Ron Palitto Team

This team was the first team of the New Year! Leah and I drove in with them after returning back from Holidays with family and friends. We both had such a blessed couple weeks out. We all arrived on the 3rd of January. Tim, Scott, Ed, Jesse, 3 Haitian bosses, and the 12 men on this team headed out the next morning to do a couple different jobs. Below is an excerpt from a member on the team. “Day 1: It’s about an 1.5 hour flight from Miami to Port au Prince, but it’s literally worlds apart. We land in Port and the first thing that you notice is the heat; it’s 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, and it sure isn’t getting cooler any time soon. After getting our luggage from the claim, we adventure outside the airport, some of us never having been on Haitian soil. Outside, men are waiting to tether our luggage to our “tour” van, even though we’d kind of like to just do it ourselves. It is appreciated, but it’s also pretty costly. From Port au Prince to Cayes is about 95 miles, but it takes us over 4 hours to get there. Most of the road is paved, but that’s almost the only similarity to America. The driving down there will make your hair stand on end if you’re not expecting it; motorbikes weave in and out of spots that don’t look like they have any way of fitting through, one moment, traffic’s going close to 30 mph, the next, you’re about 4 mph because someone pulls out in front of you. Of course, it has gotten better; some of the people now sometimes obey some of the traffic lights. And then, there’s what you see of Haitian life; people living in shacks, lottery huts about every 5 minutes, people bathing in lakes, trash heaps on the roads. It’s unbelievable. Day 2: The Jeremie Road ================ The day starts for me at about 5:45 AM because I forgot that I had a working alarm clock with me; I thought I had turned it off, but I guess not. Anyhow, We ate a fairly big breakfast at 7, and then got on the road as soon as we could. We had a long drive ahead of us, on a really bumpy road. You know, there’s that nursery rhyme or whatever that says “Over the hills and through the forest to Grandmother’s House we go!” The Jeremie Road was kind of like that. Except, there’s no forest’s to go through because they’ve all be chopped down. And the hills, they’re really just mountains; mountains with single lane roads less than 5 feet from a cliff on both sides. Roads that if you sit on top of the vehicle and look at your feet, you stare straight down a huge cliff. So maybe it’s not quite as relaxing as going to Grandma’s house, but it’s pretty neat anyways. As we went, we traveled up mountains, across single lane bridges, down winding precipices, through valleys, and along beaches. It’s heart wrenching to pass the Haitians, their hands just beckoning for something to eat, or even just *something*. I didn’t have anything to give them and they made me feel pretty guilty about it. I realized that it’s just the Grace of God that has caused me to be born in America, a land full of opportunity. When we got to Chambellan, we were met with a light snack, then continued up the mountain to the church we were working at. After we ate, we had about a 30 minute drive up the mountain to where the church was at, Julie. Once we got there, we started working, and we got a whole lot accomplished. 3 Trusses were built in just 2 hours, most of the pieces were now cut, waiting to be assembled, and all the purlins were ready for use. There was a lot left to be done, but we really put a dent in what needed done. We packed up after it started to rain, and we had a simple dinner. It’s amazing how good food tastes after a long day. We had rice and beans and some goat, but it really tasted good. At the end of the day, we needed to get washed up because we were really dirty. 20 guys all needing showers can really start to smell, and the problem was that we only had 1 shower… Earlier, we had seen some people over in the river, and they say “when in Rome, do as the Romans”, so about 10 of us elected to bathe in the river that night. It might seem weird at first, but in the end, it really just feels like you’re swimming, but with a lot of soap in the water. Day 3: Sunday ====== We went to church today, both in Julie, where our project is, and in Chambellan, where our quarters are. We heard how we must be transformed by Christ, and walk according to His word, the Bible. After the morning service, we visited many widows and ill Haitians. It was a humbling experience, as some who had dirt floors simply asked for grace and strength to be faithful. If I were them, I probably would have been asking for better material things, and it really convicted me that they, who have so little, were so spiritually focused, and I, who has so much, was so materialistically focused. It reminds me how Satan seeks to lead astray and discourage, no matter what our position in life is. We handed out many gifts today, and it was bittersweet; the smiles of a child who got some gum or a glo-stick and the frowns of those saying “M’pa genyen”, roughly translated “I didn’t get one!” One of the things that struck me, that I had never thought about before, is that the children don’t seem to comprehend that there are people in the world who can’t speak Creole. I took some time to try to learn Creole before I went, and while I learned a lot, I was nowhere near fluent, so I resorted to saying “M’pa comprend”, *a lot*. At first, I was frustrated, because they’d just repeat themselves when I said that, but then it dawned on me that, maybe, they’re so young that they can’t realize that some people can’t speak or understand Creole. Day 4: Monday ====== We got done early; the church’s new roof was completed by noon, so we ate lunch and went back to Chambellan. Since we had the whole afternoon free, I decided that it sounded like a good time to play football (not “futbol”). We brought gifts for the kids, and one of the things I brought, more just to see what they’d do with it, was an American Football. I couldn’t speak the language, but I tried really hard to teach the kids how to play our version of football. After