May 27, 2011 - By the Numbers
Thanks to those who prayed, supported, financed, read this blog, and served during this mission experience
May 21, 2011 Day 5 - Inspiration from Jenell Gillespie
I never envisioned traveling to a different country by the age of twenty-two. I thank God and mama Mari (Wiles) for this great opportunity. Being in Haiti this week has really been an eye-opener to everything I have been afforded and take for granted daily.
Starting off on Monday and meeting the construction team I could already tell that they were a humble team and will be fun to work with. As others worked on the roof of a home I felt so out of place, but after seeing some kids and sharing candy with them I think I found my calling. After taking a lunch break and going back to the site, while the men were hard at work; Craig, Leah, Cady, Mama Mari, and I headed to an orphanage to play with the kids.
Passing out candy and stuffed turtles, telling them Bible stories by a translator, teaching them songs, and having them sing to us made me so happy. After playing soccer (or to them, football) and Frisbee was such a joyous time changing the lives of the children with just spending time with them and letting them play. Being in construction for day two I felt so much more helpful. As we began with an assembly line of bricks while singing a Zulu song from the Instruments of Praise Gospel Choir repertoire, “Bona Kala.” Later on in the day, I sifted rocks out of the dirt to help with the mortar mixture. Another one of my favorite memories that warms my heart is playing with kids in the village and hearing the voices of the children utter the only English words they know, “Hey you” – it never gets old.
I wanted to try something new so I moved to the medical team for the rest of week. Going up to the mountains and seeing the beautiful scenery was an immediate perk of serving in the mobile clinics. I started on Flag Day and got to see the Haitians take pride in their country, celebrating with parades and music. At first I struggled in the pharmacy because I couldn’t read what the doctors wrote on the prescriptions, but by day two I got the hang of things. The last day of the medical clinic was non-stop, on my feet work, but as I filled and passed out every prescription with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, I was rewarded with the thank yous of the patients with a smile on their face in return.
What was my mission in Haiti?? It’s simple to spread the love of God. I no longer see Haiti or America but my brothers and sisters in Christ. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of the orphans that got stuffed animals, cookies, and candy. I will never forget as we rode by and the stares we got but also hearing the kids say “You, you” or “Ball.” I will never forget Haiti, a country that is now a part of my life. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to come. Haiti will forever be in my thoughts, memories, dreams, and prayers!
May 21, 2011 - Appreciation by Austin Tallant
Appreciate the moment. That is one of the most important symbolic and literal things that I have learned over this past week in Haiti. In fact, if I had to pick a word for my experience here it would be that overused word: appreciate. Countless times I have heard the phrase “appreciate it” or “appreciate ya” but it’s often said with little meaning and no feeling, it’s merely a reaction.
What do we really appreciate? I try my best to realize and appreciate the things with which I have been blessed and the opportunities that God has places in front of me. God placing me in Haiti has been one of these times. It makes you appreciate the little things in life. The will of the Haitian people will absolutely, positively blow you away. They work with so much joy in the hot sun with little to no water and still have a smile on their face. Never will I be the same after this week; I will always appreciate the things that I have been blessed with.
May 20, 2011 - Contemplations from Cady Dice
My first mission trip with Chowan University has been quite an experience. Months before, I was beyond excited to be going. When I got on the plane for Port-au-Prince, however, I was terrified. When we landed, I felt a little better. As I settled in and eventually adjusted to the extreme heat, I knew I was supposed to be here. I signed up to do construction, which was a bit of a challenge, especially when I became the only female still doing construction. My tasks were to fill the spaces between cinder blocks with mortar, and shovel dirt into a sieve to be mixed into the mortar. I also did little favors for the others like grabbing their water bottle or bringing them a sweat rag. Whenever I sat down, I observed the surroundings: there were goats everywhere, dogs here and there, horses and donkeys were used for transportation, chickens and roosters were clucking nonstop, and I only saw three cats the whole time I was there.
I don’t have the research to back this up, but I noticed that those who had accepted Jesus into their life were much friendlier than those who hadn’t. I thought to myself, if Haiti, “a disaster that had one,” can bond together by the love of Christ, why can’t America? Sure, Americans have patriotism, but Haitians work together every day to triumph over this natural disaster. If Americans have a lot of patriotism by supporting our troops, can they put that much effort into bonding together through Christ? It’s certainly possible.
