Every trip to Haiti is unique. Every team member is touched by different moments that happen through the week. Forever friends are made. Things are built, minds are opened & communities far and wide come together for a cause.
This trip to Haiti was such a special one for so many reasons. We had a very short period of time to complete many tasks and we were all up for the challenge. We teamed up with Zanmi Project and planned our week & we had a great group of people coming in from all over to help.
NOUVELLE VISION PEWS:
One of the larger projects we were working on that required quite a deal of planning was building pews for Nouvelle Vision Church in Lanzac. Nouvelle Vision is a church we have slowly been building over the past year. The church members have also pitched in their own money to help with various building costs.
In October of 2014, April met Emily at a meal packing event for Feed My Starving Children. Emily works for FMSC and after a few conversations she asked April if there were any small construction projects that she and her dad could work on. The first thing that came to mind was to build pews at Nouvelle Vision. Emily fund-raised for months, using an upcoming marathon to collect donations. Up until their pews were built last week, the congregation brought their own chairs to service. A hodge podge of various benches and plastic chairs filled the building on Sundays. Jerry, Emily’s dad, went above and beyond to build some very nice, very sturdy benches for the congregation. He wanted everything to be just so and he was so thoughtful in his design and construction. The amount of people by his side to help was overwhelming. There was never a shortage of helping hands.
Jerry brought 4 suitcases of power tools and supplies that Magic Beans will have to use on any upcoming projects. We were also able to purchase a high-powered generator with the money Emily raised. This generator is top of the line and will definitely be put to good use in the future!!
NEW HOPE ORPHANAGE:
We were able to get a lot of quality time in with our sweet kids at New Hope. We made garden stones, Kristin brought hundreds of photos for a family photo art project, we gathered around as Wood and his dance team performed for us, we baked a cake without an oven, the kids excitedly hunted for candy-filled eggs, and as always, we were smothered with love and hugs every day spent with this special family.
New Hope’s annual rent was due. This expense was covered by Magic Beans Brazil. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we partnered with Zanmi Project and moved the family to this new home. It feels great knowing that so many people want to help them. Knowing they have a safe home secured for another year is a great feeling.
Lisa, New Hope’s mother, joined in partnership with Buy the Change and made her first paycheck! Read about her exciting opportunity here: http://magicbeansco.com/2015/03/16/a-skill-used-to-provide-for-a-family/
One afternoon at New Hope, we met with the Haitian Administrator for Water4Haiti. They surveyed Edgard’s property right up the road from New Hope and we discussed getting a well dug for community use in Williamson. This community well will benefit the children at New Hope as well as their neighbors. We’re very excited about this project! That same afternoon, Alex purchased a new battery for New Hope’s in-house water filtration system and the men got it up and running again!
New Hope’s playground was completed in the fall of 2014. The kids LOVE having a playground at their house. However, the all metal equipment in direct sun got pretty hot! On our last trip, we discussed plans to build a shade cover over the playground. Alex with Magic Beans Brazil worked on this project after our group from America went home. Looking good, don’t you think??
FEEDING HOPE – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
At the beginning of the week, our group split up in two groups. One group stayed at the church to work on the pews and the 2nd group went to Feeding Hope to get a fresh coat of paint on the building for the big anniversary party. Kristin, Alex and Baz spruced it up just in time for the celebration later in the week.
On the day of the party, we arrived early to get balloons and streamers hung. A stage had been built and music was flooding through the place as we decorated. There was a feeling of excitement in the air. The cooks were working SO hard and they put out a meal any catering company would be proud of! One of our team members gave each cook and 3 staff members an anniversary bonus. It was a nice, unexpected gift and they were all very grateful!
We left to get cleaned up and when we got back later in the afternoon, all the children had arrived in their Sunday best. Ruffles, lace, bows, suits and even a couple bow-ties! Everyone looked so beautiful!! Our elderly meal recipients were seated in the middle of the tables…since meals are delivered to them, this was the first time many had actually seen the program.
Let the performances begin!! One act after the other made their way to the stage to perform. Dancers, singers, one boy rapped and caused the audience to erupt in laughter…it was one of the most special days we’ve had in Haiti. The music, happy cheers and singing reached the neighbors and in no time people were surrounding the gates at Feeding Hope on every side. It was truly a magical evening and the kids loved every minute of it! One elderly lady stood up and said, “Feeding Hope gives me life.” We’ll never forget that. It was a moment that makes every hard day worth it. After all the performances and speakers, the food was passed out. This was no ordinary meal at Feeding Hope…this spread was fit for a wedding! The kids really got a special treat with this meal and so did we! To think…all this wonderful food was made over charcoal! WOW!
We mentioned above that Lisa at New Hope Orphanage is now in partnership with Buy the Change. Any time someone purchases one of Lisa’s bags from Buy the Change’s website, they will donate $5 to Feeding Hope. This company has been such a blessing to us over the past year. It is truly their mission to give back and offer products that have a direct impact on women and their families around the world.
We ended the week with a relaxing day with our team and the cooks and staff from Feeding Hope. Some of the ladies had never been to Indigo, a local resort in Montrouis. We had a great time kayaking, swimming and just kicking our feet up after a productive week!
Some photos snagged from Kristin Lee & Helen Wilson