I was really excited to go on my first mission trip and be able to help children, displaying God’s love for them through my words and actions. The trip has certainly exceeded my expectations. I thought that I could hopefully change the lives of the people here, but the trip has affected and changed me a lot as well. The Haitians are amazing people, who are very hardworking and loving. The Restavec Freedom Alliance children have such a deep, sincere love for God and us even though I only met them a few days ago.
Just driving for 6 hours though the country to get from the airport to where we are staying exposed me to the extreme poverty here and how hard the Haitians have it. It is sad to me to see the conditions that most people I the country live in, which inspires me even more to help the RFA children have a better chance at a brighter future. The kids are so happy for every hug or kiss they receive and grateful for every gift we give them, no matter how small.
Today we visited an orphanage nearby that is run by Bethesda Evangelical Mission. There were dozens of kids, but most of them were in school so we didn’t get to meet a lot of them. It was nice to watch them learning, and the others that we did meet were just as loving and excited to see us as the RFA kids. While here, one of the funniest moments of the trip (at least for us observing) occurred. We went out back behind the orphanage to see their big soccer field, and Steven decided to try and climb a palm tree (on a bet by Julie for $1 that he couldn’t get a coconut). After climbing a couple feet up the tree and being unsuccessful in reaching the top, he came down. Soon after, he started hitting himself and yelling, as me, Julie, Nina, Emily, and Wadsen observed, laughing hysterically. We didn’t know what was going on. He then ripped off his shirt and started swatting himself with it. He apparently was attacked by red ants or some similar bug while attempting to climb the tree. It was pretty funny for those of us not experiencing the painful bites and ensuing itching.
After the visit to the orphanage we went to the Restavec Freedom Alliance house again to spend the afternoon with the kids. I had a lot of fun with them as usual, and there were some sweet moments when they decorated their tie-dye shirts with “I love you Mommy Ellen, Nina, Julie, and Kristen”. It is starting to set in that tomorrow is the last day that I will see the kids, and it is sad. I will miss them all very much, and it will be hard to say goodbye. It helps to know that they are in the hands of loving parents and will have other mission teams to visit them. I love all the kids very much and they have changed my life.
May 2012 Restavec Freedom Alliance, BEM Inc., Volunteer