On those days where I was the only female at the construction site, the men had no problem letting me do the same things they were doing: I lifted and transported cinder blocks and gravel used to build a foundation. Even though I could only carry one block at a time, the Haitian men were still impressed that I was able to lift them. Many of them even told me “bon bibit,” meaning good muscles. I would like to believe that they were loving their fellow (wo)man just as Jesus commanded. Let’s all use our good muscles to love God by serving humanity!
May 20, 2011 Day 4 - Mobile Medical Musings from Christina Joe
Born with Sickle Cell Anemia, I have sat in many emergency rooms. I recall often getting irritated when my name wasn’t called with thirty minutes of me sitting in the waiting room. I am now humbled.
Here in Haiti I serve with a mobile medical team of two Haitian doctors, two translators and a nurse who is also apart of our team 74. Since day one of being here in Haiti, we have traveled to different locations to set up a “hospital” like environment. Not in a nice sanitized building like we find on almost every corner in the U.S., but in places like a run-down building with half of its ceiling missing, destroyed from the earthquake; in the pews of an outdoor church; in a small hut on the side of a mountain carpeted by the waterless dirt. But in whatever location about 200 men, women, and children come pouring in daily, waiting for their opportunity to be seen.
Many them, starting their journey to the hospital the night before, some walking for almost five hours to be seen for a total of 15-30 minutes from the first service rendered to leaving the clinic’s pharmacy. Most of the patients are already there for hours when we arrive around 8:00 a.m. The Haitians sit, stand, and squat for hours in line; some aren’t even seen until the early afternoon.
It was my job to take their temperatures and weight; I was amazed at how so many of these people of God had never seen a thermometer as they looked at me in confusion as I attempted to bring it to their mouths. But after their long, hot, draining wait and after having their temperatures, weight, and blood pressure taken, they finally get to see the doctor and get much needed medicines right after.
Sadly, after hours of waiting, not all the patients will be seen because of time. Their names are taken, and put on a list to be the first seen next week, when the doctors return.
I am now humbled.
May 20, 2011 - Meet Team 74 “Faith”
Since the Baptist Men have been in Haiti, there have been 73 teams before us that have spent at least a week on mission. The average team size is 6 per week; however, our group totals 18 and includes students, staff, and alumni from Chowan University, a member of the Aulander Baptist Church in the West Chowan Baptist Association, and the Central Baptist Church in Wendell, NC.
As you pray for us today, please pray for each of us by name.
From Chowan University:
From Aulander Baptist Church:
From Central Baptist Church:
May 18, 2011 Day 2 - Thoughts from Tonya Sinclair
I came to Haiti fully intending to be part of the team that is building houses, but somehow ended up working in the clinics instead. For two days we have loaded into a van every morning and took our clinic on the road. Today we were working in a church. After the earthquake, the Baptist Men funded the rebuilding of the church in which we served. We set up while one of the doctors gave a short medical lesson to the people who had come.
After we finished the lesson I was assigned the task of weighing the babies and taking their temperature. As you might remember for your childhood most children do not like having anything to do with a doctor so I was not a real popular person. Once I finished with all the children, I started with the adults. Most of them had no clue how to properly stand on a scale or what I needed them to do when I was taking their temperature.
When everyone had been checked in I went to the “pharmacy” to help fill prescriptions. The pharmacy consists of three tables that have bags full of different medicines. The visiting teams have donated some of the medicines, and others have been purchased here in Haiti. (Thank you to all of those who donated something – it is very needed and used.) During the day we also hand out clothes, glasses, and shoes at the pharmacy. The first day of working in the pharmacy was extremely difficult, mostly because we couldn’t read the doctors handwriting.
Thankfully today we were able to see everyone who came to the clinic and pack up a little early. Tomorrow the clinics will travel to the mountains where I have heard that we will get a little relief from the heat.
May 18, 2011 Day 2 - A Message from Rev. Mari Wiles
I am constantly amazed at how God puts a group of people together and they quickly overcome language barriers, cultural differences and life experiences to worship together, work together and laugh together. We are quickly adding Haitian Facebook friends and building more than concrete homes.
