Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ouanaminthe #2

December 30, 6:25 a.m.
I slowly open my eyes and let them focus on my surroundings. Seeing where I am, memories of the day before flood back and I take some time remembering it all. The early morning is gray and no light streams in through the slats. Jason is still sound asleep beside me. When I'm a little more awake and ready to get up I slowly crawl out of bed, careful not to wake him. I'd better go check up on Jayden! As I crack open his door he looks up at me with his big blue eyes. "Mama, baby?" he says. He still uses some of his baby language and being in no hurry for him to grow up, I let him. Since "Mama, baby", means pick me up and hug me, I do just that. He presses his soft cheek against mine and I cuddle him close. What a sweetie! Being an active little boy this lasts all of three seconds before he squirms out of my grasp and escapes out the door. "Come back here Jayden" I whisper sternly, "Everyone is still sleeping, you need to come to Mommy". He stops and looks at me for a moment to make sure I'm chasing him and then continues full tilt down the hall. After a few second I've caught him by the arm and I pull him giggling down the hall. "Be quiet Jayden", I tell him again. It takes a moment for the giggles to subside and I pick him up. Seeing my frown he looks up at me innocently and then straightens out the frown wrinkles on my forehead with his little hands. I can't help but laugh, and he knows this all too well! "Let's go sit outside on the porch you little monkey", I tell him, and this time he listens. The barred in porch is on the second story of the house we are staying in and this gives us a good view of the streets below. From our vantage point we can look down on the town center park. It consits of an oriental style building, actual grass, and even some plants and playground equipment.

Since this is what it looks like right across the street and what most of the rest of the town looks like, the town centre seems out of place.

Before long, Mom, Dad and Jason are awake too and we all sit on the porch together and eat breakfast. Once breakfast is finished Hugh Bastian comes to pick us up and give us a tour of the town. He shows us the hospital next door, and then drives us through the town. As we drive, occasional rain drops splatter the windshield and the ground around us adding to the mud and muck in the streets. We drive past the Ouanaminthe markets and I'm secretly relieved we are not stopping and walking through it today.

There's just way to much muck and mud. In an open lot close to the market, horses are tethered and goats roam free. People are buying and selling between the garbage littering the ground.

After a little while Hugh stops alongside a black gate. As he opens the gate he tells us that this is a care home for the elderly run by a Canadian Nun, and since we are from Canada as well, we need to meet her. As we walk up the dirt path we see many elderly people sitting outside. When they see us they smile and wave their hands in greeting!

We hear later that they don't get many visitors and to have people come is very special for them. The Nun who runs the orphanage is already 70 years old herself and we soon find out that although she is from Canada, she's from the eastern part and speaks French not English. Thankfully she also speaks Creole so we are able to communicate with her. She introduces us to some of the elderly Haitians and we visit with them. The lady sitting on the chair here is over 100 years old and can still walk around by herself. She is mentally sharp and even sings for us.

She is bird thin, and I'm sure in her 103 years of life she's gone through a lot of hardships and pain, but she still smiles and says she knows God loves her and takes care of her. It is very touching to listen to her.

This lady here is also over 100 years old and takes a particular interest in Jayden.

This scares him a little so instead he runs away and finds an empty wheelchair to push around.

We spend some more time talking or simply holding the hands of the elderly people and they seem sad when we finally leave. "Come back," they tell us.

Back on the streets again we see men pulling heavy carts and I can't help but wonder when this all just became normal to me.

Since Ouanaminthe is situated right on the border of the Dominican Republic, Hugh drives us there as well. It's open market day today and the border and the surrounding areas are packed with people. Being one of the few people in a vehicle it doesn't take us very long to get through. As we reach the border crossing this is what we see.

Haiti buys a lot of their goods in the Dominican and seeing how much people carry back from the Dominican on their heads is astounding.

Hugh crosses the border often and because of this no passports are needed. This is my first time visiting the Dominican and the marked difference between the two countries is mind boggling. From mud streets to beautiful paved roads, market vendors to stores, tap taps to buses. Even the Dominican people look a lot different then the Haitian people. There skin is much lighter, hair straighter and they have different colour eyes. We are so amazed and in awe, we take only one picture (something I realize later!). But even from that one picture you can see some of the differences.

After driving through the Dominican town we cross the border once again. From there we collect our belongings and head back to the airport. It's time to fly to Anse Rouge.


  1. I'm so glad you could bring so much joy to all of those people that you visited! You're truly touching so many lives with your generosity, your joy, and your caring heart. You and your family spread God's love everywhere you go Will!

  2. What an awesome publishment online. I am glad that I took the time to stop by and read this page. You all are doing a fantastic job and I'd love to communicate with you on a matter I am trying to handle in ouanmithe. My best friend in the world was adopted at age 2 from there and would like to locate his birth mother. He is now 27 years of age and since the earthquakes he can't get a solid nights rest from wondering if he may have missed his opportunity to connect with any of his family none the less his mother.

    Please let me know if you can assist me with any resources or people to help me help my friend- my heart aches daily for him.

    God Bless you and please let me know how I can donate funds to help your mission.