Saturday, June 19, 2010

Liver Diet In Haiti

At the end of May I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti. I was working at an orphanage. My trip consisted of building beds, making art work with the children, enjoying the company of 40+ amazing orphans and having an experience I will never forget. Now I have 500+ photos plus the photos from other members of my group. So I'm gonna try to keep the post short and informational? I've been putting this post off for a few weeks just because it's overwhelming trying to explain my trip. I will never be able truly explain what it was like to visit Haiti and how much of an impact the community and orphans had on myself. (Many of my photos are not resized so when you click on them they will probably be huge sorry, but I just didn't want to take the time to resize all of my images)
My group consisted of 9 people. The group I was working with is an independent group called Restore Haiti. It was started by My girlfriends mother Martha Walker about a year ago after visiting this Orphanage in Haiti. So I knew most of this group before the trip. All 9 of us brought two 50lb. bags of donations (clothes, etc. ) plus are two carry ons
Juan was our taxi driver. It was a 4 hour drive from The Dominican Republic to the Boarder of Haiti. (we had to fit all of our bags in this one van)
I arrived to the Orphanage to see all the kids watching tv ahah. I laugh because we had sent the TV back home with Pastor Willio (owner of the orphanage) when he came to visit America. They don't watch tv all day but it was still bizarre to see all of the kids sitting in front of the television.
The last group to visit the Orphanage installed this solar panel. They are very fortunate to have this since very few people around the area has electricity.
Nano wearing Meghan's glasses
Neighborhood children
Kiki and Fidlan
These are the beds we purchased for the Orphans. You're probably think we could have gotten them something better and I said the same. The thing is beds are so uncommon in Haiti that it was hard to even purchase these. We bought them in the Dominican Republic and the bunk beds cost around $200 a piece. The price was so high because no one is looking for beds out there, it is considered more of a luxury. Willio explained to us that he didn't have a bed till he was 27 years old. So the children are quite lucky to get these beds at such a young age. What I learned while spending time at Orphanage is that these children are lucky to be able to live where they do. They have a roof over their heads, two to three meals a day, electricity, TV!, and now beds. They are definitely spoiled compared to the neighborhood children, but they deserve it. It is amazing to see how something as simple as a bed can affect someone's life so greatly.
The beds were just wire frames that locked into each other. The problem was they didn't fit very well. It took us about an hour just to build the first bed. After we got down a technique we built the rest pretty quickly.
Kiki and I
photo of the village around the Orphanage
On Sunday we went to Church. The service was about two hours, full of pray and singing. It was a great to witness.
But many of the children would play with us instead of listen. ha

A video of Church.
I also got to do a little site seeing. We went to Fort Liberty one day which was the fort of the French when Haiti fought for their Independence. There is also a near by island. We were told this island was "where the poor people live", it was hard to believe since most of Haiti has very little. You have to take a boat to get to this community. Many people that lived here use to work at a factory that is now closed. So all of these people live on the island with extremely limited resources. To see how these people live was quiet a shock.
Fort Liberty
Beach Crabs

Fort Liberty Locals (I love this photo)
And here are some photos from the Island

Leaving the Island.

Another main focus of my trip was collecting drawings from the Children. The drawings are then later used to make products to raise money for the Orphanage.
The kids, love drawing and it's really inspiring as an artist to see what they want to show on paper. We gave them bags to make little puppets, but we also have plenty of drawings on paper to scan in.

I sat down and drew some pictures for the kids. Some of them kept them and some tried to turn them in as there own drawings ha. Also many of them started recreating my drawings which was really fun/funny to see. Here are some scans of some collaborative drawings and drawings they made of some of my characters. (mostly walruses)

they love the skull and cross bones

The rest of my trip involved a lot of dancing, playing and site seeing. Here are a few more of my favorite pictures and videos from my trip. Thanks for reading!
Nike, the Orphanages dog. He's the best!
Nano stealing all the camera time.

Dancing on the balcony
We all showered in the rain
Neighborhood children.

This is Myson, He has cataracts on both of his eyes. He is an amazing child. They have recently raised enough money to get his eyes fixed so he will soon be able to see.

Nano and I
group photo
Djimmy was my man. I miss him already.
The children in their school uniforms.
Nano is a 3 year old who won over all of our hearts. He lost his family to the earthquake and is one of the 11 new Orphans taken in after the tragedy in Portauprince. He was born with the talent of drumming as you can see in this video.

Thanks for looking and thank you to everyone who donated towards my trip. I cannot wait to go back and work with these amazing children again. Please visit Restore Haiti for any information about the Orphan Art products or to donate.

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