The Osklaoosa CRC Senior High Youth Group experiences the epic ride to the Citadel and all the excitement of Haitian history and culture!

We’re all tired tonight, but we knew you would want to hear about our Tuesday, so here goes. Our alarms went off at 4:30 a.m. to leave at 5 a.m. to tour the Citadel. It was daylight and at that time of day, it is amazing how many people here are up and going about their daily business. Small children up to adults are walking everywhere at this time.

We had a three hour car ride that was only 35 miles…if that gives any indication of the quality of roads here. Halfway through our journey, we stopped for breakfast in DonDon. This was interesting as Christi, our team host with MH4H, bargained for our meal on the street. She was surrounded by many people with their food available. She purchased hot hard boiled eggs, bananas, roasted peanuts and water. We already had brought along some bread made at the local bakery to share.

Breakfast Stop in DonDon Christi buying from local vendors

We continued our drive in our three trucks through some large mud puddles and even drove through a river…no bridge. We enjoyed our ride looking at the mountainous scenery and the shenanigans in the back of our vehicles. The Haitians may have thought we were crazy Americans, as we sang quite loudly through the streets. We went on a two lane paved road with a stripe down the middle for the first time since we have been here. We made it into 4th gear for the first time also.

Through the river Crazy Americans

As we made our way on closer to the Citadel, we stopped at King Henry Christophe’s castle, the San Souci Palace. This was a castle that construction started in 1805 and was completed seven years later. It was damaged in an earthquake in the mid-1800s and was not repaired. There were multiple photo opportunities as we walked through this. We then headed on up to the Citadel.

Sans Souci Palace

There were 10,000 people who died in the construction of these two structures. We were able to drive most of the way there but had to walk the final portion. This was a pretty steep part that was a cobblestone path…our calves were burning.

The cobblestone path

Once we got to the top, there were amazing views in each direction of the mountains and we could also see the ocean. We were given a tour of the structure and saw many cannons and cannonballs. We had a lunch of PB & J sandwiches, bananas, roasted peanuts and deuce (coconut candy that is similar to Rice Krispie bars).

Greeters at the Citadel – Welcome! Ready for the tour Citadel Group They even have a bathroom! Citadel tour

Canons made on site in the early 1800s

Canons made on site in the early 1800s

Mountains beyond mountains An amazing place to see

We then headed back down the steep path and began our trek home. Once home everyone was ready for a shower…quite dusty from our dirt road journey.

Not so sure about the horse ride DOWN the mountain!!! Shenanigans on the way home Almost home

When Lindsay Overton was in Haiti, in May, she introduced the Haitians to the fun of bowling! Unfortunately they only had chunks of 2 X 4’s to use as bowling pins. She thought it would be a good gift for us to bring down an actual bowling pin. Mahaska Bowling donated one for us, and two nights ago we dropped it off with a local wood craftsman. Tonight he stopped by to show us his replica of the pin. It passed inspection with flying colors, and he is going to make eight more to complete the set. We are excited to see the finished product and hope our new friends enjoy it for years to come.

Bowling pin maker

For devotions tonight, Ariann used a sponge and water as an analogy of our Christian walk. If you only go to church and youth group, you will have very little water in your sponge and unable to really use it. It is similar to very little God in your life and your ability to affect others. If you soak your life in Christ daily, you are better equipped to pour into others lives. We then closed the evening with a version of cardboard testimonies where they each wrote something they had turned over to God and the other side was a commitment they wanted to make to enrich their Christian walk. We laid each of these on a cross and asked God to help us.


Wednesday will be our last work day here. Breakfast served at 7:30 a.m. All your prayers and support are appreciated.