Naomi and Zach from Third Church Group share about their last day in Haiti visiting the Citadel. The group has experienced so much together, and today they specifically witnessed the majesty of God’s creation and the Haitians’ joy.                  

Part 1, by Naomi Tripp…

Today started with a wake up call from Ali at 4:40am to get ready for the day. Let me tell ya, wakening up at 4:40am after a late night is not always ideal. However, we rolled out of bed excited to see what God had in store for us today. After loading up in the truck for a bumpy three-hour drive to Cap-Haitien to see the Citadel, we drove through lots of puddles and even through a river! We stopped for breakfast in a town on the way, which consisted of food sold on the side of the road by vendors, but the food was nice and warm in the cool morning air. During the rest of the drive to the Citadel, we sang songs in the back of the truck and said “Bonjou”, or ‘good morning’ in Creole to all the people we passed.

The team singing and dancing with a bamboo band The team’s view of Sans Souci Palace

 When we reached Cap-Haitien, we began a tour of some incredible ruins from the Sans Souci Palace. Our tour guide told us all about the history of the palace and the king who lived there.

The team with tour guide Johnny! The tour guide shares about Haitian history with the team

It was super interesting to hear the country’s history and the different events the people went through to obtain their freedom. Then, we drove up a steep mountain road to the hiking area for the Citadel. It was a long steep hike, but we all made it!

The best view of the Citadel

The weather turned very hot, and we wished for the cold morning air. It was a little colder inside the Citadel, which was very nice! Our guide told us all about the fortress’s intriguing history! For lunch, we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in one of the many courtyards inside the Citadel. We had lots of food so we fed all our guides; it was so wonderful to see the smiles brought to their faces.

Who doesn’t love a good PB&J?

After lunch, we hiked back down the mountain and returned to the truck for our drive to MH Campus in Sylvain. We continued singing and greeting the Haitians we passed on the way.

Our day finished at the compound with two Haitian girls who came and braided hair for Thomas and some girls. The rest of the evening, we had community time together and recapped the day’s events. Seeing the different locations in Haiti as we traveled today was remarkable. We were able to see the glory of God’s creation in the gorgeous mountains and palm trees we drove past.

Thomas ane the majestic view

Also, we saw many people on the side of the road with so little, but they still wore a smile. This reminded me that material things are not what decide a person’s happiness. Rather, a person’s heart state affects their joy.

Thank you for your prayers,

Naomi Tripp


Part 2, by Zach Rhinehart…

I woke up at 4:30am and got dressed before grabbing my water, hat, and sunglasses. Then, I put on sunscreen, went to the main room, and sat down. I was ready for the day! We were going to drive 3 hours to the Citadel. The journey began with a long bumpy tuck ride, but we made it! Once we got there, everyone was happy to stretch his or her legs. As we walked into the palace, we found that all the floors and roofs were gone because of past earthquakes, but it was still amazing to see.

No floor, no roof, still amazing The team all together at the Citadel

Hearing facts about the palace and seeing how big it is was cool. It was a long trip up to the citadel because of how steep the road was, but it was worth the trek once we got there. Seeing the military base was interesting. We were told that it had never been used, however it was kept stocked and ready to go in case the need for defense arose. The base had cannons, mortars, and the Mario shaped bomb- cannonballs.

The team, defense ready at the military base

When we got back to the compound, I had an hour of down time before heading out the door again to meet the little kid my family is going to sponsor. It was a weird situation in a good way. The child’s name is Kennedy but is pronounced Kenzi. His grandfather is a witch doctor, and his grandmother is a Roman Catholic. I feel like my family can really make a difference in Kennedy’s life with the gift of food.

Thanks for all the prayers and blessings you have poured on this trip,

Zach Rhinehart