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

Landscaping in front of the school.

What another beautiful day spent in Gonaives. Starting off the morning by traveling to the field at Etoile, Conner, Courtney, Moriah and I came prepared to work hard in the field and do some landscaping. After some time was spent planting corn and spreading gravel along the ground near the school, we ventured away from the compound towards the center of the city to explore the culture and market. Arriving to the market in a taptap, I began to take in the sites as we traveled through the crowded streets. Thanks to Woodsy’s and Laza’s tour guiding skills, we remarkably found a nice restaurant to cool down from the very hot weather and enjoy some delicious ice cream. All together, it was great morning to explore the city since we got to meet new people and see more aspects of the Haitian culture.

At Jean-Lamare's house with all his brothers, sisters, and mom.

Proceeding lunch and some work on the sponsorship program at the house, we continued the day by heading back to Etoile to play more with the energy-filled, loving kids. It’s amazing to see the kids faces as we enter the field, their faces light up as their smiles widen truly showing how happy they are about our arrival. The kids ran up to us, clinging on, remembering our names and asking us to play showing how big of a difference we have made in these past days. After discussing with Silentor about project options, we decided to make part of our mission project a feeding program, we decided to purchase many bags of rice and beans to distribute to all of the kids in the after school program. We chose a few kids to give the numerous days supply of rice and beans for their family to today since we wanted to see their house and share a prayer with the family. After arriving to each of their houses, we gave the food to the overly thankful families and prayed with them. It was truly amazing to see the big impact we made for each family. I prepared myself for the poor living conditions I was going to see at the houses but it still made me speechless when I saw with my own eyes. I can honestly say I have never experienced such a more impactful moment than today when I saw the living conditions. The living conditions were so poor due to the very small size a ten person household has to live in to the small amount of food the big family has to eat day by day.

Posing in front of a statue in the middle of Gonaives.

All I can say is that todays events have motivated me to do more to help make Haiti a better place to live. I hope that my knowledge will continue onto others when I get back so I can help make a big difference in these beautiful, bright young children. Doing God’s work through our hands today could not have felt more amazing. Thank you to everyone that has kept us in our prayers, we cannot wait to share more stories and experiences from this trip.

God bless you all,

Robin Reinke