Hand in Hand Soap's Haiti Blog Tour: Day Two
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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"