by Becky Vandenberg, trip participant with MH4H
Today started out like any other day in Haiti. We woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and did devotions. This is the time we get to spend together as a team laughing and having fun! Most of our group met up with Bev Brand’s group and hiked up Mt. Pignon. However, I decided to forego the opportunity because of an injury. The group expressed that the mountain was a very difficult trip through brush and thorns, but the view was amazing!
Next, we went to the Pignon village market. There were so many people that you couldn’t walk. It was a mess of heat and pushing through people all looking for the same thing. On one side of the market were whole pigs cut in half with their heads lying next to them. Other places had fried chicken feet. A lot of people were there selling shoes and clothes, just trying to make a living. The worst thing that I saw was a pot of cooked blood that the people eat for protein. It was definitely a culture shock of how different these people live from us in America. I’m so glad that we got to experience this, but it’ll be something that I won’t need to see again for a long time.
After the market, we went to the Pignon river where the locals bathe and wash clothing and even vehicles. On the way there, we went to a rum factory where they were distilling the liquor to send it to the Bacardi factories. At the river, we witnessed people bathing and washing their clothes. The river was dirty and smelly, but the locals looked so happy to be there. We saw women carrying five-gallon buckets full of water and laundry on their heads walking without shoes up rocky ditches to get home.
The people here are so amazing and motivated to survive. We were exhausted after this 6-8 mile hike in over 90 degree weather to the market and river and back to the truck where we got a ride to Savanette; these people don’t get rides. They walk back barefoot with buckets on their heads, and it’s just a way of life. I just can’t believe how amazing these people are.
We got back to the compound to do caulking around windows and doors on the outside where the mosquitoes get in. This was a fun and messy experience, as it was my first time!
All in all, being in Haiti has made me so thankful for everything that we have back home. These people are so strong in a way that you can’t imagine unless you see it. I will definitely miss Haiti and the people that follow you, just overjoyed that a “blanc” gives them attention. I will miss the children that only want to hold your hand and pick them up. Haiti is a place that everyone should visit at least once. You can’t understand this place until you see it and experience it with you own eyes. It’s beautiful!
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