Saturday, March 12, 2016

Day 6: Orphanage Visits

It felt like a Saturday and we needed a chill day after a high energy (but rewarding) water truck day yesterday.  We went to Lalou and LaPherre orphanages and had a chance to spend time with Haitian kids and bond with the team. 

The day started casually over breakfast while the kids played soccer with staff.  While we were relaxing in the guest house, Jeff had left at 6 am to attend a funeral ceremony at the request of a Haitian friend, he felt honored to perform 2 songs and described it as a wonderful and emotional experience.

Once Jeff returned, Mee-Shell (Local pronunciation of Michelle) got us prepared with a thoughtful devotional she authored about Charlotte’s Web.  Our new driver, Luke-naire drove us in the Tap-Tap to Lalou’s orphanage.  It was a short commute through Port au Prince, but once behind the gates we found Lalou to be a clean and cheery orphanage.  It was a unique experience for the kids to bond with Haitians in a school like setting, but being a Saturday we were not interrupting class-time so we did crafts, played soccer, sang songs, danced, put stickers on their faces and just had fun.  It was a bit sad to think these kids spent every weekend at the orphanage, but they did love playing and we loved being with them and just enjoyed the moment.  I don’t know who had more fun, the Haitians or Americans.

After Lalou we went to visit 2 fledgling non-profit organizations, but they were both closed on Saturday.   We were disappointed, but glad to see them closed for the weekend.  It was neat to drive through different parts of Port au Prince.  We returned to the guest house for our snack-lunch and planned our afternoon at LaPherre’s orphanage.  

This time we were a little more prepared with the crafts and activities.  When we arrived at LaPherre’s it was in a nicer neighborhood and less institutional than Lalou’s.  Mr. LaPherre welcomed us into the home and there were about 16 kids of various ages.  We first played inside and made some bracelets, balloon games and Jeff played some music.  Then we were blessed with angelic singing from the orphans of Haitian songs.  Mr. LaPherre had a huge fatherly smile and recorded our visit with his cell phone.  It was nice to see the children in a small family-like setting right in the city, it was clear they were more part of a community than some others we've seen.  We played with some foam air planes in their side yard and were just settling in … when we had to leave.  After LaPherre’s we went to Pizza Amour for dinner, we got there early and enjoyed some good food and team-time.  There was a friendly game of PIG at the basketball court and along with some impressive chalk art.  

We met a missionary family from Oregon that lived in Haiti and had adopted 12 kids and one of them was our waitress.  Early in the week we had befriended a St Louis family that had spent 5 years trying to adopt a Haitian son and their paperwork had just gone through. 

Once back at the guest house, we had some down time before we all regrouped for the last time to share our word of the day.  Our time was powerful and we were all impressed by how thoughtful the kids had been all week.  We really had great comradery with the team, today’s words were fun, sad, bittersweet, weekend, moment, family, natural, thankful, flexible and perspiration.

We were all deeply touched by the Haitian people and know that our lives will never be the same.  As we prepare to depart, we now pray, consider, and find a purposeful way to fill the void of our Haitian adventure.  


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