We returned home yesterday from 8 days in sunny Haiti on a mission trip with our church. People keep asking me how my trip was and I don’t know how to answer. It was great! But it was also sad, and hard, emotional, convicting, wonderful… just so many things! Overall, I’m so glad I went and I learned a lot.
I plan on writing a few posts about some of the things we did and saw there, but today I wanted to tell you about what life is like in Haiti. It was jarring, and so different from life here in the US. Let me take you on a photo tour of some of the things that stood out to me.
I took this photo from the airplane. You can see that most of the roads are dirt, with not much in the way of modernity.
Most homes were made of cement, rock, or dirt. They were usually about 6 feet by 10 feet, sometimes bigger or smaller. An entire family unit (mom, dad, kids, sometimes grandma and grandpa) would share the one room house.
Many homes in Haiti were located on a family plot of land. As the family grew, they would build additional homes on the same plot. Most of them were surrounded by a fence or wall, sometimes made of shrubs.
For bathing and washing, they would head down to the river.
They get water from one of the local watering holes, and carry buckets back to their homes.
We stopped at this vantage point overlooking a beautiful valley. At our feet was tons and tons of trash. Haiti doesn’t have any sort of trash pickup (and they couldn’t afford it anyway), so Haitians just throw their garbage on the ground. It litters the streets almost everywhere you look.
In larger cities, trash is an even bigger problem. It often gets thrown into rivers and canals.
The Haitians’ balance is astounding. People would walk around with enormous loads on their heads, not holding it with their hands at all!
Soccer is very popular in Haiti! This is a field where we often saw kids playing. It doesn’t have any grass, but it does have metal goals at each end. Children often don’t have a soccer ball, so they play with a tennis ball or a piece of trash.
There is no official public transportation, so Haitians travel from town to town on Tap-Taps. They are pickup trucks that are often holding 15-20 people or more! When you want to get off, you “tap, tap” to let the driver know!
They don’t have the same laws that we have here, that’s for sure! Our group traveled around in the back of this truck, standing up and holding on to the bars. It was exhilarating and thrilling!
This is a local church, the sister church of my church in the US. The building has concrete walls and a metal roof. There is no paint, no electricity, and not enough seating for the congregation. The only decorations are the homemade ones you see hanging.
One thing that surprised me to see was the animals! They were running loose all over the towns, fields, and streets. You’d see cows, horses, goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs, and more! I was flummoxed that they weren’t tied up and they didn’t get lost!
Another fun wildlife treat was the lizards — we saw tons of them, both indoors and out. This little guy was in our guest house, and my husband Byron picked him up to play.
Stay tuned this week for more about our trip!