This morning we returned to the nursing home where we planted trees yesterday. If you read yesterday’s blog, you already know about our Beast Mode – AnnaLee. You also heard about the resident in the pink nightgown who was helping. Thought I would give you a picture of the two together. Both of them impressed me very much yesterday.
We talked with the Pastor who helps with the nursing home, and he described how it was started, how it is funded, and why he was there. There are currently 27 people living there who did not have any family to take care of them. We sang a song for the residents, and they sang one for us as well.
After we left the nursing home, we headed to Guillem to visit with Pastor Daniel’s wife. This was special for Tonja and I because she had been very sick the last time we were here, and our group had visited and prayed for her.
Today, she was demonstrating the preparation of a coconut treat for us. 410 Bridge had been doing some small business training in the community, and she was one of the participants. Now she has a business plan, and is making these treats to sell at market and for events.
Coconut is grated, then you add a little water. The wet coconut is then squeezed and strained to get coconut milk. The coconut milk is added to some boiled milk along with some spices. Then all of it is boiled some more. When it is boiling, you add condensed milk and a banana. Then it continues to boil and thicken up. Once it is thick enough, you spread it on a surface and let it harden, then cut into bite sized pieces. It turns out a lot like fudge, and was delicious. They told us it is called dous. We left with a bagful to enjoy later.
We also went to Pastor Michel’s farm to try some fresh coconut water. They climbed the tree and got fresh coconuts, then cut them open so we could drink the water. Afterward, they cut them the rest of the way so we could eat the coconut. While we were not used to the fresh coconut water, it was obvious that the Haitians that were with us enjoyed it very much.
In the afternoon we visited the gravesite of a former president of Haiti. We learned a lot about their history. This was the president that first brought electricity to Haiti. As we discovered when they told us about their independence earlier in the week, the Haitian people are very proud of their heritage.
We finished the day touring downtown Les Cayes. We got to see the clinic where the doctor who spoke about cancer earlier in the week works. Then we went to a pier and enjoyed the view together.
As I continue writing this on Wednesday morning, our last full day in Haiti, it has been a very emotional journey. With this being my tenth trip to Haiti, I don’t get a lot of big surprises anymore. The trips become more about sharing that experience with other team members and the relationships I am building in the community. This trip has given me much more.
To begin with, Tonja and I have struggled in the past to deal with the larger groups of children. AnnaLee, Carrie, and Deanna being on this trip is giving us new ideas, reminding us of the great resource we have in fpKids available to us, and showing us that God will provide and leave no task impossible for us.
Each trip I try to pick up a little more of the Kreyol language. It is very hard with limited resources available, and most adults who took a foreign language class in school can tell you that it doesn’t stay forever if you are not continually exposed to it. Yesterday when the Pastor at the nursing home was telling us how long he had been there, I pieced together all I had been working on to thank him and tell him God bless him for his work. To see how touched he was by my effort was a highlight of this trip for me, maybe even all of my trips. He told me he knew that God gave me that word for him to treasure in his heart.
There may not be a lot that looks changed when we leave here in a couple of days. One week is a very short time. Hopefully a few more trees where there were none before. But the things that matter are not always visible. The things that truly matter are the lives that we touch. And not only the lives that we touch, but those that will be forever changed by the those that we touched.
I know that when the members of this team stand before God on that day, that as the pages of their lives are revealed, both good and bad, that they will see people they never knew, but whose names were written into the book of life because of a Pastor they had encouraged at a nursing home, or some translators who they encouraged over these last few days, or a young person they barely interacted with but was touched by seeing their act of faith and sacrifice to leave their homes and come serve here.
The projects are great, but the real impact is in learning from each other, fellowship with each other, and encouraging one another.
When this trip started, I joked that I needed prayer, taking a trip with all women. But I know that my life has been enriched by my time spent with each of these nine beautiful ladies.
Please pray with us as we begin our final full day in Haiti. It is always a very emotional day for each trip.
Written By: Dave Breaux