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Today we climbed Mt. Pignon. It was really fun. We left the house at 5:30am. I was very sleepy, but I had enough energy to get up the mountain. It was still dark outside. We drove through town to the mountain. Then we started climbing up the steep mountain. It was hard because we had to step over the rocks and go straight or diagonal when climbing. I saw many prickly plants and some cactus trees and vines. I had to stay away from those. I also saw a couple of snail shells, one of them with the snail still inside. There were lots of different colored rocks as well. When we got to the top, Darryl forgot the rope ladder, so he fetched some supplies to make a staircase to get on top of the hut. While he was doing that, a group of us went to a higher spot and the view was awesome.

We could see all of Pignon and Irene’s Place, where we are staying, along with roads, houses, vehicles, and many other mountains. Then I went over to sit on top of the hut. I climbed up the staircase of bricks and sat on the roof. After that, I climbed up the old tower that was on the top of the mountain. It was pretty high, so I didn’t go all the way to the top. Then it was time to walk down which to me was much easier. We went down in two groups: my mom, Darryl, and Shelly were in the slow group. Christi, Morgan, Aaron, and I were in the fast group. We smoked them down the mountain!
After that we had breakfast which was pancakes, one of my favorite foods. I was so hungry after climbing the mountain that I ate three. I actually started a fourth, but I couldn’t finish it. My mom had my leftovers. Then we went to the market. I did not enjoy it very much because of the dead animals at the meat stands. When we got back to the campus, we had some lunch. Then we went to visit an orphanage. There were a lot of kids, and we brought some things to play with. My favorite thing was playing soccer with some of the boys. We didn’t have a lot of space or any goals, so it was mostly footwork and keeping the ball from each other. After visiting the orphanage, we walked to a little store and got some ice cream. I didn’t know there was any ice cream in Haiti. I got bubble-gum flavored, and it was blue. It was a little different from the ice cream back home but just as yummy. The last thing we did was listen to a choir practice. It was a group of about 14 teenage boys. They sounded really good and even sang part of a song in English.

Today was an awesome day. I learned how to climb a mountain and how busy the Saturday market is in Pignon. I really think Haiti is a wonderful place, and I am having an amazing trip so far.


  1. Sheri Sullivan

    Enjoyed reading about your day…I went to pignon in the 80’s and o believe your grandpa was in the group. Hope to go back Enjoy your time there. I’m sure you will learn a lot

    • Colette Wagner

      Great blog post, AJ. My girls (age 9 and 11) are eager to go to Haiti with me and they loved listening as I read your post to them. It was fun to hear about Haiti from a child’s perspective! They laughed about your mom being in the slow group! That is such something my kids would say about me! And I’ve only climbed the mountain to the Pignon sign, not all the way to the top. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

      • Slade

        AJ, This is Slade. Good job. I hope you are having a great time. Climbing that mountain would be heaven to me. You can tell me more when you get back. Have a good trip.

  2. Lucia Van Maanen

    Great job AJ!! so proud of you for climbing that mountain and all you are doing and experiencing in Haiti!!!

  3. Shirley De Bruin

    Glad that u are experiencing fun things in Haiti. God’s blessings go with u and your family

  4. Marilyn Winterboer

    AJ, you achieved climbing that mountain which is something I could not do! I loved reading your blog. Now you have a good vision of why your dad has such a passion for Haiti! Maybe someday you will have that same passion!!

  5. Ken Ruefer

    Awesome AJ, I definitely remember the mountain climb. I was slowing down everyone else, but the trip and view is worth it. Thank you for your story. Grandpa R.

  6. Chad Borgestad

    A.J. – I am so glad you are there experiencing Haiti with your family. What a gift you have been given to be a part of helping to change the lives of other people as well as having your life changed. We are all excited to hear more stories from you. Good job writing your blog!

  7. Bev Brand

    Loved reading your blog today, AJ! Sounds like you had a great day! Love you ❤️ Grandma Brand


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