Just two weeks ago, my wife and I returned from a life-changing sponsor-tour trip to Haiti with Compassion International. Due to the nature of this trip, I’ll be sharing my thoughts over a series of blog posts, instead of putting it all in one gigantic post. In this first one, I wanted to share what we did and saw during the trip.
After flying to Florida and staying the night with some friends, we met the rest of our team in the Miami airport and flew to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. We were greeted by a Haitian band playing native music. That definitely helped us to feel welcome right off the bat. It was then time to go through customs and all that. For my first international flight, this was all brand new for me. Finally, we were outside and packing into the Compassion bus, heading to our hotel. The place we stayed was right on the beach, and it was beautiful. There was so much to take in as we drove there.
The first three full days were spent visiting Compassion projects. The first day, we were greeted by another band and tons of students, welcoming us and bringing us into the church. The other two days, we were welcomed in with huge applause, where it felt like we were celebrities. And in a way, we are kind of like that to them, especially after I realized all that our money goes to help. The first project had a child survival program, which focuses on helping young mothers and their babies. We spent time holding the babies and talking to the moms. The other two days, we spent time with the elementary-age kids at the projects. My favorite thing was to play soccer, because it was a time when all the language barriers went away.
In the afternoon, on these three days, we did home visits. We split up into groups of about six, and went with the Compassion staff to visit a family in the project. All three home visits were different, but they all gave us a cool insight into Haitian culture. All the families were excited to welcome us in, even though they did not have much at all. One family had three generations in a one-room house, but they were still speaking about how blessed they were. The same went for the other two families. They were so thankful for what God had done for them through Compassion, even though it looked like they had nothing, in comparison to us in America.
The next day was the day we had been anxiously waiting for. In the morning, we greeted our sponsored child for the first time. This was seriously a huge mix of emotions in one day. We were filled with anxiety, excitement, love, and sorrow all within a few hours. Our initial meeting started with huge hugs and a walk along the beach. We then sat and talked before making some jewelry, going swimming, and eating lunch. After lunch, we gave her all the gifts we brought, and the time seemed to fly by. Before we knew it, we were taking our group photos and saying goodbye. (I will share more about our day at a later time.)
The final day was quite simple, as we ate breakfast and then headed back to Port-Au-Prince for our flight back to the US. Again, we spent the night with some friends in Florida before flying back home the next day — back to normal life and filled with emotions, still trying to process everything that we just experienced.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip that we highly encourage any sponsor to take. It was great to see what Compassion is doing, to talk to the people doing the work, and to see the results of their work. On top of all that, meeting your sponsored child is a moment you will forever cherish in your heart.
As I said earlier, I’ll be posting more thoughts over the next few weeks, as I continue to process this experience. I’ll also share more photos and a video or two from one of our team members.