After going to Haiti…. I will never be the same. It is difficult to explain to anyone who has never been to Haiti how the poverty level there is shocking. For someone who lives in the United States where the poverty rate is roughly 15% it is difficult to wrap your brain around the poverty rate in Haiti. In Haiti, the poverty rate is the highest in the world, 77%! Based on data from the World Bank. Today, Haiti is not even considered a third world country: its infrastructure is so weak, that it is actually considered a fifth world country.
When you arrive in Haiti the first thing you notice is the smell….. a smell that is kind of hard to describe…it is a mixture of burning trash, rotting trash..(if you have ever driven by a dump then you are familiar with that stinky sweet smell) burning leaves, cooked plantains and animals….. all rolled into one very unique smell. surprisingly, I miss that smell, that smell that smacks me in the face and says yeah….you are Haiti. The average temperature is about 90 degrees with about 95% humidity……yeah…it is the hottest I have ever been. That kind of humidity is thick!
Then the airport is something that looks like a skating rink on the outside…just concrete block building literally about the size of a skating rink. Somehow with all the chaos..they get us all processed…passport checked and baggage to us. From there we climb into the back end of a truck that is fitted with seats down both sides. The drive through Cap Haitian is sort of like out of a movie..people walking everywhere, motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic, Toyota trucks… the small ones, filled up with 10-20 Haitians all crammed into the back end, a sort of taxi, they call them tap taps there. When someone has arrived at the location they want to go to, they tap on the top of the camper to let the driver know they need to slow down while that person literally jumps off.
When someone dies, the family has to pay monthly for the tomb to keep the casket in the cemetery, if they all die, or can no longer pay, they simply pull the casket out and toss it to the side…and put someone else in the spot. Yes..there are rotting caskets lying outside of the tombs.
Name of Country: Haiti (about the size of Maryland)
Name of People: Haitians
Capital: Port-au-Prince (1.2 million)
Location: Western third of the tropical island of Hispaniola in the West Indes. (Eastern part is the Domincan Republic)
National Language: French (spoken by 10%) and Creole – a mixture of Indian, French and Spanish languages
Ethnic Groups: African descent 95%; African and European descent 5%.
Major Religion: Roman Catholic; voodoo practices pervasive
Health: Infant mortality-71/1000; life expectancy 54 years.
Education: Years compulsory – 6. Adult literacy 46%
With all of that said….. they are a beautiful people. They are always smiling, eager to meet you and so very grateful for anything you do for them. There is beauty beyond belief there too. The flowers, fruits, mountains, and the people. The group that I go with does medical missions to orphanages and widow homes as well as remote village clinics. This is where my blessings came from. Meeting and offering some sort of hope and help to them did more for me that I could ever do for them. I was so blessed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To let them know that God sent me to help them in some small way, to let them know he hears their cry and knows their need. To bring this unworthy crazy white woman from the US to give them medicine, hold their hand, give them a hug and to tell them that God loves them was an undeserving honor for me.
One boy at the Cap Hatian Childrens Home has stolen my heart. His name is Jephte, a sweet young man who has a heart for God and a strong desire to learn. When he smiles, his whole face shines, his skin is a deep mocha and amazingly beautiful. I am honored to be a source of help for this young boy. I would love for God to make a way for our family to be able to adopt him. Adopting a child from Haiti can be very difficult and very expensive. 20 to 30+ GRAND! If it is HIS will, he will make a way.
My time there in 2011 and 2012 has changed me. I appreciate all of the blessings in my life. The ability to be able to have electricity, running clean water, to have food in my kitchen, to have the opportunity to send my children to school, to not have to watch my children starve, to just be able to get in my car and drive up to a window and order what ever I want to eat…. the list goes on and on.
If you have ever considered going on a mission trip… Do it! God doesn’t call everyone to go but for those he does, he first puts it in your mind to go…then he makes a way. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, it took me completely out of my comfort zone and I have never felt so close to God than when I was there. The feeling you have when you know you are right smack dab in the middle of where God wants you is the best feeling this side of heaven.
- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure
- faultless is this: to look after
orphans and widows
- in their distress
- to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.