Friday, May 6, 2011

Stories from Haiti- The orphanage and the riot

Our first day in Haiti, Rita (the host) took us to an orphanage she sponsors financially. It is run by her sister-in-law and her cousin, who are both nuns. We were told it was a 2 hour bus ride to the orphanage, but ended up being 4 hours. We saw a lot of Haiti, and to be honest, I felt like I was back in Honduras. I was very shocked at the similarities between the 2 countries. There was still a lot of rubble, but it was obvious that a lot of work had already been done to rebuild Haiti. 
We arrived at the orphange around 11am and divided into 2 teams. One group went to work with the small children, while the other group with the teenagers. I went with the older group, but found it very difficult. The girls speak Creole, there were 20 of them, and only 1 translator. After being in only English or Spanish speaking countries, it was a new feeling of frustration to not be able to communicate. My means of communication became charades, but it was very difficult to be able to effectively minister to the girls. We ended up doing a short drama, short talk, and played a lot of games. We got to pray for them and some of the elderly people who live on the property, and left around 3:30.

The drive back home was quite the adventure. Three of the nuns who work in the orphanage travelled back to Port-au-Prince with us. About an hour into the trip we saw a fire up ahead, and a group of people shouting. The bus pulled up close to the demonstration, and the nuns got out to ask if they would let the bus through (nuns are highly respected!).  However, because we got close to the fires and shouting people, my fellow teammates got out their cameras to take pictures and video the demonstration. (One of my many frustrations of being on an outreach with younger people who have only been out of the country on vacation). As they were hanging out the windows with their cameras, we became the target of the rioting. The rioters started banging on our bus, shaking it back and forth, and spray painting it.  They were shouting that they wanted the tires of the bus to burn them, and the cameras as well. After 15 minutes of chaos, one of the nuns convinced the people to let us through. During those long 15 minutes, I had my head down and just prayed. I tend to picture the worst possible scenarios and was imagining them throwing a bomb through the window.  Thank God that didn't happen!

5 hours later, due to the overheating bus that we were constantly stopping for, we made it home safe and sound. Having travelled 8 hours from the DR to Haiti on Sunday, and a 9 hour round trip bus ride on Monday, we were all thankful for the walking we had to do throughout the rest of the week!

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