For the last several days of our stay in Haiti, we were unable to blog because our computer charger stopped working! This blog will hopefully recap the highlights of our week as we reflect back on our trip now that we are home in Nashville.
Since we were unable to watch the Olympics, Monday and Tuesday were spent playing our own sports related mini games. Jump the river, the parachute, and the spoon race were big hits, but the nighttime basketball tournament was the main event. It was a double-elimination, 3-on-3 tournament, featuring eight teams (we fielded a men’s and women’s team). Due to the large turnout, we were forced to postpone the end of the tournament until Thursday in order for the kids to get to bed. The following day was supposed to be our big Track and Field day at the C.B.T, but as we were about to leave, a huge storm changed our plans, but we didn’t let it ruin our fun! We started an epic water balloon fight that ended with everyone stomping around in the newly formed puddles. Later that night, we broke out the face paint! After convincing the older guys to paint their face, it was funny to see all the little ones quickly change their minds and decide to have their faces painted. The carefully painted designs soon turned into smears of color after all the kids went nuts and painted anything in sight.
In addition to the fun we had with the kids, we had the chance to work around the orphanage on little projects that needed some attention. We cleaned up the workshop area, stained the benches and table, and helped clear thousands of pounds of dirt and grave for their new basketball court. Some of the men who worked there were impressed with our work ethic and how quickly we moved all of the dirt and gravel with two wheelbarrows and a couple buckets. Americans are generally perceived as fat and lazy so it was great to hear that we didn’t fall into that stereotype!
Our last full day in Haiti was spent relaxing before we made the long trek back home. We were able to see a Haitian beach, barter at a local market, and enjoy a nice dinner with Hunter, Jillian, and a couple of the staff members. After dinner we were able to finish up the basketball tournament from Tuesday night. Alexander, Ben, and Steven made it to the championship before losing to a team of two older boys and a staff member. On Friday morning, we said our goodbyes and sadly headed off to the airport. Leaving the kids was difficult, but many of them have Facebook and Skype, and we look forward to keeping in touch with them until we can return.
Though our time at CHCH was short, we feel as if we made connections that seem stronger than a week old. Every member of the trip left changed by the love the kids poured out to us all week. It is evident that the orphanage does a wonderful job of meeting the needs of these kids. Unfortunately this help comes at a high price. CHCH relies not only on teams coming down to connect with the kids, but also on donations that allow them to continue their work. Without this financial aid, the orphanage wouldn’t be capable of providing the loving environment these children so desperately need. It is unfortunate that something so simple as the concept of money can make or break this children’s home. We will continue to pray daily that God will move the hearts of those who are willing to give to CHCH. God blessed us immensely in allowing us to go on this trip. People always say that those serving will be affected more than those being served, and we found that we are further proof of this statement. Getting to know the kids, interacting with them, seeing them take care of each other, and the true joy they possess is an experience we will never forget. We saw God in each one of them, and the way they showed us that was effortless. No matter how broken the country of Haiti may be, the kids rise above the brokenness. In this spiritually dark place, the orphanage is a ray of light to 62 otherwise hopeless orphans. They are not only provided their earthly needs, but their spiritual needs are nurtured as well. We look forward to the day where we not only rejoice with them again in Haiti, but in Heaven as well. We began the trip with heavy hearts, and while our hearts are still with Matt and his family, God worked through these kids to help us mend them slightly.
John 20:29, “then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
Until next time,
Katie and Alexander