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Haiti Day 3 - March 10, 2011

Family, 

We set out this morning to buy some more supplies for the Small Voice Orphanage.  There are not a lot of options for making this type of purchase so we went down to the Port-au-prince marketplace.  Little did we know that the place we needed to go was way back up into this swap meet type of market.  Unfortunately we stood out like a sore thumb and brought unwanted attention.  We quickly made our purchase of some bed sheets and got back to our vehicle.  There was so much opportunity to buy things like underwear and other items that the children could have used.  We started to draw a crowd and Pastor Nzunga got very nervous and said that we needed to get out of there.  Based on this experience he said he will never allow this type of shopping to happen again.  He said it is better to pay for shipping or pack orphanage supplies in our luggage in the future.

We left the marketplace and headed back towards the orphanage to drop off things that we had purchased and things that we had brought with us. On the way Bob saw a generator and we stopped to see how much it cost.  We were given a price and then we saw another store a few yards down the street.  Pastor Julian had indicated that he had no transportation and would like a truck.  This was not within our budget.  The most common means of transportation is a motorcycle and we were able to negotiate a reasonable price so that he would have some basic transportation.  After we made this purchase we had been having vehicle problems all day and the driver came up and indicated that the car just shut off.  We talked to the business owner and he sent his mechanic to check out the car.  While we waited we asked the owner, Victor, if he sold generators and he brought one out that was a little bit bigger then what we had seen for less money.  This was a gasoline generator and would give them power for lights etc. Currently they do not get electricity regularly.  It is dependent on the government and they turn on different quadrants at different times alternating electricity throughout Haiti.  We told Victor what we had done so far for the children at the Small Voice Orphanage.  He then said he would like to help so he gave us a Diesel generator with more capacity for the same price which was less than half of the retail price.  We asked him to have his electrician go out to the orphanage and wire up the generator and this has all been arranged. 

Then the bad news came back from the mechanic who said the alternator was bad on our car.  We had a car full of supplies and needed to get back to the orphanage so we could drop off what we had and go out for more.  Victor charged the battery which would give us transportation for a limited time.  We had to make the decision to hire another car or to take our chances.  We couldn't’t help but take our chances.  Why? Because there were so many things that were coming together for us that we knew that we were being lead by God.   What was the likelihood that we would do all that we did our first day and have the car break down when we got back to the compound.  What was the likelihood that the car would break down again in front of this store where we would purchase items at half price and have the owner fix our car at no additional cost?  If the car had not broken down we would not have asked about the generator and we would not have had an electrician set up to make the necessary connections.

So off we went in the car praying for the best.  Our next challenge was the worst traffic I have ever seen.  Due to the delays with the car we got caught in the end of day traffic and spent almost three hours traveling back to the orphanage when it should have taken 1 hour.  Did you know that driving a car in Haiti with no air-conditioning and some windows that don’t roll down can be beyond brutal?  We finally arrive at the orphanage and unload the supplies but unfortunately it was getting late in the day and it got dark before we could finish up and say our goodbyes.  Did we tell you that we are not supposed to be out after dark?  Well Pastor McGensy, we were out after dark and yes, we were in a car that needed a new generator and we were an hour away from the compound without traffic.  Unfortunately, there was traffic but we made it back driving part of the time without lights in order to preserve our battery. 

Praise God!

So, now you know why we made the decision to move forward with our plans and used the car that was available.  We were in God’s hands.  There was an extra high "hedge of protection" around us today.

This was our last day except for getting on the airplane in the morning.  See you soon.

Michael Smith

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food supplies

food supplies

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DSC01625

Boys room

Boys room

girls room

girls room

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DSC01613

Tent City

Tent City

photo

photo

Haiti - day 2

God is Good!

The car we were using yesterday needed a new clutch cable.  After driving around all day we made it back to the compound and it broke down.  We were asked if we wanted to wait for the car to be fixed in the morning or get another car and driver.  Something told us that if we waited for the car to be fixed we could lose a day.  Guess what! The car did not get fixed until afternoon and by then we had already had a blessed day. 

We had the orphanage pastor Julian meet us at our compound early this morning so we could make the most of our day.  Our first stop was at a recycling plant that also sells furniture and also makes mattresses.  It was quite a surprise to see this business in the middle of town and within a few miles of the Small Voice Orphanage.  We spent quite a while negotiating the purchase of the beds and mattresses.  Doctor Nzunga was negotiating and we came up with the price.  Then the owner walked in and we talked to her in English.  I told her that I felt we were missing something in the conversion of money and asked her to give me the prices in US.  We were able to further negotiate the price down several hundred dollars.  She gave us a tour of her facility where they recycle plastic, metal, paper and cardboard.  They also have a cosmetic business that sells soaps etc,.  Lastly, they manufacture mattresses from the cloth, wood and metal up.  They build the wood frame, make the springs, sew the batting, quilt and also manufacture the pad.  They employ over 350 Haitians so we accomplished our goal of helping more than just the orphans.  It was quite a blessing to be able to locate, purchase, deliver and set up the beds all in one day.  In addition, we purchased large quantities of food such as rice, corn meal, beans and some eggs.  We also purchased a couple cases of multipurpose soap for bathing and washing clothes.  The children were very appreciative of their new beds and mattresses. 

Our plan for our last day is to find a solution for their lack of a lavatory and bathing facility.  We will also focus on purchasing some goats and chickens.  Lastly, we would like to find shoes for the children.  If we are unable to accomplish anything else during our remaining time we have already been blessed by being able to do so much in a short period of time.

God Bless

 Michael Smith


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March 8, 2011 Return trip to Haiti - day 1

Family,

We spent the day at the orphanage trying to come up with the plan for the rest of our days.  Today is a holiday, Carnival, and the stores are not open.  So we spent the day with the kids and Pastor at the Small Voice Orphanage.  They have made several changes since we were last here. Most of the children are now staying in 2 of the 4 class rooms.  One is for the boys and one for the girls.  Looking at the structure where they were sleeping before looks worse today.  There is buckling rebar pillars along with a wall that is ready to fall.  You can actually move it with a small push and it is not reinforced.  The structure where the kids are sleeping looks much more solid and does not have the damaged pillars or wall movement like the other section.

We have a plan for tomorrow.  We will meet the pastor from the orphanage at the bed store in the morning.  We have also talked to a contractor who will help to put the beds together.  Since we were here last, some of the kids have wooden bunk beds.  There are 10 sets of three or room for 30.  Their construction is OK and we are looking at making some improvements to them instead of buying 60 new beds. 

We gave the clothes to the kids today that Torella & Rob sent along with 5 boxes of clothes that Dr Nzunga and his wife provided.  It was a mini riot when the clothes were distributed.  We hope to see the kids in new clothes tomorrow and we will send pictures.  Also, we have other things like Frisbees, soccer balls and various food items we brought that will be distributed each day we are here. 

As usual communication is challenging.  One minute it works and the next it doesn’t.  I am sending a number of pictures in a separate email because I am afraid it might lock up. 


God Bless and please pass our message on.




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