I now understand why we use the phrase, “Hot as Haiti.” The temperature is high and the shade is almost non-existent, but the people of this country are quick to thank us for “bringing ourselves” not just sending money. They are quick to want to help us mix mortar – after we have shifted the sand, carried the water from a well, and added the bagged cement. The people of this country seem hopeful and sincere and we find ourselves very welcomed.
The Chowan students are being true to form. They are willing to help wherever needed. Austin Tallant carried a baby for two hours and we wondered where the mother might be. Coach Tim Place never stops as he keeps saying, “We came here to work.” – all the while doing this work in extreme heat in sweat pants! Thank you to ALL of you who helped us financially, gathering supplies, and praying for us. We carry all of you as we seek to serve this country, as we love Christ.
May 18, 2011 Day 1 - Medical, Construction, and Relational Service
Following a hearty breakfast, meeting our fellow Haitian workers, and a time of singing and prayer we headed our separate ways to love God by serving others.
Our first workday in Haiti was spent in active orientation (read: baptism by fire). Several from our group volunteered to serve in the medical clinics – appropriately named Alpha and Omega – by taking temperatures and weight, shadowing the Haitian doctors, and filling prescriptions in the pharmacy. If you’ve ever seen the movie Patch Adams you can envision the free clinics being provided by the Baptist Men. The moment they arrived, the clinics were full and remained that way until closing time. In order to see over 300 patients combined, the doctors, nurses, and volunteers had a working lunch, which they packed earlier that morning. Once the doors to the clinic closed for the day, both groups returned to the compound and began preparing for the next day by counting pills and restocking medicines.
The remaining members of the group divided into two teams to finish one home and to start building another cinderblock home. These permanent structures are modest one-room homes measuring 12’x16’x11’ with one door, one window (sometimes two), and a tin roof. While these houses seem meager, it sure beats the Haitian tent town alternative akin to Hooverville during America’s Great Depression.
The construction teams met at a humble French-Creole speaking church for singing, prayer, and a welcome by the community’s pastor. Inevitably, the question was raised as to how the homes are chosen for construction. In conjunction with Baptist Men, the pastor serves as the general contractor and sends the volunteer teams, like us, and subcontractors from his church to work in the community.
One construction team added trusses, top plates, and tin to the roof while the other team fabricated the edifice for another home. In the afternoon, the construction teams continued their work while a group of students from Chowan University and a French-Creole translator went to the local orphanage to meet the children after school. Smiles, songs, games, and love provided a universal language despite the language barrier between us.
May 15, 2011 - An Early Start to a Safe Arrival
Sleeping the night before a mission experience is difficult; sleeping the night before an international mission experience is impossible.
After driving from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, we arrived in Raleigh having weathered several scattered thunderstorms. After checking into the hotel, we ate at the always-delicious Cracker Barrel in Morrisville, and forced ourselves asleep at the Holiday Inn Express.
[If you’re going on a mission trip to parts unknown, you should always stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before. I cannot wait until the questions are asked: Do you have any experience in masonry? No, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night!]
When the alarm clock sounded at 4:00 a.m. a mix of excitement and anger flooded the rooms: so excited about the journey and so angry about the pre-dawn wake up call, wondering if God was awake yet (Psalm 121)?
The flight from RDU to MIA was painless and provided a needed nap for many on Team 74, “Faith.” Our final leg was held up due to a faulty circuit breaker that was repaired on the tarmac by the pilot (just kidding), but alas we landed in Port au Prince, Haiti just before noon (although we represent the same time zone, Haiti does not observe Daylight Savings Time). We arrived and were welcomed by Scott Daughtry along with the clammy Caribbean climate and many willing hands to carry our luggage to the school bus.
That’s right, the yellow cheese school bus! In fact, the school bus was a North Carolina Public Schools bus hailing from Catawaba County, NC. When asked how the Baptist Men (and Women on Mission) got the bus to Haiti, we wondered whether it was delivered by the right hand of God, better known as the Women’s Missionary Union of North Carolina.
A hearty meal prepared by Janet Daughtry was enjoyed by all, followed by orientation to the Global Outreach compound in Titanyen. Please pray for the medical and construction teams that will serve the Haitian people tomorrow at the Alpha clinic, the Omega clinic, and various worksites north of Port au Prince.