Before the day even began, last night Hannah O. suddenly felt a tingling sensation on her hands and arms. She soon realized, with the help of Hannah H., that her suitcase was overflowing with fire ants. They had accumulated around a can of nuts and ate the plastic lid away! We ran the can outside while screaming and laughing, and a kind Haitian security guard came to our rescue. We communicated through laughter and a lot of elaborate gestures about our issue as he laughed with us. He tried to get rid of the ants and save the food, but the story ends with him taking the can and giving us a sweet handshake…we still don’t know what happened to the can or the fire ants!!
We began our day at 5am to Kapafu, a remote community that takes a 30 minute boat ride or hour and 45 minute walk to reach. We piled onto the small boat in the light of the moon. We all rocked in the boat while the Haitian boat drivers repeatedly tried to get the motor to start. Once the motor started, we began to cheer and we made our way to Kapafu. As the sun rose, we started to notice how blue and clear the water was. The community and huts appeared out of nowhere and we successfully dismounted the boat with the crashing waves. We gathered the locals to an area to play dance games including “Americk De” (a version of Simon Says, but our translator’s name is Americk), follow the leader, and a dance off. They were hesitant at first, but our enthusiasm and music caused them to join us in our laughter and dancing. At the end of our visit, we prayed for individual requests of the locals.
After this, we boarded the boat once again and made our way back to campus for breakfast. Lisa led us in a wonderful devotional about the unfairness and how we can apply it to our lives when we return home. Our next big thing of the day was market shopping where local vendors brought their merchandise for us to look at and buy. Many of us bought things like paintings, baskets, rings, bracelets, bags, and even machetes!
Then, we had lunch and played with the orphans before the second day of auditions for the two dance companies (Our Generation and Opening Act). Our Generation continued to practice before their final audition tomorrow. Liv, Tia, Sara, Caitlyn, the Castillo sisters, and the two finalists led small groups to go over the details of the choreography. For Opening Act, Hannah O., Megan, Hannah H., Lisa, and the other finalist helped the seven to twelve year-olds practice the dance that they learned yesterday. Then we judged the kids in groups of three and picked the final twelve that would become the new Opening Act group. After a dinner of spaghetti and bread, we ended the night by watching the Greatest Showman with the orphans in the cafeteria. We will cross our fingers that we don’t get any more fire ants tonight.
The boat ride to Kapafu was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I am in total awe of God’s creation. It was really special that we were able to dance with the locals and pray with them. It is powerful to think about us all joining together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Going to Kapafu was like being transported back in time and there was no evidence to show we were living in the twenty first century. I was overwhelmed with such respect for these people and I am really grateful God gave us the joy of interacting with the locals at Kapafu.
Also, it has been really awesome to see the impact of the dance ministry Emma has been focusing on during her time here. I love seeing so many young people come together to express themselves in new ways. They have so much talent! I am continuing to process everything that is happening and that can be difficult, but I am very grateful God has given us so many experiences that are challenging. I feel the need to constantly remind myself to get my strength from God and everything is in His hands. Please continue to pray for us and thank you so much for all your support! – Hannah H.
I first wanted to thank you all for the amazing comments that each of you share with us. I love hearing about your insights and encouragement, and we also greatly appreciate your prayers. I just realized that tomorrow is our last day here, but I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on today and my experiences this week. The end has arrived all so soon and yet, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime has gone by. Today actually started last night with the fire ants, which I still can’t stop seeing the swarm of them whenever I close my eyes!
Apart from the fact that this whole trip has felt like a dream, today blew my mind. Boarding the boat in the moonlight and watching the sunrise from the water did not prepare me enough for the visit at Kapafu. The view of the morning sun behind the mountains, the huts (made out of dried tree leaves), and the beautiful smiles of the locals looked like a picture that came straight out of a National Geographic magazine! I stood in awe over the landscape and the people and the talent of the dancers is unreal in this small community. I continue to replay the energy and passion that each Haitian emulated when we danced in pairs down the line as everyone else cheered us on. I found out that this place doesn’t have a source of clean drinking water, and I immediately thought to myself, why would they live there if they couldn’t receive vital necessities?
It soon reminded me how God gives us our specific roles in each place. There is a reason why they are there and the reason is to glorify God. I am very inspired by the stories, insights, and testimonies from Emma, her parents, the Haitian locals, the staff and family on campus, and the beautiful ladies in my group. This trip has confirmed to me that I want to work/live abroad for a good part of my life, and I would love to live in remote village like Kapafu. I would love to find a solution for a clean water source. I thank you for your continuous prayers as we prepare for our trip back. God is doing amazing things in the souls of this group, as well as the Haitians in this community.
Please feel free to leave comments. Comments will be read each night at dinner.