Lisa-Jo’s Project: Laundry in Africa

You all probably know the story of how I raised over $6,000 last year for a playground at a school in Haiti.

But in case you don’t know the story, here it is: Last year, I felt as if God was calling me to do something for the country of Haiti, something big. I kept searching and searching for something to do, and finally, it came to me. My mom suggested I raise money to build a playground at a school in the village of Simonette, Haiti by selling Vi Bella Jewelry, which is made by Haitian women. My goal was to raise $5,000, but God really came through, and I raised a grand total of $6,000 for the school!

I’m amazed that God has used me to do this, even though I’m just a child!

But right now, I want to tell you about another story that has touched my heart. A story that will take place in Africa. Led by my friend, Lisa-Jo Baker. She wants to raise $5,000 to build a laundry facility for mothers who don’t have access to water.

I remember when I first got to Haiti. As we neared the house where we were staying, we passed through a shallow stream. One that was polluted and dirty. I saw people washing their clothes in the water. I wondered if the water made the clothes dirtier than before, but they have no choice.

This is a common sight in Haiti:

Lisa-Jo is going to banish the option of washing clothes in polluted water (or just not washing clothes at all) in a community in Africa.

I highly suggest you check out her blog and make a donation to her fundraising effort.

I have already made a commitment of $40 to her fundraiser.

(And by the way… You know how my motto for my playground project was “every kid deserves to play”? Well I think hers should be “every woman deserves to wash laundry”. 😉 )

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I found the photo shown on Flickr. It was taken by “kretyen.”

Those First Few Moments

It was 3:00 am on January 17, 2013. I heard my mother’s voice, “Lydia, wake up. It’s time to go.” I leaped out of bed. I hadn’t slept a wink the past night. Today was the day. The day I went to Haiti. We gathered our things, rushed to the Fort Lauderdale airport, and soon we were in the air.

I was nervous. I didn’t know what to think. Both of my parents had gone to Haiti before. But not me and my sister. A couple hours later, I heard the pilot speaking on the intercom, “We are now beginning our descent.” I gulped. It suddenly felt as if someone had poured hot lava in my stomach.

But then, I saw the glittering ocean, the beautiful mountains with thousands of huts, the tent cities. I knew soon I would see the poor, the naked, the hungry, the sick. I felt overwhelmed already. I wanted to help them all.

A jolt woke me out of my thoughts. We had landed. I squeezed my mother’s hand, and she squeezed back.

Our ride to the house was a truck with an open back and no seat belts. We quickly passed by groups of Haitians, makeshift shops, and other examples of Haitian ingenuity. Most people would yell out “Blanch! Blanch!” (“White! White!”) as we passed by. I just couldn’t stop staring at everything. This culture was so unlike my own. For example, it is respectful to the Haitian culture for women to wear skirts, dresses, or pants below the knees. (Though I do have to admit, the skirts are so comfortable, and I was totally rocking them!!)

We neared Simonette, and I still was in awe. Like, for security, Haitians put broken glass on the top of their gates. The roads were extremely bumpy, and they would give a baby one serious case of SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome)!

A couple minutes from the house, Kayla Grooters came up behind us riding a four-wheeler. I couldn’t help but wave. We reached the house and one thought was going through my mind: “Is this what Heaven is like?” The house bordered the ocean, and it looked magnificent. A lady was hand washing the laundry in the outdoor shower. I can barely explain how beautiful it all was. I explored the house and learned that I would go see the playground soon.

And I would just keep thinking: “Is this what Heaven is like?”