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Monday, we had a tour of the MH4H campus. We started by joining the staff’s weekly bible study. They take turns leading devotionals, and we were blessed by the message the pastor gave on Romans 12:2. After the devotional, we each carried a bucket of water around the campus to get the feel for what the people of Haiti have to do each day as they carry water from the well to their homes. It was a difficult job. The average Haitian uses about 10 gallons of water a day which means lots of trips. Just for comparison, the average American uses 120 gallons a day. I can’t even begin to imagine that many trips.

We learned that the mission for MH4H is to help the Haitians in long term development and not simply aid. They are working on improving the community of Pignon and specifically the location of Sylvan by focusing on training the parents and children in how to provide for themselves long term. Jesus is at the center of the entire MH4H plan.

We had a Creole lesson and a Haitian history lesson. We also played with the children from the school as they came out for recess. We ended with a visit to Goat Land, a plot of land where they are raising goats for the students in the school. When each student enters the pre-school, their families are given two pregnant goats over a period of three years. MH4H provides check ups on the goat’s health. When the goats give birth, the families can either sell the goats in the market, or sell them back to MH4H. If they choose to sell them to MH4H, they are given a competitive price. They receive half of the money in cash and half of it goes to an educational savings account that will help the family pay for their students education. MH4H matches the funds that are placed in the ESA so that the families can really get 150% of the going rate for their goat and be investing in their children’s future.

Tuesday morning we woke up and headed out to plant some trees. Here at Many Hands for Haiti, they are constantly growing plants and trees. They have a few Haitian members of their team who are masters of agriculture, having attended college here in Haiti. One of the ways that they provide a sustainable living for the local people is to provide them with fruit trees. We broke into three teams and each team headed to two separate houses. Each of the houses were given 9 young trees which were planted in their yards. The trees will provide coconuts, mangos, papayas, bananas and oranges. The owners of the house can sell the fruit they don’t eat in the market.
After a quick turn around, we headed off to the waterfall called Bassin Zim. It is about a 1.5 hour trip from the mission. This waterfall is spectacular. We hiked into caves, swam in the falls and enjoyed a much needed afternoon of rest. Christi brought the makings for far more sandwiches than we could ever eat, and we were able to share PB and J sandwiches with many of the people from the surrounding town. A long ride back to MH4H found us all ready for a good night’s sleep.
Wednesday morning, we again split into two groups. One group went to climb to the Pignon sign on the side of Mt. Pignon mountain. The other group visited Bill and Jennifer Campbell at Haiti Home of Hope. They were able to help with a milk clinic where babies from poor families come for health check ups and are give baby formula to ensure that they grow strong and well nourished. We held lots of babies and played with the kids from the orphanage. It was a sweet time for many of us to check in with some of the kids we have seen grow up over past trips.
When we came back to the MH4H campus, we were able to attend the preschool graduation and help to hand out food to those who were in attendance. Wow, they really do preschool graduation BIG! The program lasted over 2.5 hours and all of the families wore their Sunday best. The kids wore white graduation gowns and caps. It was a wonderful time of celebration for the students who had been in the school for the last three years.
After lunch, we again headed out into the far reaches of Haiti. Down many dirt roads, riding in the back of a packed, lunching truck, we headed out bring mobility carts to some of the Haitians who are unable to walk. We put together a PET cart. It stands for Personal Energy Transportation. It is a cart kit that has three wheels and is powered by the rider turning a hand crank. The old man that we gave it to, quickly ran himself around his house in glee. The carts come with a lot of responsibility as the owners sign an oath to be the only one who uses the cart. If it is found that they violate this requirement, the cart may be taken away from them. The goal is to make sure that the carts last for a long time and allow the owner to freely move around the village.

The second cart we assembled went to a woman we had met on Sunday who told us that she is able to survive because the Lord provides. With this cart, she will no longer need others to carry her around. Once again, we all felt so blessed that Jesus had used us to bless one of his children.