Below are thoughts from a few of the team members after a day of Church, time with the children, and an evening meeting with Danita and Sheree (Danita’s executive business manager).
Kim – Today we went to church. The service was 2 and a half hours of singing, and beautiful Creole. The children were all dressed in their best clothes. It was beautiful to watch. I then helped take care of the children. I’ve been spending most of my time with the handicapped children, in particular with a child named Jean. He has Cerebral Palsy and is one of the children Danita brought from Port-au-Prince. He has been having significant difficulty with eating and swallowing. Today I was able to meet with Danita to relay my recommendations for this child. Hopefully he will be able to go to the United States on a medical visa. A team of people were also here today from Florida. They are here to measure and fit prostheses for the children who are amputees from the earthquake in Port-au-Prince. There is so much hope here in amidst all the devastation. Tonight I will be staying over night in the church with all the children Danita rescued from the earthquake.
Art –Hi all. Thanks for your prayers and wishes. We set up 500 chairs this morning for church. (felt like Oak Hill). Church was beautiful. The children all dressed in their best clothes. There was a band and everyone was dancing and having a real experience for a couple of hours. Today was kind of our day of rest. We spent a lot of time with the kids and tonight we meet with Danita to see how Oak Hill and Tower Hill can help her grow this wonderful mission. We’re taking lots of pictures and will update you soon. Love to all. Art.
Denise– Hi all, hope you are weathering the storms we heard about up there. We had a reprieve from the oppressive humidity late this afternoon when a shower passed through. Today, after church, I and a nurse named Nancy from Chicago area worked in the clinic. Set up on the second story of a building with no electricity or working plumbing we saw many of the villagers who attend church here on Sundays. The most common problems we saw have to be the effects of dehydration, chronic malnutrition and near starvation. I was so excited to see my friends from last year, Junior, Joseph Israel, Mackendy and the boys. The time has flown by so quickly. I am finally starting to get the names of the children down and we leave in 2 days. I know the Lord meant for us to be here though. I have watched my team glow with the Holy Spirit and I am blessed to be in their presence.
Drew– Geez, where to begin with all that was said above. All of it so true and yet it is only a morsel captured that you must also experience and understand with your own eyes. You too would be overwhelmed with wonder and bewilderment at the site of progress considering the despair. However, I feel the team’s approach to Danita’s needs was very enlightening for both sides since we are both interested in achieving sustainability. Our open dialogue led to many possible and realistic options that ranged from sponsoring teachers for continued education, jump starting the internet, construction and sustainability of the future clinic and establishing an child immunization program and an HIV testing clinic.
Cathy – I spent Friday and Saturday night in the church caring for the children. While my time has been spent with all of the children, when I am there I have been primarily responsible for a beautiful little girl named Denise. Denise has hydrocephalous which means she has an abnormally enlarged fluid-filled head. When Danita found her in Port-au-Prince her head was 2 to 3 inches larger than it is now. She would just lay around all day without moving or expressing herself in any way. Over the last six weeks her head has shrunk, she “sings” and she has started to express joy by smiling and briefly laughing. She is a princess and having the opportunity to care for her has been a gift. I held her during much of church today, and while I didn’t understand the service, I never felt more inspired in church.
Amid all of the devastation of the last few months, the children and adults alike were singing and praising God and expressing their gratitude with prayer for over 2 and a half hours. It was an amazing experience. After church I hung around to care with and play with the children. Davidson and Darlene (12 and 10) are brother and sister they hug me whenever they see me and tell me they love me. Davidson speaks English well and has helped me when I need to communicate with the other children. Djuono and Djery are brothers (we think 18 months and 2 and a half) and they love to play and cause trouble! They sleep together in a little Lightning McQueen toddler bed and it is adorable. Yvela is a little girl, about 3 or 4, who loves to jump on my lap and stand on me. Richard, Khervens and Djiovany all love it when I pray over them at bedtime. They are typical little boys and love to tease and cause trouble.
There are so many children and upon arrival it is very hard to distinguish them and remember their names. But over just a couple of days, their personalities emerge and it becomes hard to forget certain expressions and smiles. They are what make each of them so beautiful. I will never forget them.