Feb 14 -- Last day in Haiti
When we awoke this morning we learned that the foundation pour was not completed yesterday, so we were a bit discouraged, but when we reached the site, we saw that what was left to pour was just one small corner. Our Haitian concrete team ran into some problems with the subgrade and had to add a great deal of rock below the mesh before pouring the concrete. They worked until 11:00 last night, and were already on the job again before we arrived today.
Thankfully, they were finished by lunchtime, and in the meantime we prepared the construction materials—panels and rebar—that will be needed when the next team arrives and begins building on Monday. When last of the foundation slab was stiff enough to walk on, we began laying out the wall lines and making some of the final adjustments.
We were not able to complete that work this afternoon, because we were invited to attend the chapel service with the kids this afternoon at 3:00. The kids sang songs, read Scripture passages (in Creole, of course), and some of them prayed. Several KA staff and house parents also prayed. We didn’t understand a word, but we could sense a great love for the Lord—some of the words were easy to guess—and it was very cool to see the kids in leadership in this context.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Larry and Brian (KA staff from the D.R.) will be finishing the slab layout by string-lining the wall locations, drilling holes for the rebar pins that will be used to support the rigid foam panels, and epoxying rebar into those holes. Everything should be ready for the second team to begin their work on Monday.
We didn’t have to work continuously this morning—there was some downtime while we waited for the concrete crew to finish—so we had some time to interact one last time with the kids. Some members of our team ended up sponsoring three more children (which is awesome), and some were very sad to finally say goodbye to the kids who have been swarming us at various times all week.
How can you not love these beautiful children? And how can you imagine that so many of them were neglected and abused to the point of needing rescue? And how can you not thank God for providing a safe, nurturing place for them to be loved, fed, clothed, educated, and told about Jesus?
Our hearts are full to overflowing with gratitude for what we have experienced this week. During our team debriefing this evening several team members commented that going back to life as usual in the States could be a challenge—there are things we’ve seen here that may permanently change the way we think, and how we value things and people. But all of us would agree that even with all its problems, Haiti has won us over.
We will be glad to get home, of course, but we will also be somewhat sad that such a remarkable week has come to a close. We’ve worked very hard together, we’ve lived together, shared our meals together, experienced so many aspects of Haitian life together, we’ve shed a few tears together as we’ve reflected on our experience here, and we’ve laughed together…a LOT.
In the morning we’ll get up early and load up for the brief ride to the Cap Haitien airport, where we hope to catch our first flight toward home. The route home will be a little different—we’ll fly from Cap Haitien to Palm Beach, Florida, then to Dallas, then to Kansas City.
I doubt that it is possible to over-state how important your prayers have been to us here. We are so grateful. Please be patient with us over the next few weeks—chances are that we will often begin our sentences with something like, “Oh! And in Haiti we…” We are eager to share our experiences with you. We are eager to share our pictures with you.
This week we reflected on the book of 1 Thessalonians together in our devotional times, and something Paul wrote has stuck with some of us: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thess. 1:8, NIV). We have observed this in the lives of the KA missionaries, teachers and staff, and it is in our hearts as well, but not only directed toward the Kids Alive kids here in Haiti—you are very dear to us, as well, and we look forward to sharing this little slice of our lives with you in the days to come.
Doug Heacock, on behalf of the team
Top of page -- OurRide.JPG: This is the truck that takes us to and from the Kids Alive compound every day
Above (L-R) LastConcreteWork.JPG: The Haitian concrete crew finishes up the last of the foundation pour this morning, after working late into the previous night
StringLines.jpg: We laid out the exterior walls and some of the interior with string lines to guide the construction of the next team
SlabDone.JPG: Larry on the completed slab; he and Brian will be working on the final tasks on Saturday in order to be ready to start putting up the walls on Monday
Above (L-R) Boys.JPG: The kids at the compound love to pose for the camera—so different from the average Haitian, who hates to be photographed
LarryAndGateGuy.jpg: We think maybe his name is Henri—he’s the gatekeeper at KA, and several mornings we brought him some of our leftover breakfast
KennaTashaKids.jpg: The kids were all over us today—it was great fun for everyone
Above (L-R) MargieSponsoredChild.jpg: Margie began sponsoring a little boy today
TashaSponsoredChild.JPG: Tasha began sponsoring a little girl today
KennaSponsoredChild.JPG: Kenna sponsored a young boy today