Today we started our travel up the mountains to go to the Rainbow House. On our way we stopped at the look out over Port-au-Prince, the Caribbean Ocean, and other mountains in the background. It was a breathtaking view and truly showed Haiti's beauty. Our next stop was Fort Jacque where we had a guided tour. They used this fort to see troops and ships that were approaching the shores of Haiti. There were French and British cannons and stone-built walls protecting the Haitian soldiers. We stopped at the Mountain Maid restaurant for lunch and all indulged in American cuisine. Then, we were off to see the kids at LA MAISON L'ARC-EN-CIEL (The Rainbow House).
The Rainbow House is an orphanage for children affected/effected by HIV/AIDS. One of the founders Danielle Penette spoke to us and explained that she and her husband started this orphanage with only six patients, some affected/effected and some unaffected children to show that they could be living together in a community without contracting the virus. Much of the funding has come from the donations, but recently they have had trouble getting enough funding so some of their community education programs were not able to be continued.
When we arrived we were greeted by traditional Haitian kisses on the cheek from the children. They quickly warmed up us and each one of them found a hand of ours to hold. We got to see their coop where they raise chickens as their income generating activities. Also, they have been gardening and other activities to teach the children skills to later integrate into the community. The kids took us up the hill and we ran to the playground to swing, slide, and just run around. Many of us played games together and even though there is a language barrier we found similarities of games we played as children. Some of us played hand-clapping games and others played games as a group in a circle.
Today was an uplifting experience to see that these children were so happy and welcoming. When it was time for us to leave the demeanor changed, voices lowered, and there were lots of long hugs.
Love & Hugs from Haiti,
Tasha, Leanna, Kaylee, and Nicole