Our last full day in Haiti feels bittersweet. There is a part of me, and others, that cannot wait for the bacon cheeseburger that awaits us in the States. However, we also feel some sorrow. The Haitians are a wonderful people, and were tough to leave. It will also be hard to say goodbye to our fellow delegates. It is amazing how complete strangers come together, share joys and sorrows, and can come together as friends.
This morning, we did some last-minute activities, wrapping up some projects, including putting finishing touches on a painting of birds in a tree in the post-partum room at the clinic. Finally, it was time to say goodbye to the people of Grand-Bois.
The ride down the mountain jostled us, but we were able to make some meaningful stops. Our first stop was to visit workers building a road. We stopped and hopped out of the truck, then walked a short way to the workers. The sound of metal hitting rock greeted us. As we continued, Scott explained that ServeHAITI is financing the road. As we approached, we could hear workers singing in time with their pickaxes striking the rock. It was amazing to see the teamwork and the hard work of the men. Even with the sun beating down on their backs, they worked hard on a road that would lead to a potential well. This well, if successful, will allow people to have closer access to water. Before, the women and children would have to walk hours to get fresh water. It was a wonderful experience to witness.
Next, we stopped at a Haitian school. Before we even walked in, I noticed that where American schools would have a playground, or maybe a ball field, this school had a cow pasture. We walked into the first room, and the classroom dividers were so short that we could see the whole length of the school. Each room had a blackboard and there was a blow-up globe hanging between two rooms. We learned that there were plans to make the school nicer, so hopefully that will come to be.
Our final stop before going to our lodging for the night was an Artisan Market in Port au Prince. (www.apparentproject.org) The proprietor is woman who came with her husband to adopt but found many children actually had loving parents, they just couldn’t afford to keep them. She decided to create job opportunities so parents could afford to keep their babies. She runs a huge business employing 200 Artisans and pays them a decent wage and even provides health insurance! She sells their items in many venues including the shop in PAP that is run by Haitians. They create metal artwork, jewelry, dolls, soap, bags, ceramics, paper maché and much more. We spent a lot of time there and were able to support the people by getting some gifts to bring home. We were also able to take advantage of their café, getting slushies and smoothies!
We finally made it to “Bob’s” and spent a lot of time reflecting, both casually and officially. There were lots of laughs and maybe a few tears, but one thing was certain: we have all been changed for the better because of the opportunity we had and our trip to the wonderful nation of Haiti.