We had quite the outing on Tuesday. We have come to really love some organizations in Haiti. We believe in empowering Haitians to better their own country. Two of our favorite organizations do just this in Haiti. Our first outing of the day led us clear up into the beautiful mountains of Haiti. The children had been seeing the mountains in the distance, so we were glad for the opportunity to show them more….. and well…. it’s cooler and who doesn’t want to experience cooler weather when you’ve been in the city heat for 5 days!! Espwa Berlanica (look them up on FB) is an organization that cares for malnourished babies. It is so much more than that, but in a nutshell, that is their main focus. We were given our tour by the founder, Rhyan, who started Espwa 18 months ago. If you are looking for a place to invest in, this is the place. Along with treating malnutrition, they also train and educate mama’s so they can better their lives for their families, with the goal being for parents to be able to care for their children (once they are well enough to return home) to avoid these children being placed in an orphanage. The people that work at the center are Haitans who have been trained in taking care of these special little babies! We were blown away at all they do for the surrounding community and the fact that they will not turn away a sick child! The government and other orphanages are now becoming aware of this organization and sending children their way. There are a number of ways to support them, so I encourage you to consider them!
When leaving Espwa, we had another adventure. Our car wouldn’t start – no shocker there! We all piled out and sat alongside while our driver did what Haitians do best – adapt and overcome! As we were sitting on the side, they got the car started, however, black smoke started pouring out of the car directly in our faces. We all scrambled up, running two different ways, all the while screaming. D happened to go my way, but W went the other way. As soon as I saw D was ok, I rushed through the smoke to find W. Her eyes were HUGE, and she was definitely searching for me. I scooper her up and her heart was beating so fast!! We all laughed about it after, but at the time, my peeps were scared!! I love that we now have a family joke – our whole family can understand!! The kids still talk about machin fou (the crazy car).
After the excitement, we piled back in machin fou and traveled to ApParent Project (not-for-profit) or Papillion Enterprises (for-profit). I have been to this organization several times now and love the experience every time! This organization’s focus is to keep families together with the motto of “Orphan prevention through job creation.” With donated items and locally purchased items, artisans create pieces – everything from pottery, jewelry, t-shirts, purses, dolls, Christmas ornaments, and so much more!! By making these items, they have steady jobs to provide money for their families, therefore, allowing mama’s to be able to keep their babies instead of feeling forced to give up their children. Our children were able to see how collected cereal boxes are cut into strips, rolled into paper beads, coated with a clear glaze, and assembled into necklaces. It was a great picture of how a small action in the United States can result in huge changes in Haiti. We haven’t met the founder, Shelley, but she just put out a book (called, “Shelley in Haiti”) that I am itching to read…..in my down time….whenever that is!! We went upstairs to eat lunch at the café – frozen lemonades, gigantic hotdogs (of which my small little W ate 2!!!!) We then shopped until Papa’s wallet dropped! It’s my favorite store in Haiti!!
Then we were off to the store to pick up some groceries for lunch and the girls cake for a goodbye party at the orphanage. I knew this would be an emotional day for me, and it was!! We told (via our translator) our girls that this would be the last time at the creche and to say goodbye to their friends. They left with smiles and hefty goodbyes, but I can only imagine what all is going on in their hearts!!
We are all still getting along here just fine. We have some kids that pair up more naturally, but everyone is doing fine. We had some with upset tummies and temperatures yesterday, but everyone woke up feeling better this morning. D and W are getting so good in the pool, with less and less clawing and scrambling. It truly has been a life-saver for these parents that are trying hard to entertain 9 children! Our main focus is family-time, and we have been so fortunate to have that undivided attention! The girls say they are ready to go home tomorrow, however, it will be into next week before we are paper-work ready for that. We are still waiting on medicals, one passport, visas and a travel authorization and then we are outta here. We are hoping to come home as one family, however, if the paperwork continues to trickle in, we will have to start sending some people home. This is not our wish – we want to come home as one family strong – but the money and Daddy’s days off only go so far! Pray with us that this happen!! Ryan and I are so glad we decided to bring everyone – this trip has been a life changer for all of us!