On day four of our trip to Haiti, we got up early because we had a lot to do. We ate breakfast and split into two groups. One group would head to the market for an experience they’ll never forget and the other went to the hardware store to buy the supplies we needed. All around us were a sea of people who continuously walked by like waves coming on shore. Busses, taxis, motorcycles, trucks and cars added to the madness as they weaved in and out of the people.
Upon arriving at the orphanage, we said our hellos to the staff while the kids were in school. It wasn’t long before word got out that we were there. Kids and locals started showing up quickly. We began to work on the things that needed to get done. Not long after, it was time to go to the Roboto feeding center. We packed up and headed over knowing what we were going to, but not understanding what we were about to experience.
As the trucks drove through Gonaives, it was clear we were moving into an area that was so poverty stricken that it made the place where we were working look like a good part of town. Houses were no longer built out of concrete and mortar. These houses were built from scrap wood, tarp and tin. People stared at us as we slowly made our way through the broken roads.
When we arrived at the feeding center, the sound of children singing filled the air. You could hear the joy and anticipation in their voices. The building was simple, yet sufficient. We walked in to see around a hundred children piled on top of each other. Many were seated at a long table while others were stacked three and four deep around the table against the walls. They were excited, but patient as they waited until it was time to eat.
All of the children bowed their heads as the prayer over the food was prayed. A shout of “amen” came from the children and the food began to be distributed orderly. Plates with nothing more than beans on top of rice were handed to the kids. They quickly ate and made way for the next group of children to eat. Children with their brothers and sisters fed their siblings first even if they never got a bite. This could be the only meal most of these kids would eat that day.
We headed back to the orphanage with our hearts full. We finished building a cabinet for the kitchen, leveled a table in there too, built a stool, poured a slab of concrete in the stairwell and did various other maintenance. At the end of the day, it was time to say goodbye to these children who had captured our hearts. We gave them pillows, food, supplies and new underwear as we left. The ride back to the guest house was full of tears.
God was able to do exceeding and abundantly more than we thought we could on this trip. I’m not sure whose lives were changed more, theirs or ours. We saw God move and plant seeds on this trip. We got a taste of what God calls true religion. It’s hard to go back to religion as we knew it. This was pure and undefined religion we experienced. Anything less simply won’t do.