Today we woke up early and split into two groups to pour concrete and garden. The gardening group walked to a house nearby our compound and worked on manually tilling the ground to prepare for planting. Courtney Nikkel, Sophie Vander Molen, Liz Clarke, Matthew Rossler, Steve Rossler, Karla Vos, and Julia Dykstra (me) teamed up with MH4H members to complete the project. We had a blast singing, talking, and dancing while tilling the soil. It barely felt like work and it was helpful to have other Haitians working alongside us. Woodson and Kennedy (two Haitian friends) gave all of us Creole animal nicknames. In all seriousness, I am continually amazed by the work ethic of the Haitian people and the willingness to serve others in their community.

The gardening group enjoying themselves, while tiling the soil

The other group went to a house to put in a concrete floor. By having a concrete floor, the family is less at risk to catch parasites. Keith Anderson, Jill Anderson, Tyler De Bruin, Lauren Peters, Natalie Vos, Hanna Vos, Laura Nicholson, and Emily Van Gorp (me) worked with other Haitians to complete this project. We made an assembly line to move buckets full of gravel, water, and concrete from the yard to the house. It was awesome to meet the woman actually living in the house and to know that she will get to sleep on the new floor tonight.

The concrete group working hard on the first house

The concrete group working hard on the first house

Laying concrete for the first floor

After lunch, we walked into Pignon for a market scavenger hunt to become more familiar with the town and culture. We were given 4,000 goudes to purchase a list of items that would go into baskets for Pella Christian teachers. Our group split into four teams paired with Haitian translators and took on the town. We spent the afternoon bartering with vend0rs and trying our hand on speaking Creole. The teams then met up at the MH4H office and sorted food into packages. The packages will be given out to various families in the community.

We then returned back to the compound for the night where we ate supper and practiced a skit for the Pella Christian school kids to enjoy tomorrow. We are excited about the impact the Haitians have made on us and vice versa. We both love it here and are excited for what the rest of the trip has in store.

Julia Dykstra and Emily Van Gorp