Friends of Messef

Supporters of Messef Orphanage in Haiti

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on October 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments ()



Well, it's a full year since I last visited Messef, although the guys have been faithfully every single month since then.


Initially, my husband requested that I not go for fear of getting caught up in any kind of danger at the frontier, which was escalating around that time.  Things have continued to be tense between the two countries with the citizenship for Haitians in the DR issue causing feelings to run high on both sides of the border.  He has never tried to forbid me from visiting (he knows me better than that) but I do try to respect his wishes and value his guidance.


The frontier is volatile and things aren't made any easier for our Dominican leaders by having a gringo/a (foreigner) in tow.  Those of you who have visited with us know just how difficult the border staff on both sides can be and how extra money is always the goal.  If they catch sight of someone who may be better off, the complications increase. 


Just recently my husband has said that I must decide if and when I go and he won't stand in my way, in answer to my constant comments about how much I miss the children.  However, the journey and crossing take upwards of 10 hours and sometimes we get to spend less than 2 hours with the children.  They are usually in school when we go on a Monday or Friday.  Additionally, it has not been possible to take our vehicle across for some time.  The costly permit has expired and there are additionally costs and charges to enter with the truck and we just do not feel it warrants all this extra expenditure....it really doesn't make the trip viable....so the guys have to drive to the frontier, hire a cart attached to a motorbike for the supplies and cross on foot, hopefully getting motorbike taxis on the other side.  I have done this before and it was the one time when I felt decidedly unsafe in Haiti.


I do believe we have the Lord's covering and I am not a wimp, but for the time being I will continue to fundraise and love the children from a distance, as much as I miss them.  I feel as though I can convey better to you what is going on there if I have boots on the ground but I am trusting that with the photos and news that Pastor Quirico and Danilo bring us that you will continue to stand with us, as we try to make the best use we can of the resources you entrust to us. 


Here are the photos from our latest visit, yesterday.  Many thanks to all those who supported this trip.  More to follow in the next Newsletter on that.


Another miracle for Messef

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on November 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM Comments comments ()



I am overflowing with joy and gratitude at how God works through all of you, time and time again, to bless the children at Messef.

 

Some of you will have read of all the challenges we have been having at the frontier lately and also of problems between the Dominican Republic and Haiti…but God is bigger than any of these problems.  When no solution seems in sight, that is the time to trust even more.


 We got off to a slow start with our Roof Appeal, despite a wonderful kick start from Lisa, who offered to help when we were ready, as she had done with the girls’ dormitory two years ago.  She faithfully kept her promise.  The extra drive on Orphan Sunday brought in some great support from some new and old Friends, but nowhere near enough to complete the project this side of Christmas.  I have to admit, I was beginning to get a little disheartened, but my mistake was in thinking that I had to rely on my own power, foolishly thinking this was down to me!


You will perhaps remember that we had received the wonderful gift of beds from Barrio Blanco Projekt  via our Friends Julienne and Deb at A Serving Heart Ministry.  They have been so faithful in helping us when they have an orphanage of their own to support further along the coast at Cap Haitien.  You can see news of this on the Newsletter but it meant that Lorenzo, who had been fundraising for mattresses, since seeing the appalling state of the beds, was able to reallocate some of that for other needs and the roof was one of them.

 

To cut a long story short, Pastor Quirico, Manolo, Cecilio and Lorenzo have just got back from Haiti.  With your donations and the wonderful gifts from Lorenzo and friends, they took a small food run, five more mattresses, fabric for school uniforms, materials to complete the roof when they return for the December food run, fixed the well which they found broken AND were able to resolve the visa issue for the frontier for Pastor Quirico, Danilo and Cecilio for the next 12 months, getting an unbelievable concession on the regular cost. 


We know Pastor Quirico has amazing negotiating and budgetting skills but this was nothing short of a miracle.  It took them about 8 hours of hard work at the frontier yesterday to get everything resolved (as long as a flight from here to England!) but they did it!  I am sure they will sleep well tonight and I for one will be shouting my praises from the rooftop. Photos to follow.


