The team was greeted today with happy smiles on the healthiest kids they've seen at Cavillion.
Just six months ago our last team to visit was concerned for the kids at this location, and steps were taken to raise additional funds to add protein to their diet in the form of beans to go with their twice daily rice. The effects are noticeable and very encouraging! See the first picture attached - what a precious smile!
The team, especially the Midwesterner contingent, is enjoying the summer-like weather of Haiti's "winter". The word "delightful" was used to describe their time working outside today, especially in the shade.
A brief session with the housemoms prior to starting the routine of checking out the children will, we hope, improve the situation even further. Basic hygiene, which will allow for less water borne illness and also steps to work on eradicating a skin parasite called scabies, was taught to the adults who care for the children.
The day unfolded with the children doing medical things first, including a scabies wash (a solution which kills the skin parasites), then new clothes. At "intake", vital statistics are taken and recorded. Next stop is to see a nurse and then on to a doctor as needed or to the pharmacy for vitamins or meds. All meds are labeled and sent on to the housemoms for them to manage for the kids.
Next, some fun in the form of crafts and games and handing out gifts of journals prepared for the children by volunteers in Chicago. Housemoms also got a journal and a New Testament. Check the picture of the kids busily working on their craft to send back to sponsors and them showing off the completed work.
They also received handmade cards from kids in Chicago, which they will go to great lengths to keep safe, usually under their pillow or mattress. It will be a treasured possession.
As the orphans have grown to pre-teens and young teens, our teams noticed a growing need for some basic sex education and came prepared this time to talk to the older girls in small groups with the housemoms. Very basic ground was covered, including their right to say no to inappropriate advances of any kind and a short devotional on the value of their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This was truly new information to them and it was clear they were impacted greatly by it. What the team anticipated would be a short 15 minute talk turned in to an hour including some private time with just the housemoms who had their own questions. We hope to build on this beginning over time at Cavillion as well as other places routinely visited by our teams.
Tomorrow the team will visit Savanne, a "suburb" of Les Cayes about 15 minutes by bus from the Guest House. Savanne makes the rest of Haiti look prosperous and well cared for. Even the Haitian Christians are impressed that our teams go into Savanne. There's almost 100% unemployment. A sense of spiritual darkness and decay is pervasive. But over the past three years, a church that was planted there has thrived, and our visiting teams have had effective and even catalytic ministry there as the gospel is preached in word and deed. Residents there are grateful that our teams come, especially parents who have absolutely no access to healthcare for their children, as in Haiti it's a 'pay as you go' system - no money means no healthcare. It is an intense place to minister as the needs are so great.
- For the day tomorrow in Savanne. The team has always felt safe there and Louis (ESMI leader) and several translators will be with them all day, but it is intense. Ask for calm and stamina and that the gospel would shine in every interaction. The team makes a point to pray for everyone they see, and the gospel is shared many times throughout the course of the day. Anywhere in Haiti there is a very real spiritual battle going on unseen, but in Savanne it can feel intense.
- For the kids in Cavillion - for continued and improving health, for their housemoms to be proactive in the health habits that were reinforced to them today, and that their nutritional needs would continue to be well met. Pray, too, for the older children/young teens who are navigating their growing physical, emotional, and sexual maturation.
- For continued health for the team. Everyone is doing very well. Sleeping comfortably (getting used to the rooster a bit) and electricity and water is adequate. They are enjoying each other's company throughout the day. Pray that the acclimation to the warmer climate would continue to be easy and even enjoyable.
Enjoy the pictures! The kids make it easy :)