Monday, January 18, 2016

The Real Change

It's Monday already. I've lost track of time as we've kept pretty busy. Only a couple more days here in brutiful Haiti and we'll be on the big bird in the sky headed back to the States. 

Yesterday, we did my FAVORITE thing to do in Haiti; we went to church. Wall-to-wall people loudly praising God in kreyol makes my heart smile. We had a wee bit of trouble blending in, though. We are so white. :) Doesn't it blow your mind that God hears our praises and prayers regardless the language? It does mine. That whole omniscient thing is pretty neat. 

So . . . I've been pondering the results of our work here. Over the last few days, we've installed a water purifier system and repaired 4 or 5 hand pumps. More pumps today and tomorrow are on the agenda. Our work has made, and will continue to make, a difference. But, there is much left to do and I am convinced that real, long-lasting change cannot be done by us blancs or any other non-Haitians. 


People here are still living on the streets in Port au Prince, 6 YEARS after the earthquake. Many, many buildings remain in ruins. Unemployment is astronomical, healthcare is virtually non-existent to too many, and a simple glass of clean water isn't even doable. Throw in a presidential election (estimated to have cost $100 MILLION) set for next Sunday for a people with little belief in a fair process and you see these are, indeed, unsettled times. 

But, THERE IS HOPE! God has placed difference-makers in this brutiful land. These are the ones who will launch their country forward. Let me introduce you to a few:

Meet my young friend, Jean Desrosiers. He is THE hand pump guy in these parts. He has a big heart and a brilliant mind. He has been offered the chance to live in the States and attend American university. Jean, however, finds his calling here in Haiti, helping others out of poverty. He not only brings clean water but also gives of himself in other ways, such as organizing feeding programs. He undoubtedly makes his mother proud. 

Next meet my young friend, Louissaindy Racine ("Racine" to us). Racine is our translator when we come to Haiti with Strategic Water Teams. He, too, more than anything else, wants to help his people. He gives & gives & gives. Racine really would like to go to medical school (but simply cannot afford it) and care for those who have no monetary resources to utilize healthcare. He would also like to open more facilities for those who do not have access to doctors, hospitals, etc. Racine is currently attending college here in Haiti, focusing on computer sciences (which is more affordable). Plus, he plays a mean guitar with his Christian band, Generation Choisie. Racine, too, must have a very proud momma.

Finally, let me introduce you to the couple here with Racine. This is Pastor and Joseline Brisenault. Where do I even begin with this dynamic couple? They do so much for Haiti and their fellow Haitians. Pastor Brisenault is the in-country contact person for Strategic Water Teams. He travels all over the country speaking with other pastors and pinpointing locales that desperately need clean water. But that's not all . . . he also pastors the New Christian Church of Tabarre and, together with his wife, cares for 26+ girls at House of Joy, an orphange they formed after the 2010 earthquake. 

In addition to mothering the girls in the orphanage, Joseline Brisenault is Principal of the school associated with the New Christian Church. Joseline also helps run a sewing cafe for women wanting to learn a marketable skill. Though not front and center like her husband, she is yet another brilliant, beautiful and committed person here in Haiti. 

Aren't Jean, Racine and the Brisenaults absolutely AMAZING??? And they are some of the true change-makers in Haiti. 

If you would like to help any of these friends, please let me know. There are many opportunities - annual school sponsorships for the students at the school, monthly sponsorships for the girls' living expenses (lots of mouths to feed and bodies to clothe there!) at House of Joy, donations to Strategic Water Teams to help fund water purification systems and hand pump repairs.

I am honored to know and call each of these people "friend".

Until tomorrow . . . orevwa! 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Brutiful Haiti

I know, I'm behind a couple days. The limited wi-fi isn't fully to blame, though. I've had a bit of processing to do. "Brutiful" is the best adjective I have found to describe this country. 

Pure blue sky, deep green palm trees & gorgeous people. And at the same time, hard, rocky, unforgiving soil and limited resources. Notice the burning fires on the hillside in the evening, used for cooking and light. No street lights & no electricity in most places. 


But the people ... oh, the beautiful people here: 

These people are Haiti's hope for a better future. 

More tomorrow, my friends. Orevwa!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 2 - Over the Mountain and Through the Woods We Go

Yes, over the mountain & through the woods we went today. A guesthouse just outside Mirebelais is where we call home the next few days. It's absolutely beautiful ... and QUIET! Here's the view from our balcony:

The diversity of Haiti's landscape is amazing and one of many, many reasons why I love it. Even better than the landscape, though, are the people. I've never witnessed resourcefulness as I have here. They take whatever they've got and make it work (like using a fork for wheel repair). Hard work is the daily norm. You won't hear any complaints about the work - any work - being too hard. They are simply grateful. 

I'll leave you with a few more pics of our day. Orevwa! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Haiti - Day 1 - Tough Day

January 12, 2016

Below, Paula & Ed demonstrate our first “work” day in Haiti.

Today, we plot. Our work plan, that is. It’s a quiet day for our  team. We assembled the suitcases we will take to the residents of the sites we work over the next few days. Wash cloths, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste – it’s all there.

Later, we get to go to the local hardware store! “Just down road”, we’re told. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! We learned our last trip that while “just down the road” may be a mere 10 miles, it will, without doubt, take us 45+ minutes to get there. It’s all  good, though. We get the privilege of venturing into true Haitian culture – tap-taps teeming with passengers, motos zig-zagging through traffic, vendors selling goods.

Oh . . . did I mention it’s a balmy 88 degrees? And a light breeze is blowing through the palm trees? Yeah, not a bad first day of work at all.

Later, friends!