A huge thank you this time around to Lisa, Wendy, Akisha, Scott, Melissa and friends, Kristen, Mark, Crystal, Warren, Carol, Rebekkah, Lorenzo and friends.  You are all wonderful.  God bless you.

 

Visiting orphans and widows...

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on October 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments ()

 

I’m not sure if I should be writing this yet as I am still pretty discombobulated (great word, isn’t it) and frustrated after yesterday’s visit to Messef, but I have been praying for guidance as to what to write.




It was a terrible day and it was a wonderful day.  Terrible in that every time we make the trip and cross the frontier, the authorities on both sides make it more difficult and more expensive to do what we believe God has called us to do, to care for orphans – “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”.  James 1:27.  Well, we are willing but we are being tested to the limit.  At least we have progress in that last month the food got across the frontier but we didn’t!  


There is a long history of animosity between the two countries (the Dominican Republic and Haiti) that make up the island of Hispaniola and it has once again come to a head recently.  It makes no difference, from either country’s point of view, if you are visiting to offer humanitarian aid (it is hard to imagine many people, apart from traders, going for any other reason), the only interest is in extracting as much money from you as possible. 


Danilo set out from his home at around 3.30 a.m., after less than an hour’s sleep, and we arrived at the frontier before 9.00 a.m…..and were still there at noon.  Although we do our best to go through each new obstacle the respective governments put in our way, each time they add a new one.  Having prepared ourselves that the Dominican members of our ministry would now have to pay the same entry and exit taxes as us foreigners, they have now enforced the need for them to have a visa to enter Haiti, at the cost of $200 a year per person, which gives no exemption from the taxes for each visit.  We just didn’t have this money yesterday and even if we had, the Haitian consulate, in charge of this, was not due to arrive at work until 2.30 p.m. (Haitian time?).  After a lot of hanging around and attempting whatever else we could, we decided to once again transfer the food to a motorbike and cart and take our chances on crossing the bridge and border on foot, along with the hordes going to and fro on market day.  After a fretful and hot walk, we all managed to get through and then proceeded to Messef on motorbike taxis as we’d had to leave the truck in customs.  If you are having trouble following this, don’t worry, I was having trouble following it and I was there.  Francesco, joining us for the first time, took all this in good humour, thankfully, but hardly a great introduction to the country he plans to volunteer in.


So, we arrived hot and bothered to be greeted by our beautiful children who were as pleased to see us as they were to see food again and all the frustration just melted away.  If ever I feel like throwing in the towel because the Haitian government just does not deserve for its people to be helped (which is fairly often nowadays), I just have to think of their needs and how much I love these children and I cannot abandon this unless I have to. 


Francesco fitted in immediately and we just left him to get to know everyone and find his way around, which he took to like a duck to water.  He has volunteered in orphanages in Ethiopia and Brazil before and when talking on our way home, he said the conditions are worse here, but the children perhaps more loving and he can certainly see how he can help when he returns in the near future.  So that was the wonderful part of the day, to know that there is some hope of being able to have a positive input in their lives on a more regular basis.


There are many changes at Messef.  There are new helpers again.  None stay long as Messef is unable to pay them a regular wage, just cover their living costs.  However, Eunice is now in charge of the orphanage children and hopefully will stay.  She is a Pastor, a single, mature woman with a quiet spirit and gentle authority, so please pray for her.  There is also a new Administrator, Pastor Esaie Elie, who has been accompanying Onikel to the frontier to meet us.  Pastor Altesse is still away in Port-au-Prince much of the time, preaching for the offering, to try to keep Messef afloat.  There is also another young man, Ephesian, also a Pastor (there are a lot of Pastors in Haiti!) who seems to have some drive and good authority with the children, so it was great to meet him for the first time.  He actually picks up rubbish and encourages the children to do the same!


