Haiti has many needs. Many Hands has been blessed with people standing up to meet these needs head on. The Trinity Team look at what it means to “go light your world” as they hold a Purity Conference for young women. Meanwhile, Twyla van Wyk looks at tackling the issue of open defecation through our Bundled Bottoms program.

PART 1:
Twyla van Wyk, from Pella, has traveled with the Trinity Team to help with building our Bundled Bottoms program in Haiti. She is working with our staff to identify Haitian workers who can sew our new and improved diapers.

‘Twal-ya’ the diaper queen!

Friday afternoon, Liz, Denise, and I  went to two ladies homes to give them 10 diapers to sew. Mdm. Mireilla Felix was very happy to see us. We had to walk part of the way to her house because the ruts were in the road were very deep. She sews on her treadle machine outside under a shade tree. Liz did a great job translating for us!

The second lady was Mdm. Mesina Pierre. Her youngest daughter was very proud that she could read the directions, which were in Creole. Mesina had several crocheted potholders hanging on the walls of her home. We smiled at each other when Liz told her that I also crocheted.  It was a very rewarding day.

Saturday afternoon, Mirseilla brought us her 10 completed diapers.  She had done an excellent job.  We gave her 30 more diapers to sew.  Later, we visited Mr. Elius Bertilus.  The only lighting in the room was from the open door.  We were amazed he could sew and thread a needle with so little lighting.  He did the first steps of sewing the diaper while we were there. 

The finished product

Teamwork is better together

Concentrating on the task

He is excited

Words can’t express the joy I have felt interacting with them even though we couldn’t speak the same language.   

  • Twyla Van Wyk
    (In creole, “Twal” means Fabric. How cool is that!)

PART 2:
Hosting a Purity Conference for pre-teen and teenage girls, the Trinity Team experience the rewards of sharing day to day life with Haitians.

In the morning we conquered the notorious market. Leaving MH Campus around 8 am, we headed to town. Pignon Market brings many vendors from all over the countryside. Vendors bring clothing, shoes, hand-made tools, livestock, tobacco, meat, and any other items you may need.

The Pignon market

Essentially, the Market is the Target of the US.  For many first time visitors, the market may be over-stimulating. As someone who has been multiple times, it still is :).  However, it is one of the most amazing experiences of this trip; witnessing first-hand the normality of day-to-day life for these people. Observing the way they bargain, congregate, and exchange goods with each other is an experience that allows you to immerse yourself deep in the culture. There is something incredibly humbling about being nothing but a witness in this situation. Something that gets your mind to stop and take in the blissful chaos that surrounds you.

Relief money from the earthquake in 2010 has funded the construction of a new market. We were given the opportunity to tour this as it is being finished. With concrete stations and electrical outlets in various stalls, vendors have the opportunity to keep food at healthy temperatures and off the ground, which will decrease the spread of disease. As much as I would love to express every detail of the market, each individual interprets this experience differently. I encourage you to ask those you know on this trip to explain their specific observations from this experience. God moves in the purest of ways, and I strongly believe He puts these groups together with delicate care.

Upon return from the market, the women packed up items for a teenage girls Purity Conference in a town near the MH Campus: Maliarette. Approximately 60 girls age 10 to 15 joined us this afternoon to discuss purity, puberty, and anatomy.

The conference in Maliarette

This is my 6th trip to Haiti, and I have never been offered the opportunity to discuss this type of information with the young women here. Being a nursing major, anatomy lies deeply embedded into my brain. Having the opportunity, along with the group, to educate these women-to-be on the simple male and female anatomy was deeply rewarding. Through the conference we were able to discuss the importance of abstinence until marriage. Haitians often do not get married because they believe the must have the right clothes in order to marry. Just so, unfaithfulness is just as present here as anywhere else.

Girls at the conference were given a ‘Days for Girls’ pack which contains re-usable feminine hygiene products. These products are unavailable to many in Haiti

Along with the idea of purity, we acknowledged that Jesus is the one and only way to fill your heart completely. Materialistic items and other individuals often leave us with disappointments and holes in our heart. Stringing along the idea of Jesus filling the hole in our hearts, in groups we prayed over these young women and gave each a necklace to remind them of this idea. As we prayed there was an incredible sense of sweet peace. These young women are under pressure by society and there could not have been a sweeter talk to have with these women of Christ.

Nearing the end of the purity conference, the boys (Tanner Van Maanen and Joshua Hoffmann) arrived to show a display they made of a homemade hand washing station. Titled a “Tippy Tap”, this contraption is a safe way for people to wash their hands without re-dipping into a bucket that may contain bacteria over time.

Tanner demonstrating the Tippy Tap

Upon returning home for the day, there was a quick but loud rain. We are here during the rainy season, and showers throughout the day are not uncommon. Fortunately, this was the first one of our trip so far! After dinner we made cupcakes and rehearsed a play that we will be performing in the upcoming week.

As we gathered tonight to do our “highs and lows” of the day, we sang a few songs out of the deck. One that stuck out to me pertaining to today was “Go light your world.” Specifically the line: “See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to, still holds a candle without a flame.” While we sang, I was drawn back to the smiles and bright eyes listening intently as we discussed how precious they are to both the Lord and us. How truly beautiful and recognized they are in the eyes of Christ. Words cannot express the joys of today. Such a blessing to be able to serve and be served in this amazing country.

Enjoying a ‘Mango Moment’

Hold out your candle, for all to see it, take your candle and go light your world.  

  • Haylie Van Maanen
    (As always, please keep the MH4H crew, especially Craig and Christi Gabhart, and Liz Clarke in your prayers.)

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