by Pastor Tim Truesdell, first time MH4H trip participant
Today marks our first day in Haiti. After many months of prayer and support, it is remarkable to comprehend that this moment has finally arrived. Here are my four take-away moments from today.
OVERNIGHT FLIGHT TO HAITI
Our travel to Haiti began yesterday afternoon when we left Moline airport for a layover at Chicago, O’Hare. At O’Hare International, we met up with Tim Brand, the director of Many Hands for Haiti, and the marketing manager, Lindsey Klyn, along with her husband Tyler. From Chicago, we flew down to Ft. Lauderdale where we had an overnight layover. Thankfully, we had a hotel reservation to sleep a few hours last night rather than waiting in the airport for our morning flight. From Ft. Lauderdale, we boarded our flight on Thursday morning to arrive in Port au Prince, Haiti.
4.75 HOUR RIDE IN THE VAN TO PIGNON/SAVANETTE
Upon arriving at Port au Prince, we were greeted by one of the MH4H team members, Woody. He is a very nice, kind, and tall young man. The weather in Haiti is warm, sunny, and humid with a nice breeze. Leaving Port au Prince, we gathered into a 15 passenger van and headed to Savanette where we will be staying. For most of the team, this drive was the most challenging part of our day, as we weaved and turned throughout the mountains, only to end the last 1/3 of our trip with the bumpiest roads many of us had ever ridden. Even with the challenges of a long, bumpy trip, it was enjoyable to see much of the Haitian countryside, with all the homes along the roads. People and animals kept the trip intriguing.
Tying all of our luggage to the top of the van.
THE MANY HANDS FOR HAITI CAMPUS
Upon arriving to Many Hands for Haiti campus, we were greeted by the newly built dorm where we are staying. After settling in, Tim Brand shared with us all that has taken place with Many Hands for Haiti since its inception 5 years ago. We were shown the Community Director, Zeke, and his wife Bebe, as well as Ebens and the cooks. Tim showed our team their “Thrive for 5” building, their garden where teach farming, the storage garage for tools and donated foods, progress on Zeke’s campus home, as well as future plans for a community building, a building for their sewing ministry, and a basketball court for the youth. Listening to Tim, they have a real passion for the people in Pignon/Savanette and want to help them out and be part of this community.
Following our time of getting acquainted with our surroundings, we did a community walk to meet members of the community and see the lives they are currently living. Many lived in very small homes with tin roofs, housing numerous family members. With the cement program, MH4H is hoping to help these families from getting diseases from sleeping on dirt floors. We met Lindsey and Tyler’s sponsor child who’s in the Thrive for Five program, as well as many young kids through the neighborhood who tagged along with us and loved having their pictures taken multiple times. Don’t be surprised to see many of those pictures when we get back. We heard of one story of a grandmother who is raising six young kids under her care since the parents had passed away. Given her situation, she is only able to offer them one meal a day, if that, and her only source of income is breaking rocks with a hammer to sell.
Granddaughter of the women who breaks stones into gravel to make money for her 6 kids and 12 grandkids.
Overall, it was a very good day. The people here are poor and have very meager resources, but they have a strong sense of love for one another and community. Many Hands for Haiti seems to really embrace this fellowship with the community, as together they seek to come up with solutions to improve their standard of living and share the Gospel.
Shout out to my wife and kids, as well as Bill & Kat Carter, celebrating their 10 year Wedding Anniversary today!