Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 6 Bell/Alamco Healing Haiti Trip - Grace Village & Whaoo Bay

May 16th, 2015

Grace Village & Wahoo Bay

We have definitely toned down the intensity of our visit with a day of fun in the sun.  The day once again began with a fabulous breakfast prepared by two wonderful kitchen staff ladies who have been with us all week.  We’ve been treated so wonderfully by the Healing Haiti Haitian staff.   Our first stop of the day was to go to Grace Village to spend some time with the orphans and help out with chores.  The team had a great time.  The connection with the kids has been the highlight of the trip and it is evident that all the team would have liked to have spent more time with each one of kids.  The children love the interaction and their smiles brought joy to all of our hearts.  Oh how we wished we could have taken these kids to the beach with us.  Since the Grace Village orphans go on a rotation, we were not allowed to take them to the beach this week.

After our visit at Grace Village, we hopped into the tap-tap and invited Claudia and Kiki who are the long term missionaries at Grace Village and went up to Wahoo Bay, which is about 45 minutes NW of Grace Village.  This was a blessing and a great time to wind down our trip.  The team has done such a great job of being present and taking in all of Haiti with its sights, smells and sense of warm love.  The beach was a great way to cap off the week.  Some people snorkeled and others just lounged and relaxed.  Some enjoyed fresh crab and conch.  After an emotional and physical draining week, it was great to have a chance to wind down with this relaxation.  Haiti to it’s core is a beautiful country with beautiful people, and we definitely had a chance to see this beauty in one beach Haiti had to offer.

After the beach we headed back to Grace Village to drop Claudia and Kiki off.  It seems like the tap-tap has been our necessary evil this week.  We needed it to get to the places we went to, however, it was a rough ride on every trip.  I think that a lot of people will be thankful for their own vehicles and roads when we get back home.  We arrived to the guest house and a spaghetti dinner was already prepared for us.  We all have thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of the guest house workers and are very thankful to have meals prepared after our days out on the tap-tap.

The word of the day was again a mixed bag of thoughts and we were all supportive and understanding of each other’s words.  I’ve always believed that this trip is an ultimate team builder.  The general consensus of the night was how thankful we were to have this experience with each other and get to know one another.  There was a lot of love, admiration and respect shown toward one another and that was AWESOME (Sue’s word of the day)  J.   

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 5 Bell/Alamco Healing Haiti trip - Einstien Bowl, General Hospital, Laloo Orphanage

Today started out early going to church at 5:15 am.  The service really caught my attention as it was unbelievably powerful.  I couldn’t understand much as they spoke in creole, but what little I did understand was attention-grabbing.  This was like a traditional church on steroids, highly emotional with lots of loud praise to God.   What stood out was the preacher talking about a “miracle”, and that a miracle WILL HAPPEN!  It was delivered in a very powerful, forceful tone, and stuck with me all day.  The next stop was the General Hospital that was hard to enter.  The first child had a flesh eating illness that the doctors didn’t understand.  We entered and there other extremely sick children.  We were handed 1 cup small bags of water to deliver to all the babies’ cribs.  Each crib was allowed two.  The hospital is not yet completed and we pray that the $83 million dollars of funds raised will complete the project.  We then drove to the Laloo Orphanage.  We brought 2 soccer balls and beads for the children to make necklaces and bracelets.  I played soccer outside with the boys.  I felt overwhelmed with joy that they were enjoying it so much.  I took a break to get a drink of water and noticed a little girl peeking around the corner watching me.  I tried to talk to her and make her smile, but she fought back the smile.  I tried then to get her to play soccer, but she shied her head away.   A little later she came up to me with her head down, and peered up to me and I brought her up to my shoulders.  She laughed and her soft voice told me her name which I could barely hear.  I felt like I was drawn to her to make her smile, and she finally gave in to me.  Even when I set her down as others wanted to be on my lap, she now wanted only to be on my lap.  This was a moment I felt great love. 

Keith H

Today was an amazing day. Each day I am gaining a little more understanding of the Haitian culture. Today started with the church service at Morning Star Church. The service had an everlasting impact on me. Watching the Haitians walk around with hands high in the air praising God and giving him all the glory was very moving. The expressive movements as they walked up and down the pews or chairs displayed a love for God like nothing I had ever seen before. At times I could not understand the words of the songs or of the sermon that was being preached but that didn’t matter because His love for us and his promises are a universal language. You could feel His presences in that church this morning. The sermon spoke to my heart this morning as I feel a called to take my spiritual journey to the next level.

