Dear Family and Friends,
After filming our Global Scavenger Hunt activity, I, along with
Delilah, Caleigh, and Hutch went down to the homes to help with the
installation of lightbulbs, outlets, and wiring. I was so impressed by
the restlessness and diligence of Philipe and Maurice, who worked
without a minute of rest. The houses consisted of one or two beds and
maybe one table. They were the size of one to two St. Andrew's
dormitory rooms. The floors were made of stone or dirt and at every
strike of the hammer, parts of the wall seemed to crumble. Wires are
suspended by bamboo poles and hang from home to home throughout the
village. Bear shared with us his concern that in a thunderstorm or
hurricane, the wires would fall over and disconnect. We are praying
that our installations are stable enough to last for a very long time.
Hopefully, this project would serve as an example for the people to
initiate change in their communities. In total, 7-8 homes now have
light and electricity, all solar powered.
At around 4:30 we all settled down for a dinner of Haitian pizza,
french fries, and plantains. After dinner we headed back down to the
school to play some soccer. Delilah, Caleigh and I were on a team with
Jacques, Hutch, Sonny, and a man from the village. We shutout
Joycelin, Michelle, Bridget, Liam, Fillipe, and Eddison, 5-0. The hard
rain from the morning made the field incredibly muddy and my sneakers,
worn from a season of volleyball in the fall were sliding all over the
I can't believe it's already day eight which means that today is our
last day in LaFond. I can't express how incredible this trip has been
and how much each and every person here has meant to me. The pure
beauty of this place and all the happiness and kindness the LaFond
community have shared with us are unforgettable.
When we woke up this morning we were blessed with a Haitian breakfast
that Sunny had prepared for us. This consisted simply of coffee,
juice, and bread. After such extravagant meals for the entirety of our
trip, it was really nice to be able to end our stay in LaFond eating
the way they do.
Right after breakfast we played soccer with the kids for a bit and
then we headed down to the school for a sort of culminating activity
with all of the kids. We all had so much fun playing duck duck goose,
red rover, sharks and minoes, and indian chief. It was initially
challenging to explain the games to them, but once they understood, it
was so incredible to be laughing and experiencing the joy of the
moment with them. Afterward, Hutch gave Jacques' soccer team uniforms
given to him by a friend in Delaware. It is difficult to express the
affect this had on the boys. They were beaming. As we headed up to
lunch we watched as they divided themselves up and started playing
against each other, now completely aware of who was on whose team.
Sunny had prepared another Haitian meal which consisted of potatoes
and carrots in a cream sauce. After lunch, we headed down to the
village to see how the solar panel installation was coming along. We
realized very quickly that everything was under control, so Bear took
us on a long walk through the village. We got to visit houses and meet
new people, and with every house we passed, another kid joined our
group. By the end of our walk, we had probably fifteen kids holding
our hands. I felt at this moment that we really had established
amazing friendships on this trip that I will never forget.
When we arrived back at camp Sunny had laid out an incredible feast
for us. It was delicious and a fantastic final dinner. Afterward,
about fifty of us headed to Jacques soccer field. Describing this
place as the most beautiful place I have ever been feels like an
understatement. Despite the cow poop scattering the field, it was
pristine. We were right at the base of a mountain, with rocks and
women and horses lining the hills. We split into different teams and
played for about an hour. I can't say I am particularly skilled in the
game of soccer, but even so, I had so much fun running around the
beautiful field. By the time the hour was up, the score was one to
one, which seemed like a perfect way to end, despite the fact that I
did really want to win.
When we got back Bear surprised us with the opportunity to go down
the mountain and visit some of the houses that had had lights
installed. It was amazing to see what the lights did for them and the
happiness they felt having received them. The darkness in Haiti is
unlike anything I have ever seen and I am so glad that they can now
face this darkness.
I have mixed feelings as our trip comes to a close. Of course I miss
everyone at home and the comforts of being in the states, but it's
difficult to say goodbye to this simple lifestyle, and the pure
happiness, kindness, and fellowship flooding through this community. I
hope I bring a piece of LaFond home and wherever I go next.
Much love, Bridget
I feel like I've been here, in LaFond, for only six days but it feels
like a month and still I am so sad that we are leaving tomorrow. Today
was the last full day we had in LaFond and it was a great closing to
the trip, but still it was a closing that I want to delay. We started
the day as always, eating breakfast with the kids playing beside us,
but we immediately set into a routine of closure.
We headed down the hill to the school to play some lat big group
games with all of us. Duck Duck Goose, Sharks and Minnows, and Red
Light, Green Light were the most energetic games. The exuberance on
the kid's faces was pleasing and I immediately whipped out my camera
to see if I could pause time just for a second. It didn't really work
but I do have a few seconds documented forever.
After lunch we set out to work on the solar panel project, but really
we just visited the people of LaFond. On that four mile trek I
realized that there were still so many things that I didn't know about
the community, and it just made me resent my upcoming departure even
more. During that walk, I began to think about the impact my time in
LaFond had on me; not only was I more conscious of the need in the
world and how seemingly far away place had an effect on me, but also I
have an acute sense of what I need and what I am able to have.
