Saturday, August 9, 2008

Coming Back to Haiti

This is my first trip back to Haiti since Alyn (my wife) was diagnosed with cancer. She finished her last chemotherapy on August 16th. She was very sad that she was not able to come back to Haiti with me. We plan to return late fall or early winter and if she is healthy enough will make the trip. Please pray that our living God, heals her and protects her during her recovery.

A First Mission Trip
I am blessed to be accompanied this trip by Mike Lindahl, a friend from my small group/bible study. This is his first trip to Haiti and his first mission trip.

Our first day in the field, brought us to Cite Soleil where we worked on the Water Truck delivering water to those in need. Mike said he was scared at first, but quickly adapted to running the hose, lifting buckets and playing with the children.

Being August, this day started out as a very hot day. The lines were long and tempers flared at our first stop. I was concerned what Mike would think, but the rest of the deliveries went without incident. God had his hedge of protection around us that we prayed for back at the hotel. The people we encountered were so thankful for us being here making these deliveries very rewarding.

Mike entertained the children with his "detachable thumb" trick... the kids were very entertained...

Cite Soleil has not changed much
As we drove through Cite Soleil, it was evident that it has not changed much. There are the same "shot up" buildings from the battles between the UN and the gangs. There are the tin shanty's that still are home for hundreds of thousands, and there is still the black rivers emptying out into the ocean that run directly through Cite Soleil.

Click on Photos for Larger View

Even though our mission is about delivering clean water to those in need, the thing that continues to tug at my heart is the children we see along the way. They are just so curious about us... touching our arms and legs and stealing a feel of our hair when we bend over to help put a bucket on someone's head. It is difficult to walk down the street without 10-20 children running up wanting to hold our hand. They are such a blessing.

And then there are the babies and little ones that I just want to hold, love up and take home.
And then reality sets in. There are the ones who have been maimed or disfigured by a cruel twist of fate leaving them with scars that they will carry their entire life. Here is a little boy who broke his arm at some previous time. The arm now dangles uselessly because it was never set in a cast to heal. One can only guess why the parents weren't able to get him the medical treatment that would have changed his life forever.

And then theres my special friend that I introduced you to last year. He had been burned at some time in his early childhood and is just the nicest little boy. When I first got off the truck at his stop, he came running yelling "Jeff, Jeff, Jeff" and we were fortunate enough to capture some beautiful pictures of him.

On the way "home"...
One the way home to our hotel room, Mike was telling me about how heavy the bigger water buckets were. He said he had to help a girl put one in a wheel barrow and it surprised him how much it weighed. I had to laugh when I was going through todays photos. Here is a picture of Mike straining to put that bucket in the wheel barrow...

and then the "after" shot where I can only laugh and wonder what he's thinking as he looks at that bucket.

Thank you for visiting the Healing Haiti blog... I will try to update it with other posts as we have time.
God Bless....
Jeff Gacek & Mike Lindahl

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