Sunday, October 28, 2012
Helping at Orphanage in Haiti Makes Overwhelming Task Seem Doable
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- “Overwhelmed” may best describe the work team members who visited an orphanage in Haiti earlier this month.
According to a story by Harold Goerzen published on HCJB Global, Ron With said that “if you don’t do anything, nothing gets done” in the Caribbean country besieged by problems following a devastating Jan. 2010 earthquake and later a cholera epidemic.
Members of the HCJB Global work team travel to their destination on a flat-bed truck.
With traveled from Colorado Springs, Colo., where he works in information technology (IT) at the HCJB Global Ministry Service Center. He was part of an 11-member team that helped with construction and healthcare at KAI’s orphanage.
HCJB Global said overwhelming weather conditions also buffeted the team during their Oct. 5-13 stay with temperatures in the mid-90s and relative humidity approaching 100 percent.
“That first day I kept moving toward the shade and getting water often,” said missionary Keith Clukey, another of the mission’s IT workers in Colorado Springs.
HCJB reported he added, “I felt like I could get heat stroke! I had heat rash on both arms and on my back. It was miserable. At night the temperature dropped to maybe 85 degrees, and there was no air conditioning.”
In addition to construction projects, HCJB said, team members gave health screenings to 140 children along with staff, houseparents and construction workers. Houseparents look after the 90 children (including 50 orphaned in Port-au-Prince in the 2010 quake) who live in KAI’s “village” or in rented houses in Cap-Haitien, the county’s second-largest city.
“Altogether we saw about 180 people,” said Jean Anderson, a missionary at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart with her husband, John. With a background in nursing, Jean and others conducted vision tests, took vital signs and measured everyone’s heights and weights.
HCJB said Anderson added, “I also did physical examinations on the kids, checking their heart, lungs, eyes and ears. A couple of the children had irregular heart rates. Two needed eyeglasses. Some had unusual sores—like boils—but I didn’t know what they were. They would just cover the sores with leaves.”
The Andersons’ 14-year-old daughter, Anina, helped take vitals and did some painting.
Anina Anderson, 14, takes the pulse of a young student at the Kids Alive International orphanage in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
Anina described her time as “a lot of fun. Haiti is so different from anything else I’ve seen,” she said. “I’d go back. It was a great experience. The people are so nice—more fun and hospitable than the people back home.”
HCJB said led by David Rhodes, project coordinator at the Technology Center, other team members included former summer intern Emily Anderson (daughter of Dan and Barb Anderson), Tim Mason, Dale Sark and Kathy Witkowski (all from Elkhart) along with Mary Virginia Pitman-Waller of San Antonio, Texas, and HCJB Global retiree Sam Pedersen of Carroll, Texas.
According to HCJB, Jean also taught a community development health class and taught the ladies attending how to make cinnamon rolls. While she was teaching and waiting for the bread to rise, Witkowski led a Bible study with a KAI missionary, Letitia Lefkins, translating into Creole. She serves at the orphanage with her husband, Brent.
So far two KAI houses have been built at the village and a third is under way. The goal is to have eight finished houses within a few years.
“In the area of construction, we completed a room addition to the school,” HCJB reported Rhodes said. “We also fabricated two canopies for the outside laundry areas.”
In addition, HCJB said, the men spread gravel across a large muddy area and compacted it, improving access to the buildings, both for both vehicles and pedestrians. Rhodes stayed an extra week to map out the village’s electrical system.
This was Rhodes’ fourth work trip to Haiti since the quake. He and his wife, Connie, served with KAI in Peru before joining HCJB Global in 2009. Swing sets and monkey bars were also added to the property, much to the delight of the children.
HCJB said about 50 at-risk kids from the community join the orphans for daily classes at KAI’s school, and all the children attend an after-school program and receive two hearty meals each day.
The team members were housed at a guesthouse near the One Mission Society (OMS) compound. OMS partners with HCJB Global at Radio 4VEH in Cap-Haitien.
HCJB said attending the orphanage’s Friday chapel service and worshiping with congregants of a Haitian megachurch was a highlight for Clukey.
“It was neat to see the kids all dressed up in their uniforms—the girls had blue socks and dresses and bows and beads in their hair,” he said. “These were all at-risk kids. This would be a hopeless situation for them if it weren’t for the orphanage. And having an education might open up some options for them in the future.”
HCJB said Clukey added, “Any help you can give them will improve their lives. Knowing Christ will make a difference in their lives. It’s overwhelming. You just have to do one thing at a time. A lot of organizations are helping. Without those, the country would be hopeless.”
For more information go to www.hcjb.org
|Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."
Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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