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January Trip to Haiti for sponsors (March 2018)

As I begin the account of my trip to Haiti, the feeling of the sunshine there evokes memories that warm my heart. Veroinique Pete de Thozee and myself spent a happy week with the children at the orphanage. It was an opportunity to reconnect with them and witness their blossoming in person. They are well and healthy. The vegetables from the garden and the eggs from the chickens have certainly contributed to this.

Two young girls, who are the oldest of the group, will leave the orphanage in June. They will move in with relatives and, thanks to Ti Gout Dlo, be able to continue their studies. We had many conversations with Danielle and Gregory about the best way to support Woodlove and Widjina as they navigate this huge step in their lives. The continued support of their sponsors will be particularly valuable to them in the coming months during this transition.

Their school reports yield good results but we find that, more often than not, the children tend to learn the material by heart without fully understanding its meaning. I understand this to be because their schooling is in French, which is not their mother tongue. We have drawn attention to this problem and hopefully a solution will be found in the near future.

The children get along with each other well, indeed arguments are relatively seldom.

If they still feel energetic at the end of the day, they go on bike rides around the grounds which they love. The bikes that you gave them are a big hit!

Our conversations with Danielle and Gregory meant that we could better understand the needs of the house and during our stay we were able to help in an immediate manner. We bought 4 mattresses, a huge saucepan, sinks, plates, storage containers and food…

There are other larger expenses which need to be considered for the coming year:

- A solar-powered oven (this is difficult to find, so if anybody has an idea as to where we can acquire one, please get in touch!)

- One male goat and two female goats

- 200 hens for the yard (the average hen lives on 18 months)

- 200 broiler chickens for rearing purposes as well as to sell

After some days in Leogane, we welcomed 15 Ti Gout Dlo sponsors at the airport and spent a week in Les Arcadins at the Decameron Hotel. The magical beauty of the Antilles is immediately evident, and everybody was happy to leave the European winter and enjoy some sun. During this week, the sponsors travelled 3h30 hours by bus to Leogane, arriving at the orphanage just as the children were coming home from school. We listened to a very touching performance of a song they had learned. Later on, the moment that each person was waiting for… The children are introduced to their sponsors and are able to give them the drawings that they’d personally and so lovingly made. It was a very emotional moment. Any initial shyness was quickly overcome, as the children and sponsors spent quality time together around the house. Some children gave tours of the vegetable garden that they tend to. Others showed how they look after the goats. A group went on a bike trip together around the neighbourhood. Some of the young girls did a jewellery making workshop alongside their sponsors.

This visit was also an opportunity to witness the progress made by the Ti Gout Dlo team since the earthquake. The house, which is very comfortable by Haitian standards, is a testament to the generosity of the association’s members since 2010.

All too soon it is time to say goodbye, but parting is not too sad as we know we will meet again in two days. The bus ride back is a memorable one, heavy traffic in a dark and heavy rainstorm! The following Saturday, we invite some of the children along with supervising adults to spend a day of leisure with us at the hotel. They particularly enjoy swimming in the sea and the pool, as they don’t get the chance to very often. The children also go kayaking with the sponsors, and played football and other games on the grounds.

All these activities allowed everybody to get to know each other better and it was very moving to witness the bonds being formed between the children and their guardians.

As you can imagine, the day passed all too quickly and this time the goodbyes were more difficult, as it is uncertain when the next meeting will be. Thankfully, Whatsapp allows the children and the sponsors to communicate despite the long distance.

Several hotel patrons were curious about our group and this gave us the opportunity to have many interesting conversations. There was much support for our mission and the children, who had behaved impeccably, attracted sympathy. A Canadian couple spontaneously gifted Michelle with a bag of presents for the children.

This trip was a magnificent combination of discovering this beautiful country, and introducing the sponsors to the children they help care for. It was really wonderful for the sponsors to go to the house in Leogane, and see for themselves the happy lives that the children lead there. Bonds were really formed during this period, on both sides, and it was amazing to witness this happening.

For our part, the Ti Gout Dlo team returned feeling enriched by the experience as well as by the invaluable support that many of the sponsors continue to give towards our project.

We hope to be able to repeat this trip many times in the future for any sponsors who express a desire to go to Haiti.

In friendship,

Dominique de Broqueville


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