So my morning started just like every other morning here in this amazing city of Leogane: at 2 am with roosters and chickens fighting for dear life, and the cows mooing in the pasture behind our place. And a view of the sunrise through my bunk bed. And the coughing, shifting, walking and snoring of about a hundred other people. Yep, just another morning in paradise!

So today we split our morning and afternoon: we went back to our regular rubble sight of Boissoniere in the morning, and went to the orphanage after lunch. Our site was amazing. The team we had going on there today was absolutely fabulous. Everyone was chill and amazing, and worked their asses off. We accomplished quite a bit, and actually saw an end in site. For Abby, Breanne, and I, it’s pretty important that we finish it tomorrow so we can see it done before we leave :)

It’s been pretty cool getting to know the neighbors around our site. There’s definitely a language barrier, so most of us aren’t able to communicate with them, but they start to recognize you and call you by your name when they see you. One of them also has a baby called Junior, and he’s absolutely adorable. Today was awesome for me because most of the girls were calling me by my name, and when I asked about Junior, they totally went into their place and brought him out so I could hold him for a bit, awesomeness!

Abby and I had signed up for dinner duty for today, but then we realized we had made plans to have dinner with our UN peeps, so we had to track down two people who were willing to switch with us and let us take their lunch dishes duty, so that we’d have the night free. Thankfully, the first two people we approached were super cool about it, and I think one of them was even happy because he preferred to do dinner dishes anyway. So that worked out. We did our lunch dishes, tried to take a quick break, then got ready to play with some kids.

The orphanage is walking distance, so we just walked through the IDP camp, past the market, and we came up to a building that isn’t really a building. It’s a bunch of block walls, with no ceiling, and one room has a tarp over it with some desks in it. And that’s where we play with the kids. It was crazy. Anyhow, we walked into the “school” and it was the warmest reception I’ve ever seen: the kids were going crazy they were so excited to see us. Hands On does this every Tuesday and Thursday, so they were definitely expecting us. We divided the kids into two groups, one group with do English class and the other group would do art projects, and then we would switch them around. I was on the English round first, and there’s only so much you can do there: you have maybe 2 or 3 teachers, and the rest of the volunteers just sit around the kids and help them pronounce stuff. Art time was way better: you get to mingle a lot more with the kids, and I think this is where most of my interaction with them happened. At one point they started asking all the volunteers to draw for them, instead of them drawing, so I drew quite a few boats, some houses, an elephant that did not resemble an elephant, and a whole bunch of hearts that said “I love you!” inside of them. After about the fifth one I switched it to: “I love Alex.” Ha.

There was a group of older girls there, maybe between 12-14, and they were absolutely in love with my hair. They kept touching it and playing with it and braiding it a little. It actually looked pretty cool. The hardest part about today was definitely leaving those kids behind. There were probably four or five kids clinging onto each one of us, holding us back, wanting us to stay and play longer with them. I can’t even begin to imagine what their lives are like. I’m glad I was able to spend the time I did with them, but I wish I could do more.

After the orphanage visit, it was back to base camp, shower, dinner, relax, nightly meeting, then we got ready to meet up with our UN friends. They had originally planned on cooking us dinner again at their basecamp (and had actually gone to purchase all the groceries), but they got in pretty late from PAP, so we opted to meet at a pretty popular place near our base, and they offered to drive us back. So Abby, Reuben and I headed out around 8pm, to the dark streets of Leogane. Thankfully Abby had a flashlight app on her phone, and Reuben knew where he was going, but it was still a little scary to be walking around town on our own. There are also some long stretches of the street that have absolutely NO lighting, so it’s pretty dark. Thankfully we made it there safe and sound :) We ended up grabbing some food and a few beers, and our friends showed up soon thereafter. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome these people are. I mean, who are we, for these guys to go out of their way to come and meet up with us for drinks?! They also brought along another guy from the UN who Reuben ended up talking to for quite a bit, and since Reuben is planning on being out there for quite a while, I think that will be an awesome contact for him in the future. They drove us back home and we ended up finishing the night with another round of drinks at Joe’s bar. I definitely hope they either come out to visit, or that I have the chance to see them again at some point in my life.

Ended up the day with another roof top adventure, bonding with amazing people from all over the place. What more could I ask for? Oh yeah, sleeping in my bed with my boo ;)