The next stop on our trip would be to visit Einstein Bowls. This was a place where they made bowls and platters out of wood. The work was exquisite. We all took our turns picking out our favorites to take back home for a memory.
The next stop would be a tough one for me. Visiting the general hospital was heartbreaking. While I understand that they might not have the resources that we have in the states, but seeing the state of the hospital and the sick children broke my heart. I only wish I could have done more than just pass out water to each bed. But I have to be thankful that God has provided this place for them to go for help even if it is not to the standard that I know a hospital to be.  It was a true education learning about the process that the Haitians have to go to receive this care.

The last stop in our day will turn out to be one of my most memorable. LaLoo Orphanage was a very nice place to visit. We brought crafts and a ball to play with the children. The smiles brought so much joy to our team. I had the pleasure of meeting a five year old boy named ThomasDavid (spelling it just how it sounded). He was precious and hung on to me the whole time but I will admit I think I held on to him just as tight. As I held him I softly ran my fingers over his face and eyes much like I would my own child. He was so relaxed and I could tell he and I were both enjoying the moment. I will never forget that little boy. Oh and I have to add Tina and I both had our hair done by the children. You had never seen such beautiful braids and twists done. It was so awesome!

For supper we ate at Pizza Amour, a familiar comfort food that brought that brought the team together for some good conversations and laughs. A business started by a mission family that felt called to bring a special restaurant to Haiti. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was most welcoming.

Overall I would call this day a joyous one. It was filled with prayers from a morning service, tears of heartache at the hospital, smiles of the children of the orphanage and ending with pizza that reminded us of home. You can’t beat that for a day in Haiti. J  

By, Melissa
Photos of today will  be posted tomorrow...

Day 4 photos

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 4 - Titanyen - Grace Village Tour & Elderly Visits 5-14-15 Bell/Alamco Healing Haiti

What an amazing day!!  Today went to Grace Village which is in Titanyen, a 45 minute drive away from the guest house in Port Au Prince.  It is a school, orphanage, medical clinic, fish farm, garden, bakery, homes and so much more all built by Healing Haiti for orphans and the local community. It was so wonderful; we’ll do our best to put it into words...  We were driving in the noisy, bumpy tap-tap driving up a mountain when we all saw it, gorgeous purple everywhere (Healing Haiti’s color it seems).  We were given a tour of the entire compound starting at the bakery to the school then the tilapia farm (yes, that’s right, they have a fish farm; harvested every 3 months) to the houses and finally the medical clinic.  Our wonderful team managed to get 5 whole suitcases stuffed to the brims of donations including multivitamins, hand sanitizer, lotion, and various other things they require at Grace Village on a regular basis.  This is the first stop of the trip that I felt was truly a step in the right direction for Haiti.  The clinic was so touched and thanked us profusely for all of the donations; they will make a huge difference! 

After the village, we went to visit various elders in the community of Titanyen, one of which was only 45 (yes, that is considered an elder as the average lifespan in Haiti is 53).  We were truly God’s hands and feet today…  We started with a very elderly man who was blind and when we entered his shanti he was actually lying on the floor under his bed because that is the coolest place.  We washed and moisturized his feet, sang him songs and asked him questions.  The next visit was to a 74 year old woman she came out of her shanti to meet us.  I (Tina) washed her feet; they were very rough and dirty as most can’t afford shoes in Haiti and go barefoot.   As I washed her feet she smiled and enjoyed it very much.  I then had the pleasure of painting her toe nails pink (this was the hardest part for me (Kate), these women are just girls too; they like to look pretty too, just can’t afford it). It was a great feeling to do something so simple yet so satisfying.  The most amazing part was all of these people need so much help and then we ask them “is there anything you’d like to ask of us?” and all they want is us to pray for someone else, usually their families; so beautiful...    I (Kate) was fortunate enough to wash and moisturize a man with leprosy and he was so happy with all of us taking the time to see him and his pet goats (aka his children).  Singing with a guitar and keyboard was absolutely amazing, as well, and such a tear jerker with the children and elders joining in!

