Sorry about the title, but those breadsticks sound pretty heavenly right about now.
About two months in and Daniel and I honestly feel right at home. The people here at COBSAMAT not only have the biggest hearts, but unending amounts of smile and hugs (and trust me, the fried banana, mangos and pineapple doesn’t hurt one bit).
As we have started to enter the rainy season here in Haiti, I have also slowly started to become an eco system to a diverse amount of insects. I am happy they are thriving, as God wants them to be, although I am not happy that I’m the one they are thriving off of. Mosquitos, bedbugs and beetles the size of your palm enjoy cuddling in my hair while I am sleeping. Bug repellent and anti-itch gel have been great friends by helping me set “friendship” boundaries with these bug-o’s. Oh… and the tarantulas… I think that’s all I need to say about that. Just pray. Lol.
SO, the kids. I can go on and on about them. These kids are the most hardworking and strongest people I know. They have taught me so much with their desire to serve without expecting anything in return. Everyday I truly look forward to what they can teach me or what new joke they might crack. It’s safe to say that each and every one of them are characters. You could never have enough laughs and meaningful conversations with the older kids, hugs and giggles from the younger kids, and finding yourself constantly wondering if you sat in pee or water when you are with the babies. Either way, they have shown me so many things about God, life, love and the power of family.
About three weeks ago, Daniel and I decided to join the president of the orphanage, Gabby, on an errand he had to run in the Dominican Republic. We left early in the morning and returned back to the orphanage later that afternoon at around 5 p.m. It was safe to say, Daniel and I were pretty exhausted. But when we drove in and saw all the children running around, playing and felt them smother us with hugs, we definitely forgot about the naps we talked about on the drive back. While we were running around with the kids, the secretary, Ediane, mentioned she needed to talk to Daniel, Gabby and I about something that happened while we were gone.
Once we all sat down in the office, Ediane mentioned that IBESR (the child protective services of Haiti) came to the orphanage that morning while we were gone and dropped off 5 boys, ages 4, 5, 6, 9, and 14. These five boys were assumed to be victims of child trafficking. A few months prior, they were caught trying to cross the boarder of the Dominican Republic along with their trafficker who claimed to be a “Pastor”, and 8 other children. Unfortunately, the trafficker managed to get away with the eight other kids and they have still not been found. Anger, sadness, hurt, compassion, along with so many other emotions rushed to my heart. We debriefed sleeping arrangements, school, and many other topics which needed to be discussed so we may better serve these kids, considering our orphanage was not equipped to have 5 more kids.
Then, Ediane took us to meet the boys. These boys saw me, learned my name and flashed me the biggest and most genuine smile along with a few giggles once we got to cracking some jokes that language barriers allowed. It blew my mind that I did not even realize we had new kids when we drove in, because of how accepting, loving and caring all the children are. Later that week, I heard all the boys (the ones who have been here for years and our new 5 boys) in the orphanage refer to each other as brothers. Their plain and simple reason being: “because we are family.”
Along with teaching three English classes, Daniel and I are finally getting projects rolling! We are currently working on the septic system for the orphanage, which will soon have concrete and will no longer get clogged by mud when it rains! This is a huge deal when you live on an island where the rain is no joke! Once this project is finished, we will start a chicken coop, which will not only feed the children and staff here, but will hopefully become a successful business. Along with these two projects, we have many more lined up like a double pumped well, and potentially a Tilapia farm that we are so excited to start! Please keep us in your prayers as we continue these projects!
If you know me, you know that I am absolutely obsessed with the Holiday season. I can be fake with you and tell you that it is all about the decorations, joy and glee on every little child’s face (although, yes to some extent it is, actually yeah you’re right, a lot of it is), but let's be real, the majority of the reason is THE FOOD. I’m a Hispanic, so to be more specific, it’s all about the tamales. My stomach was definitely crying when I typed that. It is safe to say that our cravings are slowly intensifying and my Thanksgiving and Christmas spirit is growing by the second. Although we are craving all these things, Daniel and I are honestly pretty excited to be spending the holidays here, with our family. Not only am I talking about the kids, but Daniel and I are lucky enough to have our parents fly down for not only Christmas but New Years as well! We are so excited for them to meet the kid, staff, and the beautiful country of Haiti! I already told my mom, with our teamwork and Christmas spirit, I am so ready to make Haiti the North Pole! Oh, trust me its gonna happen! It is safe to say that this Christmas will be an unforgettable one.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION WARNING: Some people have been asking how Daniel and I are holding up health wise. To be completely honest, we are doing great… right now. I’m not normally one to beat around the bush and I am assuming that if you have read this far into the blog AND willingly chose to ignore the “TMI WARNING”, that means you love me enough to know the whole truth. About two weeks ago, Daniel got some mad diarrhea. Poor dude was in the fetal position for about two days and running from the bed to the toilet about every ten minutes. During this time I was sure to take care of him and make sure it didn’t get too bad. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself for not catching the bug he caught, considering we had been eating all the same things. I spoke too soon. The day after that it was my turn. Daniel was pretty worried about me but did an amazing job at being my caregiver.
Thank you so so so much for all the thoughts and prayers. Daniel and I have been blessed beyond measure and we cannot wait to see what else God has in store.
Jessica and her brother Daniel are volunteering for New Reality International this year at the Project 7 Children's Village in Haiti. They are working on income generation projects and helping in all things Phase Three as we mentor and guide the local leaders toward sustainability. We are SO THANKFUL for their service!
To learn more about the five boys who were rescued from a life of slavery, read this post.