Written by Heidi Schulte and Hannah Marcum of the Central College team.
It’s hard to believe our week in Haiti is coming to a close! Our time here has seemed to fly by, and yet it has been so full of many amazing experiences that have really opened our eyes and hearts to God’s love for this country.
Today we finally got to get our own kabrits (goats) and give them away to families in need in the area. Ebens, Claudin and one of our young(er) translator helpers Richelin, along with our awesome hired chauffer, Pouchon, took us to Bohoc, a community a few miles from Pignon. As you probably guessed, it took us about 30 minutes over the ruts and through the river. When we got there, Richelin led us around the small market set up on the side of a main road while we waited for the other guys to buy the goats. They explained that if we were with them, the price for the goats would most likely go up, so it was best if we weren’t around for the negotiations. After waiting a sufficient amount of time, we went to find the guys and the goats. A few team members were already discussing names for them, and we finally convinced Brett he couldn’t name one of the goats (who were all female) after a Roman emperor. The ride back was pretty ‘smooth’ all things considered. With 9 students and 5 goats in the back, and 6 of us in the cab, I’m sure we made quite a sight!
Note from editor: Earlier this fall, the Central Justice Team did a #Goat-selfie Central campaign, where they brought a goat on campus and students and faculty could pose for a picture with the goat for a dollar, then post it on social media. The proceeds of the money went to purchase these goats, which now are in the hands of these needy families. Pretty cool to see this come full-circle.This was the winning picture from the #GoatSelfieCentral campaign, which raised the money to purchase these goats in November of 2014. 5 goats and the whole team in the back of the pick-up truck. There is always room for one more… Kelly is the designated goatsitter to keep them corralled in the truck. We all got our goats and we are all ready to GO!
On our way back, we stopped at Craig & Christi’s friend’s school. Christi was already there and was more than relieved to see us! She said we came just in the nick of time…she’d exhausted all her Creole songs and her shirt was stretched out from all the children trying to hold onto her! With Eben’s awe-inspiring help leading the kids in hilarious, active songs, we immediately made dozens of new friends. Then we shared our Bible skits (David & Goliath and Jesus Healing the Paralyzed Man) on our makeshift stage. During the intermission, one of our goats “Gladys” jumped out of the back of the truck, and took off. Thankfully the girls caught her and Kelly kept her on a short leash from then on. “Coke-Sprite” (named by our very own Hannah L.—friends will have to ask her the story about that name) was also very spritely and caused some problems, including head-butting episodes with the other goats in the yard. When we drove back to the dorm, we met a beautifully decorated outdoor “mall” set up by local merchants just for us! These ladies came before we were even up this morning (I heard them talking and laughing before 7:00!) and waited ALL morning for the scheduled shopping time at 11:00.School kids watching the David and Goliath skit as performed by the team. Holding the twin babies, whose mother died in child birth, but the babies are doing well. Kris Mylove and Kris Dylove, the twin babies.
After a delicious lunch of Spam, potatoes, and some very spicy coleslaw, we all – humans and goats– piled back into the truck to give away our new pets to people who needed the extra resources. Ebens directed us to five very thankful families and one by one we said goodbye to Coke-Sprite, Gladys, Lily, Eowyn, and Galadriel. Much like our food distributions, we talked to the family through translators to get to know them, took pictures with everyone, asked for special prayer requests and finally prayed for each family. The stories these families told us were tragic. We met one little boy who had recently been kicked by a donkey, but the family is too poor to take him to the hospital for help. Our last goat went to four little girls and their father, because the mother died in childbirth just a few months ago. The twins she gave birth to, Kris Mylove and Kris Dylove, miraculously lived, and are being cared for by their aunt. We were fortunate enough to get to meet them when we returned from giving away goats, and they are healthy and perfectly adorable!Gladys the goat has a new home and owner!
Another wonderful trip in the afternoon was visiting Tine, the single, elderly man who lives alone in a one-room house in Pignon. When we gave him food on Friday, we were all stricken by the gaping holes in his tin roof and that he has no shelter from the frequent rains. Today we visited Burns and his team, putting a brand new roof on! With the new enclosed living space, we felt we should also provide him with a mattress to replace the straw mat he sleeps on. Tine should be sleeping comfortably tonight!Our friend, Tine, whose house had major holes in the roof, received a new roof and mattress!. Our second mattress purchase, as we are delivering it to Tine’s house. This is Tine’s old sleeping mat and sheets. He now has a new roof and a new mattress. Tine and the group watching, as the men behind him work on finishing the new roof.
The rest of our last evening in Haiti is being spent playing with kids outside on the road in front of the dorm, playing games, drinking the last of our pure-cane-sugar Cokes and Sprites, and of course packing up all our dirty clothes. We’ve just finished our last meal together – the old classic, rice and beans! We will be leaving Pignon bright and early tomorrow morning to make the long drive back to Port au Prince, with a long day of flights and airports before us. I (Heidi) have so enjoyed getting to know these students over the last several days. For all but one, this was their first time in Haiti, and for most of, this was the first time in a third world country or even on a mission trip! I was so amazed and humbled by the way they each embraced this experience with arms and hearts wide open. As they encountered hard situations, they allowed themselves to be affected, and their insight at the end of the day was remarkable. I think they may have picked up more Creole than I did (and I’ve been studying the language) and collectively met scores of new friends. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of them, as they continue to journey with Jesus and trust Him with their lives.
As for Many Hands 4 Haiti, I believe this is a very significant time in the life of this ministry, as we are at the brink of many new things. What a blessing for this team and for the ministry for us to be united at this time, getting to be a part of the groundbreaking, and preparatory season together. Please continue to pray for these students as they return home and continue to discern God’s call on their lives. And please continue to pray for MH4H as they continue the good work begun in this country. To God be all the glory and praise!