by Sharon McElhinney, first time MH4H trip participant
One of the reasons I wanted to come on this trip with Many Hands for Haiti was to focus on others and what God is doing in this part of the world. Sometimes at home, I am so inward focused and selfish.
There was plenty of opportunity to serve others today, all while working hard and having fun. I happen to be in the medical field and was happy to be able to use those skills today during Thrive for 5. I was able to do a short exam on 50-60 kids while Terri, Cadena, Jessie, and Dorothy helped get heights and weights of the kids. Some of the children weren’t so appreciative of our efforts. They were a little scared, but most of them were very brave. All of the moms and grandmas were very thankful.
All the little ones are precious to God, and I pray that more and more, I would be able to see them through his eyes.
by Lindsey Klyn, marketing manager for MH4H
Sharon wanted to share about her medical experience at Thrive for 5, so I thought I would fill you all in on the rest of the day’s activities. Let me start by saying that I’m the marketing manager for Many Hands for Haiti, so for the past eight months, I’ve been living in Haiti virtually, trying to understand how our ministry works down here so I can share it with all of our supporters. My role on this trip is to record and photograph all of what God’s doing through our ministry in Haiti, and I even roped my husband into coming along with me. I’ve been to Haiti once before, but this is his first time. I love that I get to see him witness Haiti firsthand, since this place is such a big part of who I am and what I work with on a daily basis.
We started the morning at Pechou Joseph’s house. Pechou is in the Thrive for 5 program, and his family received a cement floor today. Bill, Duane, Tim, Tim, and Tyler helped pass buckets full of cement, while the ladies entertained the neighborhood kids. The guys stayed to finish up the floor when the women left to head to Thrive for 5.
Pechou Joseph standing in front of his home, while Bill and the others help mix and pour the cement floor
Terri and Sharon blowing bubbles to the neighborhood kids while the floor was poured in Pechou’s home.
For me, seeing Thrive for 5 was awesome. I’ve stared at pictures of these precious children for months, and I know many of them by name, even though I’ve never met them. It was surreal to walk through the building and see Lensly and Kembel and Jide and so many other familiar faces in real life. They looked a little shocked when I could say, “Bonjou” to them by name. Scary blanc (white person). I have to say watching Maykel (the little boy Tyler and I sponsor) singing, smiling, and clapping along to Alam Kontan Jezi Remen Mwen (I’m so happy Jesus loves me) was the highlight of my day. I thought he was adorable in pictures; he’s even more precious in person. Like Sharon shared, we ended Thrive with her checking over all the kids and trying to update heights and weights.
Maykel… I told you he was cute!
After Thrive, we had a little time to eat and regroup before the afternoon’s activities. My husband’s dream came true after lunch: he got to drive us on a motorcycle in Haiti. (Sorry moms; you’ll be happy to know we’re both still alive, despite riding through gravel, pot hole filled roads with no helmets.) We went to the Least of These feeding program in Pignon, where Ebens and his mom feed the outcasts of Haiti, those who are homeless and disabled, and then we visited Sewing Hope where we have ten women at a time who are taught how to sew. The women got quite goofy and began to put on a show for us, putting their hands above their heads to show how good they are since they can sew with no hands. Each one also shared about what they love about the program and how thankful they are for the opportunity to learn how to sew.
Tyler driving a motorcycle in Haiti
One of the ladies at Sewing Hope
Our last big event for the day was passing out diapers in the community that the women at Sewing Hope had made. To do this, we drove out into the countryside across the river. Many people on this team didn’t realize that meant literally driving through the river, right past people bathing and washing their clothes. Let’s just say, it was quite the experience for everyone as we sat in the back of the pickup. Once we got across the river, it didn’t take long to find families to distribute the diapers to. This is part of our Bundled Bottoms program, and I know I keep saying this, but to see this in action was once again surreal. Back in Iowa, we tried to stage a photo shoot with a baby wearing the diapers, but here, we saw bare bottoms everywhere. No staging necessary. To watch the mom or dad proudly Velcro a diaper around their child’s hips brought me so much joy. I loved that we drove up to find naked bums and drove away leaving bundled bottoms.
Thank you all for praying for us and staying involved with our trip by reading these blogs. I’m so appreciative of the support and prayers from back home. It’s wonderful to be here and see all of these things in person. I only hope that I can adequately capture the beauty here with my camera to share with all of you soon.