Friday, February 28, 2014


How do I describe Haiti?
First of all, there are the sounds.   Roosters crowing all morning long.  Cars and trucks honking continually, people yelling for a myriad of reasons, babies crying with no mom to comfort them.   Children yelling "hey you!  hey you!  hey you!" when we arrive with water.  Team members crying with sorrow, pain, and compassion as we mingle with people in desperate need.

Second, there are the smells.   Fires are continuously burning for various reasons -- cooking fires, burning garbage.  The pungent odor of sewage pervades everything in Cite Soleil, and the smell of sweat as people are carrying their water pails back to their homes and scrambling at the water truck.

Third, their are the touches.  Children tugging at our shirts wanting to be held.   Boys tapping us on the shoulder wanting to shake our hands.   Little kids taking our hands as we walked to their home.  Moms patting our backs asking us to lift water buckets on their heads.   Precious babies weighing like a feather as we held them in our arms at the hospital.

Finally, there are the sights.  Lines of people with buckets hoping to get water.   Row upon row of "houses" that are smaller than my living room, with a ragged piece of clothe for a door and crumbling concrete blocks for walls.   Babies with arms an thin as broom handles smiling at me when I started talking with them.  Mothers hovering over their children in the hospital, hoping for their child to get better soon.  Faces of people smiling, staring, and hoping for something good to come their way.

In all of these sounds, smells, touches, and sights there is one thing in common.   Tremendous, all consuming need.   The need for food, for water, for care.  The need for a loving touch, for a smile, for hope.  The need to matter, to have value, to be worth our time, our energy, and our care.   And the often unspoken need to become self-sufficient, to have dignity, to be empowered.
How can I,  how can we possibly hope to meet these needs?   At times it seems so hopeless.   What we are doing seems to be a drop in the ocean of endless poverty, crime, pain, and despair.   But I hear God speaking to me about hope.   I hear him telling me that my goal cannot be to save the country, but rather to be one link in a never ending chain of compassion and love.   I hear him saying "help this baby, this child, this mother understand that they have great value to me."   I hear him saying "ask me for wisdom, so that your love may do more permanent good.   Join together with others to come up with ways to turn the tide in that country."  Through prayer, through education, through mentorship, through training leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, and every type of profession and trade -- so that Haitians can re-claim their nation, call upon the Lord, and become a light to the nations.   This is what God has for this people.   He says that his light will shine in the darkness, and the darkness shall not be able to withstand it.  We can be that light.     We are that light.  And let's invite others to join us.


Thursday, February 27, 2014


Tears. Everyday our group goes around the table saying one word that would describe the day. Overall the word would be "tears" today. After the heart-wrenching day we had at Cité Soleil yesterday, I wasn't expecting today to be so emotionally draining.

Our first stop on the tap-tap was a Haitian school that I can only describe as primitive. For a school of 400 children, they had 3 classrooms and only 9 teachers. The roof consisted of plastic tarps and the floor was dirt. The classrooms held multiple grades, who sat quietly and respectfully for the teacher to come to their corner to teach. After our tour the principal expressed his hopes to fix up the school, he then told us he was counting on us to help him and his students. I guess I wasn't expecting him to say that. It was sad to think that very easily this school could look a ton better with just a couple thousand dollars. My heart sank thinking that my church could probably raise that money in one day.

The breaking point of my week happened when we visited the home of an elderly man named Edmond. I work at a nursing home and really love the people there, so I was really looking forward to talking to Haitian elderly people. Edmond is a 69 year old blind for lack of a better word "orphan". His home was no bigger than a small walk-in closet and I could probably count his possessions on one hand. We arrived with a sandwich and some juice, to which he immediately ate. I wonder when the last time he ate was. Our translator brought a electric piano with us, so we began to sing to Edmond. Then came the lotion. When our leaders told us that the elders really like to be massaged with lotion, I immediately listed that service as something another member of our team could do, remembering my extreme hatred for massaging other people. Of course, God had a different plan for my service. I all of the sudden found myself right in front of Edmond's bare feet with a knot in my stomach, a sign that I usually understand as the Holy Spirit telling me I need to obey. Taking a deep breath I grabbed the bottle of lotion and took a hold of sweet Edmond's feet. The look in Edmond's face will probably be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. Big fat tears welled up in my eyes as I remembered how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. My group members sang in the background the song from Matt Redman, "And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing your grace unending 10,000 years and then forevermore". My tears evolved into full on crying as I rejoiced in Edmond's salvation, knowing that there will be a day when Edmond will see Jesus and have no more pain. I felt honored to be serving him, realizing the power of humbling yourself to my brother in Christ. Almost the whole team left Edmond's house with tears in their eyes. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt in Edmond's home today.

I feel blessed to be a part of this ministry, and could not be with a better team. It's amazing to see God working in everybody's life this week. God is so good.


