Be sure to read all of my posts about our trip to Haiti. Find them all easily RIGHT HERE!
On Thursday morning we were finally able to start putting up the interior walls of the house we were building. Instead of using machete-chopped rocks and mud for the inside walls, we were actually able to use some cement blocks for a change of pace. While loading the cement block in the back of the dump truck, we eventually started to notice that there were a few tarantulas hanging out inside of the cozy hollows in the blocks, which may have sent a few shivers down spines, but nothing we weren’t getting used to running into.
It was really cool to watch the homeowners who were working along with us at the build site. It was getting to the point that they could see the rough shape that their finished home would have. As we started building the inside walls to divide the home into 4 small rooms, the floor plan became very apparent and everything was becoming a reality for them very quickly. God had answered their prayers and through their faithfulness they were being blessed with a new home for their whole family. It was neat to hear though Frantz, our translator, the homeowners speak about how thankful they were for what we were doing and that they prayed God would bless us for our service just as he had blessed them.
This afternoon we were able to visit one of the eight Feeding Centers that UCI has set up in surrounding villages. Each location feeds approximately 100 kids about 3 times a week. These meals are CRITICAL to the health of the children as for most of them it will probably be the only meal they get for the day, and their next meal may only come when the next day of feeding comes at the center. Undernourishment is a significant problem in Haiti and is probably one of the leading causes of health issues, so it was really neat to see how UCI was fighting this issue at it source instead of just treating symptoms of sickness later on in these children’s lives.
The kids themselves were fun to be around. This particular feeding center was held in a church building. While waiting for the food to be ready for serving, the kids sang praise songs, memorized John 3:16, and Frantz led them through various other fun activities. When the food was ready, they each pulled out their plates/bowls they had brought from home and sat patiently waiting for us to help serve them all. The kids would get a couple heaping scoops of rice and beans, with a little added sauce on top with some veggies. I watched one little girl, probably only a few years old, eat her entire bowl by the handful and it was more food than I could have possibly eaten at lunch!
After the meal was over, they packed up their things and we distributed out some toys that we had brought with us. Deborah and Dawn were out in the church yard waiting for kids as they came out and had bubbles to play with! The kids were a bit confused at first, but eventually they went crazy popping bubbles and swarming Deborah and anyone else who tried to take on the task of bubble blowing! Just goes to show you that kids will be kids no matter where they grow up.
I got to play some 3-on-3 basketball with some of the Haitian college students before dinner. It was a blast, even though I couldn’t understand most of the travelling violations and foul calls, I just didn’t worry about it because it was more about the interaction than who actually won or lost. Jaime and Dawn eventually jumped in too and we played some USA vs Haiti 3-on-3! Lavinsky found Deborah sitting by the court and had a little photoshoot with her while we were playing. He just had some sort of sixth sense about how to find us for the 3rd day in a row.
During the game, Deborah was talking to some of the other college students and they seemed really interested by the fact that she and I were married. Apparently around Haiti, it is more common for people to get married a little bit older, usually after they have completed all of their studies and such. We are both done with our studies, so it made sense to us, but they still got quite a kick out of it!
Dinner tonight was special because we were able to enjoy the company of 5 college students. These students had received scholarships to the university due to a donation made by Church of the Living Word. Each of them had very unique stories about their situations prior to receiving notice that they were getting a scholarship. I remember that two of them were actually brother and sister that came from a very poor family. Initially it didn’t seem as though either of them would be able to continue their education, and if there was ever enough funding there would probably be enough for only one of them to go. But their prayers were answered by God and when they heard they were both attending, they just broke down praising God. I wish I could remember each of the student’s stories in greater detail. It just even further explained why the students have the dedication and drive that they do to make the most of the opportunity they have been blessed with. Some of the college kids in the US could learn to follow their example!