Andi Vanderhoff has compiled the following photos from her trip to Pignon. She has since reflected on the trip and provided insights into her changed perspective. What was amazing about this trip was that Roselande and Carl are originally from Haiti and this trip was their first time back since their adoption.
Enjoy these photos and insights!
Four hour ride on this refurbished WWII plane. This is the view from the balcony of the dorm where we stayed. The airstrip of Pignon is next to it. The mountain in the back is Mt. Pignon. As part of the MH4H program, they have a Haitian man, Claudin, who is working on agriculture in Haiti. Check out these amazing cabbages! Abbi by one of the about 1000 plantain trees planted on the Sylvain MH4H campus. Roselande by the plantain trees. Again the beautiful view in the background of Sylvain campus. Silas listening to his heartbeat. We brought down a few medical items to use in the Thrive program. Thanks Jen Cook Hardman and Amy Childerston for donating items for us to help this program keep doing what they do best. The nicer downtown area of Pignon. My “ti blancs” (little whites) drew a lot of attention in the area as Caucasian children are a novelty here. We got caught in a rainstorm shortly after we arrived. Pignon needed rain badly, so it was a blessing despite our wet clothes. As part of the Thrive program, the moms and babies (0-3) are taught about Jesus’ love, Heidi Schulte tells the story in English and Woody Cadet translates it in Creole. Heidi’s Creole is amazing, but she spoke it in English while we were there so my kids could listen too. Here the team acted out the story of the ‘Fiery Furnace’. Carl playing with the kids during some free time during Thrive. Roselande was certainly in her element with all these cute little ones. Abbi carrying one of the toddlers at Thrive while Silas plays in the background. These kiddos loved helping at the Thrive program. As part of the Thrive program, the kids 0-3 as well as the moms are fed a nutritious lunch before leaving. Often times the food is locally sourced. The campus’ cabbage, goats, and plantain will be used in the program. All kiddos hands are washed before eating. Carl and Roselande delivering meals. This day the cooks prepared the meal using “meals from the heartland” packaged meals. If you or your children ever packaged these meals, Haiti is one of many places where the food goes. This meal may be the only meal some of these moms get today. The babies are almost all breastfed, such healthy little ones. The cooks dishing up meals in the newly constructed Thrive area at the Sylvain campus. The babies and moms are all so clean and well dressed when they attend Thrive. They put on their very best clothes and do hair every morning for this program. It doesn’t matter where you are a Mom, we all just want to be encouraged and want the best for our littles. Roselande holding Roselinde… she may be wondering why this beautiful Haitian young woman can’t speak Creole Abbi getting her hair cornrowed. These girls are serious about their cornrows. Common mode of transportation in Haiti, the bike. Craig Gabhart was so gracious and took each of the kids numerous times on the bike with him. Fuel can be 5-6$ per gallon, plus the roads are poor, so motorcylces are the safest and most economical choice for 1-4 people The team built 14 bunkbeds for the new guesthouse at Sylvain campus. Thankfully this was in the shade. We all helped in some capacity. Thankfully we had modern tools to make the job easier. The local men were a bit entertained to see a couple “ladies” run the saw. Silas did a great job helping assemble the beds. We had the opportunity to meet the children that our family sponsors. Without a sponsorship these kids are not able to attend school. Primary school starts at about age 3 and the cost is around 30$ a month, this is cost prohibitive to mostly all families in Haiti. With education these kids have a chance to get out of poverty. Abbi one of our sponsor kids, this was actually Roselande’s student. Carl with his student and the student’s mother. The inside of one of the schools. In Haiti school starts between 6 and 7 am and goes until around noon. This is the cooler part of the day. This is a primary school, no colorful bulletin boards, just desks. Silas and his shy student holding his Mom’s hand Abbi and her student. Most of the schools have uniforms similar to this. They are hand sewn in Haiti typically. School children. The Haitian moms take pride in sending their children to school very neat and clean. They uniforms are likely washed each night and they are always very clean to school and pressed as well. All laundering is done by hand. Roselande helping to build one of the three storage shelve units that the team put together for the Sylvain thrive building. This sweet mama has twins! I visited with her, offerring encouragement in breastfeeding these two little boys. They are three weeks old here in this picture. Carl carried Babylove all day at Thrive and the next day she came running to him to be carried again. As part of the Thrive program, routine wellness checks are done on the children to ensure they are growing well. If there are concerns regarding coughs or colds, the local Haitian nurse as well as our team nurse, Marci, attend to those needs. Part of the Thrive program is also about education for the moms on how to help their babies develop in the best way. Heidi Schulte with Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H) is doing an amazing job with this program. Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H) has also planted peanuts on the Sylvain campus. During the healthy checks, moms in the program shell the peanuts that will later be used to make “mamba” or peanut butter in Creole. This a great source of protein for the children in the program. Richardson is such a healthy boy. His mom is doing a great job nursing him and attending to his needs. Little boys in Haiti will often keep their hair long until they start primary school at age 3. Mostly all the homes do not have running water, so laundry, bathing and drinking water is collected from this same place. How do you transport goats? We visited the market on Saturday where you can purchase oranges, toothpaste, flip flops, chair and goats to name a few. Don’t worry, the goats are alive. These three young men are the future of Haiti. Roodson 1, Roodson 2 and Richiland help Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H) with translating and other odd jobs. They are still in high school, but have aspirations to attend college in the states and return to Haiti to be good husbands, good fathers, and strong leaders. They were a joy to be around and my kids enjoyed them as much as we did. Abbi made a special connection with this little guy who has down’s syndrome. He is called “Boco” which means something like “witch doctor.” Abbi wouldn’t call him that as she felt it was too mean for such a special boy, so she called him “Matthew” which means “gift of the Lord” instead. We visited his family to bring food and found out his birth name “Frieshlen” so we then referred to him as that. Abbi and Frieshlen, who can now represent Pella. We had the chance to help pour a concrete floor as well. Most of the homes have a dirt floor, dirt floors are difficult to keep dry and the spread of disease is much greater with dirt floors. A Haitian crew has been contracted to prepare the concrete and our team helped to transport buckets. All concrete and rocks are locally sourced. Now this is a more typical way to ride a motorcyle in Haiti! We rode in the back of this rented truck all over the area. Safety standards are much different in Haiti than in the US We had the opportunity to deliver 7 goats to local families. These pregant goats are gifted to families, once they have their babies (usually two), a female kid is returned to the program. This keeps the program running so that other families can be blessed. In the back is Claudin, he is the ag director on staff with Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H). Roodson BA Pierre came along to translate for us.. and provide additional entertainment for my children as if the goats weren’t enough entertainment. We chose to transport them a bit more humanely. Roselande holding the remaining goats while we deliver and pray with families. Look at that sky! The “ti blancs” (little whites) drew quite a crowd wherever we went. We enjoyed visiting with the families, letting them know that the gift of these goats is to remind them that the Lord provides and that He knows thier needs. Clauden filed contracts with each of the families to ensure the goat program can continue to grow with Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H) We visited a spirit filled church on Sunday on Bohoc, Haiti, a little ways outside of Pignon. The pastor had two prayer requests, one was for a sick person in the congregation and the other was for a simple place for the congregation to use the restroom. The four guys on our team used the remaining lumber and a couple pieces of tin to build an amazing “two-seater” outhouse with no plans in just a part of a day. They later went and delivered it. Two sisters enjoying the last day together. Heidi Schulte was such a blessing to us. To see someone do exactly what the Lord planned for them to do is a beautiful thing. All throughout the area people call her name as she drives along, they love her and they know she loves them. She is doing the Lords work through serving with Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H) and it is amazing to see how MH4H is equipping Haitians to lead and grow spiritually. We are so greatful to be able to have served with this organization.