Hai · ti   A country of the West Indies comprising western Hispaniola and two offshore islands. Originally inhabited by Arawak Indians, the region became a French colony in 1697. Following a slave revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, an independent republic was established in 1804 comprising the entire island of Hispaniola. The eastern part of the island revolted in 1843, forming the Dominican Republic. In the 20th century Haiti was ruled by a series of dictatorships, including the repressive regimes of François Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude, who was ousted in 1986. Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti’s first democratically elected president in 1991. Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city. Population: 8,710,000. From freedictionary.com

I had the humbling opportunity to spend a week in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, with an unbelievable group of people from New Jersey, USA and a few fellow Canadians which included my beautiful sister-in-law Amy and my amazing father-in-law Brad. Our job in Haiti was clear, or so I thought. We were going to a small village in Cap-Haïtien called Milot, to spend time with the people there and teach them about clean water, while building their community a clean water well, from start to finish. I went there with the mindset that we were going to help them have something they didn’t have access to so easily – fresh, clean drinking water. While I tried to keep an open mind about what all I was going to experience there, I was not prepared for what I would take home with me in the end. The people there taught me so much about life. That they have nothing but they have everything. They live literally in houses made of mud and nothing else. They don’t have regular food and they don’t have medical care. But they have faith. And courage. And hope. And something that we don’t have here as North Americans very often – GRATITUDE. They are so thankful for what they have, even if it’s very little. They embrace life and really trust that God is going to take care of them. It’s something that I didn’t understand would impact me as much as it has….it changed my perspective…it changed my life.

I feel so blessed that I was able to meet every person that I did on this trip. Each and every soul touched my heart. As I write this blog post, I am saddened that I may not see some of the children or families again. I think about the people I met there every single day. They will forever be in my heart. Little do they know, that although I went there to help them, they helped me more than I ever thought possible. So for that, I am GRATEFUL.

For more information on the global water crisis and how you can help, please visit www.liquidwater.com.

Our safe arrival in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti!

Some photos of the first things I saw on the Haiti streets.

Our awesome compound that was home for the week. There were two AMAZING cooks that made dinner for the team every night. I miss their food so much, it was incredible.

This is the wonderful Jessica & Brandon Stone. Words cannot describe how incredible this couple is. They were our in-country hosts who live at the compound and host different teams throughout the year, and help build clean water wells and spread God’s love throughout Haiti. They are originally from California and they moved to Haiti a few years ago. They miss home all the time but know they have a purpose in Haiti so they will stay as long as they need to. I can say I left Cap with two new friends.

This is the adorable Woodlei, son of Cleynel, our Haitian friend who travelled everywhere with our team and translated Creole to English.

This is the church/school in the community of Milot where we were all week. The well was drilled in the front yard of this building. Inside the building, as well as outside in the back, we taught bible stories, did crafts, sang songs and played games with the kids every day. It was so much fun!

Mesmerized by the story telling!

This woman was so intriguing to me. If I spoke her language, I would have talked to her and asked her many questions about her life.

First day of drilling! Team member Erin Caprielian gets dirty for a great cause!

I saw this brick everywhere we were, in many house walls. It makes me smile so much that I’ve made it a canvas print and put it in my house.

We brought nail polish for the girls. They LOVED getting their nails painted. So much so that they would wait for the nail polish to dry, then pick it off and ask us to paint them again!

This little girl reminded me so much of my little sister, Emma. We played together all week. Unfortunately, I never fully understood her name when she told me. I wish I would have asked Jessica or Cleynel to translate it for me so I could remember it. She will always have a special place in my heart though.

Their country is so beautiful.

A few days into the trip, we visited an orphanage of children aged 4 and under. We had a tour of the orphanage and got the chance to meet most of the kids and be with them for snack time. I bonded with a sweet little boy named Dalton who I got to hold for awhile and practice animal sounds with! I wanted so badly to take him home with me, it broke my heart to leave him there.

My sister-in-law Amy, drilling and getting DIRTY!

My father-in-law Brad, working that drill rig!

The Haitian women and their amazing spirit.

WE HAVE WATER! What an unforgettable day that was – we drilled as far as we could go…and we saw water. What a gift!

Left: Drill lead, Ed Kriz, gives the finishing touches on the well.

Right: Ed, pastor Rich Birch and team mate Paul Benjamino, work to finish the well.

The well is COMPLETE!

Fresh, clean, safe drinking water for the Milot community…there are no words.

Myself with Brad and Amy with our new little friend.

Left: The last day of our trip, we hiked up a mountain to see the amazing Citadel. To read more about its history, read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadelle_Laferri%C3%A8re

Right: View of Cap-Haïtien from the Palace.

The awesome Liquid Water team!

View from the top of the Citadel, so gorgeous.

This might be one of my favourite photos from the trip!! Team members Christine Birch, Paul Benjamino, Erin Caprielian and Linda Tarantula.

The Palace.