This blog will accompany us on our Mission Trip to Haiti, while giving our friends and loved ones at home a little window into the journey. We hope that as you follow us, your prayers will help us along the path.

 

Team leaves for Czech Republic May 19 from Joy

Our team to the Czech republic leaves next Thursday, just 1 week away, to spend time with our partner church, Horni Pocernice UMC in Prague.  This will be our 4th trip to be with them and those of us returning are really looking forward to the time with them.  We have 5 new people as a part of the team this year and they, too, are excited about our trip.  The team will be doing some activities with the Gypsy children who live in the apartments at the Christian Help Center next door to the church and with the children in the day school operated by the church.  We will be building a shed to protect their outdoor equipment while there and of course, have some time just to be in fellowship with the congregation.  I hope that church members and friends will keep up with our trip while we are away by reading our blog every couple of days.  One of our team members will be taking a computer so we hope to be able to keep the blog going.

The site as we found it a bathroom and bathouse in ruin.

The Methodist have a plan for the future - they just need a good restroom facility to allow their school to resume to full capacity as proper sanitation had been an issue.

The debris had to be removed so the UMC Richardson Team and Haitian workers could began hand digging new piers for the wall support system. We used the small debris for fill later. Got to move it twice - soooo much fun.

Watching how the Haitian plumber did his work was fun and interesting compared to how many of us have seen it done.

The children at the school were full of joy and wonderment at our arrival and we had many great opportunities to interact and play games with them. They loved our jump ropes and balls that we donated to the school. As you can see them team members stopped to be with the children while work continued apace in the background.

The bucket brigade became a useful tool to be able to backfill over the newly roughed in plumbing and to deliver freshly hand mixed concrete up to the work site. Hep, Hep, Hep was the local cadence that was called out to let each know of an empty or full bucket coming back and forth.

Setting in the final wall piers allows the stringers to be put in - more bucket brigades for cement.

Final photo before team is leaving for guest house shows the floor is about 3/4 complete. Our Team Leader Joy is showing the progress to another UMCOR volunteer who was on site so we could be prepared to debrief the new team who was arriving.

Good to be home thanks for your support and prayers,

Keith Baker

Notes from Frank

Well all good things must end sometime. 

We left the worksite today tired and weary but upbeat in spirits having accomplished the task we set out to do with quite a bit of hard manual labor.  We had come to this place together as a group but we left as a team having watched over one another, taking up each others task if we knew they were running out steam,sharing experiences of the day, and laughing at each other and with each other.

We leave here knowing that there is so very much more to do not only at this site but in all of Haiti for this is land and a people that truly in need of our help. They are a people that are not beaten down in spirit, and are doing the very best they can in a very difficult time with scarce resource,and truly have faith in God.

This has been a wonderful way to start the season of Lent, denying ourselves some of the basic necessities of life, communing together, saying grace together at every meal, having daily devotionals,reaching out to people we did not know to build relationships and create bonds neither we or they will never forget.

I hope to come back here someday,when and to do what, I don’t know but right now I feel and see the need.

1st UMC Richardson, TX Haiti work team at end of last work day with the Haiti contruction workers and contractor. New bathroom and shower with roughed in plumbing and floor almost done at the Carrefour Methodist Church Elementary School in Haiti.
KB

1st UMC Richardson, TX Haiti work team at end of last work day with the Haiti contruction workers and contractor. New bathroom and shower with roughed in plumbing and floor almost done at the Carrefour Methodist Church Elementary School in Haiti.

KB

Last Post from Haiti - Joy

 We left our worksite about 11:00 this morning and came to the UM Guest House, went to a resturant to eat a fast food lunch, and then went to the top of the mountain overlooking PAP.  This was our sightseeing outing.  We saw portions of PAP that I have not seen before.  We went through a section that had a banner out that read “Family Market” and there were hundreds of vendors selling everything that you could think of and people were curb to curb.  It was chaotic and unbelievable - words cannot describe the scene.  This evening we have some down time before we are up early Thursday morning to leave for the airport.  We have had an amazing week of hard work, hot weather, very different living conditions, wonderful relationships with our Haitian colleagues, and play time with the school children.  We made great progress on our project and as we left the Haitians were continuing to work hard on the work site.  We are all tired, hot, and have resorted to thinking about what will be the first thing we are going to eat or do when we return.  However everyone of the team will say that this has been one of the most amazing and meaningful experiences that each of us has had. Our living conditions were hard, but we realized each day that the Haitians live under these same conditions all of the time and so that put our 8 days in perspective.  I hope that we will have many opportunities to share this experience with the congregation of FUMCR in the weeks to come.  It will be difficult to describe all that we have seen and experienced here in Haiti, but we have a lot of pictures so maybe that will help convey the message of the Haiti people that we have had the opportunity to know and work with during our short time here.   See you Sunday. 