So, the most important news – the children.  There have been many changes with them, too.  There are now no older girls at Messef, they have all gone to live with extended family or long lost parents.  The inspectors are carrying out their plan to reunite children with family members and this is presumably part of the process.  I was told that they were all happy to go but many have grown up at Messef so it must have been a wrench in many ways.  I will have to update our website as so many of our familiar and loved faces are no longer there and a lot of information has changed.  There are now 24 boys, aged from 3 to 18, and just 8 girls, from 4-13.


The most pressing needs are still to cover the monthly food run, putting a roof on the boys’s dormitory (we will continue our appeal to coincide with World Orphans’ Day at the beginning of November) and school uniforms.  Thank God, we have a promise of new beds from A Serving Heart Ministry, so that is a huge blessing.


The hen coop is still great, with the adult birds doing really well.  Unfortunately, they are not doing so well when they introduce young birds, probably because their condition is not so good when bought in the market on the frontier. (That word again!).


You can see the photos of this latest visit here.  Best to view them in Slideshow mode on full screen, then you will see the captions


So, please forgive my ramblings.  We have some hard decisions to make as to how we are going to absorb these additional costs.  As you know, we are all volunteers and only claim our expenses but they are becoming higher and higher.  If only we could devote all of this to the food budget.  You may ask why not just send the money, but we are commanded by God to be good stewards of what he puts in our care, whether personal or on behalf of you, and we believe we are best able to do that by delivering the goods ourselves, checking on the well-being of the children and giving them the love they so desperately need.  If any of you have any questions, comments or offers of help, please write to us at [email protected]


Danilo’s parting comment to me last night, as they dropped me off in the dark, was “Remember that we are here to serve, not to be served.”  I forgot that briefly yesterday as we were stuck at the frontier, as I was throwing up with a migraine on the way home, but it was only momentarily, we will continue to serve the Messef children, with your help, for as long as we believe that it’s God’s will.  Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.

 

Adopting a Haitian child

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on August 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM Comments comments ()

I received a message today via Friends of Messef from a childless couple asking if we were able to help facilitate the adoption of a Haitian child.  Unfortunately, this is beyond our powers.  I kind of knew this as we have tentatively explored the question before, but I did some research and was shocked by what I discovered.


It broke my heart to find out just how extremely difficult the process is.  I knew it was long, hard and expensive from friends living here going through the hoops at present, but read this article and I think, like me, you will be shocked, too.


I know children have to be protected from trafficking and abuse, but it breaks my heart that there are thousands of wonderful couples who would give a child a marvellous home and there are thousands of desperate children in need of that, and both are denied the opportunity.


It makes me more determined than ever to try to give our children at Messef the best we possible can from our limited resources.  Please join me in that desire if you can.  If you live in Canada, the UK or the Dominican Republic you can contact us to help and avoid transfer fees.  Alternatively, you can donate here to our general fund for the food run and here to contribute to the roof fund for the boys' dormitory.


God bless you and thank you for your help.



Big hopes and big thanks

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on April 19, 2013 at 8:45 AM Comments comments ()

Sorry I haven't written much on the Blog lately as I tend to keep everyone up to date via mailings and Facebook, but if there are any of you reading this who don't receive the mailings, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Samantha, for your donation via Vivienne and Bert.  We really appreciate your help.  I don't have an email address to thank you personally.


We also heard this week that the Bakery equipment that we've long been waiting for is in the hands of the group who nominated us in the competition, but for some reason there seems to be some question over whether or not it will come to Messef.  If it's meant to be, I am trusting in God that it will go where it was intended for.  Please keep this in your prayers.


Well, that's all folks and if you are reading this, Samantha, please send me a mail so that I can write to you personally.  Many thanks!


God bless you all.


Linda.






