Hand in Hand Soap's Haiti Blog Tour: Day Two


Happy Wednesday!

I am so excited to share with you Day Two of Hand in Hand Soap's Haiti Blog Tour! My good friend Sean (who made the stunning landing video for this website!) recently went with Hand in Hand Soap on a soap donation trip to Haiti and captured each incredible moment (once the video is available, I will include it!). I am humbled to be a part of sharing their giving experience. Enjoy the article, check them out & show your support (their soaps are not only for a terrific cause, they are divine!), and make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour at the links at the end!


"Our  second  day in  Haiti  kicked  off  like  they  all  do,  with  a  giant  hot  breakfast  at  New  Life  Orphanage.  Once  we  had  nice,  full  bellies,  we  were  ready  to  hit  the  road  for  an  exciting  day  of soap  donations!  Days  like  these  can  be  long,  with  lots  of  driving  around  from  place  to  place.  But  they  are  the  most  rewarding  because  we  get  to  meet  the  kids  we  work  with  year  round,  face  to face.  It’s  when  the  work  we  are  doing  becomes  the  most  real.  And  the  kids  are  fantastic!  Always  wanting  to  show  us  around  their  homes,  teach  us  some  Creole  and  show  off  in  some  type  of way."

 Hand in Hand Team Members Courtney, Zofia and Holly are ready to get the day started! Image: Courtney Apple  

Hand in Hand Team Members Courtney, Zofia and Holly are ready to get the day started! Image: Courtney Apple  

"For  this  trip,  we  were  heading  to  Delmas,  Haiti,  which  is  about  30  minutes  North  of  Port-au-Prince.  We  have  six  partner  orphanages  in  this  area  and  our  goal  was  to  visit  at  least  three  of them.  We  started  off  with  a  visit  to  Fosa,  which  is  a  newer  orphanage  we  started  working  with  and  our  first  time  visiting  there.  It's  small,  with  about  27  children  living  there  full  time.  When  we arrived,  the  kids  were  shyly  lined  up,  anticipating  our  arrival.  We  got  started  in  the  small  space,  handing  out  soap  to  each  kid  individually."

    Zofia hands out soaps to children at Fosa Orphanage. Image: Courtney Apple  

   Zofia hands out soaps to children at Fosa Orphanage. Image: Courtney Apple  

"Next,  we  had  a  very  special  delivery  for  this  orphanage!  One of our  amazing  customers,  Angela  Hoopes,  hand  knit  dozens  of  washcloths  and  octopus  scrubbers  for  the  kids.  It  was  so  special  to hand  these  out,  especially  to  the  younger  kids,  whose  faces  lit up  over  the  colorful  and  playful  octopi.  Now  the  kids  were  becoming  more  lively,  opening  up to us  and  wanting  to  play.  We brought  out  a  soccer  ball,  specially  designed  for  developing  countries  (aka  it  won't  pop!),  as  well  as  a  few  tennis  balls  and  BAM!  The  kids  were  off  and  running  and  playing.  We  stayed  for  about  an  hour,  kicking  the  soccer  ball  around,  tossing  tennis  balls  and  making  the  knit  octopi  tickle  monsters  on  the  kids.  It  was  delightful!"

 A little girl at Fosa Orphanage, holding onto her soaps and loving her octopus scrubber! Image: Courtney Apple

A little girl at Fosa Orphanage, holding onto her soaps and loving her octopus scrubber! Image: Courtney Apple

"Our  second  stop  of  the  day  was  a  bit  more  intense  because  there  were  a  lot  more  kids!  We stopped  at  Maison  Des  Infant,  an  orphanage  we  have  been  involved  with  for  a  few  years  that  serves  over  75  kids.  The  facility  is  much  bigger,  with  a  bright  courtyard  in  the  center  with  plenty  of  room  to  play.  And  that  is  exactly  what  we  did!  Within  minutes  of  our  arrival,  every  single  person  on our  team  was  carrying  a  young  child  around.  Kids  immediately  took  claim  over  each  and  every  one  of  us.  The  biggest  struggle  was  trying  to  delegate  our  attention  to so  many  beautiful,  smiling  faces."

 Hand in Hand team members, Holly and Bill, listening to the hand washing demonstration at Maison Des Infant Orphanage Image: Courtney Apple  

Hand in Hand team members, Holly and Bill, listening to the hand washing demonstration at Maison Des Infant Orphanage Image: Courtney Apple  

"Again,  more  soccer  balls  and  tennis  balls  were  handed  out  and  more  playtime  ensued!  Playing  with  the  kids  is  really  the  absolute  best  part  of  our  visits.  It's  so  fun  to  see  them  relax  and  enjoy  some  quality  time  being  carefree  kids.  But  of  course,  the  main  reason  we  were  there  was  to  hand  out  bar  soaps  and  teach  about  the  importance  of  hand  washing! We led  the  children  through  our  tutorial  on  hand  washing  -  why  it is  important  and  when  to do it  -  and  then  handed  out  soaps  to  the  children.  We  ended  the  visit  with  more  playtime  and scrambling  to  pick  up  discarded  soap  wrappers.  The  kids  were  so  excited  about  their  soaps,  they  were  ripping  off  the  labels  to  use  them  immediately!"

