Magen Andrasko (pictured on the left) has worked for Many Hands since April of 2021 as an Executive Assistant and Marketing Specialist. She also interned with Many Hands in the summer of 2018. This was her first trip to Haiti. You can read her previous blog here.
A surprise for the day was going to the prayer and presentation of a new home that was built. Many Hands for Haiti has a safe homes program that has provided many family with a new house. Christi explained the process to us that four of Many Hands staff identify families that have the greatest need. Determining the single family that receives a cement house would be an incredibly difficult task so all the names go into a hat and “God decides” when one family is drawn out of the hat. As we drove down the bumpy dirt road in the noon sun to visit the family that was receiving their house, I thought about how excited I was to move into my apartment recently. I had waited for a few months and had some issues come up which lead me to stay with my co-workers. I finally got to put all my things in a new apartment and set it up to be mine. I hardly slept the night before, as I unpacked boxes until I pretty much fell asleep standing.
“To be honest, I felt a bit guilty rolling up to the end of the road…”
I thought about how this recent situation in my life was nothing like the situation I was about to drive up to. I can never truly understand what it is like to live like some Haitians do, to raise families in these conditions, to fight the daily battles that have to be fought to do it all again the next day. To be honest, I felt a bit guilty rolling up to the end of the road. I did nothing to make this happen. I didn’t do the initial work of talking to families to identify needs. I didn’t mix the cement and rock and water together to lay the concrete in the house. I didn’t coordinate with the workers to make sure the house was done to a standard that was acceptable. I didn’t give the funds needed to make this house a reality. But I got to go to the presentation. I felt honored to be invited.
“As we filed out of the home, loaded back onto the truck, and headed back down the road I made a note of the things I wanted to talk with God about, which at this point is quite the list…”
A few important things have to happen during this final day like the house must be inspected to make sure it meets all criteria and “the boss” of the build is paid by Many Hands. I watched as Craig and Tom and others completed a detailed inspection of the new home. I got to see the old stick-and-mud single-room house that the family first lived in. I got to feel the temperature drop when stepping into the new house and touch the sturdy walls that would protect this family. I listened as Rene, who coordinated the home build, prayed for the family, led us in a Creole worship song, and spoke with the family. We all stood inside and listened to it. Although I didn’t understand most of what was said, I was thinking about all the things I wish I could say to the Mom and Dad. I wanted to hear their life story and talk about their daily lives, I wanted to cook them a meal (obviously I would be no good at cooking using Haitian techniques), and I wanted to play outside in the shade with their two little ones to give the parents a break to settle into their new home. I realize that these are things I would do for my friends in the states to support them. And that is exactly what I wanted to do at this moment. I wanted this sweet family to know that they are supported and loved. I obviously wasn’t able to do this so I stood back, smiled at the baby when she got fussy, waved at the little boy hiding behind his mother’s leg, and listened to the hope-filled words of Rene. I prayed that God walks with this family, strengthening them and providing opportunities for them to thrive. As we filed out of the home, loaded back onto the truck, and headed back down the road I made a note of the things I wanted to talk with God about, which at this point is quite the list and it is only the second full day on the ground.