Tag Archives: Zanmi Lasante

It Looks Like We’re in Jurassic Park

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As I begin this post, we are taxing down the runway toward our gate in Miami. The pilot just told us over the intercom that it’s something like 76 degrees here. I’m just looking forward to some air conditioning and some food.

Our morning began like so many others, us rising with the sun. It’s been so nice this week not to be startled by my alarm but to wake up more naturally. We again were served a hearty breakfast before it was time to get ready for worship. Two of our compatriots even managed to match.

Before we left to walk to the church, several of the pastors served Communion on the front porch of the house. With the spectacular views and the wonderful new friends, it was a special time.

We walked together to the church and joined many of the Haitians from the community. Although the majority of the service was in Creole, the songs that were sung and the mere presence of God in that place were uplifting. We were given seats of honor at the very front of the sanctuary. Our group participated in worship as well by singing “Sanctuary” and “As I Went Down to the River to Pray.”

David P., through a translator, shared his message on thirst and how Jesus is the only one who can fulfill our thirst.

We were escorted out of worship early because we had a flight to catch. The pastor of the church actually stopped the service and told us to head back to the house. We filed out of the church with everyone watching us

After some quick last minute packing, a costume change, and a hearty lunch, we loaded up our stuff and headed back towards Port Au Prince or so we thought. When we got to the bottom of the crazy hill, we had to get out and hike up the hill one last time. We didn’t do it for nostalgia but because the van couldn’t get up the hill otherwise!

The ride to the airport was a lot smoother than the ride to Cange at the beginning of the week. Maybe it was because we were going downhill or maybe it was because Madison shared her Dramamine with me.

We had a short wait in the Haiti airport and several of the guys got up close and personal with security. You could tel everyone was so drained because for the first time all week we were sitting together but it was quiet.

The flight to Miami was peaceful. The ocean was amazing because you could see the current! I don’t think I’ve seen so many blues in my entire life! If the flight was peace, the Miami airport was chaos. Maybe it was that we were exhausted but the airport signs were unclear and the process was complicated.

We had to go through Passport check, security, customs, and pick up and recheck our baggage. Then we had to find ourselves something to eat before our flight to Charlotte left. Most of chose, being typical Americans, chose pizza and boy was it good!

Most of our team slept all the way to Charlotte. Those of us who didn’t, got to see lightening from the height of the clouds producing it. The landing in Charlotte was smooth and so was our exit. Several people seemed to have lost their luggage. As I was leaving the airport, they were in the offices trying to find out where it was.

For me, the goodbyes at the airport were harder than bucket showers, remembering to not flush the toilet paper, or walking almost everywhere we went. In many ways we became a family, disfunctional at times, but a group who really care about each other. We will miss finding Connor’s stuff mixed in with our own, Madison having her face time in the mirror, AJ’s hilarious jokes, Catherine’s contageous smile, and something unique about every other person. We are better for having met each other and many of us will be friends for life!

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The clutch still works but the transmission is slipping

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We have survived another day in Haiti! It been such a crazy day that I’m not sure we can share all our adventures.

This morning we had a surprise for breakfast. Our host wouldn’t tell us what we were eating until each of us tried it. Luckily it looked similar to oatmeal so we weren’t scared that there were strange meats involved. Once everyone had sampled, we were shocked to learn that it was blended spaghetti noodles! The taste was surprisingly amazing.

We headed down to the school and actually made it on time. After a super brief lesson, we headed out into the town of Cange to take photographs. We walked throughout the market where there were fresh fruits and vegetables as well as live chickens. The chickens were ready to be purchased and plucked for dinner. We wandered into Zanmi Lasante (which is the hospital sponsored by Partners in Health) which is a huge complex which features the hospital room and emergency room, a school, and a church. We wandered in the “gift shop” which featured art created by local artists. We found some really cool items to bring back to our family, friends, and our own homes.

We showed the children their pictures that they took the previous day using a donated laptop and a projector at the school. They were excited to see their photographs and were proud of their work. It made my heart happy to see their joy!

Everyone was having so much that we didn’t make it back to the school on time. We had the opportunity to really converse with the Haitian students we’re working with because they opened up to us when we were away from the school. I’m not sure if it was the environment change or the fact that they’re getting more comfortable with us but it’s nice to use more than hand gestures. Their pictures are improving greatly and some of the kids have made huge leaps and bounds in terms of their skills.

We came back and were served lunch again. We’re all afraid to not eat something of our own because they kitchen workers might take our words to heart and not cook for us. We’ve all tried to be really polite and not offend the Haitians by turning down food. Most of us have been eating two lunches every day.

After lunch, we enjoyed our siesta and prepared ourselves to work with the afternoon group.

As we walked down to the school, we commented on the clouds and how tricky they were. We have been expecting rain for days and it has never come. Today, the sky looked overcast again but we weren’t hopeful for rain. Right as we got ready to start the lesson, the sky opened up and rain began to fall. Thinking it was a short rain shower, three of us ran to experience the rain. One of the little boys joined us and we jumped and skipped, much to the delight of the children. Some of the other children who have not been a part of the program came to play in the rain. They taught us some really fun kids games that they play. One of the involved freezing when the song ended and not being the first to move.

It rained like I’ve only seen before during a hurricane. The rain came down in sheets sideways. It was so heavy at times that we couldn’t hear the photography lesson. Instead, we decided to sing. They started with ‘Jesus Loves Me’ which we taught the kids in English and Sign Language. Then we moved onto “How Great Thou Art.” We sang it in English and then the Haitians sang it in French. Finally, we sang it in our own languages simultaneously. It was one of the most powerful moments of the entire trip.

Some of us (Paul) took advantage of the rain to take their first shower of the trip. Others enjoyed the wonderful clean water to take what is arguably the best shower of the trip. It’s been raining off and on all night which we hope will continue to aid our sleep.

Now we’re all dancing in one of the bedrooms. They’ve already Dougied and Wobbled. Now they’re doing the Cupid Shuffle which is hilarious! The other room is learning to walk with bowls on their heads like many of the Haitian women.