This is written by Staci Jansen, a member Pella Christian Winterim trip to Pignon, Haiti. 10 students, 5 teachers, 1 principal and Lucia Van Maanen are on this trip. This is Staci’s first time to Haiti and serving with MH4H.

To Read Tanner Van Maanen Blog – 1/4

Day 2 in the beautiful country of Haiti:

WOW! What a day it has been! We had planned to visit the Pella Christian School today to see the kids in school, but found out that they did not have school today because they were still on break or “vacation” as they call it. God had something else planned for us today instead. Our plans now became a day of painting and building desks. We put our paint clothes on and loaded up 2 trucks with equipment and supplies and all squeezed in for what would be the ride of our lives. The roads we rode on I would describe as very poor, and that’s an understatement…rocky, bumpy, eroded and many many potholes! Needless to say, we had a blast on the ride – the kids (and myself as well) loved it! It was quite the adventure ride, way better than a ride at Adventureland we thought! Saw many interesting things on our ride there and back – homes, people, countryside, etc. We arrived at 3 Bears and Me School and began painting each room inside and out to get it ready for the National Exams next week. Beside painting, we got to experience the beautiful Haitian children that we have been told about…and yes, it’s true what they say…when you see one, you will see many…they literally come out of the woodwork so to speak. We had a lot of fun with the kids playing a game we called “Don’t let the “balloon” (aka blown up latex gloves) touch the ground”, tag and played with a ginormous parachute which the kids absolutely loved!! Mr. D, Jake and Tanner played a game of soccer with some of the older Haitian boys as well…I’m not sure who had more fun?? We returned to the hospital compound where we are staying while Mr. D, Kevin, Jake and Tanner began working on some of the desks. After a much needed break, some of us went out to the Pella Christian School to paint the classroom and latrine doors and once again, children were everywhere! We gave lots of hugs and I even danced with some of them! They are beautiful and you can’t help but fall in love with each and every one of them! We returned to the compound to clean up and eat supper, followed by a time of singing and sharing. Here are some of the many highlights, observations or things we struggled with today that were mentioned during our time of sharing as well as things I noticed throughout the day:

-a young man studying his notes during “study hall” as he walked on the top of his roof
-2 women hanging their clothes up on a clothesline set up on top of their house to dry
-kids running barefoot on the rough, rocky, sandy, hot ground…it hurt my feet just to watch them!
-many kids running after our trucks as we went down the road
-kids playing with simple things to have fun (latex gloves as balloons, kicking around a plastic water bottle)
-girls using our drops of paint we spilled on the concrete as their toenail “polish”
-Lucia praying at the PC school and Wilkin translating the prayer for the Haitian children and adults who were there – very meaningful!
-the truck rides!!
-watching a guy grate coconut by hand
-women carrying heavy bowls, bags and other things on top of their heads… they must have tougher heads than I do!
-the beauty of the country – mountains, various kinds of trees and other greenery and beautiful flowering trees
-Mr. D saw a goat being skinned while another one was tied up waiting his turn and “baa-ing” because he knew it was going to be a “baaaad” day. –  from the words of Mr. D.
-the sound of wailing in the street because someone died (the life expectancy in Haiti is 52 years old.)- They have a hard life.

The weather was beautiful again today and we are all loving the warm weather and sunshine. It doesn’t feel like January, that’s for sure! The stars were shining brightly in the sky tonight and there was a warm gentle breeze. Another beautiful day in Pignon!