a couple of hours, they kind of understood it: chase the stooge who has the piece of leather. It was a blast. Day 5: Tuesday ======= It was a long day, getting up at 5 AM, driving til 7 AM, working until 11 AM, and then driving home until about 6:15 PM. We made it home sooner than we had expected, and I was thankful to be back home. We had built 3 trusses for the church at Bariadelle (where we had worked today), and then we laid tin on the extension that they had built. It was fairly standard work, although, at the end, Ron Palitto, Duane Farney, and I managed to get ourselves a job sorting all the nails. There’s about 3 different types of nails, and I guess someone decided that two of the three boxes should be dumped together; at any rate, it helped us learn some patience, which is kind of “ironic”, since that came up in devotions a few times. It probably wasn’t just chance, though… Day 6: Wednesday ========= This was another fairly standard day; we had pancakes for breakfast, which surprised me a little. I guess I just hadn’t expected something quite that similar to what we’re used to. Anyways, after that, we loaded into the trucks and left for the next project, setting a roof on a church in Barth. I was in a bad mood for a while because I had been fighting with a cough for a while, and I was just tired of it. Then, I thought about what we had been studying in devotions: I Corinthians 13. One of the verses says that Charity “is patient and kind”. I had been impatient and started getting mean because I let my patience worn thin. Once we had eaten, I learned that the Haitians do appreciate the roof, but they’d also love to have us just stay and visit for a while, so we played soccer for a while with the Haitians. Tim Reinhard was asked if the group could stay since we had some free time, and when we decided we’d rather stay and visit with them than go back home and sit around, the Haitians started cheering and shouting. They wanted to have a little dedication service since we finished the roof. It started off fairly tame, with the Creole rendition of “Amazing Grace”. But soon, it quickly escalated from there as worn out drums and tambourines started to be seen in the crowd. It reminded me of a pep rally at school, and as I thought about it, should something like a dedication really be anything less? I wouldn’t want something like that in the church I attend, but as I watched, I saw that they worked so much harder to praise the Lord than they did to work on the roof, and they worked pretty hard on the roof. It made me think a lot. This evening, we had church on Tim’s roof. Brother Duane read from St Luke 12, and it was so applicable; “take no thought what ye shall eat, for you Father in Heaven careth for you”. It’s so easy for me to get worked up about “how can this work out??”, and it was a good reminder to me that God will care for me. Maybe not in the way I think He will, but He’ll still provide, even better than I can hope for. Day 7: Thursday ======== Well, it’s the last full day of Haiti this week for us; tomorrow, we plan to catch a bus to Port and fly home, Lord willing. The week goes by so fast, almost too fast. We visited some different sites today, like SEED, Azile Dorcas, the Market and Hospital Lumiere. I have to confess, I don’t like gardening, but going through SEED was really kind of neat to me. To see the students learning to increase the yield of the vegetables and improve the quality of the animals is really neat. We watched them butcher a cow earlier and on one hand, it’s really fascinating to see the skill of the students, but on the other hand, it’s fairly disgusting to realize that they’re doing this all in open air, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit. The Market in Cayes is really quite an unbelievable experience, one which cannot be justified by words alone. It stretches block after block, vendor after vendor, seemingly from one side of Cayes to the other. The stench of the meat laying out in the Haitian sun, covered in flies, is augmented by the fact that half of the Cayes market is on top of a garbage dump. It’s certainly not up to FDA standards, but it’s how the Haitians live. It’s mind blowing to me. Day 8: Friday ====== We’ve come to the end of the road, so to speak. We’re going home today. Getting up at 4 AM isn’t much fun for me; I like my sleep, but it’s important to leave as early as possible, because you never know what might happen between Cayes and Port. So we loaded up on coffee and took off for Port. The bus driver made great time, as we got to Port in a little less than 4 hours. After checking our luggage and passing the security checkpoints, we went up to the airport lounge and waited, and that’s where I am as I write this. We’re waiting for our flight to Miami, just biding our time patiently. Epilogue ======== God’s really blessed us, both in this week, and simply in general. We’ve been blessed way beyond our merits and it would be heartless and selfish to simply ignore the pressing needs of the Haitians. Nothing but the Grace of God caused us to be born in America. Some might argue that since our parents are American, there’s no way we could be Haitian and that “God” has nothing to do with it. While that might be true physically, what about mentally? What prevented our mind from being in a Haitian body? Maybe it sound weird to think of it that way, but I believe that God has chosen where we were born. Maybe you’ll say I’m off my rocker, but that’s your choice, so I’ll leave it to you. What can’t be argued is that millions of discouraged, malnourished and impoverished Haitians need our help. Whether it’s through donations of money, materials, food, or most importantly, prayers, each gift is desperately needed by these people. As Americans, we’ve accumulated more than most, if not all, other countries in our world, so let’s take some time to think about doing more for the less fortunate. By: Kyle Keiper” DSCN0595 DSCN0588 DSCN0585 DSCN0584 DSCN0580 DSCN0881 DSCN0554 DSCN0528 DSCN0525 DSCN0524 DSCN0523 DSCN0522 DSCN0521 DSCN0520 DSCN0518 DSCN0694 DSCN0691

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