when she grows up. She smiled shyly and immediately piped up, "A doctor." 

What Compassion does for these children is offer them a hope. They are receiving the tools and being taught how to use their education to make a better country. They are being given hope. Which is priceless. 

I am in awe of these strong mothers, raising these children up in what seems like impossible circumstances. But they are being held up and supported by the amazing staff and they have a Hope. And His Name is Jesus. 

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