Melissa Tafta

Melissa Tafta (pictured on the left) has worked for Many Hands since 2017. She is currently the store manager for the Merle Hay store. This was her first trip to Haiti.

You can read the team’s previous blog here.

I am woken up this morning by the wonderful smell of pancakes and coffee being made in the kitchen by Bertris and Evenie.  My first thought is how lucky we are to have such faithful women show up to ensure our bodies are nourished for the start of the day. Then, the reality hits me how many families are waking up in Haiti and are not as fortunate?  There are no soup kitchens or food pantries for them to visit and this is a tough reality for me to face.  

As we get the day started there are so many things I could speak about but truly all I can think of is the sadness in my heart for such hard-working communities that do so much for so little.  We head out to do food distribution in Me Bel Mer and encountered roads that would be shut down in the states if they were in such poor condition.  We are blessed to have been met by community leaders who helped to clear a path for us to complete our journey into Me Bel Mer.  The strong desire they have for us to be there is so evident by their actions.  

“During this visit, I am reminded…to be love in action whenever the opportunity arises.”

As we visit the home of Lwibijil, where Kethlin informs her that we are there because it has been in God’s plan long before today that we will visit her and bring gifts of food but most important is that we bring the love of Jesus with us.  He explains that while it is nice to receive these gifts to help make the load light for today that the true intention is to show them that God is thinking about them and that they are not alone so long as they have God.  During this visit, I am reminded that it is God’s vision that we deliver love and hope to one another and to be love in action whenever the opportunity arises. I felt honored to lay my hand upon Lwibijil as she allowed us to pray for her. 

“The one thing I know for certain though is that I am right where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.”

As we approach another house we are called to visit today; I see the words “I’ve you my God” written on the front of the house.  This was inspiring to see that the owners of this home have already accepted God into their hearts.  This family expresses that they know they cannot get through without Jesus and are very happy we are there to pray for them today. 

As we wrapped up the food distribution portion of the day we are blessed to have the opportunity to make an impact on campus by painting some buildings.  These community-building events where we get to work alongside one another and connect through making an impact are always highlights of my day each and every time no matter the task.  

I cannot yet put into words all that I have seen nor all of the emotions I have felt while in Haiti. The one thing I know for certain though is that I am right where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. 

Bryan Kladstrup

Bryan Kladstrup has worked for Many Hands for three years. He is currently the assistant manager at the Spencer store. This was his first trip to Haiti.

Today we spent the day on campus and I was able to spend quality time getting to know our Des Moines staff. Living in Spencer, I don’t get many chances to have one-on-one personal conversations with the Des Moines staff other than business conversations. My coworkers and I worked in the hot humid summer heat painting at one of Many Hands for Haiti school building. This makes me really appreciate the Many Hand’s staff and the work Haitians do. Haitians work so hard every day even though it’s so hot and humid year round. Haitians are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met.

After spending a week with no air conditioning, no cellphone, no social media, no internet, no television, and no Walmart, I feel humbled and blessed by the gifts God has provided in my life. I feel like I’ve been “reset”. I will be able to truly appreciate the small things in life when I return to the United States.