May 30, 2013   Today is packing day.  At 3:30 pm, our team of eighteen (eleven students and seven adults) will be gathering in the Media Center to pack all of our team supplies.  I have been optimistic that this should be a relatively simple process since we don’t have nearly as much stuff to take as the April team.  As I have watched supplies come in, however, such as the two 25 pound bags of fish food I just purchased, I am beginning to  think that we will come close to our capacity of one fifty pound duffel bag per person.  Hopefully, all will go well this afternoon.  Be praying for us as we pack, have our last pre-trip meeting, and spend some time in prayer.      Joe Rego



Aside  —  Posted: May 30, 2013 in During the Trip

Friday Morning

Posted: February 24, 2012 in During the Trip

Sadly, this will probably be our last post during the trip.  We are donating both of the laptops we brought with us to the computer lab at the orphanage, so we don’t plan on having any way to post after today.  Spent a good day yesterday at the orphanage and then had the chance to go to a local beach for some swimming and relaxation.  Today we plan on spending the whole day at the orphanage.  Please pray for our last full day here as many will be very sad to say goodbye.  Please also be in prayer for our travel tomorrow. 

-James Dillon

Wednesday Night

Posted: February 23, 2012 in During the Trip

Prepare yourself. Kyle tells me that this is the longest blog post yet, and I believe him. So then. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Did you repeat, or did you just read over those words? Now that you’ve actually done what I’ve told you to do, you’re ready.                                             -Mark E.

At the time of writing this, our day is only half over. However, I think most of us are ready to go back to bed. Our plans were met with unforeseen circumstances, but that’s typical of most plans in Haiti. Most of us saw our earliest morning since Saturday’s 4am meeting time this morning, because this was the day we were to go to the market to get our goats for the orphanage. Just to get there from our compound is an hour-long bus endeavor, but this allowed us to see much of Jeremie. Our market adventure seemed brief, however we made 2 stops. Our first stop was to view an interesting form of raft in a river that ran through Jerome. We were told that these 20ish-foot-long, shallow boats are created a far way up the mountain, loaded with fruits from the forests, and sent downstream to land in the town. A couple of small boys were playing on these boats before they were to be disassembled and the bamboo shafts that comprise the rafts sold as wood.

                The second stop of our journey was amidst the marketplace to get our goats. By the time we got there, most of the goats were already loaded into Pastor Doni’s van. Nevertheless, we explored around (in close proximity to our bus) and made conversation with some of Jerome’s locals. We loaded back onto our bus and started making our way back to the guesthouse compound, with the plan to grab a quick breakfast (which we had not had yet) and turn back around to the orphanage.

                Key words: “the plan.” Turns out we were forced to make a third, unintentional stop. From what I’ve gathered, our bus had been given bad diesel that was mixed with muddy water that clogged up the filters in the bus and eventually caused us to break down on the road between the orphanage and the compound. Thankfully, this stretch of our journey is in the peace of the rural areas of Jerome, and not in the chaos of the town. Our first plan of action: push the bus backwards to help it start up in Reverse gear. At this point, I had an “I can honestly say I’ve never done this before” moment. If you’ve never pushed a bus backwards on a dirt and gravel road in Haiti, it’s quite an experience. We had no luck in getting the bus to start back up again, so we decided to hang out on the side of the road for some time while DouDou went to go find a solution to our problem. We soon made more friends with the locals, played music, pushed the bus a couple more times (to no avail), and even threw pebbles at James for a small period of time. Mr. Rego, Mrs. Harling, and Miss Mills were picked up by Pastor Doni in his van in order for them to make it to the orphanage to begin their next segment of teacher training. Pastor Doni later returned to pick us up in his van and bring us to the compound. Keep in mind that this is the same van that transported the goats. Yeah, mull on that for a moment. However, this smelly ride was a quick on, and we were received back at the compound with a hearty brunch.

                The future of the day is a bit up in the air as of now, and I am currently one of the few conscious people at 2:02 in the afternoon. For all we know, the bus is still broken on the road, and many of our teachers are still at the orphanage training the Haitian teachers. As for me, I’m okay with this time of rest, writing this blog while listening to the lovely sounds of The Avett Brothers, after being stuck on the side of a Haitian road for close to 2 hours.

Part II

                We did end up making it to the orphanage for a short time, in which we did a VBS time for many of the orphans. The success of this time was in thanks to DouDou, who translated our Bible story (Peter’s denial of Jesus) into Creole, complete with dramatic interpretation. (In case you’re wondering, we rode in the previously goat-filled van to and from the orphanage at this time). After dinner and our nightly debriefing time, DouDou joined us for a little bit of worship time that ultimately ended with a some of the girls introducing him to the music of Christian rapper Lecrae (if you know the people on this trip, you can probably deduce which girls did this).

Sadly, I never got a chance to play basketball today. Now, I must confess, I don’t keep up with what’s posted on the blog. So I don’t know if anyone has told all of you lovely people about the basketball court outside our guest house. It’s a full-size, cement, and vibrant sea-green basketball court. It’s probably the most epic basketball court I’ve ever seen. Imagine shooting hoops while overlooking the ocean in Haiti during sunset. Yeah, your bajillion dollar arenas don’t seem so cool now, do they? When I came on this trip last year, I had assumed that the concrete slab next to the guest house would eventually be a new building. Needless to say, I was rather surprised to find a sea-green basketball court when we round the corner for the first time on Saturday. This is all to explain that I’m sad I didn’t get to play basketball today.

