Our trip has finally come to an end.
(Note: Our team arrived home past midnight, so this blog is a day late!)
We woke up this morning feeling saddened at the fact that our time in Haiti was coming to an end. We had one more opportunity to serve at the Lord’s Kitchen before we left, so for one last time, our team went to help the ladies in the Lord’s Kitchen.
Today’s meal was very special! By cleaning out the remaining funds from our donation, not only did the meal consist of rice and beans with sauce, but potatoes, carrots, onions and chicken, too! Plus, the ladies worked hard all morning long to make an additional huge pot of food in order for all of the students that arrived to be able to eat.
The ladies of the kitchen wanted the entire team to try a sample in order to see what the food being served to the children was like, so they prepared us a plate to share…and holy moley it was DELICIOUS. The children were in for a serious treat today, and we went back to work to get it ready for them.
Once we got all 3 giant bowls filled with the food, we brought them over to where the students would line up once more to receive a free, hot and hearty meal.
Due to the size of the place where we served the children, we could only feed about 85 children at a time before we cleaned their plates and got ready to feed the next group of children. The line formed outside full of excited and joyful students, looking forward to their meal.
Due to our impending flight that we had to catch, we worked all the way up to the last minute before our coordinator whisked us away and brought other volunteers to feed the remaining children. This time, we were able to walk away from the building with a smile on our face, as we knew that we had enough food to feed them all.
Before we headed back to our rooms to grab our bags, we had a young visitor, who traveled all the way from her school outside of Grace International in order to see her sponsor.
Chike’s beautiful little girl came to see him during her school break. We learned from the staff that she was ranked top of her class and excelled in her schooling. Had it not been for sponsors like Chike, she may not have ever realized her potential, and the world would have missed out on such a bright young lady rising up.
The best thing that most of these children could ever receive is a chance to get an education, and so many are still waiting for that opportunity.
After we folded and donated all of our clothes and shoes, we packed our bags onto the blue truck for one last time and headed back to the airport.
As a random aside, what was hilarious to me was that on the way TO Grace International, the first timers were super tense as our driver weaved us in and out of a lawless highway filled with people, cars, goats, bikes, motorcycles and rubble. By the time we were on the way OUT of Grace International, everyone was completely relaxed, taking photos and cracking jokes as we whizzed through the streets.
Once we got off of the bus, we gave our friends (and Grace International Boys’ Home “graduates”-turned-employees) Chris and Davidson one more hug good-bye and we made our way into Haiti’s airport once again. Davidson in particular said that he felt like he gained a mother during this trip, and I know Regina felt like she gained a son.
But once we got through the security gates into our terminal…that’s when things got hectic. Our flight out of Haiti was an hour late, cutting our once reasonable 2 hour layover in Miami’s Airport into a super rushed, barely-gonna-make-it 1 hour to clear customs, re-check in our bags, and go through security all over again.
We encountered some truly unpleasant people working at the airport, some who seemed to intentionally want us to miss our flight, some who confiscated gifts that we purchased legally in a duty-free shop in the Haiti airport, and some that refused to help us at all. Our team did our best to prayerfully keep it together as all nine of us rushed to catch our final flight.
Just like our trip on the way to Haiti, we barely made it as the doors closed, praise God! Unfortunately, when we landed in DC, 2 out of our 3 bags did not make it with us, and it took the group almost an hour to get the Lost and Found agents to confirm that they would find and ship our bags back. When we finally walked into the cold night air in our shorts and t-shirts, it was almost midnight, and we still had some traveling to do to get back to our homes in Maryland.
Despite the chaos at the end of the trip, with such an incredible journey that we had behind us, we truly had nothing to be upset about. We met a girl on our flight from Haiti who had a shirt that made me both laugh and reminded me that no matter what happens, all we have to do is…
We would like to thank every single person who supported us financially, through donations, in prayer, and with their services. Your giving has not gone in vain, and has change the lives of so many in Haiti!
We would like to thank our drivers, Cara’s sister, Troy Harris, Chris Adornetto, and my parents for driving us at 4 in the morning to send us safely to the airport, and for picking us up and driving us home near midnight last night. We (literally) could not have made it without you!
We would like to thank Whitney Hamilton, the resident missionary staying at Grace International, who coordinated all of our travels and events while on the ground in Haiti. Thank you for helping us settle in and feel at home (even making us late night Haitian pizza)!
We would like to thank Jennifer Gifford and Amy Simms for coordinating our trip from on the ground in Maryland, and for being a support to us when we needed them. We look forward to many more trips, with even greater success in the future.
We would like to thank the Jeune family for their incredible service to an entire nation, and for giving us both hospitality and the opportunity to serve alongside of you. We pray that God will multiply the funds that come through you a million-fold, and that every endeavor you take part in will succeed in excess.
Finally, but most importantly, we would like to thank God for being so good to us and for allowing us to not only be safe and healthy, but changed and better due to this opportunity. We pray that this fire to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti and beyond will continue to burn bright for generations to come, in Jesus’ name.