From Judy

Hi everyone!  There is no way to describe what our eyes have seen and what our hearts are feeling. We attended church today where we are working and Zan Holmes is alive and well in Haiti!

I sat next to Maurice and his lovely wife Anabelle - he made sure I knew what verses we were reading in the Bible and shared his song book with me.  We sang 3 songs in French and 1 in Creole.  What a joyous people - hope and Grace shine from them. Hard workers who sing in the morning and in the evening! 

Our team will never quite be the same and I only hope we can verbalize what we have seen, what our hearts have felt, and what our souls have received. It is grand yet horrific…it is beautiful amidst the rubble..there is a song singing from the hearts of these folks that we must bring back and sing ourselves.  In the rawness of the rubble is something we need…all of us.

Note From Frank

Not much going on down here except hauling rocks,sand and rubble.  Cold water bucket showers in small showers, lumpy cots, but good food from MADAME LULU makes it all worthwhile.

The best part of the trip so far has been the servant heart and commaradarie demonstrated by all on the team. 

To my wife I say  “HI” and i love you

From Pat

It was good to finally get here.  We missed our first stay at the Methodist Guest House and went directly to the site since we were delayed in Florida overnight.  Our accomodations are pretty primitive—no electricity and no running water, potties that flush only if you put water in the bowl which we have to draw from the outdoor cistern in the bucket, and cold bucket showers.  When it gets dark, we have to use lanterns or flashlights to see, however last night we sat on our veranda with citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes away and our lantern for our devotional.  The nights are noisy with trucks rumbling, dogs barking and roosters crowing and Haitian neighborhood parties with live music.  However, we are having a great time—wish you were here. 

Greetings Again from Haiti - Joy

Today is Sunday, a day of rest for the team.  We’ve been to worship and had a fried lunch extravaganza.  We have left the Methodist Church/school compound to experience the community.  We have passed sights that few have ever seen or experienced searching for the internet cafe.  Later we are going to walk to a tent city in the area.  This area where we are used to be the weekend and vacation area of PAP but it is so different now.  Poverty like few have seen.  We are all doing well, a few scraps and bruises from our day of rubble removal and digging foundation holes for the bathroom and shower house.  There used to be showers there but have been not used in many years and crumbling.  We also began to build columns and pour concrete.  We’ve bucket hauled sand and rocks to the mixing site.  Our accommodations are very basic.  Pat will elaborate in the next text. To the Thor team - we had it good back in Feb.!  You just don’t know!  Hello to FUMCR and to Sylvia in Illinoiis!  What an experience this is and I look forward to sharing with everyone when we return.  We probably won’t be able to blog again until Wed. when we return to the Methodist Guest House because this place is not easy to get to.  Bye for now. 

Greeting from 1st UMC of Richardson, TX

We are near the end of our second work day. The team has removed some old shower stalls and removed large amount of concrete rubble creating a path of debris about 30 yards long and 20 feet wide and 3 feet high. We were digging new footings for the new shower and bath facility and are waiting on the rebar tie to be completed. Some of the rest of the team are working with some folks hired here moving lime, sand and stone to be mixed with cement using a bucket brigade fashion working style. Everything is done by hand (lots of blisters no one hurt) tire but making friends. Sad to see a furneral at the church today, but life goes on and many friends and family were on hand. The church is open with a type of concrete grid work with screening an you can hear the beautiful singing ringing out.

The team says hello - Frank is trying to send a short video and a few pictures. Hope they come through so all the great folks at the church at home can see what we are experiencing.

Best regards,

Keith Baker