First, while it is fresh on my mind, let me be the first to tell you about on eof the most delicious desserts I have enjoyed in quite a while: after a long day of toting around 6 babies and toddlers at a time and sweating in more places than one would think possible, the medical staff was given a treat - corn flavored ice-cream! We were trying to look at it and figure out the flavor, and upon being told Ashleigh and I did not know quite what to expect. However, it was a tastebud-tingling flavor that I can only describe as a mix between vanilla, coconut, and coffee. It was amazing!
Anywho, about the orphange. it took us about an hour and half to get to the orphanage (maybe longer?) though we were too busy watching the people and towns go by to really notice how long it had been. There were about 80 orphans ranging in age from babies to probably about 8 or 9 years old. They we all waiting for us when we arrived, and not a single one was bashful. Nearly knocking us over, a stampede of toddlers ran to Ashleigh and I, giving us high-fives then promptly clinging to our long skirts. The next several hours were no different; we sat in the concrete room with the children as they received check-ups and took some outside in the concrete open space to play. Some children had incredible energy and were always laughing and smiling, but others were sick and sad-looking, not saying a word the entire time. One such baby girl, only about 3, became an extra appendage for me after a while - she was content to be held and carried around as I tried to amuse others. It broke our hearts to see these sick little children, with the older ones having to care for the younger ones. The workers, all very kind but understaffed, did not even know all the childrens' names, so we had to ask other kids in the orphanage. some babies were witting on beds all alone and sick, with no one watching them except our volunteers. It was a sad sight to see, and we did not want to have to leave the kids. Giving them beanies babies helped though - they adored their new toys, and they were able to pick from a hundred (literally) different animals.
Every one of us felt guilty for eating and drinking in front of the kids, and we only did it when we knew we had to in order to continue functioning at our best. As soon as Ashleigh and I reached for our sandwiches, about ten toddlers clung to our skirts and wailed as we ate. We knew they would be fed within the hour, but seeing the pain in their eyes and their bloated, hungry bellies made us want to cry along with them.
Soon we said our goodbyes, but hopefully not forever. Ashleigh and I will enter the mission field after college (with a few trips between), and a calling may be with an orphanage. We are still praying about what to major in; we want God to use us for what HE wants us to do in the field (and we would LOVE any prayers you would be willing to say for us!).
Today has been exhausting, so it is time for sleep. God bless, and please be praying for the Haitians and the children, and everyone else in the world who is not as fortunate as we are! (Though a note on that too - these people are so tuned into God and so caring of one another that I honestly don't know who is more fortunate.)
Love from Haiti,