"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cité Soleil

Today was a rough day for us. Not because we were tired, overheated, or sick. Today we were emotionally torn up. I don't think any of us were expecting to see what we did. We arrived in Cité Soleil with a tank full of fresh water. This area is the poorest of the poor. The children run naked, with no shoes or clothes. The roads are covered in trash and broken glass. Some might have an oversized shirt or a mismatched pair of shoes, but that is it. They beg for attention, throwing thier arms up shouting "hey you!" I picked up one child and two jumped on my legs. They just want to be loved. Their parents aren't in sight, if they have parents at all. We were told that about 30-40% are restavek children. In other words, their parents sold them into slavery at a young age. Someone owns them and has them, forcing them to haul gallons of water from the truck to their "hut." Infant babies roam the streets, barely able to walk.

After delivering the water we walked out aways near the coast. Instead of a sandy beach we walked on a garbage dump. The children ran out to follow us. Our translators led the children in singing a song they all new. You could tell they were so proud because the song was in English and that we would understand. Smiling ear to ear and dancing the children sang "God is so good, God is so good." Tears welled up in my eyes, I couldn't find the words to sing. I was angry with God. I couldn't understand what these children had to be thankful for. Where was God for them? What had they done to deserve this life? In contrast, what had I done to deserve mine?

As we walked back I realized that I was wrong. God had given them a way out, a great gift, and a reason to sing. He had given them his Son. One day these children could escape from this horrible life, and live in Heaven forever. Right then I went from being angry at God, to thanking him.

I don't have all the answers, and I probably never will. But what I do know is that because of Jesus, we can all have hope.

- Ali

"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under his control."

Philipians 3:20-21

Team Hearts

Team hearts opening up------

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We arrived in Haiti and landed in a different world. Where streets are made of dirt and dimpled with permanent speedbumps limiting us to Walking speeds most times with dust and dirt clinging closely. Where kids run from all directions to play 60 min of soccer. Where crumbled vacant sites sit next door to both shacks and houses . Where our van breaks into worship songs initiated by Haitians rejoicing in God's goodness when some might ask why.

Thankyou God for bringing us here.  Thank you for the love I see welling up in the hearts of those whom the world does not see as worthy. But who are precious in your eyes. 


Spent the morning at the home for sick and dying children. Each one is a treasure to hold and love and feed.  One boy clung to me like a vine and would not let go.  Another would not eat until I first held him for a while. We need touch. We need to be held and told thatwe are a treasure.  that we matter to someone.
Thank you God that you treasure each one. Always. And Forever. 

Monday, February 24, 2014


We come from 2 states and 3 churches.  We have 3 mother/daughter pairs and we're composed of multiple generations.  Many of us are strangers, yet we'll soon be family. We come from different walks life, yet we are united in our purpose.  We are all tired from our travel day, yet we are energized with what lies ahead. I think I speak for everyone in saying that there is no place we'd rather be and nothing else we'd rather be doing.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Leaving in 11 hours!!!

Getting ready to leave tomorrow for our trip to Haiti!  Bags packed and lists checked off.
Now let's see if we can get any sleep before our 3:15 am ride to the airport!  Praying for God to grip my heart with what grips His.  Break my heart with what breaks His.  And heal my heart from the self centeredness that clings so closely to my soul.  Lord show me what is really important in life on this trip.  And if in some small way I can encourage and bless others, move through me to do just that.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kalli Flaherty- Day 3

Me again!

We just finished our 3rd day in Haiti and our 2nd day of dentistry. Today was a very full day and lots got done!! We did cleanings, fillings, extractions and root canals!! Everyone is always busy doing something or helping someone else accomplish something, feels nice to be productive! There are three of us including Dr. Z that came down last year to Haiti (another assistant and I), and this year another doctor, two assistants and one hygienist from other offices joined our team! It is so amazing to see everyone in their dental element. We are all from different types of offices, coming together and making things run smoothly. Everyone has their own strengths and we've really been working great together as a team.

Every day around lunch time we take a break, have some snacks and rest our feet for a while. Today we walked down to a nearby orphanage. The founder/owner of this orphanage told us the story of how he started the orphanage and a little background about his life. He explained to us that he grew up poor, and his parents passed away when he was really young. So he was an orphan himself, which made his passion for helping others ignite. Him and his brother pay out of their own pockets to feed, clothe, give shelter and guidance to these young orphans. They have a small school connected also where 525 neighboring children along with the orphans who stay there get an education. I was surprised at how small the classrooms seemed, but they sure make it work. We got to play and hang out  with the orphans for about an hour. We brought jump ropes, soccer balls, footballs, hair ties, nail polish and some food for these orphans. They were all very polite, respectful and grateful for our presence and for the things we brought them. It is so inspiring to see these young children with not much of anything, still thriving and enjoying life. Last year we didn't get to visit this orphanage, but I am so thankful for the opportunity this year. It was so moving to see a man so selfless, devoting his whole life helping children who didn't have the mean to fend for themselves. His attitude towards everything was so positive, and asking nothing in return for all the good he's done. We need more people like this in the world, thinking not about themselves, but others.

