By Mckenzie Osborn
Today has been a day full of adventure and lots of new experiences! We got up really early (5am) to start on our trip to Cap Haitien! Pastor rented us a van for the trip and all 7 of our team, 10 of the older orphan kiddos, Darling, a local Haitian that speaks very good English and partners with Loving Haiti for business, and the driver hopped into an eighteen-passenger van to head on a 3 hour trip! It was a VERY packed van, and the roads were unpaved the whole way. However, despite the many potholes and many bumps along the way, the kids sang a bunch of worship songs and enjoyed themselves for the whole drive. It is so awesome to listen to them sing! Some songs they sing in Creole and others they sing in English – usually we know the songs! Today some of the songs they sang were Amazing Grace, If You’re Happy and You Know It, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus and Nothing But the Blood of Jesus. They always sing at the top of their lungs and it is very moving to listen to.
After our long drive we arrived in Cap Haitien – a much bigger and busier town than Pignon. Pastor has a house in Cap Haitien where the kids will stay the night tonight and then our team is staying at a local hotel in the heart of Cap Haitien. We are getting the full Haitian experience! We checked into the hotel and changed into our swimsuits because one of the things we are doing in Cap Haitien is taking the kids to the beach. Most of the kids at the orphanage have never seen the ocean, let alone played on the beach. So, we wanted to take them on a “field trip.” We drove up over the mountains to a private beach called Cormier. We had to pay 50 gourdes, or one American dollar, per person to get on the beach – not too bad! We had the beach all to ourselves for the majority of the time and the kids LOVED playing in the water! As always the beach was beautiful! The kids all had a set of clothes that they put on to swim in. Only one or two had actual swimsuits the rest were in basically underwear, but they had so much fun! Thankfully the reef area around the beach was very shallow and pretty big so the kids could go a long ways out into the ocean without getting too deep. They loved going down to the ocean floor and grabbing the mangoes, and other fruit that had made their way into the ocean, to play catch with. They also loved sneaking up behind us and splashing us or trying to pull us under the water. A couple of the girls even let me teach them how to back float in the water – while there was a bit of a language barrier, it was fun being able to use my swim lesson knowledge! The kids played for hours in the water non-stop, so I am sure that they are sleeping well tonight!
After getting cleaned up at the beach, we went in to town to get the kids dinner and ice cream. There is a very cool little restaurant in Cap Haitien that a lot of tourists eat at and that is where we took the kids. It was so fun to watch them talk to the waitress and order what they wanted off the menu, most of them got chicken and french fries, but a couple of them got pizza! Once they had finished eating, the waitress came by to ask what kind of ice cream they wanted. There were so many different flavors, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, bubblegum, macadamia and rhum raisin. The kids were so excited for the ice cream and it was actually very good!! On the way back to the hotel, the kids kept telling us “thank you” and kept telling us about how full they felt from dinner. I am just continually blown away by their thankfulness for just the smallest things (ie. a day at the beach or a full meal). It is amazing being around them and feeling their excitement, joy and thankfulness for everything!