An amazing recap from Bruce and Julies recent trip to Haiti,
In many ways, this project felt like our first trip to Haiti in June of 2011. The living conditions for these children were very inadequate. And it was obvious that they were not being well cared for. Was a playground necessary – was it needed?. Absolutely! These orphans had nothing… no toys, no clothes, no beds AND no reason to laugh or smile. When we arrived they were sitting in a pavilion-type building. Just as they were on two other occasions when Bruce and I visited. They just sat there, watching and doing nothing.
But all that changed when our team rolled in on the bus. I looked at all these kids and suggested to the team that we greet them with a high five or handshake. In devotions the night before, I asked them to find a way to encourage the children. And they did! All day!
When the kids saw the playground pieces, they began to move out from the shelter to investigate. Our team took hold of hands, carried the younger ones and started to pour out their love. Bonds between the children and team immediately took place.
Even before the playground dedication, the smiles began and a few quiet giggles could be heard. BUT, the laughter and screams at the dedication were just as loud as every other playground dedication we have been part of. There is nothing so moving, so rewarding than watching kids be kids!!
But this playground project was different and it was difficult. Different because we spent a lot of time on a bus traveling to the site. The traffic conditions in Haiti is a growing problem. More and more people are buying cars. Yet they haven’t built any new roads. The trip from the airport to GI in Carrefour can take 7 hours now. It’s only 12 miles! As much as I’d like to say the traffic was the difficult part, it wasn’t. The difficulty was seeing the conditions at this orphanage. It was heartbreaking and disturbing. Bruce and I raised funds to make some much-needed improvements. And once the playground was finished, the impact team helped us assemble new bunk beds, with new mattresses. Five little boys sleep on a bed for the first time!
The team brought suitcases full of clothing, shoes, toys, school supplies and much more. It was a great big party that we didn’t want to end!
Overall, it was the most rewarding playground project we’ve ever done. It felt right! We definitely impacted the lives of kids with God’s transforming HOPE!