It's time to introduce you all to my friend Banner. This child right here... meet Banner.
Banner stays in I'm Me's main house - he needs a little extra care. I'm Me found baby Banner abandoned on the side of the road. He was wearing nothing but a Hulk shirt, so they decided to name him Banner. Banner has cerebral palsy and is doing pretty well. His sweet voice was like a wake up call every morning. We all would gather upstairs to play with him before heading out for the day. And he was always waiting for us when we got back. I miss him every morning! He's a big reason why I'll go back.
On Wednesday, we hit the halfway point on our trip and I was pooped. Luckily, we had a pretty mellow day - we set out to check out some local charities/organizations in the area.
Our first stop that morning was PeaceCYCLE. Talk about doing good... this company takes empty water bags and turns them into usable items like tote bags. See, in Haiti, the drink water out of these little pouches that kind of look like a sealed Ziploc bag. People bite open the bag, drink the water, then throw the bags on the ground. Trash receptacles were anomalies - there was no need for them since everyone just throws garbage on the ground.
Well, this company has found a way to recycle and re-purpose those water bags. Their operation is pretty cool. It was need to see the plastic bag being ironed by a charcoal-heated iron. Then the individual bags are combined. It's such a neat way to recycle trash.
You can find more information about PeaceCYCLE here.
After leaving PeaceCYCLE we went over to the day camp for some fun. We played bingo and duck-duck-goose with the kids. We spent less time with the kiddos this time... we headed out back to our next location - the Clay Cafe. The Clay Cafe is part of Papillon Enterprise. As soon as we finished our burgers and fresh fruit smoothies at the cafe (and lapped up as much free wifi as we could) it was time for the tour of Papillon.
The story about how Papillon started is a wonderful one. A woman was going to adopt a baby in Haiti. As I understand it, at some point in the adoption process the woman learned that the baby actually had parents who wanted to keep her but they couldn't afford her because it's so hard to get good paying work in Haiti. So Papillon was formed to create jobs so parents can work and have means to support their children. There is also a nursery - any children of the workers under the age of 3 can come to work everyday so the parents don't have to worry about child care. Really awesome stuff.
The craftsmen and women make jewelry, dolls, purses, tree ornaments... you name it. They actually make their own clay and glass beds for their jewelry. The craftsmanship on the products was amazing. I bought some great items including a clay bracelet and a Christmas nativity scene that can fit inside of a coconut! It's one of my new favorite things.
You can find out more about Papillon here.
The rest of the day was pretty mellow - we knew we had to gear up for the following day.
We'd been warned it was going to be tough. We were driving a couple of hours away to a place called Cauda Bouquet. This little village right in the middle of a desert was heartbreaking and eye-opening all at the same time. We'd been warned that kids might be naked because they don't have clothes. We saw numerous little boys with shirts on just not long enough to cover their private parts.There was even one little boy wearing a little purple dress. I found out later that the kids were making fun of him. Broke my heart. I don't know if the kids felt ashamed that they were unclothed. But we made it our mission to show them it was all good. We played soccer and painted nails while some of the I'm Me gents washed the feet of the village moms. The kids always love to be held, so we'd pick them up and gave big hugs. It was a long, hot, day that I will never forget.
I have no pictures... we were asked not to take any since I'm Me is doing it's best to build a relationship with the village people. And of course, the nakedness was a concern. But I promise you... it was a sight to see.
That night was another great night. One of the I'm Me staffers who had been in Haiti for almost a year was finally going home Friday. So we honored him that night. People from the community he's worked with joined us. It was a great night of fellowship and love for Keith. I called him "Vanilla Latte."
That was the first night we slept on the roof. The power had gone out and we weren't sure when it would come back on so we decided to sleep on the cool roof. See we dragged mattresses up to the roof and chilled. The Perseid meteor shower gave us a great show! And I got ZERO sleep. I made my way back downstairs and was thrilled that the electricity popped back on shortly thereafter - I had a big ol' master blaster fan to myself that night.
|The morning after the slumber party|
Almost to the end... just Friday and Saturday to go! Check back soon!