Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 3 - Wednesday

Day three was one of highs and lows, one of change and growth, and finally one of understanding and respect. At the beginning of the day we started off with yet another great breakfast cooked by our world famous guest house chef's, made with their chicken bullion eggs and ripe mangos. After breakfast we had down time to fill our water bottles and get ready for the day, while our leaders talked with our translators to figure out the current situation with the water truck. One of the filling stations was down and we needed to get to the truck so we hopped in our trusty Tap-Tap, and off we went.

When we arrived at the filling station we spent little more than seconds waiting for the truck which came out with it's horns bellowing speeding into the busy intersection, we followed hastily behind in an attempt to match the truck speed. As we drove we passed many roadside landmarks some of which will remain in my mind forever. To give a little background my first time in Haiti was about this same time of the year in 2014, it was only four years after the earthquake and Haiti was still in shambles it had a corrupt government and there was only ruin and despair, it was an arid desert with little more than crumbling infastructure and a people in a national depression (both in a physical and spiritual sense).  That is why it was so relieving for me to come around Haiti and see a land bustling with life and happiness. See America is a place with a more materialistic culture and scale of happiness, however in Haiti you see a culture built on community and spiritualism, which is why while we were driving when we pass such communities with trees and grass and the simple things you can see how much Haiti has truly grown, from despair to a relative happiness, you can again be proud to be Haitian.

When we arrived in Citie Soliel, the vast trek through open sewers, past U.N. guards with assault rifles and past market stalls with pigs heads seemed to initially bear no reward, but one of the great things about the Haitian people is that the beauty is not always on the surface, what may seem a hard and unforgiving land can truly blossom into a picture of beauty, the trick is that it is in the eyes of the beholder.

With our first stop morale was high, delivering water to a people with such hope tends to rub off on you and being the reverse missionary truly sets in. we left the Tap-Tap only to be greeted by un-clothed children desperately needing to be held, these are loving people who live on nothing but prayers to get by. It was a stop 17 one I had been to before, this stop was a great example of the warmth of god and the prayers of a people, not to mention the change the Haitian people have endured in their last year. the church was still being built but its mere existence was a triumph over poverty itself not to mention a symbol of hope to the Haitian people that the earthquake was just a veil of darkness over the Haitian peoples otherwise bright future.

When the bellowing horn sounded that was when the people came flocking from all about through routes that most of the team didn't even know existed, and in seconds a gravel street corner had become a vibrant and bustling hub of energy and movement. Within the first couple of seconds water had filled the streets, turning the whole vaguely tiled floor into a mess or wet dirt and slippery tiles. People had began to crowd around and it was time for me to make my choice as to whether I was going to be on the hose or with the children, though I chose the hose initially that is not to be said that I couldn't be swayed to find a different place on the line. In the beginning Nate was working the front end where the business happened but he kindly moved offered me the front end so that I could experience the hectic rush for water myself. Though there was a kind Haitian man to help show me the ropes, we built up a rhythmic order and in the end it was just our Haitian guide and the locals moving buckets into order and me holding the giant hose in place while the water rushed out in a white current.

After encountering no problems at that stop we moved to the Haitian Initiative, where I had the most memorable experience yet in Haiti. When you walked into the steaming hot room you saw that there was little more that a makeshift kitchen and a table in a space large enough to be a warehouse. To give a little more background, I moved from Saint Paul to Edina in the summer of second grade, where I made what would be my home until I graduated high-school, In Edina we often hear of the Haitian Initiative, not only in how they would destroy us in soccer but also how many sponsors would bring these children from Haiti to Edina, where they would live during soccer season. Needless to say Edina is very connected in the Haitian Initiative organization, so it felt quite good to see Edina's loss had gone to some worthy players, these kids were kinder, more playful and more joyous than any kids I had ever new. With countless games and ways to entertain themselves they must keep themselves in shape and quick on their feet come soccer season.

While inside the Haitian Initiative organization I sat down with my grandmother, Pam and a man I had never met before, we sparked up a conversation and though he looked the part he had to good of english to be born here, it was as if it was his first language with little to no accent and using words that a gifted scholar might use it warranted the question of "where are you from?" the question was of course met with a toothy grin and a heavy laugh followed by an explanation and short summary of his life.

He told us how he was raised in New Jersey and was an avid reader of many holy books, he found his calling by doing missionary work down in Haiti after reading a particular book that listed quote from the bible. "I am working for the lord" he said, making his mark as an true christian.

While majority of the Haitians ran into a circle to play a group game some of the players and I snuck off with David to get some photos, they all had Edina jerseys on and when I told them I was from there to they burst out in somewhat laughter and somewhat amazement as they seemed to never expected than someone from Edina would come to visit them.

As it grew later in the day we socialized some more and gave the kids some more amazement when I told them I was 15, and 5'-8'' they thought that it was not possible that I was 15 as the nearest kid a 16 year old was barely 5 feet tall. However at that point the amazement and fun was only to be continued as Micah busted out his dance moves and showed the whole team what fun really was.

Chris Lethert

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