Blog is written by Conner Kelderman, a junior at the University of St. Thomas who is at our grounds in Gonaives, Haiti with Courtney Kelderman, a junior at Central College, Robin Reinke, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, and Moriah Erickson, a junior at Bethel University. 

We are safely in Gonaives (“gone-eye-eve” silent s) and had a great day today! Yesterday we got into Port Au Prince at about 4:00 after a 7:30 am flight out of Chicago and connection in Fort Lauderdale. We drove to Gonaives from Port Au Prince which is about a three hour drive on the crazy Haitian roads. Luckily, the highway to here is one of the nicest if not the nicest in all of Haiti. We did run into a little trouble about 15 minutes from our destination where we got a flat tire. We put the doughnut on to finish the drive with the help of a random Haitian and made it safely at about 8:00 pm. Thankfully dinner was waiting or us because we all hadn’t eaten since the Fort Lauderdale airport at noon. We were all very tired so we relaxed until about 10:00 when we started to get to ready for bed. This was a little tricky because there was no electricity. Once we laid down though, the electricity came back on and the fan blew on us the whole night.

Bringing cement to the roof of the school.

This morning, we left the house at about 9:00 am and went to the school grounds. We had to ride in a TapTap because of our car. TapTap are Haitian taxis that you sit in the back of a truck. For us to go all the way across town which is about 15 minutes it is only equivalent to a quarter per person. We walked all around the that part of Gonaives and saw the poor area first hand. We did a lot of walking and had kids walking with us holding our hands. Woody (one of the MH4H staff) who can speak fairly good English showed us around and told us what things were. It was good for Courtney, Robin, and Moriah to see all of that because it is all of their first times to Haiti. When we got back to the school grounds, the roof was starting to be poured of the school. I took a lot of pictures because it is definitely an exciting step!

On top of the school

We went back to the house to eat, relax, and get ready for the second part of the day. Haitian pasta was the meal and it was delicious. After laying down for a while, getting the car tire fixed, and playing with Silentor’s niece, we left for the mission.

Children coloring in the church at Mission Etoile.

This afternoon we did had the children coloring pictures, making bracelets, and talking with the girls in the empowerment program. The kids loved to color and do the bracelets. We also sang some songs withthe church audio. We also played soccer on the grounds with a bunch of the kids which is always a good time. The kids are awesome and it’s so fun to talk with them. Even if we are not able to communicate much at all, it’s great to be together. Being the light of Jesus is what we are all called to do so it’s great to be able to shine that light for a week in Haiti.