Monday, Jan. 16, 2012: Day 7 (Departure Day)

We could only get the 5:30 p.m. flight home out of Port-Au-Prince on Monday, so we had a few hours to spend at the orphanage before leaving for the airport. We arrived at Eden Garden around 7:30 a.m., just in time to see the kids for a few more minutes before they headed off to school.

We watched them emerging from showers, getting their hair done, eating their breakfast, finishing up last minute homework, loading up their backpacks. To me, it looked somewhat similar to school mornings in my house. These 37 children (and the staff who care for them ) were acting just like a family. 

Before the kids left for school, one of them prayed for the group. Then Pastor Marcel prayed with them - first in English for us to understand, and then in French for them to understand, asking God for blessings on their day as they learn and study. It was just the same way that we pray over our kids every day before they go to school. We are all part of God's family.

There were sad faces as we said our goodbyes, and the question was asked (that is always asked) as we are leaving...."When will you come back?" "Soon!" we promise them.  As they walked to school, we were informed that we needed to report to the school for a special presentation.

When we arrived, we found the children sitting in open area of the school, sitting in the 21desks that had been designed and built for them during our visit.  How exciting it was for all of us to see the desks actually in use!  The children sang to us, and then there was a special presentation by Christian Toussaint, principal of Eden Garden Academy, to the various people that had done things to improve his school throughout the week.

Big thanks went to the Master Carpenters, Sean, Kurt and their helpers who built the 21 desks and a new desk for Christian (the principal) as well. The leads on the Solar Power team, Larry Wooster, Allan Rainey and Terri McGregor, received their certificates and handshakes for their hard work and life-changing contribution. The completion of the solar power system allowed for other improvements such as the wiring of fans into the classrooms, which are like brick ovens in the hot Haiti sun. Scott Kramer and Ron Chapman took on this project and the kids are able to be a little cooler in the classroom now.

Marcel, Dave & Misael worked on various parts of the water hydrant project, running the water line over to the school so that the children now have access to clean drinking water during the school day.

This work was also done in preparation of the future bathhouse project. See picture below to decide if our students could use a better bathroom?

The bathhouse for the students is just one of many projects that would improve the conditions for our kids and the school kids Eden Garden. We also have plans to renovate the kitchen at the orphanage, and when that project is complete, we want to add a school lunch program for all the kids at the Eden Garden Academy. Lack of nutrition causes many problems, among them are learning difficulties which are evident in so many students each and every day. If we could provide a school lunch, we would know they are at least getting fed one meal everyday. 

Many ideas and plans for Eden Garden are in the works, providing us with many obvious reasons to return to Haiti. However, there are 37 BIG reasons to return - our growing, changing, awesome kids who don't really care all that much about what we do while we are there, but just want us to be there with them. After all, we are family.

 Director Jean Claude Monasse, Dave & Caryn Wooster, Ronise Monasse 
and just some of our 37 kids at Eden Garden Orphanage