Friday, September 3, 2010

Haiti Day Two: Bienac Orphanage

After a little time to rest and refresh ourselves, we headed for the Bienac orphanage in Gonaives.

This is what we saw when we walked up: a very old primitive, open air structure filled with dozens of children! They were so excited to see us visit and we were excited to spend some time with them. Bienac is not a Global Orphan orphanage. Kyle, the man in the bottom right corner that I barely got in the photo above, has had a several year relationship with the pastor of this church, Pastor Daniel Joffry. He has been supporting this particular orphanage on his own and with the help of a couple of friends and he was excited to visit again.

First we played some games in the play yard. The yard was rocky and filled with garbage, trash and building materials. Very dangerous for the kids with sharp corrugated tin, rebar, broken glass, tin can lids. And the smell was so bad I caught myself holding my breath at times. It broke my heart to see these beautiful children playing in all of that.

We had a Bible teaching time led by Pat. Pat's greatest joy is evangelism and teaching missions and she was very good with the kids.

Next we had some coloring time with crayons and coloring pages we brought for the kids. They were so eager and appreciative of this simple activity. Many, many children all scrunched together on these benches, some spilling out into the hallway in the first picture, coloring against the walls, coloring on some of our team member's laps, anywhere they could find a surface.

Here is Paige in one of the other rooms watching the kids as they color.

This room serves as a "school room" but school really consists of hit and miss sessions taught by some of the mamas that care for the kids.

I loved this little guy's green bandanna so had to get a special shot of him!

You can see a couple of the mamas watching the kids color. I became particularly attached to one of them, I'll tell you more about that later. They all seemed to really care for the children and enjoyed watching them play.

This is Pastor Daniel. He has a church across the street from the orphanage and cares deeply for the people in his community. He knows the needs of his flock are great and resources scarce so he expressed great gratitude for our visit and the clothing, shoes and school supplies we were able to leave for the children.

Each of our part of the team, 7 of us, packed two 50 pound suitcases or duffel bags full of things for the kids. It's risky to ship supplies to Haiti. The government often confiscates relief shipments and holds them until an exuberant tax is paid. Many of these shipments never reach the people. So being able to bring things with us was very gratifying.

We only were able to stay here for about an hour as we had other places to visit. Most of us were extremely disappointed and heartbroken to leave. We wanted to do so much more for these kids. This was probably the most difficult day for us and we had a lot of questions and doubts in our purpose here after leaving this place. I can't speak for everyone, but I had to really spend some time in prayer on our way back to the hotel for the evening. It was so hard to let go of my own plans, my own expectations, my own need to accomplish something significant on this trip, and be open to accepting God's plan for me. But He is faithful and answered my prayers and I soon saw that His plans were better than my own. They always are. I'll share more about that later.

My shower that evening felt especially good. It had been so hot and the dust and dirt clung to my clothes and skin and hair from sweating all day. Unfortunately I had a visitor in my shower that night:

He was probably 2 inches long. I think I killed him when I kicked him off my foot! Or maybe I stepped on him - ewww!

Off to bed for a very good night's sleep after such a long, hot, tiring day. Tomorrow we will visit several more places and see many, many more children.

1 comment:

  1. Those kids were packed on those benches! So sweet- I bet not one child complained of his/her neighbors touching them or bumping elbows. It looks like the simple- what we would call simple- task of coloring brought complete joy. That little cutie coloring against the wall just breaks my heart!