This is my first time to Haiti but Mike has been there a couple of times since the earthquake. I must say that I was looking forward to go since the trip was planned, there were uncertainties along the way but the Lord has worked it all out. We were four on this trip (Pastor Michel Poirier with his wife Ms. Ruth, then there is Mike and myself). So, here we are in Haiti! “Bienvenue en Haiti!”
As soon as we got out of the airport we were greeted by our missionary Pastor Romiche Bastien with two other men with him. I cannot complain… from Quebec’s freezing temperature compare to Haiti’s warm & sunny weather, just amazing!
So, we all got into the vehicle (two in front, three in the middle, and two more at the back with our luggages! We arrived a day earlier so we were not sure where exactly we were going to sleep that night. Our reservation at Blue Ridge Compound (manage by the American Mennonites) was for the following day… which is Sunday.
It was late in the afternoon around 4pm when we all got into the car and started heading to our unknown destination. Wow! This is the first night of adventure! Mysterious!
Later that afternoon we found out that we are sleeping at the pastor’s home. We are grateful for their hospitality and the many meals prepared by Ms. Ilna.
COMMON SCENES ON THE ROAD
As we slowly travel the road I saw some familiar scenes and brought me back good memories of my native home, the beautiful country of the Philippines.
The same familiar scenes can also be found in my homeland. It was not a shock to me but I was curious more than anything else. The picture on the left is a public transportation they call, “tap-tap” but we have “jeepneys” in the Philippines! I also noticed that not many folks are wearing seatbelts, both locals and foreigners alike.
In Haiti there is no weight limit on the loads that you could put on your vehicle, it is full & packed. The roads are bad and very rough and generous in dust. Pastor Romiche and his wife came to visit us in Canada, he said “In Haiti we have plenty of dust.”
People have to make a living to survive on a daily basis. There are desperate people everywhere, not only in Haiti who will not hesitate to take a life to get what they want.
I heard some sad stories by asking and talking to some folks that we met along the way. But I also heard some very good stories of victories and hope.
A lot of things are going in mind during that trip.
When I was there it felt like I was doing something for the Lord, something good and valuable, something worthy. I felt useful that we had something to share in our own small ways, when put together, it was big for me.
Now there are a lot of vendors everywhere and they sell almost anything!
The man below for example is selling some water and juices which is probably a mixture that he made himself. I wonder how long has he been doing this job?
This is both shocking and a big “no,no” where I live in Quebec. I didn’t have to buy and taste this one but many years ago when I was growing up in Manila, I would buy some from the vendors as well. My favorite was buko juice and melon juice. They were actually pretty good! But I am passing on this one!
Being in Haiti felt like “home” in a strange way. First of all it is always sunny! Amen! The setup was like Manila, vendors everywhere and very busy streets!
Something new…the first time I saw someone selling medications just like that! My collegue from work said that it looks like prevacid capsules when I showed her the picture.
THE MAIN GOAL: A NEW WELL IN ONAVILLE
Okay, moving forward with the main story… the digging of the the well. This town where the new well that was dug was just a plain ground with nothing on it. But right after the earthquake, they started rebuilding and this town of Onaville was born.
The people were very excited but so are we!
The Haitians were talking among themselves and the news spread very quickly. I am not sure exactly how far do they have to travel to get water for daily washing and cooking but I do know that they have to pay for their drinking water which you will see later what I mean.
It was amazing to watch how they did it, I have never seen one before!
We were watching, filming and taking pictures of every thing. What an incredible joy to be a part of this mission trip!
They dug 140 feet deep before finally hiting a vein of water. They started very early in the morning and they were done by mid afternoon.
Brother Meylan (digger) told us the possibility that the water might be salty because because the town is at sea level.
After hitting the source, sure enough the water was not for drinking. It has to be treated first which would cost a couple thousands of dollars.
We are still very grateful to the Lord for the new well. Everything went smoothly and the diggers did not encounter any major problems.
Although the water is salty, it can still be used by the locals to wash and clean without walking so far to get water. Many thanks to Brother Meylan and his team from Blue Ridge.
A pump was installed later. Now the community in this small part of town have free water, available for everyone. The folks were very grateful to the Lord for this blessing. We praise the Lord for everything!
