Blog is written by Aaron Gunnare, member of Iowa Group and from Davenport, IA. This is Aaron’s first time visiting Haiti.

Good afternoon from Gonaives, Haiti! Today is Wednesday Oct. 17, 2012. I apologize for not writing a blog post yesterday, but we had technical difficulties with the computer.  It has been a really amazing five days in Haiti. The seven of us are all having a tremendous experience.

Yesterday, the guys (myself, Ken, Scott, and Brent) assembled the trusses that we had cut out the day before. Unfortunately, we needed to be in a relatively flat area to assemble them , so we ended up having to work directly in the sun. It has been interesting building a roof down here in Haiti. We definitely are learning to appreciate all of the modern conveniences we have at home, such as table saws, a work bench, and drill bits for the drill. However, we have learned to get creative with our supplies. Our new drill bits are various sizes of nails that we had to cut the head off of.

Sorting dresses for the girls at the school.

While we were building the roof, the gals (Dayon, Julie, and Mary Jo) were working with the children in the school. Today they passed out the last of the toothbrushes that we brought from back home, they also sorted all the dresses by size so they could be passed out. The teachers passed out the dresses in the kindergarten classes, and we were excited to see some of the girls wearing them in the afternoon once school was out!  The past several afternoons they have been teaching an afterschool program to a group of young women. They have been teaching them how to use sewing machines, and how to make bags out of t-shirts. They seem to be making really good strides in their lessons.

Today is a national holiday in Haiti, so there isn’t school. The heat has been really extreme down here. I am not sure what the temperature has been, but I know that the sun Is a lot stronger here in Haiti than it is in Iowa.  During our work days we have been slowed down considerably because of the heat and lack of shade, we have been taking many water and shade breaks. We decided that with no school we would get an earlier start to our work day today, so we could try and beat the heat. Silentor and the guys left the house this morning at 6:00. It turned out to be quite the interesting ride, as we got a flat tire about halfway to the school and the jack wasn’t working for the spare.

Aaron in the back of the Tap Tap.

We ended up riding a “tap tap” the rest of the way to the road up to the school. A “tap tap” is a cross between a bus and a taxi. It is a pickup with benches and a topper on back, and they run routes throughout all of the main roads in the city.

Once we arrived at the jobsite we really got a lot done in the morning. The temperature was finally just right to work in. Before lunch we were able to accomplish a lot. While I guess I should say Scott and Brent were able to accomplish a lot. The sun and heat has really affected Ken and I. We have taken both yesterday afternoon and this afternoon off from working. The anti-malaria medication that I have been taking has made me hyper sensitive to the sun. This morning I think I may have been the only person in Gonaives with long sleeves on. Before breaking for lunch two of the four trusses were up on the roof.

The trusses are all going up on the house for Reymonde. The gals helping serve lunch at school.

While we were working the ladies decided to help around the house. In the early morning they helped with the laundry. The mentioned they couldn’t believe how much there was to do, even though a lot of our laundry had been washed the day before. They also decided that they wanted to make lunch for both us and SIlentor and his family. They made chicken noodle soup and a fruit salad. It was a wonderful meal, and a nice touch from home (even if Silentor’s nieces and nephews weren’t so sure about our American flavors). Julie and Dayon were in the kitchen all morning stirring the noodles over a charcoal fire. I can’t even imagine standing next to the fire in this weather.

Overall we have had a tremendous experience so far. It is both heart breaking and breath taking to get to know the people at the church and school. The children, teachers, staff, and neighbors are all tremendous people. To be able to experience their Christian faith in an area of the world where Voodoo is so strongly engrained in the culture is amazing. With all of the love and compassion we have experienced down here, it is apparent that Christ is certainly present here at the Etoile (Starfish) school and church.

Thanks to everyone for all of your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for the health and prosperity of this mission and all of the beautiful people that they are helping.

God Bless,