Walking through the hard times

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on November 19, 2012 at 6:10 AM Comments comments ()




We needed to take food to Messef more than a week ago.  Due to delays in obtaining the permit to take the truck across the frontier, we had to wait and go at the first opportunity, which was Saturday, 17th.  There is a new administration and everything is more formal and more costly, along with the usual demands for "tips" every step of the way....but we will not be deterred!


Hoping for a relatively smooth run with the said papers proudly displayed in the front of the truck, we set out just after 4.00 a.m., hoping to make good time.  More than five hours later, having battled with flood, pestilence and hunger, we finally arrived at Dejabon and the frontier.  Due to flooding from a burst reservoir following days of torrential rain, we were forced to take a long detour and approach Haiti by a different route.  The roads were surprisingly good but, when natured called, we discovered that the area was absoluted SWARMING with mosquitoes.  Being the only woman on this trip, accompanied by the fearless Pastor Quirico, Danilo, Cecilio and Maximo, there are times when I wish I were a man and this was one of them....they have to expose less skin to the elements (and the mosquitoes) when nature calls!


Despite no-one from Messef meeting us, we got through the border with more ease than usual, although Danilo was called back with my passport and I prayed that they didn't confiscate it prior to my visit to family at Christmas.  It turned out an official had seen someone trying to pocket the fees without stamping my passport, which would have resulted in problems on our return, so fortunately that was resolved.  But, there are no accidents.  During this hold up, Pastor Quirico and I were approached by a young woman who said she'd been a Christian but had turned away and we had the opportunity to minister to her and pray for her, so all was for a purpose.  Having since talked to a friend who got caught in no man's land on the bridge on late Saturday afternoon because of a change in clocks and a difference in the time when the two sides of the border close, it could have been much worse.  He finally managed to get out when a US envoy was coming through, but it was touch and go.  I can think of better places to spend the night than in no man's land on the frontier!


When we finally arrived at Messef, no welcoming party, everything locked up....all very different to our usual homecoming.  We soon discovered that those left holding the fort were facing many challenges.  Pastor Altesse and Huguette were away preaching, trying to raise offerings for Messef. Dany, the new Children's Director who we spoke so enthusiastically of after the last visit, had burned her leg so badly on a motorbike exhaust pipe that she was hospitalized.  In the same hospital, a long way from Messef, was Kindlie, the lovely young wife of Joseph (the new couple who are also doing a fine job), whose baby had died inside her at 6 months and, due to the delay in realizing this, she is now critically ill.  So Joseph was left juggling trying to be with his wife and being with the children at Messef.  Fortunately, Onikel is not new to taking control, and the older children seem to be becoming more and more responsible, sharing the load, so they press on....battle weary but not beaten. 


We also found one poor little boy with the worst conjunctivitus I have ever seen in my life, so distressed with the pain and irritation.  It's a miracle that none of the other children appeared to have symptoms...yet....as it is highly contagious.  They had nothing to treat it with (or thought they hadn't) so, like so much in Haiti, he was just left to get on with it.  Fortunately, I knew of a natural remedy of cherry juice and there was a tree with ripe fruit right on their doorstep, so God always provides.  I hope he's now on the mend.  We also found poor Gilet, our wonderful chicken keeper of around 15 years, recovering from mumps.  The swelling in his neck had gone down but he was still in agony in the nether regions.  Poor boy.  The dogs didn't look any better and had just produced more puppies.  Pastor Quirico insisted that they not be kept inside the orphanage as they can carry all kinds of diseases when untreated, but Joseph felt that decision could only be made by Pastor Altesse.  I'm an animal lover, but when you can't look after the children as well as you would like, it is not easy to also try to care for the animals....a sad fact of life in desperate countries.


As it was a Saturday, the school children weren't there, but apparently they have 350 already attending with enrolments still being taken (time is less important in Haiti) and they expect to be up to 500 as the year progresses.


Finally, on a positive note, the children were as loving and funny as ever.  I gave them all plenty of kisses and cuddles from you all, which they are desperate for.  They hadn't eaten since Friday lunchtime at school, so were very glad of the little biscuits we took and then the big pot of rice and beans that was cooked with great haste by the wonderful young man who is now the carer for the boys. 

