Missions Trip to Haiti, March 2015

In March 2015, I went on my sixth trip to Haiti as part of a seventeen-person team, mostly from Stone Hill Church and Princeton University. The photo below was taken in Croix-des-Bouquets, at the house of Foundation For Peace (FFP), a Christian organization with whom we have been partnering for years.

As we did last year, we spent the first part of our trip in Arcahaie, a city north of Port au Prince, where we have been partnering with the Evangelical Baptist Church in Haiti to rebuild their church building that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The building is almost finished and we worshiped together in it on Sunday morning. Here is Pastor Kelly and his wife posing with a member of our team.

In the afternoon, we helped with a VBS (Vacation Bible School) program. Among other things, we acted out the story of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus, and we had fun teaching them the "funky chicken" dance.

The church runs a school, which currently lacks adequate bathroom facilities. Church of the Saviour in Philadelphia has raised funds for a sanitation center. We spent a few hours helping with the construction.

The kids of Stone Hill Church also raised $500 towards the cost of the sanitation center.

The director of the school, Wilson Desvallons, told us a little bit about the vision for the school, and on Monday, we had the opportunity to observe some of the classes. The teachers are dedicated but there is not much money available to pay their salaries, let alone provide them with adequate training or purchase equipment such as computers.

One bright spot is that Compassion International has partnered with the school. Stone Hill Church plans to sponsor a number of the kids in the school, and some of the members of our team have already begun sponsoring.

The second part of our trip was spent with FFP. As I've described in previous photo essays, FFP is building a vocational school in Ganthier, the Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men (Hand-in-Hand Educational Complex). Despite several setbacks, the main building is almost complete now, and all the classrooms are usable.

Up to this point, the Men Nan Men school has focused on language classes (English and Spanish). However, they plan to start computer classes soon. About fifty laptops have been donated to the school. There are plans to use solar power to provide the necessary electricity, but in the meantime, the laptops are stored and recharged at the FFP house in Croix-des-Bouquets and transported to Ganthier when needed.

A member of our team was able to provide three days of training to the computer teachers. Topics included SQL, HTML, and Python.

Security is a concern at the school. Much of our time in Ganthier was spent digging a ditch for a wall that will surround the entire complex, as well as helping build a guard house.

Near Men Nan Men is the C.A.D. Orphanage where we again did a VBS program, assisted by the highly capable FFP staff. In the first picture you can see Makesnel, Brice, and Eben. The woman with the guitar in the lower picture is Saintemene.

We also had a chance to visit Despizo, a village at which we had installed a solar suitcase in 2014. The solar system was still functioning except for one light bulb. Economically, Despizo was the poorest community that we interacted with on this trip, but the residents were rich in joy and energy in spite of their material circumstances.

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