I’m baaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!!

Did y’all miss me?!

I’ve been in Haiti driving tap-taps (not really, but I got to ride in the back of one), sweating like crazy, and pushing wheelbarrows of dirt and base rock for a church foundation in Leveque. I’m glad to report that since I arrived home, I’ve taken 4 showers, soaked in the tub twice, washed my really stinky clothes (multiple cycles), and my backpack is washed and air-drying outside.

THE REUNION OF THE CENTURY ….. en route to Port-au-Prince, during a layover at Miami International Airport, I saw Jenny C. She and I went to elementary school and we haven’t seen each other since the sixth grade!!!! Believe me, neither one of us has changed a bit. =) She has traveled to Haiti numerous times over the years working and volunteering in orphanages and children’s hospitals. She also owns her own snow-cone stand in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She’s pretty much the bee’s knees in my book for these two reasons.

This trip to Haiti was incredible. While I wouldn’t trade last year’s trip for any amount of money, this one was different. We lived, worked, played, and worshiped as a family unit. Church and school leaders live on one side on the property and the Haitian construction site coordinator lives on the other. Students and church members live nearby also. The church, literally, is the center of community life.

Speaking of the work site, the Methodist School of Leveque was rebuilt in 2011. Earlier this year, UMVIM teams began clearing the demolished church and construction on the new building immediately followed. Until the church is complete, however, worship takes place inside a classroom and choir practice in a large hallway. The hallway also served as the site of our team’s impromptu nail salon. We packed several bottles of nail polish and it was a *HUGE* success with the girls in the community!!!!

When we arrived, base rock had been placed in the majority of the squares (each square measures approximately 10 feet by 10 feet). Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us.

At the bottom of the last square, each person on our team wrote a message on a rock. Since I’m an over-achiever, I decorated my rock with Sapphire Siren and French White Tip nail polish. My rock is really adorable. Don’t you think?!

By the end of the week, all squares of the foundation had been filled with base rock and a three-inch layer of concrete had been poured in section as well. I feel really sorry for future teams as they will be mixing and hauling TONS of concrete … that’s a LOT of work.

Whomever said mission trips were boring has never traveled with fun, fabulous, and friendly folks like us. I mean, we work hard and we play hard. Plus, while graciously supporting the Haitian economy, we had this amazing view …. go ahead, be jealous:

Yes, Haiti has beautiful beaches. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The town on Leveque is also home to Haiti’s largest deaf community. Mission of Hope has built an entire community with permanent housing for the deaf and hearing-impaired. During an afternoon walk-about, we toured the community and met several of its residents.

THE FACES OF HAITI ARE PRECIOUS TO ME

Finally, I visited the site where I worked last year. Two other team members and I were on the 2011 Haiti Mission Team and seeing this school in its finished state was unbelievable.

The Methodist School in Puit Blains is complete with its second-story addition and basketball court. It is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen!!!!!!!!! Standing in a classroom atop the second floor overlooking the property adorned with a full-size basketball court was the most rewarding, fulfilling, and gratifying moment of the entire trip.

I’m exhausted but grateful for the experience. Thanks to all the wonderful ladies who provided guest posts (told you they were awesome!!!) and took care of Three 31 while I was gone.

Take care!

By |2012-10-21T00:09:57+00:00October 21st, 2012|Blog, Photography|0 Comments

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  1. Holli October 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I just knew it was going to be incredible for you! I want to go next year. Those pics are precious. I missed you dearly Sunshine!

    • Nicole October 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      Holli, thank you and I missed you too!!!!!!!! If you want to go next year, start saving your pennies. Depending on the cost of your airline ticket, it’ll cost approx $2,000. That’s a high approximate but it’s better to plan for more than what you’ll actually spend. I’d love to have you on our team. =)

      BIG HUGS!!!!!!!
      N

  2. wilma October 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Welcome home, Nicole.. glad you’re back safe and sound.. love ya

    • Nicole October 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Wilma. It was a great trip, no injuries or setbacks. Big hugs!!!

  3. Loved reading about your trip to Haiti – brought back many memories. I hope to get back there someday!

    • Nicole October 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much!!!! This was my second trip to Haiti and I can’t wait to go back. Blessings and hugs, Nicole

  4. Lauren Atkins Thomas October 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    I love this! yay for a good trip!!! and I SOOOOO love that y’all had an impromptu nail salon! Epic!

    • Nicole October 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Lauren, it WAS awesome and thank you for providing your guest post too. As for the nail salon, it was epic and awesome and the girls LOVED it!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Kathryn McCullough October 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    So happy to hear you made it home safely. And, yes, Haiti has some AMAZING beaches! Glad you left a piece of UK behind.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Nicole October 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      Hey Kathy! The beaches are incredible, I want to go back to Haiti just for vacation. Really! Don’t you love my Kentucky rock?!?! I couldn’t help myself. It’s cheesy and I love it. =)

  6. Jill Schrader October 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Glad to have you back! And I enjoyed reading about what a great trip/experience you had!

    • Nicole October 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Jill, for the sweet comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, this trip was of epic proportions!!!!! Big hugs, N

  7. Margaret October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I LOVE the Love truck!!! made my day

    • Nicole October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Margaret, that truck is known in Haiti as a tap-tap, think of an American taxi on steroids and very over-crowded. When riders are ready to stop, they “tap” the roof or press the bell for the driver to stop. It’s an ingenious concept that I am destined to bring to the U.S. I want to own my own tap-tap and paint it in vivid colors, attach a huge speaker for fun music, and perhaps a funky horn. The crazier the better. Call me crazy, the Haitians do!!!!

      Hugs,
      N

  8. Taylor @ Goings on in Texas October 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Welcome back!!! 🙂 Loved your post!! And the pictures….amazing work y’all are doing!! And to be able to see something completed that you worked on last year….PRICELESS!!! 🙂

    • Nicole October 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Or, as I said in Haiti, MESI! MESI! MESI! The week was so wonderful and you’re right about seeing a completed project. It was a priceless moment, something I’ll never forget. =)

  9. Jody Johnson October 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Yes…you were missed more than you know. 😉 I am now thinking about the archeologist who finds your rock in the next millennium and wondering what they will conclude…

    • Nicole October 24, 2012 at 8:45 am - Reply

      I’m thinking the archeologist and his team are going to be quite impressed with the entire collection of decorated rocks when they “stumble upon” them in the next millennium!!!!! I mean, they are the cutest lil’ things in the history of ever. I surprised myself with the delicate details of the UK letters with a nail polish brush, that was a lot of work. It was also a lot of fun and a great memory-maker not only for our team from Texas, but the local Haitians as well. Several of them decorated their own rock too. =)

      Hugs,
      N

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  13. Finish This #5 | Three 31 February 5, 2014 at 12:05 am - Reply

    […] was better for everyone that he stayed home. In 2011 and 2012, I went to Port-au-Prince, Haiti for mission trips through The United Methodist Church. A year ago, Feb 2013, I flew across the Atlantic Ocean for the […]

  14. Finish This #58 | Three 31 February 11, 2015 at 6:55 am - Reply

    […] of a Methodist Church leveled by the same earthquake in 2010. You can read about my time in Leveque here. In February 2013, I obtained my fourth passport stamp in Tel Aviv, Israel when I toured Jerusalem […]

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