The chickens are doing amazingly well.  In the photos you will see how well, along with a batch of eggs laid over recent times.  We took a roll of wire donated by Martin Bampied to extend the size of the chicken run adjoining the coop and the guys completed that job, along with help from Fritz et al, while we were there.  Thank you so much to Shauna Quinn for faithfully donating each week towards the chicken food.  If a few more of you could step up to help her with a monthly donation, we would have that covered.


We thank everyone who has donated time or money to keep us going with this.  You all know who you are.  We also thank Cliff Sturdy and Trudy Oliver for becoming regular sponsors in the UK.  Even if you cannot give a fortune, knowing that we have a set amount coming in each month is a huge relief.  We are taking less food than we used to because everything has gone up in price and it is running out earlier and earlier, but we do the best we can with your generous help.  We have a few irons in the fire to try to get more assistance and we are still trusting God that the Bakery project will finally come about but the wheels grind incredibly slowly...at least in my timescale.

Christmas is coming, the goose isn't getting fat...

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on November 9, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments ()


After getting off to a good start, our fundraiser is taking a little sleep and needs a new injection of life.  So, for those of you who prefer something in your hands to all this new fangled technology, we have something for you, too.


Created by the artistic talents of Jurgen Warschun, Shauna Quinn has produced some beautiful Messef postcards that can be sent at any time of the year.  If you are in Canada, please contact her at [email protected] to let her know your order.  She will give you all the details.



Similarly, if you are in the UK and would like to have a hard copy of a beautiful 2013 Messef Calendar, please contact Trudy Oliver at [email protected] and she will make all the arrangements with you.


And for those of you, like me, who are glued to a computer, don't forget all the great options we have available for you.  If you skipped over our mailing because Christmas seemed a long way off, time is slipping away.  So please take a look now and see which of these great options is right for you to help bring a brighter New Year to our children in Haiti.



"Don't be lulled into a false sense of security"

Posted by Linda Stapleton de Martinez on October 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM Comments comments ()

Trip to Messef - 5th October, 2012



“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security” is my learning of the week.  I was delighted to leave home at 4.15 a.m., as planned, to take a much needed food delivery to Messef.  Pastor Quirico, Danilo, Cecilio, Jurgen (our great photographer) and a neighbor from Cabarete were already on board when I squeezed into the truck.  It was a bit of a struggle to add the extra items I had been given by generous Friends as we never go empty, but we managed.  We made a quick passenger swap at Puerto Plata with our neighbor leaving to catch a bus to Santiago and René Anderson joining us.  During the course of the seven or eight hours before we arrived at Messef, I learned that René was the person who originally knew Pastor Altesse in the Dominican Republic and introduced Pastor Quirico and several others to him.  He has been involved with Messef since before it was up and running, so another important piece of the jigsaw fell into place.  One thing he said which really touched my heart was that Pastor Altesse might not be the best Administrator in the world, but there is no question that he has given his life to the children.  Isn't that the truth!


You may ask what happened during the lost hours….without border issues we could make it to Messef in less than four hours, even fully laden.  There were problems with the papers at the frontier so we finally had to concede defeat after trying to win favour with the Haitian consul et al, and transfer the supplies to another vehicle and cross the river bridge on foot to comply with the regulations.  Going against the flow of market day traffic with hundreds, if not thousands, of pedestrians, overloaded wheelbarrows and motor bikes coming at you from all angles requires nerves of steel and I didn’t take my eyes off Danilo for long.  No such things as lanes of traffic in the chaos.  The fearless Jurgen, never missing an opportunity for a good photo, was still taking photos in the scrum and you can see the stunning results here.


