What’s Happening in Haiti

HA-749, KL and Friend, 11-13-13Hello folks,

As you saw in the previous message from Nov. 12, we have been very busy each day. In the past two days, we visited two more Compassion student centers where we were again greeted warmly by many students and staff. In addition to the programs that had been prepared for us, and some time to play with the children, we learned a great deal about the inner workings and record keeping within Compassion’s local projects. It was important for us to understand how students are selected to participate in the program, what requirements they must meet to stay in the program, what records are kept (health, attendance, letter writing, gift receipts, birth certificate, etc.), and a number of other things that keep track of each student’s progress over time.

HA-192, Dance class, 11-14-13Today, we split into four groups devoted to sporting activities, crafts, dance, and cosmetology of a sort. Each activity was quite popular with those participating in it. Having been on several of these tours previously, I chose to wander from one activity to another photographing and documenting what was happening. After an hour or more of these activities, we served the children lunch, then did some Q & A with two Complimentary Intervention program staff and a loan recipient of that program who has started a breadmaking business. The goal of the CIP is to provide micro-loans to individuals with a connection to Compassion (either by having a child in the CDSP program or by having graduated from the Compassion program as a sponsored child him/herself) in order to offer one more means of helping raise people out of poverty in Jesus’ name.

HA-192, New school construction, 11-14-13One more speaker arrived… well, really he is not a speaker but a contractor from El Salvador.  He explained some of the details of construction that was underway at today’s project for two buildings that will house 12 classrooms. These buildings are being built to a strict earthquake code to replace structures that were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The El Salvadoran company was hired to lead the construction of four separate Compassion schools and in the process to train Haitian builders who have been hired to assist so that they will be able to carry on further construction of this nature and quality. It is important work because dozens of Compassion buildings, particularly schools, were destroyed in and near Port au Prince in 2010.

This evening, we enjoyed listening to the testimonies of three Leadership Development Program students. In Compassion’s ministry, there are three parts (CSP-Child Survival Program; CDSP-Child Development Sponsorship Program; and LDP). The LDP students go through a highly selective competition at the end of their high school period. If they are selected, they will be sponsored all the way through university in a course of their choosing. Along with the standard university course work, they are required to participate in various Christian leadership training activities, to be mentored by professional people (something not common in many developing countries), and to take active leadership positions in their churches, local CDSP student centers, etc. These young men and women are quite impressive, and are working to become adults who will make a significant impact in their communities, and often even in a wider arena.

HA-192, Look at the eyes, 11-14-13As you can see by the Nov. 12 letter and this one, this particular tour is designed more as an information gathering trip about a Christian ministry that serves more than 1.4 million children in 26 developing countries, than it is a working trip. It is important not only for sponsors to see and experience things first-hand so that we can report it to the world at large and share assurances of how donations are utilized in the field, but it is also a way to impact and encourage the children and staff who work hard to raise people from poverty each and every day.

I am attaching several more photos that reflect more of the tour.  Enjoy!

You friend and fellow congregant,

Karen

 

 

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Karen’s Compassion Trip, Day at HA-322

Hello folks,

HA-322, Playtime with new friends, 11-12-13For those of you who may not know, I have been a Compassion International sponsor for 14 years and have taken this time to embark on my 5th Compassion sponsor tour in the past ten years.,

We flew into Port au Prince, Haiti yesterday afternoon from Miami.  After we made it through Customs and boarded our bus, it took us more than two hours to go the 80 kilometers to our hotel.  Just getting through the traffic in Port au Prince was more challenging than probably most any American can possibly imagine.  No traffic lights, very heavy traffic on what seemed like the only thoroughfare, darkness, and masses of people everywhere.  Eventually, we made it to our hotel, Club Indigo, a former Club Med location with its own lovely private beach, a great swimming pool, and a nice open air restaurant.  The rooms are somewhat spartan, but certainly meet our needs.  My roommate on this trip, Renee, is from Lincoln, Nebraska.

HA-322, CDSP Welcome, 11-12-13Today (Tuesday) was our first day of interaction with the Compassion kids on this trip to Haiti.  We left the hotel about 8 a.m. and drove farther to the north for roughly 90 minutes to arrive at Compassion Student Center, HA-322,  We were expecting to get a good introduction to the Child Survival Program (CSP) there.  To our surprise, when they opened the big, black metal gate to the church complex, we were greeted like royalty by a couple hundred, at least, children and their parents.  Not only that, they even had a brass band playing for our arrival.  After they serenaded us with a couple of tunes, they broke out in the American National Anthem.  When that was completed, children came racing up to all of the foreign guests and placed straw hats they had made on our heads.  This was our greeting.

We then assembled in the church where a program had been planned for us.  The Americans were seated on the stage at the front of the church where we listened to a variety of brief speeches, some songs, watched a dance, and even listened to a skit performed by some CSP mothers in the native language which is Creole.

