Today’s blog post was written by Justine Kaskel, GHF ’17.
Today we had another attempt to watch the sunrise; we had the same routine, waking up at 6, dragging ourselves out of bed, and bathing ourselves with bug spray. We heard the dogs barking and the roosters crowing, and people talking as they carried water to their home for the day. We rubbed the sleep from our eyes as we hiked up to a small dirt hill and waited for the sun to rise. Unfortunately, the sky was overcast, and so we didn’t see the sunrise we were hoping for. We saw the sun eventually peek through the clouds and then we headed back to the house to try to catch a little shuteye before we really started our day.
First on the agenda was heading back to the Azil, the feeding center for the malnourished children. As soon as we got to center, kids were jumping on us from left to right. It was a full time job defending ourselves from the giggling children trying to climb on our back, grab our hands, or stealing my glasses. We rocked, bounced and swung around the children while they smiled laughed and screamed in excitement of just making new friends. Though I have only spent two hours with these kids, they have stolen part of my heart forever, as well as almost stealing my sunglasses. Little details.
We headed back to the house for the last time, because we were heading to Port-Au-Prince for the rest of our trip in Haiti. But before we headed to our new “home” at the Operation Blessing, International guest house in PaP, we stopped in Cange to listen to a music concert played by Haitian children who had were concluding their three-week music camp. To say I was impressed was an understatement. Those children were amazing, and I wish the world were there to hear them play because that type of talent must be shared with the world.
After the concert we finally started our last leg of the trip to Port-Au-Prince, where everyone promptly fell asleep on the bus. We missed the crowded streets of the Port-Au-Prince, but I am sure that we will see the traffic soon. When we arrived at the Operation Blessing, International guesthouse, all of us were in awe at the fact that there was a washing machine, and a dryer! Air conditioning in every room, cold drinking water, and our own showers. Showers! I felt so spoiled after several days of waiting to the shower after 5 people.
So now the day is winding down, a couple of us are playing cards, others are emailing parents, and all are just sitting around a table just talking. I really feel as though this trip has brought us together as a group. Maybe this trip is not just to help the Haitian people, but also to help ourselves. Yes, generally speaking, we are (monetarily) richer than the Haitians, yes we are healthier than them as well, but are we happier? As I spend more time here I realize how close the Haitian people are versus the people in my own neighborhood. It’s sad, but I don’t even know half the people in my cul-de-sac. Our driver from Hinche to PaP, a man named Wilbens, smiled and chatted to 5-10 people on the way to each stop. All I see when I look at the streets are smiling and happy people. Though the United States is better off than the Haiti in many ways, it seems as though the Haitians have found true happiness despite all the problems they face. So which is better? Happiness or health? Rich or being close to neighbors? So who really is helping who? Us or the Haitians?
Highlights of the Day:
Graham Barbour: Learning about the different aspects of Operation Blessing.
Nathalie Danso: seeing the kids at the Azile again.
Ryan Fulmer: Playing cards once we arrived in Port au Prince.
Justine Kaskel: Walking into Azil and being smothered with children just happy to see us.
Helen Shaves: Playing new card games with everyone once we arrived at OBI.