This past week, I had the privilege of leading five fabulous and amazing Britsionarys to Brit’s Home. These five, Joe, Mike, Flynn, Tyler and Kyle are recent grads from Saint John’s High School. Rob Heald, a Saint John’s Alum, was also on the trip as a coleader. Out of the five, two were newbies and the other three had been to Bit’s Home before. Because of the mix, I tried to introduce new excursions.
On Sunday, we went to church at Mission of Hope, visited the fishing village, and then met the family we were going to build the house for. This is a “typical” Sunday for Britsionarys. We had extra time, so Frankie asked me if our group wanted to go to the “Monkey Bars”, which I assumed to mean a playground. I asked Frankie if this is the playground in Grand Goave and he explained that it was on the other side of Petit Goave. So we packed up the pickup truck and the two busses filled with the 66 beautiful children and headed west along Rt 2. We traveled for about an hour and stopped to look at a large freshwater lake along the roadside. I told the group that this playground must be awesome to travel this far. We loaded back on the vehicles and continued the adventure. We ended up in the town of Miragoane and parked the vehicles next to a large rotary. At this point we were looking for the playground, but as we crossed the road to the rotary, we noticed a large cage with two monkeys behind bars. Lost in translation! The kids loved watching the monkeys eat lollipops and jumping around the cage. In this rotary there were also peacocks strutting their stuff.
After the monkey bars, we headed south and ended up on the south side of the island. I am still not sure what town we travelled through but there was a beautiful cathedral. The town looked like a town in Europe. This was about a three and a half hour excursion. I have been on 7 trips and have never seen this part of Haiti. It was breath-taking!!
On Monday we broke ground for the house and placed the posts in the ground. Another beginning of a typical day for Britsionarys. Working with the Haitian carpenters is one of the highlights for me on these trips. I feel a strong sense of mutual respect and friendship with all of them. I asked the lead carpenter, LaPorte, if he wanted to join us for our afternoon excursion to Vallue. Vallue is the mountain behind Brit’s Home. LaPorte was excited to join us. We travelled up the mountain, went for a short hike and encountered a dancing-marching worship group. We then hiked to the top to play soccer with the local Haitians.
On Tuesday, after pouring the concrete floor, we invited all the carpenters to go to the beach with us in the afternoon. They were excited to join us and we had a blast swimming with the children and our new friends. We started as the Fab Five and have become the Fab Five and the Carpenters!
Not all of the experiences for the Britsionarys was full of joy. On the jobsite, we had children from the neighborhood join us, to watch us work and of course, to get p-willys. One day, Flynn was talking with one of these neighborhood children, with help from Fredo as an interpreter. The little boy asked Flynn if he could go back to the U.S. with Flynn, and live with him. He asked Flynn if he could wait while he went to get his mom to ask her if it was okay. This little boy would have happily left his mother and homeland, to go live with Flynn, a blanc he had just met. The trust and innocence can be heartbreaking.
We worked hard and were able to finish the house on Thursday, which left Friday wide open. The plan was to have the house blessing in the morning and then spend the day at the beach. We would have lunch with the children on the beach. Our group decided to ask our new friends, the carpenters, to join us and we pitched together to buy them lunch at the beach. What a great way to end our trip.
This was my seventh trip To Brit’s Home. Every trip has the same format, yet each trip is so unique and special to me. I was originally nervous with only 5 Britsionarys, yet the boys were all so hard working and focused. We worked so well with the carpenters to build a beautiful home, and in doing so, we built friendships and relationships that will last forever. I know that these Fabulous Five boys were touched by the FAITH of the Haitian people, they witnessed HOPE in the children’s eyes and they left Haiti with LOVE in their hearts. We have already discussed our next trip together. Thank you all!!
Here is the picture of the Fab Fifteen from that last day.