Saturday, February 25, 2012

Latest Video of Orphanage Construction in Les Cayes

Pastor Scott Gillette's brother Mark narrates a video description of the latest stage of construction at the orphanage in Les Cayes:

Obviously, more work needs to be done in Les Cayes. It would be great if ABC could send a work crew to Les Cayes in 2013.

Why Didn't the Team Go to Les Cayes?

The Haitian Carnival (i.e., Mardi Gras celebration) was taking place during our stay in Haiti from Feb. 20-22. Carnival is normally held in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. However, because so much of the city still lies in ruins from the earthquake of 2010 and because thousands of people are still living in tent cities there, Haitian President Michel Martelly decided to move the celebration to Les Cayes. He issued a mandate that all taxi drivers would be required to take revelers to Les Cayes for a certain low fare. At least 300,000 Haitians are reported to have descended upon Les Cayes this week.

The environment during Carnival is quite lawless. Murders, rapes, thefts, and beatings characterize the "celebration." Pastor Daniel Jean made did not want our team to be endangered by this environment. So, he strongly recommended that we remain in Port-au-Prince during our stay. The decision to keep our team out of Les Cayes appears to have been a wise one. The Associated Press reports this week that at least 1 person was killed and more than 120 were injured in street fighting in Les Cayes during Carnival.

Summary of Mission Trip

The 2012 ABC Haiti Missions Team made it safely back home! It was an incredible week.

There were two main tasks that our team focused on during our trip to Haiti. First, we designed and constructed 50 very solid bunk beds for the children in the care of Pastor Daniel Jean. Secondly, we spent time playing with, singing with, giving gifts to and loving on those children.

Many of the children at the three homes of blessing (i.e., orphanages) run by Pastor Jean had been sleeping on the floor, sometimes on pieces of cardboard or on thin, straw mats. The filth, cockroaches and cold associated with sleeping on the floor was not healthy for them.

We were able to purchase lumber and supplies (e.g., wood screws, some power tools) for about 40% of what we had expected to pay. This meant that with the money our team raised from members of ABC and family, friends and coworkers of team members, we had enough money to pay for the bed frames, purchase 100 twin mattresses, and pay to register and send a box truck to deliver about 20 of the bunk beds out to the western town of Les Cayes.

The relationships we formed with the children at the home of blessing in Port-au-Prince where we stayed were quite memorable. John DiFrancesco, Tony DiVirgilio and Jon Gillette were especially big hits with the children. They often stayed up late singing and playing games with the kids. Saying goodbye to them was not easy. Hopefully we can return again next year.