Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Haiti Update #10: Construction Team makes progress on Orphanage project

There’s a new kind of music in the air here in Haiti. It’s the music of the generator humming, drills whirring and paint rollers squishing paint onto concrete walls. The Bridge Construction team is working hard to help complete the Orphanage project.

Yesterday was a big learning curve for our team of four married couples, two ladies and 10-year-old Tiana Freeland plus the four of us Gilmores. Besides the language barrier, the new environment and new schedule the team had to adjust to the stark difference between the way construction is done in the U.S. versus construction here in Haiti. We are all learning to flexible.

We put the ladies to work organizing one of the storage closets in the house and sorting items for use inside the orphanage. Meanwhile, a few of the guys worked on pulling wire and connecting the electricity for the Orphanage. Some of the Haitian men from the church are also helping, teaching and learning.

In the afternoons, the ladies on the team are hosting a Story and Play Time for the children. The kids are so full of delight and joy as they play with Legos for the first time or try out American games like Candyland and Memory.

For the Story Time, Anne Brant read a Haitian picture book called “Circles of Hope” and Peter’s daughter Stacy translated. At the end of the story, Stacie Gudgel asked questions and gave out prizes to the kids who could answer the questions about the story correctly. After the story, we served the kids lemonade and animal crackers and taught them the game “Red light, Green light.” Stacie and Tiana Freeland were mobbed by the kids who quickly learned the game.

After dinner out team spent time with Roro (Roosevelt) and his wife, Moseline, and three of his children. They are to be the new directors of the orphanage when it is completed. We brought them gifts and prayed with them.
Peter and Gerby have chosen 16 of the neediest children to live in the orphanage, which will be called “The Bridge Christian Children’s Home.” Peter was pleased to announce this new name for the orphanage and explained that it not only speaks to the money The Bridge church in Fresno raised for the project but also that this home will be a bridge for these children (ages 6-10) from a world of poverty and despair to a home filled with hope.

We completed our day with some time around the table sharing highlights about the day and grappling with some of the tough questions and injustices we had seen here in Haiti. For me, it is both difficult and comforting to work through some of these tough questions with my brothers and sisters from The Bridge. Our perspectives, of course, are shaped by an American lens and our Christian lens. We ask ourselves how we are to respond in a culturally sensitive way when we see a child being beaten or we witness a woman being disrespected.

I continue to wonder about how the Gilmores are to be used and continue to be used here in Haiti. I really feel God is leading Ericlee and me to be involved in the Children’s Home in a more serious way. We are praying about what that would look like. We are also thinking about what it would take to adopt a Haitian child through this home.

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