We had such an awesome week! A team of about 40 people arrived on Monday afternoon and they brought........ 13 bags of our art supplies! Praise God they got here and the kids are LOVING them! This team had several different teams who headed up soccer camp, VBS, evangelism in the mountains, cooking for everyone, and construction. They fixed our water pumps so everyone could have water. :) The summer staff here was a little apprehensive about so many people coming in but they were amazingly efficient, and very energetic, so it ended up being a huge blessing to all of us.
Art class! With our massive amounts of supplies!!
Monday: Mixing pastepaper and paint to make sketchbook covers. The kids learned how to smooth out the paint, stamp and write designs on it, and take care of the tools. :)
Tuesday Plan 1: Stitching paper into the sketchbooks with yarn. Tuesday Plan 2: Realizing we only have one hole-punch that works so after class has begun we need 700 holes punched by hand before they can get going. Tons of flexibility and thinking on our feet happening here!
Wednesday frustrating morning: We are excited for the kids to have their own sketchbooks in to draw, write, and learn to love using their imagination and observation. We took them outside to draw things around them. The middle-school aged ones are the same as anywhere else: very quick to tear themselves down and easily discouraged. Some want to learn to draw better, but even after I would try to help them, they would go back to the same way they knew, or not want to continue at all. These Haitians have a very interesting attitude towards accomplishing goals. It will take much longer than a blog post to explain, and I don't even understand it.
Wednesday better afternoon: Using Mollye's awesome homemade crayons, we did a texture rubbing lesson with the kindergarten class. They LOVED it! They ran around squealing back and forth- placing their paper on different objects and rubbing their fat rainbow crayons over every surface. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the week. I was thankful for their joy, and that we could build foundations for letting them see things that they pass every day in a completely new way!
Wednesday evening the team organized a worship service that would be in English. This was a great time of refreshment for me. Even with a translator, it's been hard to be involved in a church service that is very unfamiliar. Because of teams coming in and out, the kids have learned many American worship songs so they came and sang along. I can't describe how their voices swelled and raised through the hot air over the mountains. They sing with their whole hearts. My heart and eyes were full as they lifted praise, "You're all I want. You're all I ever needed. You're all I want. Help me know You are near."
Thursday: Puff-paint shirts! Since we had lots of puff-paint donated (so fun!) I bought tons of boys' white t-shirts from WalMart and we passed them out to paint. The always-a-trip Wesh wrote "Fresh Prince of Haiti" on his. He just got back from the states and speaks English very well, even understanding figures of speech and sarcasm, so he is a comfort to talk to if I feel like others aren't understanding me very well. :)
Friday: We decided to have an "open-studio" day where the kids could come in and work on what they wanted to. There are beads all over this campus because the girls and boys have been furiously making jewelry like it's their job. I helped cute little Astephania make a beautiful necklace which I assumed was for her, but she was making it for one of the girls on the short-term team. I was excited to get these beads and jewelry kits here for them because they don't have much of their own, but I've seen that everyone is making things for other people. How awesome to see their love and generosity in those ways.
Friday evening, the team built a bon-fire (just when you thought it couldn't get hotter in Haiti!?!?!?) and we had s'mores around it with the kids and sang songs. We started out pretty mellow, singing worship songs and the kids seemed kinda tired, but man how things progressed. First of all, even Haitian babies can beat out a rhythm on time. They love to drum. The boys started drumming on barrels and we started singing louder and louder. Then the dancing began. We were spinning and twirling with warm cheeks and sticky fingers and fire sparks crackling. Before we knew it there was a big circle and they had started "Little Sally Walker." This is when one person is dancing in the middle, chooses a person who has to imitate their dance, then that person is in the middle. The kids began this and many other dances... some got in the middle and did the whole dance of JBieber's "Baby". I feel like the kids really loosened up to us and we all got to a new level of comfort. At some point Mollye can put up the pictures she took of this fun night. We laughed and laughed and danced and sang and laughed some more. I don't think I'll ever experience something like it again.
This morning the team left and there was a cloud of sadness over this whole community. The team has been here before, are coming again, and house Haitians when they come to the US- so relationships run deep. I got to taste a little of what the kids experience all the time. People come, you make friends, then they leave. People come, then they leave. It's kinda rough. I know we're not here that long and not much longer left, but I was glad to have that taste of that part of their life, so I can know a little bit better what they go through.
-As I type this, there's a tropical depression over Haiti. The winds and rain are really strong. It could potentially develop into a hurricane.
-One of the girls here teaching reading, Amy, has gotten some sort of congestion sickness. Please pray for her to heal over the weekend so she can have energy to continue teaching.
-Please pray that I'll really make connections with the older girls. We have gotten much closer but the conversations don't hover over too many significant things. I'd love to encourage them in the most positive ways I can, but if they're afraid to open up, I just want to love and love until all my energy is gone.
-The group came at the perfect time. Thank you, Lord. It was a tough first week and a half, and their tremendous energy lifted our spirits. They were here to love on the kids AND us, and that was an amazing gift from God.
-I get to be here with Mollye. She is an awesome teacher and a great friend. I am learning a lot from her wisdom. I also really really enjoy her comments and perspective on life. I can't imagine being here by myself. It has really helped to have a confidant and familiar face. She adds a lot of laughter just when I need it. ["HurRAY! I found a paperclip!!!"]
-I can feel the prayers of many. Thank you so much. God has given me such a gift by letting me come to this beautiful, needy place. I'm really really looking forward to the next two weeks. I know they're gonna fly by. :)