It has been a while since we have posted a “day in the life” blog, but we like to do it from time to time to give everyone a little taste of what life can be like here. Of course we tend to choose the slightly more eventful days, but it is not a huge stretch to say that many days are very similar to what I am about to describe. Anyway, this was our day yesterday…
We woke up early to ensure that our kids were doing ok since the move to their new home. We try to get there close to when they are waking up and getting ready to come down to the house to eat. We walked down with them, made sure they ate, and then we ate breakfast with a team of Haitian-American women who have been here at Hope Rising all week doing a women’s conference. As soon as we were finished eating, we drove to Christianville to pick up a team from Maryland who wanted to come and work at the orphanage (on a side note, we met Tim Tebow at Christianville while he was there for a meeting). They brought some supplies and toys for the kids, but they also brought a lot of manpower to help with a few things around the orphanage. The main thing they did was paint the outside of the house, but when they first arrived they fixed one of the soccer goals on the field at the front of the property, and our kids were thrilled! Over the past month, 2 of our tutors started coming each Saturday morning to start a soccer team with some of our older boys and some of the boys in the community. Yesterday was there first game with a team from a nearby area of Gressier, and they needed this goal fixed to play the game.
While the team was working, I started making plans for a special thing I had been trying to do for the kids. A few weeks ago, a big soccer tournament called “Copa America” started in Chile. It is basically a tournament for South American teams, and our boys were so excited. They have been wanting to watch the tournament, but we did not have a TV or an antenna to make this happen, so I kept telling them I would try. I went in to Port and looked at televisions there, but a tiny Westpoint television was $200 and I could not spend that much for something that small. However, a friend of ours overheard us saying that we would like to buy one and she said, “I know someone who could sell you one.” So just a couple of hours later, a guy pulled up at the gate with a 20 inch RCA flat screen television that he was selling for about $90. We bought it, bought an antenna, set the antenna in a 10 foot fence post, tied it to the roof of the guesthouse, and we were ready to watch the game. When the kids came in for lunch, we had the television turned on, and they knew that we would be watching Argentina play that night. They were very excited, they now get to watch Argentina and especially Brazil.
While they were eating lunch, their closets came in! Matt and Cara had a local guy build individual wardrobes for each of the kids with a place to hang clothes on top and a place to put other things below that. Jess stayed up with the kids and helped each one of them hang their clothes on hangers and clean out their bags. If you could see how great their rooms are now. They each have their own bed, a fan in their rooms, a nightstand (thanks to NEO Church), and now a closet to store their things. It is incredible, and to see them taking ownership in something that is really theirs is just fun to watch.
After lunch, I was about to go and pick up the team from Christianville again when we realized it was time for a “good touch, bad touch” talk that the Haitian-American team here (one of them is a counselor also) was going to do for our children. I knew I needed to be here for that, so I sent Julihomme (who is one of our employees) to get them and to get them started on painting while Jess and I stayed in for the talk with our children. After the talk (which was absolutely wonderful and needed for our children), we went to make sure the team was ok, and they were doing great. They were a huge help to us and they definitely love our kids and All Things New.
The whole day, there was this excitement because our boys were going to be playing a soccer game later that evening. You could actually feel how excited everyone was as the time for the match grew closer and closer. At about 4:10 (20 minutes early I might add), the other team walked up to the gate, and it was time to play. I don’t really know who was more excited, the boys who were playing or the younger kids who were cheering. Even our house moms got into it and they were running around cheering on the kids with Gueline and Dada. It was so funny to watch, and I know the kids had a blast. The other team scored first, and we were afraid that our boys were going to lose and go into a funk (which, if you know them, is definitely something that they would do). The game kept going and our boys played really well, but they just couldn’t score. The first half ended and the second half was coming nearer to ending and they just couldn’t put the ball in the net. We have one boy who is really good, and Herbison was our best shot at scoring. He had a free kick from about 25 yards out, and he put it right into the upper corner of the net and our kids went wild. It was so funny to see all the girls run onto the field to hug Herbison and to cheer and to go crazy. They played out the final 5 minutes in a 1-1 tie, but it really seemed like a win for us as we did not have to deal with the boys pouting.
After the game, we went to eat dinner and the kids bathed and came down to service in the guesthouse. We do a service where our kids lead out in prayer, singing, and Bible reading every night. Usually we do it in the boy’s room, but tonight we did it in the guesthouse because that is were the antenna was setup. We sang and prayed together, and then we watched the game together. Some of the little ones played a lot, but the older kids were very intently watching every second of the game. It was so fun to watch and then especially when the game went into Penalty Kicks at the end and all the kids were cheering. We have another team staying in the guesthouse so we tried to keep them a little quiet, but they were too into the game.
When the game ended, we said good night to the kids and walked them to their house. It was a very busy day, but we had a blast hanging out with our kids. It is such a blessing to be able to do things like these for them and with them and to see the joy on their face when these things happen.