On Monday, I shared with you some of my observations about life in Haiti. Today, I’m going to show you some of the projects that my team undertook during our stay, and tell you a little about some of the ministries taking place on the Borel compound where we were staying!
The Borel Compound
The Borel compound houses about a dozen missionaries, most of whom live there full-time. It is surrounded by a wall, with a guarded gate and 24 hour security personnel. Even with these measures in place, Haiti seemed like a fairly safe place, and not crime-ridden like one might expect.
This is the guest house, where visiting missionary teams stay. It was much nicer than what I expected our accommodations to be like! The guest house has a large living area with couches and chairs, four bedrooms with bunk beds (I think I counted 24 beds total), and 3 bathrooms.
This was our “girls” bedroom.
One of the bathrooms: it did have running water, though we weren’t supposed to drink it. There was no hot water in the shower, and no water pressure — it sort of just fell out of the pipe. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind no hot water, which was shocking because usually my showers are about 500°! But since it was so warm outside, the cool water was refreshing! Another interesting tidbit about the bathroom — in Haiti you can’t flush toilet paper, because the sewage system can’t take it. There’s a trash can next to the toilet where everyone throws their used TP (or other trash that would usually be flushed).
Besides the guest house, the compound also contains a large building with a school/fellowship hall/cafeteria, several missionary homes, a building with a small store of crafts made by local artisans, as well as workshops for the various ministries mentioned below.
Project Help Haiti
One of the things I immediately loved about the mission statement of Project Help Haiti was that they strive to “teach a man to fish” rather than passing out fish. They want to empower the Haitian people to be self-sustaining, to stimulate their economy by giving them jobs, not handouts.
The Project Help Haiti ministries based on the Borel compound do just that. Here are just a few of the many ministries taking place there.
The Water Project
The Water Project builds filters to make drinking water safe to drink. They explained the whole process to us, and it is hard and backbreaking labor to take water from icky to pure! The missionaries lead a team of Haitians to make hundreds of filters a month for homes, businesses, and ministries all over Haiti. They have hopes that the business will eventually be 100% Haitian-owned and run.
Homes for Haiti
Homes for Haiti is similar to the US Habitat for Humanity. A deserving family is given a new home to live in. They need to provide the land to build on, and a small amount of labor. Their old homes were often made of mud and as small as 5’x5′. The new homes are 16’x19′, and contain a living area and two small bedrooms. The walls and floors are made of concrete with a tin roof. There are no fixtures, windows, or doors. The cost of the home is $6000, which is about 8 times the average annual salary. The average Haitian could never in their lifetime afford to build it themselves — to put this in perspective, it’s like telling a US factory worker making $40,000 a year that he needs to save up $320,000 cash to build a home. When you’re barely putting food on the table, saving that exorbitant amount is just not possible.
Bible Studies & Worship
The missionaries on the Borel compound host Bible studies, worship, and other small groups several times a week to children, teens, and adults in the surrounding community. I saw firsthand the prevalence of evil and voodoo in their society, and bringing the light of Jesus is a huge thing!
Schools and Instruction
The Borel compound also hosts a school, where young adults come to learn a trade and become an employable member of society.
Our Team’s Projects
Our mission team from College First Church of God in Findlay, Ohio tackled several projects during our time in Haiti. Here are just a few things we did to try to enrich the lives of those we encountered:
Building desks for children at school who were previously sitting on the dirty floor or standing. They had 40 students in a classroom, and enough desks for only half of them.
Kids at the school, marveling over their fancy new desks! We built 20 total, which will hold 140 kids!
Visiting our sister church in Charette, where we gave them gifts of clothing, bracelets, soccer balls, crafts, Bibles, song books, children’s Bibles, clean water, and more. It was incredible to see how happy they were to see us!
Playing soccer with the youth. They don’t get to play with a real soccer ball often. Most of the kids we saw playing in the community played with a tennis ball or a piece of trash.
Fixing broken playground equipment at a local school. It was sad to see that the children had no where to play because their playground was unsafe! It was hard work, too, digging up old concrete and mixing the new with our bare hands!
Helping a stranded motorist along the road.
Handing out hygiene kits and Bibles, along with praying with people at the hospital. Seeing their hospital was shocking — it was one of the best in Haiti, but most Americans wouldn’t stand for medical care in such a facility.
We played music and prayed for people laying in the sick house, people who could not travel to a hospital.
Making crafts with the local youth, and showing them some Jesus love! They were so full of joy and energy!
Learning a Haitian card game: we had lots of time of fellowship and forming new friendships with the amazing and friendly Haitian people!
So that about sums up what we did on our trip! Our team also had nightly devotions before bed, incredible discussions, and lifelong friendships forged!