|Molly Brandt reports on mission trip to Haiti|
|Written by Molly Brandt|
Simplicity is key. Those in the Third World country of Haiti don’t have much choice other than to lead simple lives. Coming from the land of opportunities, traveling to Haiti taught me that leading a simple life is often a missed key behind focusing on one’s goals and passions. Really— time multiplies for things that really matter if we simply focus less on our appearance and materials.
A wide, wide variety of ministry opportunities arose on this trip May 19-25, most different from my first trip to Haiti last summer. The mission organization, Global Expeditions, again partnered with Pastor Benite Jeune in Arcahaie, Haiti so I stayed on the same compound as last year.
My mission team consisted of only 10: one project director and nine 18-to-20-year-olds that I met for the first time May 19, the beginning of our week trip. With three translators and the guidance of Pastor Benite, the team had many intimate opportunities in the village and elsewhere.
Spending time in two schools allowed us to see the education situation in Haiti. It’s a struggle for schools to prosper with no government income and not much to pay teachers.
Molly Brandt sits on the beach with several Haitian children while visiting Haiti for the second time on
Education is taken seriously, but it’s not available or affordable for everyone and the atmosphere is much different than we’re accustomed to. School buildings or tents are either very dark or supplied with light from open, glass-free “windows” that provide heat from the sun that does in fact shine brighter in Haiti. Paper isn’t easy to come by and chalkboards, if used at all, are mainly old, hard to see and damaged.
Painting one room and sanding and priming three rooms at the pastor’s orphanage showed major contrast to similar projects in America. Concrete walls with an abundance of holes and dents, even after sanding, takes quite awhile to paint, if done well.
Even the nicest brushes are low quality and its imperative to thin the expensive primer. Cleaning supplies is done by minimal use of water from a small container, as opposed to a continuously shooting power hose.
Prison ministry in Haiti was an insanely unique opportunity. Housed in dark, one-room cells with 10-15 men in each, barred rooms faced concrete courtyards with the wide open sky above.
Prisoners were SO appreciative and desperate to just shake hands through the bars and know they are loved. Many of them don’t have family or anyone that visits them, so showing them compassion is imperative.
I don’t know why it takes Haiti to teach me this, but telling and showing someone they are loved and are special is in fact the greatest gift one can give.
On her first mission trip, Molly Brandt met a young boy named
There seems to be some improvement in Haiti since the earthquake of 2010, but it is still an impoverished country by every definition. A huge tent city that has sat in Port-au-Prince for years was completely evacuated by the government.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the government provided other living means or simply abandoned the area. There were a few places with buildings going up that Pastor Benite contributed to USAID. Yet, it seems there will never be enough resources to completely rebuild Haiti. That’s why it’s absolutely important to bring the people love and hope, despite their lifestyle.
Another tent city in Port-au-Prince, Cité Soleil, is known as one of the most dangerous places in Haiti. Because the poverty level is so devastating, the crime rate absolutely skyrockets.
As we passed by Cité Soleil one night in Pastor’s truck, it was raining hard, as it does frequently in Haiti, and the tent city, which is located in a valley, was immediately flooded.
Children dug out of trash in the alleys—praying to find something sufficient to eat for the day. Imagine owning very few possessions, living in a small tent with multiple family members, having very little to eat and being surrounded by an unstoppable crime rate.
Then on top of all that, throw in frequent flooding in your HOME. One doesn’t stand a chance at happiness without the love of a God who exceeds all expectation.
In an extremely impoverished area near the water one day, I sat with children on every limb, mothers dropping their child anywhere there was room, on top of other children as well. Kids were so desperate to be squeezed, to be smiled at.
The truth is that there are so many people—children and adults—in Haiti and America, with this maybe unnoticed yearning to be loved and acknowledged. I choose to live my life in a way to provide this love to everyone I come across, but my team’s focus and the truth of it all is that this love can be provided at ALL times and at a much greater capacity with the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Holyoke Enterprise June 13, 2013