The following is a reflection by Shanae Burch, a trip member to Gonaives, Haiti, on January 18-25. This was written after her first day in Haiti.
Tim asked one of our group members to share a little bit about our experience here in Haiti. I volunteered because I wanted to share with others about how amazing my experience has been here.
To begin my day I ate an amazing breakfast of mangos! Then we drove to a village of around 50,000 people.
We first walked around and Silentor began sharing about what it was like for a person to live here. Others began following us around and we tried to talk to them. It was very difficult to speak to someone who doesn’t know any English.
When we walked around and looked at the houses that the people lived in, I was amazed to see what kinds of lives these people have. Their houses were made out of either mud and blocks or just mud. We also saw little kids with no clothes and I wondered to myself if they even have the money to get them. I realized that I take most everything for granted. These people to me have almost nothing and you see them with smiles on their faces and mostly welcoming.
I then was led to a market. There were many fruits and vegetables. I also got to try sugar cane for the first time! It was very sweet! It reminded me of a warm Popsicle. I gave the rest of mine to a little boy. He ran away smiling. We then went to a meat market. The first whiff was the most profoundly disgusting thing I had ever smelled! There was a goat’s head cut off lying on the counter that I thought was very disgusting. I then walked out of the building because I couldn’t take the stench any longer.
After we ate lunch, we had the children participate in activities. Stela and I started with the boys. We first played leapfrog and I was surprised when all the games that we explained, they never had heard of. I had brought a bunch of wrist bands to use as prizes for the winner of the race. After a while I realized that that wasn’t such a good idea because as more kids started to come, they swarmed me and kept asking for more. I walked away feeling bad for not helping but I couldn’t give one child a bracelet and the other nothing. I was also astonished that something as little as a bracelet could brighten a child’s day. I had no clue what kind of poverty they were in until I came here, yet the people still are so happy praising God and wanting to learn.
I then went to the girls’ area and started to paint their fingernails. The look on their faces was indescribable. They were so excited over a little color on their nails. Then the little children came up to me and held my hands. Other girls started to circle around me and I asked them what their names were. We tried to converse but it was very tricky. I had a blast with all the kids and I can’t wait for what God brings me tomorrow.