Hutchens in Haiti by Brandon & Katie Hutchens
We have been busy bees lately here in Haiti. Not sure where all the time went?!?! How is it the middle of January already?!?! A lot has gone on over the last couple of weeks….
We had a wonderful Christmas (which included one day having a large Haitian and American staff Christmas party, another day having a huge Christmas party for the entire community, filled with games, a dunk tank (and yes, Brandon volunteered to be the FIRST one in the tank), Haitian food, music and of course, Santa (Brandon and I got to ride around the streets of Haiti for 2.5 hours in the back of a pickup truck with Santa (aka Adam B) while passing out candy to everyone…needless to say, we were WIPED when we were done with our little Christmas “parade”, Santa and his little elves needed rehydrated once we returned to campus, haha, but it was a lot of funJ), then, on Christmas Eve there was a traditional big party/church service that started around 8 and went past midnight, so it was really awesome to get to be a part of that.
We had a fun-filled New Years which included meeting some great new friends (Chris Bosma (a past intern for NVM…B and I HOPE he will return for a longer period of time next time he comes down J), his sister, Allison, and their cousin, Abby (or Amy, as Brandon liked to call her, he couldn’t remember Abby’s name for the life of him, so that was a running joke while they were here for a few weeks.) New Years Eve was filled with ANOTHER party/church service that started with the viewing of Home Alone (dubbed in French…the Haitians got a HUGE kick out of it, especially when the bad guys, “the wet bandits” for those of you who remember the movie, would get injured…they would all laugh so hard…it was so funny.) The night also included singing, dancing, a few speakers, a traditional Haitian soup, traditional Haitian tea, the traditional countdown to the New Year (they were able to actually put the countdown on a large screen in church which was so cool) and some untraditional fireworks (set off by Brandon, Chris B, Adam B and Nathan P with no injuries I must add J). During the fireworks I would ask the Haitians if they liked them and they would say YEAH, but then they would almost jump out of their skin and sometimes duck when one went off, it cracked me up. We had such a great night!!! It was so awesome to get to celebrate in Haiti!!
A few other highlights from the past few weeks include, being able to spend some time with some friends (The Anthony family) who came down to visit (what a HUGE blessing it was to get to be with them for a few days), going to the beach (just the two of us) for a day (which was so nice, we were very thankful that Pastor Pierre and his wife pushed us to take a day off), taking the kids from the Children’s Home to the beach for a day, having a pretty empty campus, having a very FULL campus (the past week has been pretty full with teams, totaling to around 100+ people). Life is very good, busy, but good.
One of my favorite highlights from the past month happened recently, a week or so ago I went out for a run with Zep (definitely don’t run as much here as I do at home, so it feels good whenever I am able to go), on our way out, about a ½ mile into the run, we had four little kids decide to join us. It was SO great! They ran with me all the way out to Lake Trou Caiman which is about 2 miles from the NVM campus. Oh and I should also mention I was THE ONLY ONE wearing SHOES, the four kids ran barefoot. AMAZING. Simply amazing. We ran all the way out to the lake on a dirt path that eventually turned into rocks and pebbles. One of the kids, Gaberson (spelling of name???) had a smile on his face THE WHOLE TIME. I asked him if he liked to run and he shook his head and said, “YES!” Adorable and FAST TOO, and did I mention barefoot?!?! The view when we got to the lake was absolutely gorgeous. I kept saying “Haiti is so beautiful, do you know that??” and they would all say with a smile, “YES!” which was so good to hear!!! On our run back to campus they all wanted to show me where they live, so we made a pit stop. I was able to talk with all of their families and neighbors…just hangin out with some new friends/neighbors of ours…such goodtimes. After a while one of the ladies invited me into her home (I was worried about Zep, I didn’t want to leave her outside with everyone, although she was tired enough and she is very good with everyone here…I just didn’t want to take the chance that something could happen…), but the woman said, “your dog can come in too.” So I walked in the front door of her home (a small mudhut) and she walked me back to the bedroom through a sheet hanging up to separate the two rooms, where I saw a woman (who looked extremely tired) and a man sitting on the bed, the lady who had invited me in then turned around and was holding a TINY newborn baby! She said (in creole) “This is my daughter’s newborn baby!” I was nearly in tears (and I am NOT a crier, as many of you know!) as she handed the baby to me to hold! WHAT A HUGE BLESSING, for her to want to invite me into her home to see her newborn grandbaby!!! WOW. I kept on saying “she’s so beautiful” in creole then I asked the mom if she was tired and of course she said “yes”. I was wondering if the man sitting next to her was dad, when the woman said “that’s the baby’s dad.” I was smiling from ear to ear, just loving this moment. I then asked, in Creole of course “when was she born?” They answered, “Sunday”, which was January 1st. The baby was only 3 days OLD!!!! What an amazing moment. I sat and talked with them for a little longer then said goodbye and told them I would be back, if not tomorrow, then the next day. Zep and I ran back to campus with all four of our new running team members, all four still barefoot. Wow. I could not wait to tell Brandon all about my am run when I got back to campus!
Although things can be pretty busy and crazy here, we are so blessed to be living in Haiti. We are especially aware of how blessed we are after moments like the one above. SO amazing. AND we are so thankful to have such amazing friends and family who support us…..…….…OH AND one last thing, I have become a bread maker (literally…have never made homemade bread before in my life, but now, thanks to the help of a few recipes found on google, I have made bread for 200 people…ya, I am pretty excited about it J).
Love to all of you.
Bondye Beni Ou.