Monday, November 23, 2009

The Feeding Program

I check my rear-view mirror and see Jayden securely fastened in his car seat, playing contentedly with a couple of little cars. It's Friday, 2:25 p.m. and we are on our way to help out at the feeding program for street children at the orphanage. Power lines lean awkwardly over the rocky road and I do my best to avoid them.

Since the government is working on widening the roads, there are many broken down walls and a lot of rubble. Who knows when the roads will actually get fixed but at least moving the walls is a start.

A few minutes later we arrive at the orphanage, (the same one I taught sewing classes at) and I carefully park the pathfinder alongside a wall. I help Jayden out of his car seat and then together we make our way to the orphanage gate.

The feeding program hasn't started quite yet and street children crowd around the gate waiting to be let in.

Seeing Jayden they flock around him and touch his super white skin, blond curly hair, and make comments about his big blue eyes. After a few minutes of this Jayden bursts into tears. No one likes being the odd one out, and having a hundred little children stare, point and comment is just too much for him. I pick him up and hug him till he calms down. The children are soon distracted when the gate opens to allow them in.

We follow the crowd and find ourselves in a big concrete court yard. There are basketball nets, volleyball nets, a tether ball and table and chairs set up.

Thankfully the children soon forget the fact that Jayden doesn't look like them at all, and he starts to make friends.

Two little boys that don't look much older than Jayden soon make themselves comfortable on my lap.

As I hug them close my heart aches for them. What if one of these boys were Jayden and I didn't even have enough money to feed him? How heartbreaking for their parents or guardians. These boys are so small and innocent and already at such a tender age their lives are so hard.

I look up and notice that the children have separated into two groups. The older kids now play what looks like some kind of Red Rover game, while the younger children colour pictures.

When game time is over everyone lines up and it's time to sing, pray and listen to a scripture passage read in Creole.

By then food is ready and it's time to help serve.

Big bowls and plates of rice and beans are given to each child.

The children eat their food hungrily.

I don't think I could eat half the serving they get, but their next meal might not be till the next feeding program on Monday, so most of the children scrape their plate clean. It's very touching to see the older children help feed the younger children as well.

If one of the smaller children can't finish their entire plate, (it's a lot of food), it gets passed on to another child who still has a little room left in their stomach. By the time everyone is done there is not a grain of rice left.

When the plates and cups are empty it's time to collect the dishes and clean up. When everything is all cleaned up, I say bye to the children and Dana, who runs the feeding program and we make our way back to the car.

After bouncing over the rough roads we finally arrive on Delmas. Delmas is a four lane, paved, but still bumpy road going through Port au Prince.

We are only on this road for a few minutes before turning off onto a side street again.

Finally we arrive at our street, which I believe is one of the worst streets in Port au Prince. Every time we turn onto it the pathfinder almost bottoms out because the road is so eaten away by flooding.

I honk at the gate and Anoud pushes it open. As soon as I unbuckle Jayden, he runs inside to tell Daddy we are home. As I slowly make my way up the steps to the back door, I feel for a minute like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. So many hungry children here in Port au Prince, and that was just a fraction of them. It's overwhelming.


  1. dear Wil, you are such a blessing to these underprivileged children... my heart goes out to you too as you see firsthand what most of us never have to see up close, and knowing that you might feel so helpless to make a difference. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story and pictures! We know God will bless you for the part you play in the big picture!

  2. Wil, what is the yellow topping on the rice and beans??
    xoxo Hen

  3. You got so many great photos of the feeding program! One of my favorites is the one with the crayons. Thank you so much for helping out in the feeding program, and i look forward to you coming more often now!

  4. Hey Hen, the yellow topping is actually slices of onion that have been boiled in a sauce.

  5. You seriously gotta wonder where they put such a huge bowl of food. They must be a bit uncomfortable!