Katie Langstraat shares the moving experiences of the Central College team and their fruitful day serving the people of Haiti.

Greetings! I want to wish all of our friends, family, and loved ones back in the States or wherever you may be a very warm hello! And when I say warm, I sure mean it! Today has been one of the hottest days we have experienced during our short time here in Haiti.  The heat and the humidity have started to take its toll on all of us with sunburns coated in aloe Vera and sunscreen, bug bites the size of fingerprints or even larger on some, and exhaustion. 

We have been very busy since we got out of the van on MH4H land, and it’s starting to make us slightly worn, but we are all champs and good sports and want to continue to help others and not stop until we are on a plane back to the States! Between our morning and afternoon activities today, we got the chance to take a little nap before heading out and I think I speak for everyone when I say how grateful we all were for it!

This morning we were all thankful for another hour of sleep instead of our 5 am call time yesterday.  In the agenda this morning was to “Do Something Concrete” and go to the homes of two families who lived right next to each other to help pour their concrete floors.  We gathered with each of the families and prayed with them to bless the family and the house, then got to work! It was a very busy time. Pouring concrete, playing with kids – soccer, painting nails, and dancing to some Haitian music.

Alan and Hannah Do-ing Something Concrete Emma, Katy and Katie visiting with a family

After doing what we could of pouring the concrete floors and running out of materials, we headed to our next destination. We delivered a PET cart to one of the families that we visited during our meal distribution on Tuesday afternoon.  At my home church back in Vinton, IA, we have done the fundraising for these carts.  So, being able to deliver one and see it being used and the faces on the family, the new owner – a young man, and the community members who had gathered to see what all the commotion was, was priceless.  We were all very fortunate to witness this, and are glad we were able to be apart of such a memorable day for this young man and his family.

Fordue Pierre is the man receiving the PET cart Instruction before the first test drive

Today we sent off three of the workers that have been living on the compound with us, Paula and Dean, and also Heidi.  Heidi has committed 2 years to work here in Sylvain with Many Hands and is headed back to the states to be with family for a while, and for that I have an incredible amount of respect for her.  Her work for Thrive for Five is incredible. You can just tell by the way she interacts with the children and the mothers and even grandparents that she is adored and her work is much appreciated. 

Dean and Paula also left today and the work they have done here in Sylvain is amazing.  Dean is a very talented architect and he and his wife Paula come down to Haiti for short term projects a couple times a year. One of Dean’s projects this round was making kid-sized tables and chairs for the future attendees of the Sylvain Yellow Iron Academy pre-school.  Paula works with Dean with the woodworking and also is a nurse back home and here in Haiti. Something that definitely comes in handy around here, there is quite a bit of need for medical attention, and having Linda here helps a lot! All of us here in Sylvain wish them a safe trip home and wish them the best!

This afternoon we all piled into the back of the truck like it was an old tradition and headed to the school for the Deaf in the next town over. Someone recently donated some money in order to build a new classroom and dormitory for this school, and it was very cool to see the progress.

Always room for one more in the TapTap

As soon as we arrived the children’s faces brightened, and so did ours.  These kids sure grabbed and tugged at our hearts.  The children flocked around us pulling us in one direction or another.  Some of the common themes with the kids was wanting to get their nails painted, playing with balls or jump ropes, wanted to be held or get a piggy back ride, and some even wanted to ride on our shoulders.  Another one was trying to grab our cameras and phones. On multiple occasions, a child would point to my camera, take a couple steps back and then strike a pose, then want to see the picture and laugh at it.

Central team and the kids from the Deaf School

One of the most amusing activities for the afternoon for both the kids and us team members was watching Ben and a group of kids.  Ben was made into a makeshift horse who was being led around with a rope, harnessed, fed some leaves, and even whipped with a small tree branch.  It was a sight and you could tell how much the fact that he was playing a long with kids wild imaginations meant to the teacher and the kids.  It sure made for some great photo ops.

Ben the Human Horse Kids from the deaf school have quite and imagination

The most moving thing that happened all day was when a little girl started to sign to me and pointing at my camera.  Once I got someone to interpret for me it became very clear what she wanted. She wanted to be video taped.  What this girl signed to me was:  “For God so loved the word that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16”

Watching her sign this was a beautiful sight and left a very big impression on all of us.  It was truly amazing.
Saying goodbyes to our new friends was very hard. 

New friends

Even though we had only met them a few short hours ago, we had all made a connection with them.  You could tell that these children felt the same way and that they craved the love, attention, and affection that we were so fortunate and blessed to be able to provide them with.

Coming back to the compound after our visit, our spirits were high from the children, but our bodies are exhausted. 

Resting with a pedicure appointment by a neighborhood Haitian woman

We look forward to the next couple days in Haiti and to continue to work through God to help the people in Haiti for the remainder of our time here.

God is good,
All the time.
And all the time,
God is good!!

God bless – Katie Langstraat