The Osklaoosa CRC Senior High Youth Group team share their day of climbing the heights of Pignon, and walking through everyday life in Haiti.

We started out the day with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call for our 5 a.m. hike up Mount Pignon.  It started out nice and flat but was soon all uphill after that.  There were many beautiful views along the way looking over Pignon with a light fog blanketing the city.  It took a lot of determination and willpower to make it to the summit!  At the top we climbed to the roof of a shed to rest and celebrate our victory. We learned that if we have the desire to accomplish a feat, we just need to have the right attitude and keep plugging along.  We had some slips and slides a bit on the way down but were able to get right back up with a helping hand.  It was a great way to start our day!  Some of the ones who got down earlier than others were able to play with the kids of the area.

What a view! VICTORY at the top! Top of the mountain View from the top

We then ate breakfast when we returned around 9 a.m.  Our next experience was a trip to the market and what an experience that was.  This market is held every Saturday where vendors bring their goods to sale.  There were no touristy items, only necessities to live.  It was so crowded that it reminded us of the Iowa State Fair on it’s busiest day.  People were constantly brushing up against us walking, pushing wheelbarrows and moving live animals.  Items sold were native food, lots of clothing, toiletries, pots and pans, fabrics, etc.  We also went to the section where working cows and goats were sold.  Walking through the fresh meat market was an experience we will not forget.  We were refreshed by Coca-Cola and water in a bag…a great break on a hot day.

Crowds at the market

Fast food at the market More drinks at the market Bagged water to quench our thirst while shopping in the Market

After lunch, we took some time and learned how to assemble PET carts.  These are Personal Energy Transportation carts manufactured in Leighton that allow a disabled person to get around within their community independently.  We assembled two of these carts and were able to see the joy of someone receiving mobility.  One of them went to a 55 year old man who had injured his foot in a motorcycle accident five years ago.  The other one went to a man so old he could not remember how old he was…they estimated 70, but we think much older than that. He used a walker to get around and was ecstatic to receive it.  He had 20-30  friends and neighbors come to share in this moment. Seeing the joy on their faces after receiving this mode of transportation filled our hearts with joy!

PET cart recipient in Fontain Distributing a PET cart in Pignon PET cart races!

We then loaded up on our trucks and two of the three groups headed to an orphanage.  We were greeted by around 40 kids looking over their cement patio wall with smiling faces.  It took no time for them to warm up to us and to get involved in fun and games!  We played Kanna, Kanna, Zwa which translates to Duck, Duck, Goose.This was quite entertaining as a few kids liked to go around more than once.  We handed out jump ropes that we had purchased for them and had a great time with that….they were quite good jumpers.  We also had people playing soccer together and throwing frisbees.  This was a fun time with many smiles together.

Group jump rope for the kids Joining in! Duck duck goose

The third group delivered a sippy cup to an older woman who has very bad tremors.  She was unable to eat or drink by herself.  We pray this will encourage her and lift her spirits.

After supper this evening, a few gals came from the area and braided our girls hair while the leaders set up for evening devotions. Our devotions were held outside under the Thrive for Five shelter.  They were based on our theme passage, James 2:14-26, and focused on the faith of Abraham and Rahab.  They were examples of faith in the Bible and we questioned how our faith compares.  We were encouraged that God can use anyone no matter their past or where they have been.  There were different six stations set up.  At one of them they made paper dolls that had things of their past written on the back in invisible ink that they wanted to leave in the past.  They then colored the front to look like themselves and added ways that God could use them from this day on.

Evening worship in the Equipping Center Our paper dolls

We also learned a song in Creole that we will sing to the congregation at church on Sunday.  It is No Longer Slaves and sounds quite good.

On the agenda for Sunday is worshiping together with the Haitians at their church service, dedicating the classroom at the school that was donated in Steve Van Maanen’s honor, and a soccer match later in the day.

Some miscellaneous items:
– we think the temperature is 90+ with humidity
– our nights are cool making sleeping comfortable
– we have a cat with three kittens that like to cuddle and play!
– bug bites are at a minimum 
– and we saw a giant beetle (outside) the size of a hamster

Thank you for your prayers!  We can see God in many ways here, and he is working greatly in our lives.