Haiti Day 5 + Danita’s Orphanage (yep I was there)

My Journal Today:

How is it possible that this is our last day in Haiti.  We were up at 4am hoping it was too early in the morning for roadblocks and road rage.  We had our 3 Haitian policemen escorting us all the way to the border.  Our own entourage of the toughest looking men I have ever met.  Lucien and his friends rode with us, helped us interpret, and gave us the gift of their friendship.

The roadblock was torn down and removed – crazy traffic was back to normal frenzy pace on main road.  I greeted our 3 new passengers feeling safe and courageous to face our day and any “detours” that came our way.  As I looked at each man I wondered their story.  I was visiting a week.. they had lived in Cap Haitien all their lives.  They lived the daily struggles and heartaches and poverty and conditions day after day.  This was their life we were visiting and I wanted to honor their kindness and respect they gave us today.  I was able to give them each a T shirt donated by my bloggy friends and church.  They were happy and grateful.  Lucien wore “Love and Respect with Africa.  I was moved He was so proud and looked so striking- he helped save our lives the day before and came back again to help us, serve us and love his people.

Sharing time alone with Lucien the night before, touched my heart deeply as he proudly held his baby girl and showed me the three most important papers he owned.  At first I was a little confused why he was showing me the baby’s birth certificate, his certification as the father, and the name of Casually’s Godfather.  I realized later, that he “claimed” his daughter, breaking the culture bonds that destroys family in Haiti.  He showed surrender to his family and ownership of his children.  I asked him if he knew Jesus and he looked at me and said hes.  I touched his heart and again asked… have you asked him in your heart?  He said, Oh yes!

I feel a strong new bond to Haiti, a new sense of friendship with the people that I did not experience on my last trip.  God allowed an open door for us to slow down, interact, minister, encourage, bless, and love the people of Haiti.  Going back to the church that protected our food and asking the Pastor, “What needs have you been praying for?”  Alicia asked him if we could pray over him… he fell down on his knees in the dirt and cried as we prayed for his ministry.  We were sisters praying for our brother.

The photograph below captured the moment of my trip I will hold deepest in my heart.  We passed by this room at the orphanage and I felt an overwhelming sense of emotion I couldn’t express.  The room made me sad, it made me weep.  When the Pastor took my hand standing next to the “room” he was humbled and I sensed immediately that he was embarrassed.  He needed to explain to me the situation. Pastor and his wife lived here at the orphanage, so they are responsible for 46 orphans 24/7.  I held his hand and simply said – you have done the best that you can do with what you have.  I am proud of you and want to pray that you can continue to help your children and community grow healthy and strong together.  The children are loved and that is making the real difference.  I soon learned the “room” was where the toddlers slept – the two year old orphans.

I don’t want any two year old to sleep in a room that has 1 filthy torn mat in a corner.  That was the best that Pastor could offer.  I can’t imagine my Zoie sleeping alone in a dark room and not doing something to help.  I stood there crying, but envisioned bright yellow paint on the walls, with toddler beds, light, and items like blankets and toys and comfort filling it with love.  I saw what I saw and can’t ignore the desperation of an orphanage that needs help.  Isn’t that what hope and love is all about.

Video #1 – My interview with Pastor concerning the needs of his orphanage.  It was a moment we could pray for him and celebrate all the work he does for his orphans!  He is my hero!

How in the world did we make it to Danita’s Orphanage for a surprise visit?  She is the super hero of Haiti!  I have watched her videos and website over the past year and could not believe God allowed us to drive in unannounced and tour her facility.  Drew’s wife, Robyn worked at the orphanage a few months ago, and encouraged him to try and visit.  Unfortunately, that was not on our itinerary, but it was definitely on God’s agenda.

My Journal at Danitas:

Touring Danita’s Orphanage and knowing one woman made a miracle happen next to the border – an oasis of Hope in Haiti.  This inspires me to press on and help others build their dreams too!  11 years ago, Danita moved to Haiti and started a church and orphanage.  Her story is remarkable and you can read more about her orphanage and children at her website, Danita’s Children.

Today we met a little hero named Johnny.  He was living in Port Au Prince with his family when he narrowly survived the horrific earthquake.  He managed to crawl to a hospital with a broken femur and severe injuries.  He did not know where his family was or unable to communicate his full name.  All he knew was his name … Johnny. He was brought via helicopter to Danita’s Orphanage and started the fight of his life.  Danita shared with us that all the children from PAP have been identified, but 3.  Johnny has not yet been identified.  He loves bananas “figs” and that was all he asked for to eat when he arrived at the orphanage.  The staff affectionately gave him the name Johnny Fig.  He was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN.  He’s quite a celebrity with his big gorgeous smile!

“Anderson Cooper again spent time at General Hospital, this time in the pediatric ward. An 11-year-old with broken legs continuously screams. It’s pretty horrific. There Anderson also meets a little boy named Johnny, one of Haiti’s newest orphans. They don’t even know his last name. Unlike the children who had adoptive parents waiting for them in the states, orphans like Johnny have no one and nothing. What will become of him and others is anybody’s guess..”  Anderson Cooper 360 Review

Look at the miraculous transformation of Johnny now… 3 months later!!

We made it back over the border without a hitch.  None of us had the opportunity to drink coffee that morning due to the early get away out of Cap Haitien.  I guzzled down an espresso and 2 cappuccinos… I had a serious bouncy buzz the rest of the day!

Danita’s Orphanage-

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