By: Taka Tanahashi

Taka joined a team from Powerhouse Christian Church (Wyckoff, New Jersey), and after his week in Haiti and a few days at the Children’s Home, this is what he wanted to share about his experience.

Flying into Port-au-Prince, I thought about what the week would bring.  It was my third time going to Haiti, but in many ways it was a brand new experience.  It was my first time going with people I didn’t know well.  Nearly 4 years has passed since my last venture to the poverty-stricken country.  Also, this week was the lofty conclusion of a 5 month adventure of traveling throughout South America.  Lots to ponder.  But the goal was the same as my last trip, to spend time with the girl I sponsor, Sarah.

Much has changed in the last 4 years.  Haiti is still poverty-stricken but many things have changed visibly.  Rubble doesn’t litter the streets, tent cities don’t line the blocks, and a few roads have been paved.  There is still so much to be done in this country but it’s reassuring to see a semblance of progress in this country I’ve come to love.

I feel so lucky to have gone back to Haiti and the Wings of Refuge Children’s Home.  The kids were so much bigger than I remember!  Some of them were even creeping up to my height.  But their childish charms still remain.  They can grab your heart and never let go, even when you leave for home.

Seeing Sarah was just as amazing as I imagined.  Among the many activities of the week, I was able to ask her questions that our previously wider language barrier had prevented.  Being able to just hear a bit of what feeds her dreams was all I needed.  But I got more than just that.

For me, this trip was very much about these kids, but it was also about reconnecting with others.  It was about reconnecting with some of the people who made my first two trips so memorable.  People like Alexa, Pastor Charles, Mami Pas, Lynny, and so many others.  Being able to spend time with all of them and some new people for the week was invaluable.

We did a lot this week.  We painted a room, we spent time with the kids, we shopped, we hiked the mountains, and we sweated.  A lot.  But as it always tends to be, this time was about the people.  The conversations, the laughs, and the experiences we shared filled an amazing week that was the only conclusion I could have imagined for my lengthy trip.  I’m thankful to be lucky enough to have experienced such a magical time and look forward to the next round some day very soon.