|Two of the orphans at the Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun orphanage.|
May 10, 2010. This past April 26th to May 2nd,
Mission Youth National Director Paola Treviño traveled to Haiti to
pre-organize the first upcoming Mission Youth humanitarian missions in
the country, which is still reeling from the devastation of
the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince on January
The following testimony gives us a glimpse into her
experiences working alongside the volunteers based out of the Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun orphanage.
On April 26th
I was landing in Haiti, not knowing what to expect.
All I knew was that someone would pick us up
at the airport and take us to an orphanage in
Danbann Village four hours away towards the mountains. Our ride
arrived: a huge white truck they call a “tick-tack,” like
an open-air bus with grills to protect you from falling.
The journey began…
As soon as you leave the airport, the
“tent cities” appear. The International Relief teams built thousands of
them up the hills and down close by the ocean, even
in the center lane of the single highway that crosses
Port-au-Prince. As you go along, the road looks like a
parking lot full of cars, motorcycles, “tick-tacks,” trucks, and people. On
either side you see destroyed buildings and houses and rubble
all over the place. The ashes of the victims’ burned
bodies overflow from the broken buildings, trash covers the river,
and the people have built the market place right on
top of a huge dumping ground. Thousands of Haitians walk
around looking for something to sell or buy. The ride
continues, and at the outskirts of Port-au-Prince the tent cities
are huddled up in little hills or in the lower
areas of muddy jungle, with destruction and rubble everywhere you
look. We still have two hours to go…
|Rubble and destroyed streets still mark Haiti's capital city.|
Finally, we leave
the city and enter the countryside - beautiful valleys and
mountains, tall green palm trees and mango trees, abundant vegetation.
The truck navigates a rough trail up a mountain, and
the ride feels like a constant full-speed rollercoaster for two
hours. After crossing three rivers, we finally reach the orphanage.
All the little kids, some refugees, and the staff of
the orphanage are waiting for us with a warm welcome.
I feel at home.
I thought that when I left
the city everything was going to be great and beautiful,
but God had other plans. He was going to show
|A little boy runs naked outside a small home.|
me a different way of suffering; He was going to
show me His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.
passed by, and I got to know the kids and
their stories while also visiting some of the villagers. I
encountered a lot of suffering, and it made me feel
so little and so powerless to do anything. The only
thing I could do and felt I must do was
PRAY AND SACRIFICE but at times it was so hard
not to get impatient, angry, or discouraged before so much
We visited a family with nine children. Abandoned by the
father, they lived in one tiny room, and all the
kids were running around naked, their bellies swollen with malnutrition.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
to see an old lady, Angelee, probably 90 years old.
She was lying on a mat in a tiny hut
eating dirt; her mouth was like a rock. We carried
her outside and gave her water and peanut butter crackers,
while the people around were making fun of her for
eating dirt. I had to go back to the mission
center in silence just praying to God because I didn’t
|Paola Treviño helps an elderly woman to drink some water.|
know what else to do. My God, my God, why
have you abandoned me?
The day in Dandee Village started at
3:30 am with the rooster call, the donkey neighing, the
bongos of the “Budus” and the “sweet screams” of the
children by 4:30 am.
The orphanage, Kay Mari Manman Tout
Timoun (The House of Mary, Mother of All Children), opened
its doors in December, but it is still in the
“concrete stage.” A few chairs for the staff, one table
too tall for the kids to reach, no beds, no
dining room, no closets…
Lunch time arrived at 11:30 am
and the kids were served their food— abundant food I
would say— prepared with a lot of love by the
cooks. All of the kids, from the two-year-old to the
fifteen-year-old, ate on the floor outside, in a corner. I
couldn’t take it. On day two of my visit, I went
out looking for some concrete blocks left by the construction
workers and found a piece of wood. Now we had
a table! The kids were all excited, and at the
next meal all of them were sitting around it. That
table served as dining room, craft table, and much more.
|A volunteer at the orphanage plays with the children.|
the afternoon we played games and did some improvised crafts
with the kids. The purpose of my trip was to
scout the place and set up for the missionary groups
in the summer, so Emma (the coworker who accompanied me)
and I were not prepared to "take charge” at all,
but God had different plans. The kids have lived through
so much and seen so much suffering that all of
them have a huge need of love, so as soon
as they started coloring or whatever they were doing, they
would come and tag us, looking for attention and recognition.
dinner time, 4:30 pm (yes, earlier than in the US)
we had bath time! So the march began to the
river where the kids not only had a bath but
a ball as well.
The afternoon continued with more games
and songs… The cleanliness lasted no more than 5 minutes; what
can we expect if they have to play outside, where
there are all sorts of construction materials, rocks, and sand…?
God willing, that will end soon.
Finally the day comes to
an end at 8:30 pm with night prayers, Haitian style.
After an hour of songs and worship, the kids start
|Lunch time at the orphanage.|
falling asleep one after the other. The older ones keep
up with their singing and the staff members start carrying
the kids to their rooms and laying them down in
cots on the floor. That also, God willing, will end
My God my God why have you abandoned me? Meditating
on those words of Christ, I came to the conclusion
that all of these people are living the white martyrdom
for us. Yes, for us, for you and me, so
that our hearts will soften, so that we will learn
to use our freedom correctly and put it at the
service of others, so we will work to foster charity
and justice, so that we will put our values in
order, so that we will live facing eternity, so that
we will be Christ’s feet and tongue to bring His
message of hope and love to all the world and
by doing so, fulfill His commandment: “Go out to the
whole world and preach the Good News.”
After our visit, Mission
Youth will be able to help in a concrete way
with the following projects, thanks to generous donors and missionaries:
house for Deede and her 9 kids
- Beds and shelves for
- Proper table and chairs for the kids’ dining room
and play room
- Paint and decorate the kids play room
these projects will be done during the month of June
with a total of 25 missionaries.
Do you want to join
us? Here are a few ways you can help:
- Pray and
sacrifice: Offer daily one sacrifice and a Hail Mary, Our
Father, and a Glory Be for those in need.
- Collect goods
for the orphanage: kids’ clothes, school supplies, didactic and educational
- Send money to buy food baskets for the villagers surrounding
- Send money for houses: $5,000 per house with two
rooms and a small front porch
- Sponsor a missionary for a
week: $800 airfare included
Donations to sponsor Mission Youth missionaries to Haiti can
be sent at this link. If you would like
to donate to the orphanage directly, click here.
For ongoing updates about the
work of the volunteers at the orphanage, visit the Mission Haiti web
site at http://mwts.org/missionhaiti/ or become a fan on Facebook