When we finally arrived at Messef we noticed some new faces and missed a few old familiar ones. Some of the older residents have left and new children have been taken in and there are 55 living at Messef now. We also were pleased to see some new staff and the positive results of some new blood and enthusiasm.  Dany Noel, a qualified teacher, now has overall care of the children and we could see an improvement in the discipline and their behavior. It wasn't too bad before but there seems to be more structure in their lives.  A new couple has joined, Kindlie and Joseph,and they seem very warm and caring. Kindlie is expecting her first child in around 5 months.  There are also two new teachers and carers, one for the boys and one for the girls, who also appear to be a good addition to the team. 


Despite the overcrowded and stifling conditions and the appalling state of some of the mattresses, the dormitories were more homely than I have seen them before, with attempts made to make them more welcoming and attractive.  Now that we see the motivation, we will take pictures and little touches to brighten up the cement walls.  Mattresses and bedding are desperately needed.  21 boys are sleeping in eight single beds, with some of the smallest five to a bed.  Five older girls have moved into the previous visitors’ room, barely big enough for three, but they are happy to have a little more privacy etc.


The chickens are looking good and the excess males have provided a few special meals. Three lucky ones survive to live another day.  There are around 27 hens now, laying quite well.  Production depends on whether the food supplies run out before we make the next food run but they are holding their own.  Thanks to Shauna Quinn, we have some of the monthly food covered.  We plan to extend the pen adjoining the chicken coop next time we go to give the birds more room to roam and peck around.


(See photos of all these aspects here; if you run the slide show you will see the title at the top and a short commentary on the top right hand side.)


We were stunned to learn that there are 500 children enrolled for the next school year. I’m not sure where they are going to put them all but, fortunately, that is not my responsibility!


Thank you to all of you who helped to make this trip a success.  The children enjoyed a special treat of homemade yoghurt (to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving), funded by Glenda Weaver who “could not enjoy her own Thanksgiving without thinking of the children”.  A lovely touch of 100 novelty bread mice were brought along by Jurgen Warschun.  We were a few down after encountering hungry souls at the frontier but there were still plenty to go around. Corey Hildebrand sent a super supply of fresh fruit and school supplies. A huge thank you to Bernadette who pretty much covered the food run, so any funds donated later on in the crisis appeal last month can be carried forward for next month, getting us off to a good start.  Thank you to everyone who responded to that call for help and those of you who are now making a monthly contribution…you know who you are and we are so grateful for you!


Finally, thanks to Pastor Quirico, Danilo and Cecilio.  Those guys really are the hands and feet of our Lord on this earth.  I so admire their stamina, good humour, perserverance and love in this mission.

 

 


 

Bernadette and Friends - Susan's Story

Posted by Susan Murray Olmstead on May 3, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments ()

When I first told Bernadette that I would go to the Messef Orphanage with her on our Puerto Plata trip – I didn’t give it much thought. My plan was to get away for a vacation without the children and far away from my responsibilities and the sadness of the past 2 years. As the time drew nearer and I started to ask more questions about the trip - things that Bernadette took as matter of fact (she has been there 3 times so she is a seasoned traveler to the orphanage) sounded a bit - well at the very the least uncomfortable. I was told the trip to the Haitian border would be around 4 to 5 hours and when we arrived there we were to be quiet and let our guides do all the talking. (No small task for me as Jackie kindly pointed out) The border did not open until 9 am and today was market day in the Frontier.

We were scheduled to leave at 4 am (or as Bernadette said 4 am Dominican time – I guess they have a tendency to be late?) So there we are – Jackie, Bernadette, and I sitting in the lobby of the Grand

Paradis waiting patiently and without a lot of life as we couldn’t even get a cup of coffee as it was too early to get one at the hotel. Linda calls to say they are running behind and all I can think of is I could have gotten another hours sleep or maybe it wasn’t too late to get out of this little trip and go back to bed.

