Hi! Je m’appelle Hadley Orr! (There’s some French for you!) I’m so honored to share a little bit about my experience with Project 117 and it’s most recent trip to Haiti. I’m a freshman volleyball player at Michigan State, and I’m majoring in French. So, it was amazing to practice my French and be able to understand the people there. Not only was this my first mission trip, but also an opportunity to understand what I want for my future. My goal is to teach oversees and serve “the least of these.” Seeing Haiti was a front-row experience of what it would be like to live, eat, and work with the locals there.
We accomplished a lot on our trip and spent precious time with the people of Haiti. We did physical work, painted Tom’s Shoes with the kids, played soccer, led a Sunday school lesson on the Christmas story, and gained an understanding of people’s needs by surveys! I enjoyed loving people and meeting their needs in every single way. Not only did we love people in Haiti, but we also got to let people know that we were doing it because of our love for Jesus!
Spending time with the Haitian people was definitely my favorite part. I don’t know why God made me this way, but he’s given me the heart of an eight-year-old boy! I want to be goofy, race to the soccer field, and play tag with everyone in site. I became extremely fond of the kids in Haiti and especially the little boys. The little boys would grab my hand, run down to the creek with me, and before I could yell “Arretez!” they would strip to their underwear and jump in without hesitation. Needless to say, I was a little uncomfortable at some points considering I am a girl. Those kids captured my heart and I honestly didn’t want to leave them. I don’t know where I want to teach yet, but I would love to be their teacher someday!
As much as I love talking about the “mushy, gushy” feelings of love on the trip, I need to talk about the desperation found in Haiti as well. Yes, the kids were amazing, the people were welcoming, and the scenery was beautiful, but there is something very wrong going on in our midst. As I mentioned, we did surveys with the locals to gain a greater understanding of their dreams for the future. Almost every single kid said they wanted to be a doctor or nurse. Choices appeared to be strictly concerned with money. I feel that kids are told by their parents what job makes the most money and are then told to go for it (without the means to achieve it). Their goal becomes making a lot of money so they can all be happy as a family. I found this extremely unsettling and unfair.
Kids in Haiti do not have the same opportunities as kids in the United States. The privilege gap is immense. One kid we asked said he wanted to be an engineer, but when we asked him what an engineer did, he couldn’t really explain it. This was obviously disheartening, but I believe God is about to do something BIG in Haiti!
Here’s where Project 117 comes into play. While in Haiti, there were discussions of character development (which would hopefully lead to the better treatment of women there), fair trade business, and all around lifestyle development. This isn’t about just giving people food, giving them clothes, or even giving them a school. This movement is about giving people the life that Jesus intended for them, and the love that can only come from Him. There is no guarantee that we can do this alone, in fact, the bible says we can’t do ANYTHING without God (John 15:5), but with Him, ALL things are possible!
Everyday on the worksite in Haiti, we finished with alone time and prayer. One day the kids joined me in prayer for the school and their families. It was breathtaking to see the passion these little kids had as they spoke to Jezi (Jesus in Creole). I am so excited to see the change that is already taking place in Haiti and the change that is to come. I look forward to the day I can reunite with all of my new friends in Haiti!