 Hand in Hand team member, Lorelle, watches a little girl from Maison Des Infant delight in her new soap!  Image: Courtney Apple

Hand in Hand team member, Lorelle, watches a little girl from Maison Des Infant delight in her new soap!  Image: Courtney Apple

"For  our  third  stop  in  Delmas,  we  headed  over  to  Reveil  Matinal  Orphanage,  which  is an  all  girls  girls  facility  that  houses  about  30  young  women.  This  was  a  special  stop  for  all  of  us.  The  orphanage  was  unassuming,  with  a  concrete  wall  surrounding  it  and  no  room  for  parking  inside,  so  we  pulled  up along  the  side  of  the  street.  Instantly,  we  were  greeted  by  two  young  girls  who  spoke  impeccable  English.  "What's  your  name?"  and  "How  old  are  you?"  rang  out  as we  were  peppered  with  questions  (and  maybe  a  few  whistles  for  the  gentlemen  in our  group)!  Winding through  a  series  of  stairs  and  rooms  that  made  use  of  both  outdoor  and  indoor  living,  we  were  taken  around  a  beautiful  flowering  tree  where  a  young  women  was  sitting  beneath,  bobbing  her  head  to  a  tune  she  was  listening  to on  a  cell  phone.  Upstairs,  the  rest  of  the  young  girls  were  hanging  around,  writing  letters,  doing  each  others  hair,  listening  to  music  and  practicing  a  dance.  A  few  of us  jumped  right  into  learn  the  dance,  to  the  delight  of  the  girls."

 A young woman from Reveil Matinal Orphanage admires her illustrated bar soap wrapper.  Image: Jen Morilla

A young woman from Reveil Matinal Orphanage admires her illustrated bar soap wrapper.  Image: Jen Morilla

 "All  the  ladies  filtered  into  the  room  and  we  explained  the  importance  of  hand  washing,  which  we were  pleased  to  learn,  they  were  very  familiar  with.  We  let  the  girls  pick  out  their  scents  of  soap  and  watched  in  delight  as  they  compared  the  illustrated  packaging  and  smelled  each  others  soaps.  We  hung  around  for  awhile,  chatting  with  the  young  women,  most  of  whom  spoke  English.  We  learned  that  they  were  working  on  skills  such  as  jewelry  making,  sandal  weaving  and  soap  making!  It  was  great  to  see  these  girls  getting  an  education  in  trades  they  could  turn  into  future  income.  These  ladies  were  also  involved  in  a  pen  pal  program,  regularly  corresponding  with  a  classroom  of  students  from  California.  No  wonder  their  English  was  so  good!  We  were  escorted  out  to  the  street,  where  our  van  was  parked,  with  hugs  and  kisses  on cheeks  given  out  to  all  of  us."

 Getting coy with the camera and posing with her new soap.  Image: Courtney Apple

Getting coy with the camera and posing with her new soap.  Image: Courtney Apple

"For  our  last  stop  of  the  day,  we  visited  a  new  potential  well  site!  The  new  site  is  a  little  outside  of Port-au-Prince,  located  on  the  corner  of  a  church,  with  access  from  two  streets.  The  pastor  of the  church  explained  the  lack  of  water  in  the  area,  his  plans  for  expanding  his  church  to  include  a  school  on  the  second  story  and  introduced  us to  several  local  women  who  were  sitting  around,  watching  their  kids  play.  After  speaking  with  them,  we  learned  there  was  only  one  well  in  the  area  and  it  didn’t  come  close  to  meeting  the  needs  of  the  thousands  of  people  who  lived  there.  Another  well  in  the  area  would  make  a  big  impact  on  their  daily  lives."    

 Two young women carry water back to their home from the local well. Image: Lorelle Shea  

Two young women carry water back to their home from the local well. Image: Lorelle Shea  

"On our  way  back  to  the  van,  we  handed  a  soccer  ball  to one  little  boy,  with  a  single  word  instruction,  “Pataje",  which  means  share.  With  a  grin  from  ear  to ear  stretched  across  his  face,  he  nodded  his  head  earnestly  and  continued  to  wave  as we  backed  down  the  street."

 A young boy smiles and waves, delighted by his new soccer ball. Image: Lorelle Shea

A young boy smiles and waves, delighted by his new soccer ball. Image: Lorelle Shea

"Back  at  New  Life,  the  sun  was  still  out  and  there  was  soccer  to be  played!  With  a  large  field  laid  out in  the  middle  of  the  campus,  it  was  the  perfect  time  to  gather  some  kids,  other  guests  and  get  a  game  in!  We  laughed,  ran  and  kicked  one  of our  soccer  balls  around  with  the  kids,  playing  until  the  dinner  bell  rang.  We  then  stuffed  our  bellies  full,  recapped  the  events  of  the  day  and  headed  off  to an  early  nights  sleep.  We  had  an  early  wake  up  call  the  next  morning  and  another  big,  action  packed  day  ahead  of  us!"


Follow the Tour!

Tuesday, July 10 - Conscious n' Chic (@consciousnchic)
Wednesday, July 11 - The Shift Wellness (@pandahamandah)
Thursday, July 12 - DoneGood (@donegoodteam)
Friday, July 13 - The Social Girl Traveler (@thesocialgirltraveler)

HIH_Haiti_Blog_Tour_2018.png