After the program came to a close, we spent an hour or so of playtime in the church/school yard.  As you can see by the one photo I’ve attached, I was quite amazed that some of the playground equipment didn’t break down under the burden of the masses of children piling onto absolutely every swing and jungle gym and sliding board.  Stickers were floating around and landing on faces, soccer and volleyballs were being put to good use, jump ropes were turning…and to everyone’s amazement, Susan, a lady in our group who has been blind from birth, even tried her best to do some rope jumping.  She has been determined to take part in every activity, and although I’m certain she just considers this her normal modus operandi, many are finding her quite inspirational.

We had a lovely lunch at the center and then proceeded to visit the CSP room with mothers and their babies.  They are eligible to be a part of this program from pregnancy through the child’s third birthday.  Mothers are taught prenatal care, proper nutrition for their children, health needs, and various other aspects of how to raise a healthy child that will be prepared to grow up successfully.  Many of the children are then moved into Compassion’s CDSP (the program designed for children ages 3 through 19 in Haiti).

We ended our afternoon by going off to visit four different homes of families participating in the CSP program.  This gives Compassion sponsors an opportunity to not only see the conditions of people in this community living in severe poverty, but to ask them many questions about things like the kind of work they do, the dreams they have for their children, how participation in the Compassion program has worked for them, etc.  We take the opportunity to pray with and for them, and to allow them to ask us questions if they have them also.

Children in Haiti (as well as other developing nations I have visited) often like to touch our arms and hold our hands.  They sometimes do this because we are the first white people they’ve come in contact with and want to know how we feel.  They also have little sense of personal space in the way that Americans are accustomed to.  And, they carry on conversations with us and continue asking many questions, even though none of us could understand virtually anything they said.  We used some hand signals, sometimes just guessed, or other times simply moved on to whatever else we were about.

Tomorrow and the next day will be similar visits to other projects, though there will likely be more opportunity for some crafts and more specific planned activities, we were told.  So, though I will try to send updates, they may be more brief in order not to repeat the same material.  I’ll try to keep you abreast of interesting developments and fun anecdotes.

By the way, Renee, my roommate, sponsored a new little girl this afternoon at the center we visited…a 3 1/2 year old.

HA-322, CSP, 11-12-13The photos I’m attaching show many of the mothers and babies in the CSP room, the royal welcome as the gates opened upon our arrival, me and a few of my friends with some colorful rainbow stickers applied, and some swings weighed down to an unbelievable level.  Hope you enjoy this mini tour.

It was a good day.  Even in the severe poverty conditions, Compassion brings the love of Christ to many and it is evident in the work of the staff at the child centers, and in those who are registered students there.  More to come in the next few days.

Your friend and fellow Trinityite,

Karen

HA-322, Weighing down the swings, 11-12-13Susan, the blind woman, jumping rope.

HA-322, Susan Jumping Rope, 11-12-13

Karen is Headed to Haiti

We will try to post Karen’s updates as timely as possible. This is the message she sent to her e-mail list yesterday.

Hi folks,

As you know, I will be traveling to Haiti this week, departing from Washington, DC early tomorrow morning and returning next Sunday evening.  While I am gone, I hope to put out some updates through my church’s e-list, for those of you to whom that may apply.  For others of you who have an interest in checking on the activities of our tour, you can visit “Haiti November 2013 Sponsor Tour – Compassion International” on Facebook.  The tour leaders expect to provide periodic updates there.  I will also add whatever updates I can, and hopefully some photos too, on Facebook during the week, and certainly many more upon my return.  Finally, early next week, when I send my next medical update mailing, I will write a bit about the trip and add a few special photos from it.

So, with all this in mind, I hope you will keep me and all of my 26 tour mates in your thoughts and prayers as we go to not only visit our own sponsored children, but to minister to many children and adults who participate in Compassion’s programs in Haiti.  You probably know that this is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and following the catastrophic earthquake in January 2010, life just got harder still for the millions of people living there.  Compassion has worked in Haiti for several decades and plays an important role in helping to build the spiritual, economic, social and physical life of tens of thousands of children there, and they do it through people like me and many others who want to care for and love these people.  It helps to make them whole…and it helps to make us whole.

Love to you all,

Karen

P.S.  I’ve attached some photos of me with my boy, Enoche, when he was just a little nine-year-old.  A week from now, I will share photos of us when he is a 19-year-old young man.

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Christmas in Honduras

Once again we would like to plan to provide Christmas gifts for the children of Heart to Heart in Honduras. This year, instead of an angel tree, we are asking for contributions now that we can forward to the Ministry before Christmas. A gift of $50 per child will provide new Christmas clothes, an individually chosen gift and support for their traditional Christmas meal of a roast pig with all the accompaniments, however, a donation of any amount is also appreciated. We hope to provide support for many of the 90 children at the village. If you are able to help, please make your check out to H2HCV and place the check in the offering plate or forward to Dan and Chris Moore, 1629 Wrightson Drive, Mclean,VA. 22101. We hope to forward all the funds to the Ministry directors before Thanksgiving, in time for Christmas shopping.

Sincere thanks for your generous support of this Ministry.

Dan and Chris Moore