Today’s blog was written by Helen Shaves ’17 and Gabi Diskin ’16.
We had another early start waking up at 6 for a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, rolls, and peanut butter. Then we coated ourselves in bug spray and sunscreen and were astonished to see a tap-tap, Haiti’s main form of public transportation, named for the way its riders signal to the driver to make a stop.
We rode the tap-tap to our first activity of the day in Medan Belize, a rural village located outside of Port-au-Prince, on Lake Azeui, the largest lake in Haiti. We went to the village’s school, co-founded by Operation Blessing, International and the Clinton Foundation, which the GHF ’17s painted last year, and had had the opportunity to see what progress they have made. We brought educational coloring books (written by Virginia Beach local Jean Mackay Vinson) with a focus on hygiene and sanitation, and we worked with a translator to read the creole book to the children. There were 5 classrooms and the ages ranged from 7-16. We colored the books with them, played hand games, and helped the kids pick up trash around the school as part of their Friday routine.
We then headed back to the Villa Francesca for a local lunch of potatoes, beef, and vegetables. Once we finished we headed to the tilapia fish farm housed on the grounds of Zamni Beni, a home for disabled children started after the earthquake, and learned about the complicated selling and breeding processes. We drove back to Villa Francesca for a quick card game and were on the road once again to visit St. Luc’s, the adult hospital associated with St. Damien, where we saw various wards ranging from cholera to ICU and radiology.
Favorite moments of the day:
Stuart- Playing with all of the kids at the school; getting to know Sylnida, the 12-year-old girl who always had a smile on her face
Graham- Playing with the children at Medan Belize and marveling at how welcoming they were
Helen- Finally getting to experience a tap-tap
Justine- Magline, a girl from the school, saying “we are like sisters”
Nathalie- Playing with the kids at the school
Ryan- Playing with the children at the school in Medan Belize
Claire- Riding the tap-tap
Elizabeth- Playing with the kids outside and coloring
Gabi- Watching the kids run to follow our bus on the way out
Hunt- Helping the kids pick up the trash at the school
Lawson- Visiting the school in Medan Belize
Olivia- Coloring and teaching the kids at the school about hygiene