Haiti Mission Trip: Day 2
On this day, we left early in the morning for a place called Canaan. They told us that this was a remote and very poor village. After riding in a cramped vehicle for 2 hours, we stopped at a church.
When we got there, the place was already packed. We began to set up a medical clinic, and it ran like the night before.
After an hour or so, my mom, Ken Stallons, and myself decided to hand out some toys. We worked through two interpreters, Joseph and Roger (pronounced Rojay).Our first attempt: To give out small toys, and care packages to children. We lined them all up and sent 5 at a time to the van where we gave out the toys. That worked for about 30 kids. Then, as moms came up to us asking for toys and more kids abandoned the whole line idea, we got mobbed by so many kids. We had to shut the doors of the van and disperse the crowd. First attempt failed.
Our second attempt: We aired up 3 soccer balls. I thought that if we gave out a few soccer balls, that might entertain the crowd… but this had the opposite effect. We had another uproar. Second attempt failed.
Third attempt: We brought 2 jumbo bags of dum-dum suckers. We made every child stand in a single file line. Joseph and I started at the front, and Mom and Roger started from the back. With the help of the interpreters, only the kids who were in the single file line got a sucker. Those who walked up late or tried to cut line went without. I couldn’t believe the desire those kids had for something as simple as a dum-dum sucker. Third attempt was a mild success.
At about noon, mom and I left with Luther and Joseph (an interpreter) to check out a market close to Canaan. We knew we wouldn’t be buying any animals, because we didn’t have the transportation to take them back. Luther checked on prices, and he came back with some disappointing news. These prices were way too high! We decided to go back to the village and help the team finish up.
As it got later in the day, the medical team was ready to call it quits. The problem was, there were about a hundred rowdy people still in the “waiting room.” If they saw us start to pack up, we could get mobbed. We still had 4-5 suitcases full of supplies that we couldn’t hand out earlier in the day. Luther, the pastor, and I came up with a plan.We would use the materials that we had brought as a decoy. We brought in a suitcase of hats, and gave them to the preacher and a few of our interpreters. As soon as they started handing out hats in a mob-like fashion, we made a mad dash to pack everything up. We had a few minutes to make our escape.
And man, did we cut those minutes close. They surrounded the back of the vehicle. To give them credit, they did not touch our van. We finally made it out of there. The smell of the vehicle on our two hour drive back to the mission house proved that we were exhausted from a hard day’s work.
As the day came to a close, I knew that tomorrow would be the big day for me… animal day! I had waited 3 months for this day to finally arrive! I talked to Luther once more about the animal project, and he gave me 2 really good ideas that I hadn’t thought of before.
First, he thought that we should give each kind of animal to a location best suited for it. For example, the pigs are better off in the jungle part of Haiti, because they can eat the fallen fruit from mango and avocado trees. Goats are better in the mountain areas, because the vegetation is perfect for them. Chickens are better suited for the city areas, because they are small and don’t require much attention. As Luther explained, if you were to give a pig to a family in the city, they would either sell it or kill it, because there wouldn’t be enough food to support it. It would bless more families to do it in this way… a way that I didn’t even think about.
Second, Luther had big plans for these animals to be more than just one meal, and I agreed. So, here’s what we did. For the goats and pigs, the pastors of the villages were given a male, and the families were given females. After the animals breed and reproduce, a portion of the offspring will be given back to the pastor, who will give them to more families in need. A rooster and a hen were purchased for selected families, so that they too could reproduce. I had not thought about that, but it makes perfect sense.
Although the distribution plan was concrete, we still didn’t have a plan on how we were going to find, buy, transport the animals. This made me unsettled. I knew we had great intentions, but what if something fell through? I had +60 people who had given to my trip, and what if I went back empty-handed? Again, I started to doubt in my mind that we could get it all done.
But yet again, God asked me, “Why would I do the work to get you the money for animals, if I wasn’t going to help you carry it out?”