Our Last Day in Haiti

This morning we visited Mother Theresa’s Hospital for the Dying. It is a beautiful and peaceful place where terminally ill patients are placed. The male patients are on the first floor and the female on the second. According to the hospital rules, the males in our group stayed on the first floor and the females on the second. Patients are also separated by age. The hospital is set up high and there is a beautiful ocean view and breeze. I took some pictures outside, but out of respect for the patients did not take any pictures on the inside. Health for Haiti helped by putting lotion on the patients and by painting the women’s nails. As you will see from the pictures, some of the patients enjoyed braiding hair. Also, The nuns who run the hospital also gave a couple of our students a skirt to wear so they would have an appropriately modest appearance (no short shorts at Mother Theresa’s!). It was a special and peaceful place for patients to spend their final days.

In the afternoon JJ took us to see the school that he started for the residents of a tent city. We took a walk through the tent city to see what it was like. Once again, out of respect for the people who live there, I did not take any pictures within the tent city. The conditions are deplorable. There are lots and lots of children there, many do not even have clothes to wear. The tents are leaky and there is sewage on the ground. It is very crowded and there is no space for the people. It is hard to explain what life is like for the people who live in this place. JJ has tried to help the people of the tent city by renting a space for the children to have a school. It will cost about $150 a month to hire a teacher for the school. With Gina’s help, JJ has also started an evening sewing school for the mothers. The sewing school is held in the same building as the school. Gina and JJ arranged for sewing machines, a generator and a talented Haitian woman to teach the class. The women in the sewing class will be able to make school uniforms for their children and earn money for their families.

At the school, the women were so proud to show us their beautiful work. Many of them spoke about how this opportunity to learn to sew has changed their lives. The sewing teacher showed us her patterns on the wall and the sewing machines. Each student showed her work and we were all impressed with what they have learned. They can make shirts, skirts, dresses and school uniforms. For the people of the tent city, this school offers an opportunity for a better life. All of the children love JJ and tell him often that they love education. JJ is doing his best, but needs help to keep his school going. It has been difficult for him to hire a teacher and there are no school supplies for the children. It has been eye-opening for us to see how a couple hundred dollars a month can change people’s lives here in Haiti. These are hard-working people who have so few opportunities. While we are proud of the work we have done here, I think we are all feeling that there is still so much we could do.

So…it is our last night in Haiti and we will be celebrating Hannah’s birthday. We are looking forward to our farewell dinner…which smells divine. Enjoy the pictures from our day! Bonswa from Haiti!

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