Despite the hurricane weather, the Haiti team made it into the country safe and on time with the exception of two members from Nashville who flew in Friday morning. We organized our donations and instruments, and slept well Thursday night.
Everyone was excited on Friday morning to pile into the back of a caged truck and drive the short three blocks from the mission house to the orphanage. When we pulled into the yard, 50 children began yelling, screaming, and running towards the vehicle in which we were caged. They were so excited that the team had arrived. They hugged each member as we climbed out of the truck. After passing out name tags and trying out our French Creole, we set to work on various stations for the kids. Myself and Monica, of course, did music, while other team members did sports, crafts, English, bird house building, etc. Monica and I had discussed and agreed that we wanted to see the teenagers first, so we met the 13-15 year olds. Dan, one of the leaders, agreed that this would be most beneficial for them.
Let me tell you, giving Haitians rhythm instruments is like giving a fish water. They needed no direction or guidance. We didn't have to say anything in Creole or English. They just went to 'play.'
The adult was our translator, Jonas. He was also a musician. We played together for a while, allowing the music to be our conversation. We did improvisation with drums and other rhythm instruments just to get to know each other. We were able to drum our names, favorite foods, favorite colors, and favorite animals. The teenagers were very focused and were able to follow physical cues from the therapists.
We implemented a musical game that allowed each child to talk about their feelings. A ball was tossed around to music, and when the music stopped, the child with the ball removed a piece of tape from the ball. This tape had a feeling on it. We talked about what made them feel that way (happy, sad, proud, shy, thankful, etc) and then played that feeling with the instruments. At one point, we all went around the circle and said what we were thankful for. One boy said he was thankful when other people send him money to take care of him (he has a sponsor). One girl said she was thankful for nothing... it broke my heart.
The second group we got was the 8 to 12 year olds. They were loud, energetic, rambunctious... It was fun. It was much less focused, but it was so enjoyable. They were able to cooperate musically with one another in their playing, and they followed musical directions. They did a lot of exploring and turn taking. I enjoyed playing with them immensely.
What a morning! What a joy these children bring to the lives of those attempting to share joy with them. We left for lunch and we were then blessed with an amazing opportunity to visit the land that was just purchased a few days before by Global Orphan Hope to build a new orphanage. They are taking three construction teams down in the next three months, and hope to have everything up and running by June of 2012. Both Mike and Sue, the leaders of this project, have children with special needs, so they have a heart and a desire to care for the children of Haiti with special needs. What a blessing to be able to meet them!
We returned to Gift of God Orphanage and spent the afternoon with free interactions. Monica did one-on-one singing and I (Amy) played with the kids, drew with sidewalk chalk, interacted with an English lesson, and loved on children. Monica showed the children photos of her family, and by the end of the day, most children had one. Monica, Wade, and their two children are on the bedroom walls of a Haitian Orphanage.
We parted around 5pm, as that is when visiting hours end at the orphanage, and went back to the mission house for dinner and a time of reflection. God is so good!