Tomorrow we are working in the morning and in the afternoon are taking a trip to the beach! We are all very excited to have some relaxing time and also go out to eat!

Thanks for listening, until next time!!

Kalli Kay Flaherty

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kalli Flaherty- Grace Village: Day 1 & Day 2

Hello Everyone!!

This is my second trip down to Haiti, and I already am so happy that I decided to come back! Last year we stayed at a Guest House in Port au Prince and this year we are staying at the site of an Orphanage called Grace Village in Titanyen. We are staying at an apartment below the dental clinic.. YES, THIS YEAR WE HAVE A DENTAL CLINIC!! Last year we worked outside, with no shelter from the sun, using lawn chairs and make-shift dental units to accomplish our dental work. This year a dental and medical clinic was built with two working dental units, a sterilizer, an xray sensor, lights and working chairs. This clinic has made everything so much more efficient and effective for us and our patients.

Today was our first full day of dentistry and we have accomplished almost as much as we did last year in one day! It feels so nice to be able to help all of these Haitians knowing that they would never get this help otherwise. There is a language barrier, but we have picked up a few words in Creole like open, close and good. Just the body language and expressions on these little Haitian faces are priceless. Especially when they climb into your chair scared and apprehensive, and they leave with a smile and a "thank you".

This opportunity once again is humbling me, and making me realize all the things that I was blessed with. The Haitian community may not have everything, but they make the best of what they have. Being away for a whole year memories fade, but coming back here.. it feels like I never left. I am so excited for  what else this week will bring, and what  other experiences I can overcome and share with these Haitians and our dental team.

Until next time, xoxo
Kalli Kay Flaherty

Grace Village Clinic & Tour day #1

Today our team had our first experience with the Grace Village children. They brought kids over to the clinic by classroom where we completed cleanings, fluoride, and restorations (fillings). They children were well behaved & appreciated our efforts! We accomplished 55 children today already!

To break up our trip we traveled to the nearby town of Titanyen today to walk through and get a first hand view of how some of the people of Haiti live. When we left Grace Village we traveled down a steep, dirt/rock road which led to their very rocky roads/streets. People are scattered everywhere selling anything from a broken gadgets to fruit. 10,000 people live in this small town, and everything is cramped. Buildings/houses are bricks/rocks stacked on top of another with cement placed in between but most buildings only half the structure is remaining. Most of the homes we visited appeared to have no ceilings or tarp ceilings with rock/ dirt floor. No beds or furniture were present. There is about 80% unemployment rate so a lot of people just standing or sitting in the heat. We saw children who wore shoes, but they didn't fit and we're too small to even place their heels properly in, and some children with no clothes at all.

It was hard to quite wrap my head around how people in the city live their daily lives. There is a couple central stations where people pump water in what appears to be a dirty bucket or jug for their family. The children would all wave and yell "hey you!" Whenever we passed by.
It was very humbling to see how little they have, yet they still manage to survive with a smile on their faces.

Tomorrow we are seeing elderly patients and visiting another orphanage which is not anywhere near as nice as Grace Village. We will be giving the children jump ropes, soccer balls, and some snacks to have! This first day was a whirlwind, but I am excited to see the sites and things to come.

With Love, Cassie F

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Even Our Smallest Actions------

My wife is in India working on a focus group project . Yesterday, she relayed this story.  She was in a small room monitoring the discussion of some young moms and how the facilitator interacted with them.  While she couldn’t understand what was being spoken, she certainly could read the body language and the emotion being poured out.  A young mom (about 20) was telling her story.  She was a child bride  (married at age 12).  She had her first child at age 13 and the next at 14.  Her husband was an abusive alcoholic who would often beat her. One day, he pushed her off the second floor and crushed one of her legs.  She now walks with great difficulty.  When the session was over, she came over to my wife and uncontrollably sobbed and clung to her.  Between her sobs, she kept telling my wife something that she couldn’t understand.  After a long time, she finally composed herself and left.  Through a translator, my wife found out that the young woman was thanking her for caring enough to listen.  For all these years, she thought that she was nothing and that nobody would listen or care to hear anything she had to say.  Through her tears, she was thanking my wife for traveling thousands of miles to hear her and that maybe her life did matter.  After years of abuse and hardship, she felt that someone finally cared about “her”.

As we prepare for our upcoming trip to Haiti, we cannot overlook the impact that even our smallest actions might have on others.  Something as simple as listening could have a much greater impact than we would normally expect and it might just be the something that brings hope and happiness to someone else.

Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water--- it will make ripples throughout the entire pond”

Jessy and Bryan Matteo