Today was our first full day in Haiti! This morning started with packing rice in bags for families who attend the church on campus. Following this, we had the privilege to go to that same church and listen to Pastor Hans and the youth group lead us in worship.
While waiting for lunch, we played with the orphans – dancing and running around. The food here is amazing. The kitchen staff cooks delicious Haitian food and we are well fed every meal. After lunch, Liv led a dance camp for the older orphans, and the kids were full of energy in the best way!
After dance camp, Hannah Hess (along with a translator) led the youth group in a lesson about the armor of God. The big event tonight was the celebration dinner for one of the dance companies on campus – Our Generation. The dinner was full of laughter, yummy food, encouragement, and awards. It was incredible to watch a group of young adults come together as a community and bond over dance. Their appreciation for Emma was so obvious and touched us all.
Saturday night, we had the opportunity to watch Our Generation, and the younger company, Opening Act, perform their year-end concert. The Haitians have so much talent, and it was awesome to watch them enjoy moving together as a unit. We were all in awe of how natural and effortless they made dancing seem.
We are a day and a half into our time in Haiti and I am loving it more than I thought I would. I didn’t think I came in with a lot of expectations, but I quickly found out that I had preconceived expectations that are quickly being broken. No matter how many things I had heard about Haiti prior to coming, nothing compares to actually being here and experiencing it personally. Talking with and dancing with these people has made me think really hard about a lot of things. Being a dance major, I at times get caught up thinking “dance isn’t that important, it doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things”. However, being here, watching the Haitians dance, and dancing with them has completely changed that for me (and it’s only day one haha).
Another thing that has been fun for me is trying to communicate. While we are quickly learning simple words and phrases, smiling, dancing, and yelling “ayyyeee” is pretty universal. Again, the meaning of dance as a communication tool and for community bonding is being refined for me, and I couldn’t love it more. – Megan
Wow, it feels so surreal to be here in Haiti – I am so grateful for the time we have all spent here already! The Haitians and countryside are so beautiful. And the sunshine has been so refreshing for our cloudy Michigan. The language barrier can be hard at times because I so often want to have a conversation with someone. However, smiles and laughter are universal and it is really cool to find other ways to communicate. God has been so present on this campus. God is in the smiles of all the Haitians we see, He is in the beautiful mountainside landscape, and He is clearly working in the community. I believe we can learn so much from the way the Haitians live and act as a community – it is a blessing to be able to experience this. There is so much joy and I am so grateful we get to experience it! I can’t wait for our week to continue! – Hannah Hess
I’m working on a separate blog with pictures/videos from the concert last night!
Please feel free to leave comments. Comments will be read each night at dinner!