One of the best points of the night was when our newly-fixed bus came rolling down the hill. It started as someone saying, “hey guys, the bus is coming down the hill.” Most everyone went through a thought process along the lines of “the bus? Why would the…THE BUS.” It was a nice surprise to end our day with. (However, it was after this point that DouDou joined us for some worship).

Sadly, this blog post must come to an end. Mr. Chin called lights-out about 10 minutes ago. I just might be able to upload this tonight. Hopefully. I make no guarantees. If not, I guess we’ll get it up tomorrow morning. Hopefully. Still, no guarantees.

                Ending note: among loving on orphans, we’ve planted trees, gotten goats for the orphanage, and tomorrow we are supposed to introduce aquaponics. We aren’t farmers, and most of us aren’t bio-engineers. Most of us are high school students. It really doesn’t make any much sense that we could do these things, and we’re doing these things in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How did we do (and how are we doing) this? How did we get here??  Just throwing that question out there. You can catch it, you can let it fall, or just watch it go by. (Granted, I know the answer, but rhetorical questions are always interesting).

                                                                                                                                                -Mark Erickson

P.S. We’ve been having trouble on uploading pictures. The internet connection is iffy. Kyle is sorry.

More Pictures

Posted: February 23, 2012 in During the Trip

Tuesday Night

Posted: February 22, 2012 in During the Trip

So today was day four, and what a productive day it was! We headed to the orphanage for a short day. As we approached the orphanage, the children ran towards us and jumped up into our arms. Today we started to paint the mural and it was almost completed with the help of some artistic orphans. Some other members of the team started clearing rocks for a “secret project” (whatever the project really is will be revealed to the rest of us later). On a more personal note, I had a great day with a few of the Haitian girls who are closest to me. They braided my hair; shared their stories; and one of the girls, Sophia, a very shy and sensistive girl who usually doesn’t eat or speak, actually ate today and spoke to me for the first time. Her first worsds to me were, “I love you” and “You’re beautiful.” I was so happy to see her finally open up! Later, the team returned to the compound (aka our house) for some down time. After this down time, we headed outside to plant moringa trees. These tree’s leaves are pacted with unbelievable nutrition and truly give hope for Haiti. If these trees are a success, this area of Haiti—and possibly the rest of Haiti–could be provided with the nutrition they’ve needed for so long. I am very excited and very hopeful that these moringa trees will be a success! Tomorrow morning we will be headed to the market to purchase goats for the orphanage. Please pray for safety and success! -Rachael

P.S. Happy Birthday to Brent Mcknight!!

monday night

Posted: February 21, 2012 in During the Trip

Hello! My name is Roni Langley and I’m going to be telling you all about the day we had today. We woke up at about 8:00 and after some down time we went up to pastor Dony’s house for breakfast. The weather was nice and cool this morning, which was very nice, since it is very hot in Haiti. After our breakfast on fruit and bread, we loaded up the bus and headed for the orphanage. Mr. Rego started us out driving because Doudou was flying in from Port-au-Prince. We met Doudou at the landing strip, and while waiting for him to come to the bus, we got to see the people of Haiti preparing for Carnival Week. They had elaborate costumes and colorful masks on. They sang songs and tapped out beats to their songs. They were not keen however on pictures being taken and made quite some noise if a camera was raised; despite that, we did get a few quick snap shots of the people in costume.

After Doudou loaded our bus and took over driving, we made our way to the orphanage for our first full day! We were all excited and ready to show our love and God’s love to the children. When we arrived, all the kids were waiting for us and ran up to the bus so quickly that it was a struggle to make our way out of the crowd! We all ended up with a good four or five kids on our limbs and backs, all wanting to just hold a part of us. Carly and Kyle sketched out the mural so it would be ready for painting tomorrow. We got the library up and running so the kids could go in and try to read some of the books. That was really cool even though we lost two books in the process. Time flew as we spent the time with the kids. We all agree that we can die in peace now that we have all witnessed the singing and dancing of Mr. Rego! It was quite a sight to see (don’t worry we have video and camera proof!) at about 2, we all gathered in the cafeteria and Mark led some worship; us singing in English and the children chiming in, in Creole. It was really special being able to sing with the children worship songs. After that, our senior girls entertained the kids with their stomp dance! The girls and boys loved that! They even tried to join in and learn the steps. We played a little football (aka soccer!) and had a real blast doing that.

After a while, everyone was tired out and things calmed down a bit. Everyone herded towards the  shade and enjoyed some down time. At about 4:30, we loaded up the bus for a bittersweet goodbye, tired from today and excited for tomorrow. The ride home was fun, as we got to see more paraders! Afterwards, we returned the girls–who had had their hair braided by the Haitian girls–washed off to get rid of any potential lice. We then spent some time with the neighborhood kids. Some of them spoke spanish and we were able to do a mash up of english Creole and Spanish. Dinner was goat and chicken, with some pasta beans a rice! I was surprised to find I had sampled some goat liver which was very jiggly and interesting. The food is so good here! Very natural and fresh. After filling our bellies, we went home and spent some group time.

In my eyes the team is becoming very close. The Lord is answering our prayers before our eyes and keeping us safe day after day. Right now it is 9:45, and I’m sure I could tell you all a million miracles the Lord has blessed all of us with, but a new day awaits me, and I should be headed off to bed! Hope you all at home are well! Love, Roni and the whole Haiti team!

Day 3

Posted: February 20, 2012 in During the Trip