Once on the road, with 6 of us squeezed into the truck and it loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies (excluding rocking chair on roof) we commenced to share our life stories (after all we had 4 hours to kill) and enjoy the passing scenery. Just when I thought that I would never feel my legs or butt again – our kind chauffer stopped for us to have a little pit stop at a very lovely open air restaurant and to get a cup of coffee! (My prayers had been answered) Linda proved to be an excellent and knowledge travelling companion pointing out things of interest and giving us lots of facts about the country along the way. As we travelled we shared the lunch of PB and Jam sandwiches and assorted snacks I had brought along.

What started as a pleasant, though warm and crowded excursion ended when we reached the border. The reality of the situation started to sink in (This wasn’t no Sunday drive) As I said before it was market day and now I knew what that meant. There was a sea of people, carts, and wagons carrying goods of all kinds from bananas to clothing. There was no order and I could not even begin to fathom where the border crossings started and ended. There were armed guards and questionable officials everywhere. Danilo and Pastor Quirico took our passports and money (yes we had to pay to go into Haiti – imagine) and told us to stay in the truck and not to talk to anyone. Of course, Linda and Bernadette had been through this before, but Jackie and I were more than a bit nervous. While we waited children kept coming to the truck to beg for food and or money. After what seemed like a long time the 2 men returned and we started to cross the border only to find that we were missing the receipt that showed we paid , so the official made us go back. (a bit more nervous) Back into the building Danilo and Quirico go to get the receipt. This time they return with a receipt and we are allowed to pass. As we start to cross the bridge people are crowding around the truck and we are moving ahead at a snail’s pace. Questionable officials keep stopping us and I am not sure what is being said but I can see palms are being greased as we inch along. As this point Jackie and I don’t even dare to take pictures because we are not sure if the armed guards would like it. After we cross the river our guides announce we now going through Haitian customs – inside the guys go again, but not so long this time – and then we are officially in Haiti. My first impression is of a “No Man’s Land” sea of tents and debris along the river’s edge and so many people. It is just a short journey to the orphanage from here – we have almost finished our journey and we are still in one piece….Thank you God!

 I can honestly say that I am not sure I could do this journey monthly like Pastor Quirico, Danilo and Linda do – You guys are much stronger than I.   Bernadette is quite a trooper as well - she has done this journey 3 times and never even batted an eye.  Not only is she generous she is one strong woman.    

Bernadette and Friends

Posted by Jackie on May 2, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments ()

Friday, April 27 was an early day for Bernadette and Friends to head to Messef. We waited at our resort for Pastor Quirico, Danillo and Linda to pick us up. (little later than planned but we finally got on our way once Pastor got up and out of bed)  Bernadette and her friend Susan went with Pastor for supplies the day earlier and had the truck loaded down.....we then had to add 3 suitcases of supplies which were gathered in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Needless to say as this was my first visit I was shocked at the border crossing and the long drive into the orphanage. Once finally there I was more relaxed and took plenty of pictures of all the children. Also played a role in getting sandwiches ready with Danillo and Linda....of course Danillo thought we should fire Linda on the sandwich line!  The kids were so excited to see everyone....Pastor Quirico had to calm them down and give them the speech about manners, etc. To be honest I thought for such a large group of children they were not too bad.

It was wonderful to see the children enjoy their meal and then to get their treats. I consoled a little girl who was crying....my French was still not too bad and came to realize she was waiting for candy which came in the way of a cookie. Just like any other child they knew that if they ate their lunch they would get something sweet!! Pastor Quirico and Danillo are so relaxed and warm with all the children.

We stayed for a bit and Pastor handed out some items like shoes, shirts, etc.  that Bernadette had provided from all her supporters and her generous heart.  Time then to get back on the road as the rain was coming....I enjoyed it at first as I was so hot. Unfortunately, it rained very hard which made the drive back very difficult....I pulled all the braids out of my hair just to calm my nerves. Danillo assured us he was going to get us all back safely....which he did. Got back to the resort only to find us almost to our knees in water and poor Danillo's home as well.....

I would like to thank Pastor Quirico, Danillo and Linda for the trip....

 


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