Visiting the orphanage

Feb. 20
Arnold Hosbach, Fuller Center volunteer

5:30 a.m. – thank you roosters. You do make a compelling reason to “rise and shine”!

Sunrise and sunset come early here as we are closer to the equator. Cool breezes have helped but it is still hot. Breakfast was at 7:30 this morning and we learned a new sung “grace” for some of us: back of the bread is the flour, back of the flour is the mill, back of the mill is the wind and rain and the Father’s will. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, bananas, mango juice, bread with peanut butter and coffee.

Afterwards we had a discussion with Gerson on the current political situation in Haiti which is very corrupt with many pay-offs to the “bureaucracy” in order to get anything done. This leads to continuing frustrations, e.g. “selling your soul to the Devil”. He said “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” – a seeming endless cycle.

Off to church.

And what a service!! After a short five minute escorted walk through a portion of the camp, we arrived to hear the “Call to Worship” in progress being broadcast for the masses to come.

Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best, including the smallest of children. The children were very well behaved ushers did walk around to make sure everyone was sitting up and paying attention and not slumped over, as if asleep. The service did go to Eleven o’clock. Most of it was in French but the extended sermon was in Creole. 

We were treated to a big delicious lunch – four or five main dishes including baked chicken, baked mixed vegetables, scalloped potatoes, a pinkish corn casserole (can you tell I don’t cook), mango juice and water.

After lunch, Gerson arranged for a bus to take us out to the orphanage on land that he and Heather had started for feeding, housing and teaching the children. The bus ride of 5-10 miles out to the orphanage was full of scenes of the earthquake’s devastation. It’s not like a tornado that might leave a half mile wide swath of destruction. This destruction is just all over. Vendors were out all along the way selling their fresh fruit, water packets, soda, lotions, clothing. You name it and you could find it, albeit very dust covered from the passing vehicles only a few feet away.

 The children were priceless – young boys and girls starved for affection but very well behaved. We played games with them with balloons we’d brought. They also loved being picked up and tossed in the air and then caught or just sitting on your lap. Many squeals of laughter were heard.

Saying goodbye after a short two hours or so was hard for us. Did we make any impact on their lives? We can only hope so, if only for a short time. They took our leaving well and many may already be used to strangers with smiles and good wishes dropping in, only to leave after a short time. They may not know that our hearts and prayers will be ever with them.

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