My family and I were fortunate enough to experience life at the Mission of Hope school, which has 500 students and is home to 32 orphans. As often happens in Haiti, for there are approximately 2 million orphans there, Pastor Lex Edme and his wife Renee "inherited" 32 orphans a year ago when they were dropped at their doorstep. After taking them in and nursing them to health they knocked walls out of classrooms out of the school and hired the necessary staff to care for the children as they await construction of an orphanage for the children.
We have developed a close relationship with the Edme's and visited them on this trip to expand our Jatropha project which will improve the economy and ecology of the area. While there our family stayed in the orphanage and learned a lot by just being present. We experienced sleeping under a tin roof during rain, we woke early to the sound of roosters followed by the sounds of children starting their day and women starting the fires to cook food. A little puppy even sleeps on the roof of the school. We experienced the "bucket bath". After assisting their mission with some money to help them dig a well the orphans now have access to water on their property, including toilets.
Once the kids are up and ready school (or Church, on Sunday) starts. On weekdays children come in droves in their uniforms to attend the award winning school, on Sunday mornings the community comes to worship and enjoy incredible music. The days end with the sunset. Generators provide electricity until about 8:00 p.m., and shortly after they shut down the only sound is that of the women who care for the children chatting amongst themselves in Kreyol.
The children embraced us, our kids played with them, we even went as a group to the beach one day. It was a wonderful experience. This school is the recipient of Sirona Care's first tri-lingual library. Already more than 4,000 children's books have been collected in English and French. I took a small assortment of books to the orphans and left them with instruction to care for the books so that when I come back in January I will see that they have been careful, and next summer the addition for the library will be constructed and dedicated.
My birthday occurred during this visit, the day we went to the beach. It started at 2:00 a.m. when I made my way down the wooden stairs to the toilet in the dark. As I came back up to our room I glanced at the sky which was white with stars. It was so incredible I woke my oldest son to come and see. He, too, was amazed by the brilliance of the sky. It was a very special trip, and as always a part of me stays there in Haiti with Renee and Lex, and the kids, wishing them well and looking forward to seeing them again.