Haiti Mission Trip - June 16-23, 2018
by Annika and Casey Nye
The CCPC Mission Trip to Haiti was an amazing and eye opening experience. Geographically, Haiti is located in the Caribbean, sharing the same beauty of other, neighboring island nations. However, the economic and political reality that the Haitian people are immersed in is unique and challenging. Their willingness to welcome us and share their story is something we will forever be grateful for and hope to be able to share with others.
Upon flying into the capital city Port au Prince we were greeted by our host, Silentor. Silentor and the Mission Starfish Haiti team were our consistent guides to all things Haiti. They saw to our safe travel, got us situated in the MSH guest house, and graciously answered the thousands of questions we asked about culture, traditions and people.
While MSH, located in Gonaives, has a variety of outreach into the community, at its core is education. A group of students accompanied Silentor and the staff in helping us get settled and gain confidence in communicating with those around us. Our pre-trip language lessons from Beth Bouffleur (French) proved helpful and supplemented our novice Haitian Creole. Silentor and “the boys” were wonderful guides and helped us better understand the strength- and needs- of their community.
Our trip centered on getting to know MSH and the Haitian people through engaging in three different areas of focus: education, medical and construction. Half of our team spent mornings delivering the first medical missions that MSH had offered. Lead by Dr. Bill Johnston and his amazing team, four clinics were offered. Two were offered a stone's throw from the guest house, right within our neighborhood. The other two allowed us an opportunity to experience La Croix, Silentor’s home village. Collectively, the clinic reached over 350 people. The stories of these interactions are amazing and I’d encourage you to ask our team members about them!
While the clinics were underway, another team was able to support local Haitian skilled labor in pouring concrete floors for homes that didn’t have them. While our lodging was very comfortable and of a similar standard to U.S. lodging, our neighbors' homes were strikingly different. One or two room huts were standard for families of all sizes. Homes were grouped loosely around a common, shared outdoor space. While concrete floors seem a simple addition, they were a substantial improvement, cutting down dust, vermin and, hopefully in the long-range, illness/disease. Again, the willingness of this community to open their homes to us was truly amazing.
After our medical or construction work, our team would come back together for an open-air lunch on the guest house rooftop. We debriefed, rehydrated and shared stories of what we were experiencing. Mid-afternoon through evening was spent with young people at the MSH School. These visits were filled with laughter, play and community-building. Children of all ages streamed through the open doors of the MSH courtyard. Organized activities accompanied medium-chaos, high-energy play. Each day wrapped up on the rooftop with prayer and reflection, our energy depleted and hearts full.
Big take-aways for Annika and Casey included the Haitian sense of community and, regardless of challenges, the capacity for caring and generosity displayed by all those we met. We’re grateful for CCPC investing in an opportunity to expand our church’s understanding of how we can contribute in Haiti, and how that relates to our service at home to the Wausau community. The Haitian trip provided many heart-opening gifts and we hope CCPC can build on this new relationship to connect further with MSH and the Haitian people.
Learn More about Mission Starfish Haiti
Mission Starfish has four major programming areas. Visit their website for more details.