To look into the eyes of frightened children and know that their lives have been something we could not fully comprehend was to meet these beautiful faces.
Not longer than minutes after we arrived, following a days journey from Port au Prince to the Village of Tipalmiste, high in the mountains on the Island of LaGonave, did the children begin arriving.
Barely able to care for themselves, the concern upon the adults faces were evident until they listened to Pastor Samuel and saw the orphanage. You could see the worry melt as they had their questions met and felt reassurred the children would have their basic needs met. Some of the children were brought by their one remaining parent, older sibling, grandmother or concerned adult and most with only the clothing on their backs. This was to be there new home. Some frightened, quiet, others chatty and excited for the first time they were going to sleep in a bed! Two to a bed did not matter!
As we do not have a kitchen or dining area, the children walk down the hill to Pastor Samuel’s house. Chairs were borrowed and a table of wood planks with cinder blocks was adorned with donated plaid bed sheets! They were served their first full meal of rice, beans, vegetables and meat from a freshly slaughtered goat.
Not a morseal was left on each plate from the youngest to the oldest. A glass of fresh juice made with clean water and fresh fruit from the trees was dessert.
The following morning, after washing with clean water and soap, teeth brushed with their new tooth brushes, the children came to breakfast wearing their newly sewn school uniforms. With the school tuition met, uniforms clean and pressed, school supplies in hand, they could now attend school. The girls looked especially cute, hair beaded and adorned with colorful clips, done with the love of fellow village girls. And so the children were off for a new day and a new beginning. Some reserved others clearly psyched carrying their newly sharpened pencil and notebook. The cost of the tuition, uniforms, and school supplies were all met through monetary donations.
Each child was given a physical evaluation and additional essential information was taken, including a picture to create an individual file for each child. The team effort took two days to complete. Remarkably, most of the children were in good health. Two children were treated for parasites, one for dry scalp and two children were identified as severely malnourished.Over the next days, a new staff was hired to include three woman and two male caretakers, a cook, a woman to do the laundry, cleaning and a security guard. To address sanitation and hygiene concerns, the area around the orphanage and school which was filled with litter was cleaned and a trash collection plan, developed with staff, put in place. Of urgent concern was education of our children, the school children, teachers and staff to now use the two outhouses and no longer the surrounding areas! A washing and showering area was completed for both the girls and the boys.
With very limited medical supplies the team, supported by four Haitian nurses and volunteers, also provided a full day clinic and treated over 100 patients.
We left, V.I.M.O. (Vision International Mission Orphanage), reluctantly knowing so much more needed to be done. Although, bittersweet, our goodbyes were filled with tears, laughter and hugs of love. We left content knowing the children were in loving hands.
THANK YOU for making A SEA of DREAMS come true…
Please see our on-going effort necessary to maintain caring for our 34 children of V.I.M.O. and the village of Tilpalmiste, on the Island of LaGonave, Haiti.
Our mission is a family for every child, to this end, we are seeking the Haitian Guidelines to become a licensed orphanage and coordination has begun with an established Haitian Adoption Agency, in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Our gaol is a family for every child