This is my 3rd in a series of posts recapping our construction mission trip to Haiti.
We arrived in Petite Goave on Saturday shortly after 1pm, I think. It is a pretty good sized town, but obviously much smaller than Port-au-Prince. I was kind of glad to be in a town, as opposed to the city. Since getting home I have learned that Petite Goave was of course damaged in the original earthquake, but that they actually had an aftershock on January 20th that registered 5.9 and was centered there. So much of their damage probably even happened then, 8 days later. There were dozens of aftershocks that lasted for days. It’s no wonder that the people are still terrified of sleeping in their homes.
Our hotel was beautiful on the outside. The grounds were lovely. The rooms were very very basic, but we were so grateful to have them. When we first signed up for the trip we thought we’d be sleeping in tents, so to have a room was a blessing. Cold water only and air conditioning (both of which only worked when the sporadic electricity worked).
After getting settled in to our hotel we decided to walk down the short road/path to the beach.
Within minutes, kids started appearing. Then more would come, and more. Stephen, our leader for the week, had been there for a couple weeks already and was quickly picking up the Creole. So he was able to help us communicate some.
What is your name? My name is Karen.
How old are you?
They were precious! And so excited to see us. They just kept appearing out of nowhere. We were obviously quite a spectacle there.
So we loved on them – they’d grab our hands or put their arms around us, we picked up the smaller ones and gave them all hugs. We had been told that kids there generally receive much less affection. So when you show them a little bit, they really latch on. Dad broke out his stash of jolly ranchers that he had brought for such an occasion. Those were a big hit!
And then the games began. Hand slap games and variations on “Miss Mary Mack”. I think the duck, duck, goose started up here also and other various things that we could come up with that got around the language barrier. It was a lot of fun and such a great way to start our time in the community!
When we decided that we needed to get back, they all escorted us back up the path – again holding our hands or with their arms around us and ours around them. It was difficult to actually separate ourselves from them, but eventually we did and they all stood waving at us as walked back to the hotel. We would definitely see them again…
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” – Matthew 19:14
The bottom three pictures were taken by our good friend Jason Welch. Check out his photography blog here.