May 13, 2010
Freshman swimmer Katie Hingst gave up part of her summer vacation to join a group of Purdue student-athletes that traveled to Haiti with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to volunteer their time. Hingst will check in when possible to give updates on the trip. Her entries are below, with the most recent appearing first.
Wednesday, May 19
It's hard to describe in words how meaningful my week in Haiti was, but I'll do my best. God taught me so many lessons, and I'm really thankful for this opportunity.
Our week didn't really go according to plan- we were supposed to build the foundation on a house, but the supplies never came so we couldn't do it. Instead, we did any task around Double Harvest and nearby villages that needed to be done- painting, planting, filling in holes with concrete, building the structure for a tent, helping a medical team with surgeries, work on making gutters, and so on.
I learned to relax, go along with whatever came up in our schedule, and complete any task with a cheerful heart. I also learned that you can't quantify some of the most important things in life. It's easy to get caught up in measuring your life - by your GPA, best times, number of friends, etc. The work God does in us on mission trips is too deep to measure with a number. This made me realize where my perspective and priorities in life should be. A person's life isn't determined by their resume or accomplishments, but by what's in their heart.
Finally, I learned to be thankful for literally everything that God has blessed me with. I'm thankful for the tangible things - food, a bed, swimming, and school. Most Haitians live in a small house or tent (after the earthquake), eat one meal a day, and have one pair of clothes. But, more importantly, I realized how thankful I am for the intangible things - my faith, God, and the unconditional love from my family. I saw this in Haiti - people who had almost nothing still had an amazing love for God and their family. Even an earthquake can't destroy faith and love.
I honestly hope I didn't talk too much about myself in this blog - I'm really just trying to share my experience in Haiti and the meaningful things I learned while working there. If you can ever go on a mission trip, go!
Friday, May 14
Wednesday morning, we walked to a village nearby and painted a house that had been built by an earlier group from Double Harvest. I've made friends with a lot of kids who live just outside of the mission and don't go to school. Since they're around all day, they walked with all of us back to the village to finish painting the house after lunch. It went so much faster with all of the kids helping!
A lot of kids ask for your shoes, "one dollar," or food. We're not supposed to give them anything, but I feel so bad because we have food here that we don't finish and throw away. I know if you give them a little food, they keep coming back and you can get swarmed with little kids, but it is still so hard to say no!
That night we walked to another village nearby and played soccer with kids from Double Harvest and nearby villages. Thursday, we mixed conrete all day and filled in holes around Double Harvest. Some of the holes didn't look so good, but we did what we could!
I talked to a lot of the older kids at the school at Double Harvest- some of the older girls aren't so friendly to us, but the guys are all nice. We also played with kids who don't go to school on breaks from working. There was another soccer game that night at Double Harvest, and we showed the kids who weren't playing how to do cartwheels. They were so funny- they run and try to do flips and don't even mind falling.
All of the kids love pictures, so I took a ton last night! I've gotten so used to having kids run up and hold onto me when I walk that walking by myself feels weird! I also haven't stopped sweating since I got to Haiti, but that's okay! Today, we might get to hike up a mountain right outside of Double Harvest. One more thing, a medical team of 37 people came last night and has been doing surgeries at Double Harvest nonstop.
Thursday, May 13
We got into Haiti on Monday evening, and it took about an hour to find our luggage because of a mix up. Then, we got outside to find a van to take us back to Double Harvest and it started raining really hard. Finally, we found a van and a truck. I rode in the trunk, and all of our suitcases were in the back of the truck so they got drenched. It sounds like I'm being negative but really, I like it here!
Most of my clothes are dry now. On the way to Double Harvest, the truck got a flat tire so they were about an hour behind the car I was in. Finally, we all met up and had a great dinner! This morning we got up an hour early because no one realized that Haiti was on central time and not eastern time. We did landscaping work outide the house of the pastor here, and then this afternoon a few guys worked on putting in rain gutters. Since there wasn't anything for the majority of us to do, we went to the school and played with the kids.
Tomorrow we're going to a village nearby to paint some houses that were damaged in the earthquake.