When my alarm went off at 7:30 this morning I was quickly energized from the beautiful sun that shined in my bedroom. After sitting up and stretching a bit I looked out my window to see the Atlantic Ocean and the sun beating down on the water. It took my breath away. I thought this is a great way to start my day.
After waking everyone up, which is my “duty” for the trip; we started our day with a good breakfast.
Today we started off at a centre for children with disabilities. This was right up my ally since I work at Pathways Health Centre for children in Sarnia in 3 different departments within the organization. I also have been exposed to children of many disabilities through out my childhood and adult life. Seeing this facility today I was beside myself. First, we were a bit behind schedule showing up to the clinic. Second, I had to wear a towel to cover my arms up since they are a very Catholic-based organization, women can not show any skin. And third, we were unable to take any pictures to show my fellow staff members back home how lucky we have it (although I fully understood why I couldn’t).
After going into the room and seeing the children, making them laugh at my funny faces or letting them wear my sunglasses to make them smile, I was back in my element. After listening to our guide talk about the centre, I was happy with what they can do with such little help, but of course I was thinking what else could be done? However we did learn that the children receive physical therapy which improved their movements. For example some children who couldn’t sit up now can and others who were bedridden can now walk. Working in this kind of environment at home made me think of how BLESSED we have it; with the kind of resources we have to access on a daily bases, the help we get 24/7 and the questions that we have get answered or someone finds an answer for it. By the end of our visit I realized how great these people are for helping these wonderful children out on a day to day basis: changing their diapers, feeding them and giving some therapy to them just to name a few things.
After leaving the centre, we traveled to a school that has 3 classrooms for grades 1, 2, and 3. These classrooms are linked to the malnutrition centre, Sacred Heart, where we brought our vitamins and clothes to. It is truly amazing how much these teachers do with their students in such a little environment to teach in. These 3 classrooms are broken up with 2 different chalk boards and the size is no bigger then my bedroom at home. We were able to interact with each classroom by singing songs and giving a little English lesson with flash cards. Truly, the time there was great.
We were able to tour around Haiti in the afternoon. We traveled down to Labade, which is a tourist location for cruise lines. Kind of a different thing for you to hear, eh? We were informed that cruise lines avoid mentioning that the ship stopped in Haiti; instead they used ‘Espanola’ which is the island that the Dominican and Haiti share. The area is guarded by security and tucked away from the reality of Haiti.
At this point we thought our day was done. We were traveling back to our hotel to discuss our experiences and talk about the days to come, as well as enjoy each other’s company. Instead something fantastic happened, we got a flat tire! We were then parked at the side of the road with our small group of 6 six with the 2 men changing the tire. I looked a little farther down the road and saw 4 guys playing basketball. I crossed the road and put my hands out to play the sport with them. At first fooling around doing jump shots, we then put together a little game of 3 on 3. There we are 3 little Canadian girls playing basketball with these 3 Haitian gentlemen. This was one of the highlights of my day by fair. When we were told it was time to go we were saddened but shook hands with our fellow players and traveled back to the hotel.
I hope you enjoyed reading our adventures with more to come! I now need to go and listen to Hope’s wonderful voice singing a song Laura wrote. Good night!