Another couple of weeks have passed in Haiti, and I definitely feel like I am now fairly comfortable with the culture and getting around the immediate area on my own (though discretion is always necessary). However, I have yet to attempt traveling beyond Petionville, as I am concerned with managing the return trip.
As far as the work goes with the orphanage, the cultural collide is taking its toll. While we have priorities on the HGIM side of things, due to circumstances here, it has been a while since the last visit to Haiti. On top of that, it appears the staff has priorities of their own. There is a lot of stress among the staff which makes accomplishing many of our objectives very difficult and I feel like a lot of this strain is being perpetuated further by the difficulties we are facing with the government certification process. It is long, and nothing is done quickly here. Please pray that we can move ahead more quickly so my time “on the ground” can be as productive as we had hoped it would be, helping in whatever capacity that I can.
On Saturday I made my first trip to the center with the orphanage director and a government inspector who needed to interview the children. Some of the younger children sang a song of welcome and I got to talk to a few children face to face and hear about their daily lives. This led to me providing a little money for buying the boys a ball and some underwear for one of the girls. That girl later told our Pastor that “Jesus bought her underwear.” He told her my name was Scott, but she insisted that to her, at least, I look like Jesus in the films. He just laughed.
There is much work that needs done before certification can be completed, including some plumbing work and some repairs to the well pump. Also, the recent rains are causing problems, including having apparently eroded away the soil and knocking down our fence, and is now withering away the soil under the foundation of one of our buildings.
One of the major problems Haiti faces is that the country is mostly mountains, and so you are either crammed into overcrowded cities, or building on the hillsides. Also, with a lack of any building codes ensuring safety, it is not rare that heavy rains and the annual hurricanes can leave some areas completely laid waste.
This week the leaders are spending their days working with government contacts and trying to manage a very frustrated staff. While they’re working with the government (something I’m not able to do being an American), I’m keeping myself busy with video editing for a soon coming discipleship resource website and spending time studying the Creole language. As is typical in most third world countries, there is a lot of “hurry up and wait” that goes on, so you just do the best that you can.
In other news, the guesthouse and the people I have met coming through are great. The staff is doing their best to help me learn Creole. A lot of the people in the neighborhood have gotten used to seeing me, so it is less of a shock for some of them to see a white guy walking around on his own. I have made some good contacts with different organizations here who help in medical and other aid work. And I hope that by next week I can begin renting a car to visit some of the other orphanage that I have made contact with.
Please pray for me that I can continue to pick up the language. That is one of the biggest struggles. Most people tend to believe you can be pretty conversational after about 3 months of being here. Next week will mark almost a month, and I don’t feel like I’m doing that well so far.
Also pray that the politics surrounding our getting government certification will resolve quickly so that our staff’s attention can turn to our number one priority: raising these children well to become upstanding citizens of God’s Kingdom living in Haiti.
And again, just pray for me that my time here will be fruitful. We know that despite our plans and frustrations we work for a Sovereign King who will see to His work being completed on His timing.