By Carissa Vyhonsky & Amelia Remiarz
“Mesi Bondye, Mesi!” This sentence was the theme of today. Translated to English, this sentence means “Thank you God, thank you.” Today, we started off our day with a beautiful church service. Pastor Valentin, who is the National Director of the Foundation For Peace in Haiti, and with whom we are staying this trip, led the service and made sure that we felt included by having our friend Joson translate his message into English. Beginning his message today with the Scripture reading when Jesus invited Peter to walk on the water, Pastor Valentin was able to capture a larger message of trust and love. By listening to Pastor encourage the community to trust in the Lord and hold fast in their faith, many of us felt that this message also described the Haitian people as a whole community. Ever since arriving in Haiti, we have gotten to experience the love and the courage of the Haitian people.
Learning about the history and all of the hardships that the people of Haiti have had to endure over their years, they always come out of the struggles even stronger than before and with more trust in each other and the Lord than could be imagined. Being invited and included in this church service made us feel so welcomed and loved and accepted, and it was truly an amazing experience.
The second half of our day included a journey into Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. We expected a short bus ride into the city; however, we were greeted by a traffic jam that would rival I-85 on the Friday before a holiday weekend. For three hours we entertained ourselves by watching the menagerie of goats, chickens, and pigs that roam the streets of Haiti. Upon arriving to Port-au-Prince, our first stop was an open-air market where local vendors sold hand carved wooden items and hand painted canvases. We excitedly bartered with the vendors, purchasing souvenirs and gifts for our family and friends. After working up an appetite with our fast paced bargaining, we visited a restaurant and supermarket where we gleefully perused the shelves of Haitian cookies and candies, satisfying our sweet tooth and immersing ourselves into the local cuisine. We returned to the compound with full bellies, ready to prepare our medications and supplies for our final two days in the clinics!