A Visit to Titanyen, Haiti and Grace Village.
We visited Titanyen yesterday but have come back today because Friday is "Market Day" and we have some Buya.org orders to fill. The market in Titanyen is something that is hard to describe... you just have to experience it. People come from miles and miles around usually with a donkey loaded with goods and produce to sell... fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, fried fish and many kinds of foods we've never seen. There are also chickens tied in pairs and herds of goats that have been walked for miles. Having grown up in the city, it somehow doesn't feel real. Imagine seeing the "donkey parking lot" where all the vendors park their donkeys... it just doesn't seem real... but it is.
We're met at the market by Yvon, the caretaker of our orphanage and Andrenoi, the director of our eldercare program. They have offered their services to translate for us and help us negotiate our purchases. Its very rewarding to personally fill orders when we come to Haiti and really look forward to it because we not only get to pick the animals but we get to present them in person. We wish the donors could experience this first hand.
Carol and her boys had received donations from their friends and family to buy four goats and we needed an additional three. For us it's so out of the norm to be goat shopping but to the people that receive these goats it is such a wonderful gift that can brings fresh milk for their families and an opportunity for income by breeding their animals.
We cause quite a commotion being the only "blancs" at the market. As we peruse the goats, we're sure the locals are thinking we're "goofy" because we have no idea what we're looking for other than the "cutest" goat. This is where Yvon and Andrenoi come in. They guide us to goats that have sturdy hind quarters... ones that would make good breeders and produce the most milk. They also help us with the negotiations which is a whole different story. Of course all of the sellers want us to buy their goat, so there is heavy selling going on....(most of which we can not understand...) Believe it or not, each animal has a title just like the title of a car and once the purchase has been made, the title must be transferred before you have ownership. We made sure we had good title when we presented them to their new owners.
We bought some bananas at the market and handed them out to all the kids that told us they were hungry. Most of the time they ask for a dollar, but the bananas seemed to work out well. And as usual, their was more hungry kids than bananas. While it "feels good" to give a banana to a hungry child it also "feels bad" when we run out and have none left to give.
After the goats and bananas, we bought some children shoes with money that Danielle and Luann from Alyn's pottery class gave to her. These kids were so excited to get a pair of shoes, and their moms were so happy! There are so many children that walk around with bare feet, already hardened by the rocky roads they've walked in their short lives. We caused quite a commotion, everybody wanted shoes. Word spreads fast on the street and it started to get out of control. We found ourselves surrounded by 50-75 children and parents trying get in on the shoe thing.... people pushed and shoved to get their children nearer to us so they might also have a pair of shoes.
It's hard to understand how desperate people can be when we live so abundantly at home. We finally had to leave and have Andrenoi buy the rest of the shoes later for the most needy children.
A School Visit with Teachers
We then visited a school in Titanyen. Pergam Foundation Church Centre is a Christian school for poor children. They have been pleading with us for support during the last year. It is so hard for us to decide who to help. There is more need than we have the ability to support. We pray for wisdom and discernment and ask God to guide our decisions so the funds we are entrusted with have the greatest impact. This school has 180 students and 10 teachers. The teachers have been working all school year with no pay. They continue to work because there are no other jobs available and hope they will be receive some pay in the future. How desperate is it, that one would continue to work even without pay... they were all so thankful to receive the $60 (one months salary) payment... we wish we could have done more.
We pray for additional support for teachers salaries as we believe the future of Haiti is in the children. By receiving a Christian education these children learn to know Jesus and receive the foundation for a better life than the one they were born into. Without Jesus and the ability to read and write, there is little hope for the children of Haiti. If God moves your heart, please consider helping the poor children of Haiti by helping to pay teacher salaries.
An ElderCare Visit
We then went with Andrenoi who is our eldercare director. He brought us to visit two of the women we help care for.
One is 92 with severe lymphodema in her leg and is unable to retrieve water and food for herself.
The other is 106 and is unable to walk. It is hard to comprehend how difficult life must be for them. From the basics of food and water to the difficulties of going to the bathroom... it's just incomprehensible. Please keep the elderly and invalid of Haiti in your prayers.
And lastly, as we left the village we did our famous tootsie roll distribution.