Home for Sick and Dying babies is a place where parents can bring their children for medical care, formula for the babies, and so forth. There are children there that have illness due to malnourishment, among others, but malnourishment is the prevalent reason they are in a crib with an IV hooked up, based on previous experience. Their parents either come and stay there or they come to visit during the day or when they can, but at times need to go work- just like those parents in the US. There also is a place that breaks my heart- the room with the orphaned children- some confined to a bed due to lack of nourishment. Many a size or three smaller than what we are used to for a multitude of reasons. It's a visit of diaper changes, feeding, holding babies, and sometimes, just stroking the back or belly of the kids too fragile to lift.
The second option was where I found myself- Gertrudes. Gertrudes is a special needs orphanage down here that just blesses me more and more each time I'm down here. It is the picture example of the improvement of Haiti from my first trip three and a half years ago- an improved facility, cleaner- better clothing for the kids- a playground that has been fashioned for these disabled children to be able to have safe play. Being a child in Haiti is hard. Being an orphan is that much more tough. Being a disabled orphan without the facility care that we are able to offer is indescribable. And yet? This great joy from each of these kids. They have this ability to smile and find joy in being held in the sunshine like Maxo. They love to be pushed in their chair like Alencia (?sp). They loved the suckers we brought for them. The balloons. I had a little girl fall asleep on my lap not long after I picked her up. It's this great thing to have a smaller space and have a small child fall asleep on you- the ability to take the picture of the other kids playing, smiling, just pleased to have someone come to touch in love and not only to care for a base need of wiping the drool or a runny nose.
We then went to the Apparent Project- it's this great company that employs Haitians making beaded necklaces, wooden bowls, metal art, aprons, and so forth. They have Haitians making all of the items as a means for these people- the parents- to have employment with honor so they are able to care for their children or just themselves in general. I love the idea, the solution that gives them the ability to work toward supporting themselves instead of merely offering a charity- give a man a fish versus teach him to fish. It's pretty great.
Next stop is LaFarre's orphanage. One of our first timers had the idea for a velum heart on top of a foam heart- the velum heart having Jesus written on it, and the kids being able to write their names on the foam one. The symbolism, for how they were cut, tied, and assembled, was to show Jesus name is written on their hearts. What a great idea and a great reminder wherever they are. They also were able to decorate them with stickers and crosses and so forth. Awesome. We were given a tour with part of the team being able to talk with them about how to finish the church they have started. The question was asked- what is needed- how much- what part do you need done the most. The answer? A roof. The possible answer? A couple of brothers on the trip. There are questions to be asked and details to work out, but there is a possibility of solving this need.
My word was long in coming yesterday. Learning. Alyn Shannon, by all accounts, was an amazing woman. One of the most powerful videos I've seen with regard to Haiti, but also this organization, was one where she relayed she asks what is God trying to teach me? So learning. Learning about how to better deal with special needs kids so I can better serve the babies at Gertrudes. Learning about each team member- one person has a brother who, solely from the misfortune of a car accident, now has brain damage. Her perspective and heart being at Gertrudes is not one I'll forget any time soon. Learning about each other- the funny stories of the brothers coloring each other's hair or other childhood stories, the boyfriend of one of the teens on the trip, the differences each of us bring to an excessively large team. The story that touched my heart was one about of the men on this trip. A headache and an insistent wife once upon a time led to the discovery of a brain tumor. The prognosis is not great by the world's standards. The prognosis in God's timing I pray is different. The way God has shown up and blessed them with provision and answering the craziest dream is not something that I can accurately describe. Learning- what is God trying to teach me in the differences in each team member- how everyone ticks- how every one of them is able to bring different strengths and encouraging those they do bring that they may not see in themselves. The learning of what God is trying to teach me. I continue to be amazed and blessed by the differences in each trip, each day, and each time I go home what it is God wants me to know an understand. To HIM be the glory. Mold me and teach me God. This is Your trip and your team to do just that. I would hope for no less.