By Mike: Today I took a road trip to the mission's orphanage in Port-de-Paix. It is about 12 miles away, but the trip can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic (in the form of trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and donkeys), road conditions, and other factors. There were about 15-20 of us who piled into the back of a pickup truck and headed off. These trucks are known as "tap-taps" in Haiti. They serve as Haitian buses/taxis to transport people and are known as tap-taps because people tap the side of them if they want to get off. Anyway, eventually we reached the mission's orphanage. They are currently housing approximately 120-130 orphans there, which is pretty much capacity for them. Few of these kids are true orphans, some have one parent who have died, and others just have parents who are unable to care for them. There is an American couple who is in charge of the orphanage, and then there are five Haitian families who live there, each of which is responsible for about 25-30 children. We went to the orphanage and I got involved in a soccer game of 4 Americans vs. 4 Haitian children. Our goals were wooden benches that were maybe about 2 feet wide, barely big enough for the ball to fit through. Even so, I managed to score a couple goals. And then, I got the ball in the open field (or I should say "open gravel"), made a sweet move and completely juked a 5 year old boy, went to kick the ball, slipped and as I was falling, still managed to kick the ball, it was kind of a sideways bicycle kick, just missed the goal from about 30 feet out. Unfortunately, I skidded across the gravel and cut up my knee and my elbow. I was bleeding pretty badly, so they took me to the nurse's office and I got bandaged up. After that, we took the children to the beach to go swimming. Saying beach makes it sound like a nice place, but the beach is really pretty nasty. There's a lot of garbage lying around, a couple pigs just laying around, but the kids still have a good time there. The water is really beautiful once you get out a few feet. Since I was heavily bandaged, I was not able to swim, but just watched the kids enjoying themselves. Then we took the kids back, hung out for a little while, and headed back home to the mission. I enjoyed the experience and I definitely hope to bring our LCA team back to this orphanage on our trip next summer.
While I was gone, Becky hung out with Kerwin. One of the ladies on the trip is a physical therapist, so she worked with Kerwin today and showed Becky some stretches we can be doing with him to loosen up his muscles. After supper tonight, Kerwin scrounged through a supply closet where they keep extra toys (he does this fairly regularly) and found a pack of what were labeled "rocket balloons". Basically, you blow them up, then let go, and they fly around like crazy. Needless to say, he had a fun evening!
Hope everyone is doing well and we would like to hear from anyone who has been reading this and know how your summers are going!