Hey everybody! Sorry I couldn't update you more recently but I was unable to access the blog until now. I'll just sum up my trip so far.
Day 1 - Monday:
We flew into Port Au Prince, Haiti about midmorning. We met Marie and Elizabeth, the women who run the orphanage that we've been helping out. This was my first time meeting them, the four other people on my team had met her before. The other people on my team had been to Haiti before and knew what the roads were like, and they were reluctant to riding on them again. The bumpy drive from the airport to the house we would be staying in didn't bother me a bit. I grew up in a different 3rd world country for 9 1/2 years and so I was used to similar bumpy roads. Once we got to the house and got settled in, Marie and Elizabeth took us to lunch. Then our team came back to the house and just relaxed for the afternoon While Marie and Elizabeth went home.
Day 2 - Tuesday:
We drove out to the orphanage in the morning. The orphanage is near a village outside of Port Au Prince. It's a 45 minute drive both ways and the roads are extremely bumpy. It was very hard to take pictures from the back of a truck that had bars on all sides, but I did my best. I got to tour the orphanage for the first time. The other team members had been there before, but they got to see new additions to the orphanage that weren't there last time they came. We did an assessment of what our schedule would be like for the week, then we spent the afternoon putting rice, beans, and packages of spaghetti noodles into bags. Once the children of the orphanage got home from school, we took time to play with them and, of course, I took a bunch of pictures. I was amazed that almost all the children immediately came and gave me a hug. They knew the other team members from before but they didn't know me. That didn't seem to matter though. They gave me hugs and kisses anyways. Unfortunately we had to leave them to come back to the house. I couldn't wait to see them again.
Day 3 - Wednesday (today):
Unfortunately we didn't get to see much of the kids today. We spent the morning painting the walls of a room and varnishing wood shelves. In the afternoon we finished bagging the rice, beans, and spaghetti. Tomorrow we will be handing out these bags of food to the village people. Can't wait to see the happiness in their faces when they get them. I was also able to sit down with Elizabeth today and interview her. She's a sweet American lady who really loves these children. She tells an amazing story about a break-in at the orphanage that happened last month. It's amazing how she and most of the children remained unharmed. Only a couple of the boys were injured, but they're okay now. Hopefully this story will make a good article. I can't wait to interview Marie, who is Haitian, about how she started the orphanage in the first place. I didn't get to spend time with the children, unfortunately. But hopefully I can tomorrow. On the ride home we got stuck in traffic, which is also an interesting story but I don't have time to go into detail. Let's just say that the traffic situation in Haiti is horrific. It's amazing that we haven't seen any accidents yet. Tomorrow is the start of the Voodoo festival in Haiti. As I'm writing this, there is some chanting and singing coming from the Voodoo temple next door. And it's getting louder. So...yeah...today has been interesting.