One man in particular by the name of Robert (picture below) told Mike that he was so touched by this act of kindness. He actually cleared the property with with his machete before and during the digging of the well.
He came to church for the first time that Sunday with his wife and children.
During that time we also had the privilege of giving away LUCI LANTERNS to the people.
It is so dark at night where we are and it is amazing that people walk around with no flashlights. There are no street lights, we could hear people talking and hanging out at night outside of Blue Ridge but it is super dark outside!
The lanterns were another blessing the folks appreciated receiving them.
In Haiti they eat rice everyday, their favorite recipe is rice cooked with dried peas. What can I say? I can’t get tired of eating it! We also ate lots of fried chicken at the Bastiens everytime we were there and they love to receive guests in their home and we had the privilege of dining with some of them.
Oh, they have many banana plantations and they have a special way of cooking it, mashed and fried. I think that it is overhelming to see the mangoes almost everywhere! Although the ones hanging on the trees were green, pastor Romiche brought us some yellow ones and we ate them almost every morning with our breakfast!
We ate lots of homemade bread! Since Ms. Ruth taught the ladies how to make them and bake cakes, we had no choice but to taste them! 🙂
But the most interesting was when they gave us half of a goat one day. We asked for some recipes but we ended up inventing our own. 🙂 After removing the skin and the majority of the bones, we marinated it with two bottles of coke and lots of lime, left in the fridge overnight.
The following day Ms. Ruth and I made a stew out of it and let it cook all day. I must say that it was pretty good! Cooking goat for the first time! We had it for supper and we made our Haitian guests taste it. Nothing was wasted, so I guess it passed the test!
Absolutely got to try the “PIKLIZ” when you are in Haiti!
“IT IS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE”
What a great day! Today is a special day to be a blessing once again because today they are receiving good drinking water for FREE!
Mike told me once, you don’t have to be lost somewhere to experience a survival situation. Some do live in a survival situation everyday, always thinking where their next meal will come from.
If only you could have seen their faces, they were happy just receiving water for free that it didn’t have to come from their budget, that is if they have one! The water is probably as clean as the one I’m using to flush my toilet!
The trip in Haiti awakened me, reminded me that I complain too much in life for nothing! I don’t know the hearts but the Father does. The problem is looking at our circumstances too much, looking at others helps to be grateful for what you have and don’t have.
Pastor Poirier shared a message about Jesus and the woman at the well found in John 4.
Then the distribution began. People came one by one and the word spread quickly that we were giving away free drinking water. It didn’t take long when we started seeing people with buckets and all kinds of liquid containers.
I am still wondering how that lady with four big blue containers brought those back home. We had 1500 gallons of water for $100 US! When you think about it, $100 will provide good drinking water for 100 people for a day. Sometimes I think some of our spending is in vain like spending $100 for a brand new piece of furniture that we do not really need!
I find it interesting how these ladies carry their buckets on their heads, quite heavy and they need to walk back home! About 40 lbs on there heads!
ACCROSS THE STREET
We have enough water left so we traveled accross the other street and did the same thing… spread the word and people started coming out from all directions.
Both young and old came to benefit from this blessing. There was a good line-up at the beginning but as soon as the water started pouring out the people panicked. They wanted to make sure that their buckets would be full before the water ran out. Some of the men who were with us intervened and things went back to normal.
We probably reached about 1/3 of the population in that area because it is a big area, but the Lord knew our efforts were not in vain. We had three professions of faith during the distribution, thanks to Brother Kedy.
BE ON GUARD
These kids were amazing! They were carefully watching over their share while someone in the family is traveling back and forth to bring it home one bucket at a time!
You may have seen it in the video when this little girl took a sip of the water and at the same time making sure no one would takeit. It is very precious to them what we take for granted many times.
This trip was very profitable not only spiritually, physically, but also morally. We would have loved to do more but time and circumstances were short and limited and we had a few obstacles along the way.
But we are grateful for this great opportunity, I feel blessed to be there and see another culture, be a blessing and to be blessed by the Lord with such an experience. I could go on and on and keep writing but I think I already gave you enough.
Thank you for your time and may this be a source of blessing for you as well. God Bless!
Always look beyond your circumstances and you’ll be amazed at what you might see.