From volunteer Robin Sussman
Not gonna lie, but today was, hands down, super exciting! And we just got here. The coffee may be an acquired taste, but the food is something I missed a lot. Hi, my name is Robin and this is my second trip to Haiti with Random Acts. And I am an addict.
After breakfast we headed over to help clean up the JCC and it was like the airport – stepping into a whole new world far, far superior to what I left it as last year. For those that are unaware…apparently the newbies believe I’m a liar for telling them the airport is a disaster zone because when we arrived here yesterday, it was pretty awesome. No longer is it merely a warehouse seemingly in the middle of Port-Au-Prince, but now it is a fully fledged, legitimate airport with hallways, live music and air conditioning. Last year they had one conveyor belt that was basically their whole baggage claim area but yesterday gave new meaning to saying ‘Welcome to Haiti.’ And, like the brand new, shiny airport, the JCC is a large, beautiful building that will house over 100 children and teach even more when it opens.
When this project began I remember following and wishing I could be here the first year. The plans were for a one-story building but last year plans to add a second floor became reality. The only thing there year one on the empty lot was a lone breadfruit tree, and it was there last year as we got to see the foundation in person. This year, the tree still stands as our landmark to remind us all of how far that plan has come. From idea to physical, tangible proof that we are making a difference and that it’s helping.
After cleaning inside and out we headed to the ACFFC for lunch and got to see some of the kids (the ones who weren’t at school so sadly the majority were out) again. It was good seeing George again, the man in charge, and catching up with what’s been happening here. But we’ll be heading back for real tomorrow. Sadly, we couldn’t stay because the JCC still needed more work and we bid farewell to go back to scrubbing tiles and sweeping out the dirt (and painting for some of us).
I’m not too proud to admit that I fan-girled like crazy over that building. I cried behind my bright green sunglasses that I borrowed (stole) from my brother before the trip. But what was even more amazing and heart-warming was the sorting of the goods for the various orphanages and projects that Random Acts supports. There were five piles in total and all the bags were filled to over-flowing. The amount of love was almost thick enough to cut with a knife and we divided everything evenly to be distributed throughout the week.