We ended the night with our word of the day. Mine (Tina) was “strength” as I saw the strength of Healing Haiti building this compound with all of its features and necessities for the children. I also felt that these elders had amazing strength to be where they are at in their lives especially after living through the earthquake in 2010 where over 230,000 Haitians perished.  They all also had amazing strength in God.   My (Kate) word of the day is “beauty” and  I can’t get over the unbelievable beauty everywhere here; the gorgeous Grace Village and the beautiful smiles from all who see us.  I truly believe today was the first day since we’ve been here that we got the honor of seeing kids being kids; the most beautiful site in the world.  Thank you for continuing to read our posts and please continue to pray for our team and these beautiful people that we are so blessed to meet. <3

By Kate & Tina
PS  Photos of today will be posted tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 3 - Water Truck - Bell / Alamco Team Wed. 5/13/15

Today we visited the Cite Soleil to deliver water to the poorest of the poor in Haiti. The day started out at the watering station, we waited while the truck owned by healing Haiti sat in a line of other water trucks waiting to be filled. The trucks hold 3500 gallons of water so it does take some time to fill them up. Then off we went on a short drive to the separation point where the Haitians don’t even want to go. The UN has a station post on the edge of the city to keep the gang and violence from spreading to the rest of the city, the first time I have seen any presence of the police force.

                When we arrived at our first stop the first thing you see besides the garbage and tin shacks is the children. As soon as they see the tap-tap they run up and with big smiles and want us to pick them up. Without hesitation we pick them up and they hug you and just want love, and to be held. Some kids are wearing no clothes, all of them have no shoes and they are running around in sewage and broken glass.

                As soon as the water truck pulls up people come from all directions with buckets and anything that will hold water, then they line up and the water just continues to flow filling bucket after bucket till it is run dry. As the buckets are being filled the push the full ones off to the side and the women ask for help to put them atop their heads and we carry any buckets that we can as far as we can without leaving site of the tap-tap. We are told not to go too far because it is not safe and you could see why but honestly I didn’t feel in danger at any time. I think the love of the children makes you feel safe and protected.

                After the water ran out they showed us the building site (garbage dump) where they were building the future church/school for the people of that part of the city. It is amazing to see some sort of progress for the people. Then they did a lil song and dance with the kids and we all loved to see the smiles and joy of all the children.
By Austin

                We stopped at Elder’s school.  It was a joy to see all the kids learning English and Spanish, we chatted with them for a bit and got to see what they were learning. The teachers were a joy to chat with as well; it’s great to see that other people are helping the Haitians learn more than one language. We joked and laugh with them and it was sad to leave them.

                For are second trip for the water truck we stopped at a near location where we stopped at the first location, it was great to see all the kids. We were all overwhelmed and excited to be serving and helping them. Seeing smiles and hearing laughter was a joy, I couldn’t believe in my life I would be here in Haiti. God put us all here in this situation to help out. Helping bring water to the Haitians put a smile on my face and wished I could do more.

                While were we delivering water we seen the struggle that these people were in. It definitely hit us all. It makes you feel so special helping them but at the same time sad. The kids were great!! They wanted to be held and loved, just bringing them joy lit up everybody’s heart. Finally it was time to go which none of us wanted to but we had more of God’s work to do.

                After the water trucks jobs we went back to the house to reflect on what we had seen and experienced. We took a little time for ourselves to go swimming, chat. We all had so much to say and express. We huddled around in chairs had the word of the day after swimming. Everyone was feeling all types of emotions and exhausted as well but it was great to hear what everyone had to say just brought us closer together. We enjoyed the rest of the night by relaxing and chatting, getting to know each other better and talk about are lives. We all had our own words to express but mine was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect but once we got to are work I felt like God was there with us all and helping us. It took me a minute to bring it all in but once I did I enjoyed every second of it. I hope whoever is reading this prays for us and Haiti and maybe thinks about doing a mission one day because it’s a great experience!  We are only on day three and I cannot wait to experience more of Haiti with these wonderful people I’ve got to know.  AMEN

By Hernan

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 2 Healing Haiti- Tuesday May 12, 2015 Bell/Alamco Team

First full day in Haiti.  Started off with a great breakfast and learned so much about my co-workers.  Hopped on the tap-tap, with half the group going to the Home for the Sick and Dying children, and my group went to the Christian Lighthouse School.  They desperately needed a plumber.  How many pole guys does it take to fix a pipe?!  Apparently 5.  Without the tools and proper materials, we pieced together the waterline from the storage tank to their living quarters.  It took about 3 hours, but it was so needed.  Nobody was able to shower for about 3 weeks.  Prior to fixing the pipe, we toured the school, which was awesome!   The first group of students through 12th grade is now graduating this year! 