The one constant thing in our visit was the soccer games in the
evenings. Jackque today took us to a REAL field and we played an 11 v
11 game which was an exciting and drastic change to the 6 v 6 games in
front of the school. It was amazing and it embodied our trip, with the
tussles and the cheers and the community....all on the field.
I want to write more i really doe, but I just had the saddest good
bye of my entire life in the middle of writing this. I realize how
close I was to these people and that it was coming to an end. We are
now focusing on hopes for the future but there is still a part of me
that wants to go back a day or two, and relive it again and again. My
headache from crying is getting worse from the light of the laptop, so
I'm going to sign off, but I want to leave you with one thought, you
interpret it as you please: Service is less about intent and impact,
and more about relationships, laughter, community and love.
Around 3:00 this afternoon, our group was dispersed on three small
motor boats sailing to a small beach on a Haitian island. The vivid
array of the blues of the sky, clouds, and ocean water, were a stark
contrast to the bright greens and muddy browns of the LaFond community
which we had left a few hours earlier. The morning in LaFond had been
a bittersweet departure. Our master chef Sunni had made one of our
favorite breakfasts consisting of popcorn, banana's, bread, and peanut
butter after having a harried morning packing and getting the last of
our things together. Then the came the sad part: the goodbyes. Many of
the children whom we had gotten to know quite well over the past few
days were there to see us off. While a couple got their last minute,
"give me your shoes," out of their system, many gave us hugs and
smiles emphasizing the friendships we had already garnered.
As we piled into our two cars ready to go down the mountain, a boy
named Wanelson who we had all previously established as an adorable
yet tough prankster, came to also say goodbye. When Michelle stuck her
upper body out the window to give him a hug goodbye, he surprised us
all by commencing to cry. We all fled our cars to bear hug him of
course, even though he refused to look any of us in the face, however,
this last gift from LaFond showed us that even though it had not
always been visible, many of the kids cared about us just as much as
we cared about them, and that in itself was so special.
Our trek down the mountain to Petit G'uave was rocky and beautiful.
It was wild remembering our same journey upwards a few days earlier
and how contrasting our views are now then they were then. Once
reaching the hotel, we dropped off our bags and took the 30 second
walk across the street to the small rocky strip in front of the ocean
where our boats were docked. We took a 30 minute or so boat ride to a
small beach and spent a few hours there. We swam around inside the
clear and warm tropical blue water and relaxed on the shore. At 4:00
we had a late delicious 'lunch' (calling it a feast would be more
appropriate) of plates of ginormous lobster, mahi mahi, small french
fries, and fried plantains. Shortly after we headed back to the hotel.
It s now around 9:30 and I am lying on a lawn chair by the pool at the
hotel. There is a small band set up a few feet away playing typical
rhythmic and contagious Haitian music and my friends are laughing and
dancing on the pavement beside. I feel a bit physically drained from
the day, and mentally exhausted from bawling my eyes out a few minutes
earlier: Chris called us together and we stood in a circle. He took
out a candle, lit it, and directed us to pass it around telling the
rest of the group our appreciations and impact from the trip. I was to
be first and mumbled out a few things that no where near summed up my
feelings, and then passed it on. About 3 people later I started
feeling my eyebrows furrow together and an itch in the inner corner of
my eye. When Jacques spoke (eighth person around circle) I began full
on crying. By the time the candle came around the circle and got to
Bridget (who was our last person), I noticed I was joined by a couple
of others, The final step of the exercise was to bring the candle to
the center of our circle and have us all blow it out signifying the
end of our journey. This was followed by hugs and tears....and more
tears, and more hugs.
After we came to sit and listen to the music, I sat across from an
emotional Liam. We talked for a few minutes about the difficulty in
leaving and the pain we were both feeling. As I looked and listened to
him, I was so in awe of the capacity he possesses to care so deeply
for other people and the world around him making me realize even more
how lucky I was to be with the people around me.
Back to the lying on the lawn chair listening to music, wiring this
post, and reflecting on the trip, I have decided to try to sum the
experience up in a few sentences. So here goes...
Over the last 9 days, our odd bunch has come together in interesting
and unexpected ways and become a little family. Our family has learned
and endured together understanding Haitian culture, and certain
realties about the world around us. Through this journey, it seems we
have come to an unspoken consensus of a changed definition of service.
We now understand service is less about us alone enacting physical
surface change, and more about the relationships one builds allowing
change to occur side by side and hand by hand (as corny as it sounds).
Through this process of change and understanding, the puzzle to our
own personal identities and purposes have shifted, changed and
acquired new pieces. I know I can say and be joined in saying that
this experience will be held in our hearts and minds for the rest of
our lives. While I am confused, harried, tired, sad, distraught, and
upset, I am also incredibly happy and I just feel so thankful and
Sending much love and our excitement to see you all soon,