It is our final day in Haiti. We went back to Williamson today to plant trees in the village. We had 6 trees, one per each of the six families. We had the 12 people from In Focus Church, our interpreters, and the MOH leaders. Our supplies consisted of 6 trees, 4 shovels, 2 pick axes, and one wheelbarrow. The first family lived in a tiny house. The woman lived with her siblings and helped to provide for them. Many times there is an older sister or cousin that helps to support the children. It's not uncommon for one adult to support 8-10 children and the fathers aren't always present. Many of the interpreters we worked with this week lived in similar villages, maybe with a little better conditions since they are working. Again, we are so thankful for their willingness to communicate for us. They have been a blessing to each of us this week! They've answered many questions and helped us to understand so much of this culture.
You know the pictures you see on TV of poverty? It's nothing compared to seeing it in person. It's not necessarily sad, but a little disheartening. We don't want to feel sorry for them, but we do have empathy for them. It is just so hot. It certainly makes me appreciate having a bed and running water. If they have beds, they are dirty and multiple people sleep in a single bed. One guy told us he sleeps in a bed with 6 other people. Water can come out of a well or they may have to buy it from a vendor. Even if they have a well, they should be boiling their water, but they don't. Boiling their water is way more work and then they have to wait for it to cool. Poor hygiene was such a frequent problem and they just live in dirty conditions. It's not because they want to, but they don't know anything different. In Haiti, it's simply a cultural norm. I mean, there are donkeys carrying supplies and goods to sell. These people earn money through business at the market. There are farm animals all over the place and the people live amongst them. There is a small amount of wealth in Haiti. I spoke to a man about the price of water. $1.00 is equal to 64 goudes. A bottle of water is 25 goudes so about 40 cents and a small car driven by an air traffic controller is $55,000 dollars! We have a ton of pictures from the markets and the streets. They are so neat. These people know what pain is. They know what hard work is, especially in unfavorable conditions. You know when you have the flu you just want to cuddle up. You go get medicine and relax. Here, they must work. There is no relief from the discomfort. There is no 74 degree room for them. They must work and carry stuff, fetch water and travel across the village to use the toilet (hole in the ground) if they don't have one. Its hot and humid and they are working with sickness and a fever. We are praying the people we served will be impacted more and more each month they receive care. We believe Haiti can be transformed through people who go as the hands and feet of Jesus!
The first place we planted the tree was in a small area in between a house and a fence. It smelled like feces there and there were shells everywhere. The human nature inside tells us this tree may not survive. But what can faith do? We prayed over each and every tree we planted. We did it for God's glory. We asked that God would bless the work we did through Him and prayed with each family. As the week ends we question what kind of impact we had on this Nation. We don't have to leave wondering, though. We will leave with prayers for each of the people we met and each of the trees we planted. We have faith that the trees will continue to grow and bear fruit for each family.
It was a little bit uncomfortable at the beginning of the day. The idea of being deep into the personal space of this culture is intimidating. Sometimes the people are hard to read. You can't always tell what they are thinking and they don't usually look happy. Though, being uncomfortable and vulnerable allowed some things to be pruned from each of us. This whole team worked so hard to serve with everything they had left today. Each of us came with different struggles, sin and hesitations. This trip has challenged us to reach deep within ourselves. Thanks so much to Mission of Hope, Haiti and In Focus Church for making this trip possible. We are thankful for the opportunity. We are thankful for each and every person who has supported this mission trip and prayed for us. We thank you who will GO next! We love you guys, see you soon!