We then went to the Apparent Project where Haitians are paid a real living wage to produce jewelry, pottery, clothing, blankets,  and trinkets out of all local material that Americans typically would throw away.  Their ingenuity was unbelievable.  The skill and craftsmanship that went into these items was remarkable.  The beads and coasters were made from empty cereal boxes, old newspapers and clay mined in Haiti. 

Our next stop was Gertrude’s home for special needs children.   I pushed a child around the yard on a wheelchair.  He was so wiggley, he ended up laying on his back in the wheelchair with his legs straight up in the air.  The smile on his face was priceless. 

Sam W.


What a full day we had!  Emotions ran high for most of us as we were overwhelmed with our visits.  We were treated to a full breakfast cooked by the Haitian ladies.  I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve with my new friends and co-workers.  At 8 AM all of us rode on the tap-tap hanging on tight as roads were so rough with rock and cement.  Bonding with the babies was our first serving mission at the Home for the sick and dying.  These teeny, tiny babies with their big brown eyes looking up at me, was heartbreaking.  I can’t help but think some of the babies were hurting badly, with their sad cries and most likely many are under-nourished.  But holding them, hugging and kissing them made me feel  good, and that I was helping even for this short period of time I was there.  The little girl I was holding was named Thamala, and I did get her to laugh a bit but most of the time she layed in my arms, as I sang softly to her.  Someone walked in from outside with another baby.  She hurriedly put him in my arms and she ran out.  His name was Joseph and he quietly layed in one arm, while Thamala lay in my other arm.  I was in happy land.  The hard part was putting Thamala down, as she cried and reached her arms toward me.  She just wanted the simple act of being held.  I had a profound feeling of love, sadness and  that God had wrapped his arms around me. 

The next visit was unbelievably profound.  We visited the Apparent Project where the program was geared toward Haitians selling their wares and earning a living.  Such detailed, skilled handicrafts they made.  Sam’s blog said it all.  About 300 Haitians are employed here, (about the same # that Bell employs) men, women and teens were all making intricate beads from colorful empty cereal boxes, beautiful jewelry, pottery, trinkets.  The detailed metal sculptures were all hand pounded with a hammer and nail.  They made coasters from the cereal boxes, rolling lengths of cereal boxes tightly, with colorful outer rims.  They were all so happy.  I got the feeling they had a sense of purpose, and they were all enjoying their job.  My word for the day is “opportunity”.  These folks working  have been given the  opportunity to feel self-worth, where so many  Haitians don’t have this opportunity. 

Without opportunity brings me to our 3rd visit of the day, Gertrude’s Home for Special Needs Children.  Everyone grabbed a child to play with, or found a wheelchair with a young one, and brought them outside to be pushed around, talked to, and to see the outside.  I had a little wheelchair-bound child that was strapped into her chair whom I cared for.  With so much need in Haiti, I think these particular children will fall through the cracks in a matter of time, which makes me sad.

God has blessed Haiti with people from all over the world who came to live and help the folks in Haiti. Thanks to Healing Haiti, and Tommy Bell for this trip.  I’m hot, sweaty, emotionally drained, physically exhausted, but so very, very grateful.

Sue P.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Quiet conversation in the common area.  Dogs barking outside.  The thankful hum of window air conditioners…it’s 10pm in Haiti, and our team is tired, but thankful.

It’s been a long day—up at 2:00am for many of us, to rendezvous at the airport and begin the journey to Haiti.  We hail from the geographic extremes of our company—Canada, Pittsburgh, and Texas, with some Minnesota and Wisconsin mixed in for good measure.

We got to Haiti in the late afternoon, and were greeted by a busy airport throng of folks.  Noisy, hot, and a bit on the chaotic side.  We made it through the crowds to the Tap-Tap, which is what our transportation is called, maybe because people would “tap tap” on a similar vehicle if they wanted to get on or off?  It’s part van/part truck/part trolley/part cage, and all bumpy and loud as we navigate the busy streets that seem to have minimal traffic control.

We arrived at the Healing Haiti compound around 4:30pm, unloaded our suitcases, and had our first meal together as a group.  We spent time going around, sharing bits of who we are with one another.  Plenty of laughs, some deep thoughts shared as well, and a collective appreciation that we can be on an experience like this together—with the backing of our company and the encouragement of our colleagues.

After dinner and dishes, most of the group went for a swim.  Yes, it stays hot even into the night here (back to thankful for the hum of window A/C)…Then we unloaded supplies and re-organized them for the days to come.  Tomorrow, our immersion into the realities of life and service in Haiti will be upon us.  Tonight?  Some much-needed rest.
John O