My Great Haiti Experience Part II

There were 142 people on this trip to Haiti! That’s a lot of folks! My granddaughter, Haleigh, and I were the two in the 142! Haiti team 2015   I entered Haleigh’s name in a drawing at our family camp last summer. Her name was drawn! So her way was mostly paid for! Haleigh is the first one standing on the left! I’m not even in this group picture because it was taken after the goat team #2 left. But that’s okay, we were here in spirit!

I have so much I want to write about that I’m having trouble sorting through my mind to make this meaningful! I think I’ll start with the Haitian people. They are wonderful, by the way! I have so many great Haitian friends! But even the ones I didn’t know always had a smile for me! Way back in 1971, when Jerry and I were there, Jerry named it the Land of Smiles! And it still is that today! Haitian people have the brightest smiles, even though many are hungry, many are sick, many grieve because of losing a loved one or more than one in the earthquake, five years ago.

Speaking of the earthquake, two friends from Michigan, had gone to Haiti to work on some projects. Two hours after they arrived at the guest house the earthquake happened. They were both killed along with a missionary and a Haitian watchman. They are all buried at the mission compound. I was honored to visit their burial site and take a few pictures. 100_5798  Jeanne Munroe, Merle West, Eugene Dufour, Sr., (I have forgotten the watchman’s name, sorry.)

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We visited two orphanages. The first one is in Port-au-Prince. It’s a fine orphanage, doing good work with lots of support. 100_5815  Girls were given sewing lessons. Their first lesson was to make the cushions you can see on the chairs! They did a good job! 100_5816  This was a class outside for the older kids. When they turn 18, by law they must leave the orphanage. These kids are being well-trained! I don’t know the name of this orphanage.

The second orphanage was in the mountains. Heart of God – Haiti Orphanage. 100_5818   100_5820  They weren’t expecting us and weren’t quite sure what to think of us! But these kids are fortunate to have a place to live. They used to have to walk down the mountain on a trail and then carry pails of water up the mountain to the orphanage! How clean was the water??? Now, thanks to some generous folks, they have a water system with a faucet! Running water…clean water! 100_5822  These children lined up to sing for us! “Jesus Loves The Little Children, All The Children of The World. Red and Yellow, Black and White…” “Our God is so Great, Our God is so Good, There is Nothing Our God Cannot Do…”

We were taken into their bedrooms. 100_5825  They do have bunk beds, but little more.

I, personally, know of eight different orphanages in Haiti. There are many more, thank God. There is still so much need. As we were riding, a pastor was riding with us. His English was very good, thank goodness. We had a good visit. I told him I hadn’t seen evidence of Voodoo this trip like I had on my two previous visits. He, sadly, assured me Voodoo is still there. He pointed to a man leaning against a building and said he was a Voodoo priest. Then he smiled and said the priest’s young son is being sponsored by a family in the Free Methodist International Child Care program! That means, besides receiving financial aid, his son and probably the whole family, including the priest, is being prayed for regularly! God answers prayer! I’m now adding my prayers for this man and his family!

We drove into the mountains to treat goats owned by Free Methodist families. This was our goat team, plus our good Haitian friend, Julo, who was taking this picture! Bonnie, Anita, Lars, Linda, Ali, Marv, I can’t remember the last man’s name! I’m so ashamed! Second goat team  IMG_1021  IMG_1017  IMG_1023  This goat didn’t like his hooves being trimmed!  IMG_1028  We gave each of these girls a cloth doll!  IMG_1027  IMG_1009  The goats were brought to an area behind this Free Methodist Church. 100_5838  Inside the Free Methodist Church.100_5839  This smiling man is the pastor of this church.

There is so much more I could write about, but this is getting long so I’m going to just stop! This ends my second installment of my unforgettable trip to Haiti.

Saturday in Iowa

On our recent trip to Iowa Saturday was a day of driving around, observing the Amish and visiting their stores; touring Gray Transportation; reminiscing about our childhood days; visiting graves of loved ones; going out for supper; watching an hour of Gaither music and just visiting. It was a wonderful day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Of course, we saw many horses pulling buggies. I didn’t get a picture of one going down the road, but we saw many of them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I took this picture of the man plowing for a garden.  LeRoy and Carolyn assured me it was okay to take pictures as long as I didn’t take their faces. This man’s hat was covering his face so this is okay. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I love windmills and there were many in the Amish community. I also love old barns and got some pictures of a few. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  They have large houses because they have large families! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We stopped at an old Amish cemetery. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Off in a back corner of the cemetery we saw a stack of these headstones, waiting to be used. There are recent graves here as well as old ones.

There are many Amish stores! We went into several, they are very interesting…and tempting! The only thing I bought was some homemade apple butter to take home to our children!

We left the Amish community and went to Waterloo, where I lived during two different periods of my life. I was born in Waterloo, Iowa, but we moved to Des Moines, when I was about two. Then, after living in Oklahoma and Illinois from 1946-1949 , we moved back to Waterloo in 1950.

Today we toured Gray Transportation. That was so interesting. I was glad daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Gene; son, Tim; cousin, Kay, were all with us too. But then they left us and we went on to do some major reminiscing!

We lived in an apartment house behind my cousins, Roy and Beulah Gray. This is when LeRoy and I became best friends. We were in the same grade’s, 5th through 7th  and the same rooms in the little Elk Run Heights School. We also attended the same Free Methodist Church in Waterloo. We spent many happy hours playing together, making hide-outs in the bales of hay in the big round barn, riding the Shetland pony, playing softball, climbing trees and swimming in the creek down the road and through the pasture!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is one of the two apartment buildings. One is gone, but this one is still standing and being lived in today! They were built to be chicken houses but before they were used, the man who built them, died and the family sold the farm to Roy and Beulah Gray. They turned the chicken house buildings into apartment houses! We were the first family to move in. Behind our apartment house were woods and beyond the woods was pasture land that Roy had subdivided. My dad bought a lot so he could build us a new house! It was a very small house, but it was ours! It’s still standing and lived in today although some changes have been made in it! We drove by slowly and even stopped to finally figure out which house was our home back in the early 50’s!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A large round barn stood here when I was a kid. We had so much fun playing in the barn and making hideouts in the bales of hay being stored in the barn! I can’t believe it’s been torn down! The owner of the farm built the round barn and was up on top working on something like a steeple, when he fell to his death! That’s when and why the family sold the farm to Roy and Beulah. Oh, the memories I have of living here!

We drove to the cemetery where LeRoy’s parents, Roy and Beulah and sister, Evelyn, are buried. Evelyn died this year.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I felt so bad and still do today because I didn’t think ahead of time, to buy some flowers to lay on the gravesite. Next time we go, I will definitely have some with me.

It had been a full day and so Carolyn didn’t have to cook supper we went to a Chinese restaurant for supper. Then home to watch an hour of Gaither music and visiting before going off to bed.  What a wonderful day this was!