Laurae Richards

Flower

Lady with Basket #2

Street Vendor

This street vendor was seen alongside the road on one of our trips up Delmar.  I love this picture because there was so much color. It is such an awesome picture of life in Haiti.

 

Samuel

Samuel lives at the school in two rooms at one end of the cafeteria.  He lives with his parents, sister and cousin.  Both his parents work at the school, his mother working in the kitchen and his father in charge of the school grounds. He use to be scared of the teams

Magdala and Samuel

One day while working at the school I saw Magdala and Samuel where sitting in the area where there mom was working at the school, they looked so cute.  These two little children worked so hard with the team.  Magdala was only about four years old and wanted so hard to help carry the buckets of cement.  Samuel did not want her to get hurt and kept trying to take the buckets away from her.

Boy looking

This young man was watching us while we were working on the job site.  His face really made me wonder what he was thinking about all us Americans working on his school.

Cement Helper

This young man worked with the team a lot.  I loved his make sift boots and his attitude that was so willing to work was just great, it made you smile.  He won the hearts of many of the team members as he could also flash you a smile and look sad within the same second.

Flower in the rocks

While walking along a rocky path up in the mountains of Kenscoff I came upon these little flowers just growing among the rocks.  With all Haiti’s turmoil and cue’s many people who have never been to Haiti think that is all there is and that is sad because there is so much more.  Like these rocks that were everywhere, I could have missed the beauty of these flowers if I had not taken time to slow down and really look.

Kindergarten

This picture was taken in the kindergarten area of the school were our team was working.  The children go to Kindergarten for three years starting at age 3.  These two little girls where so cut.   I think they were supposed to be in their classroom though not out in the courtyard.

Poinsettia

This was the first time I saw poinsettias just growing in the wild.  It was beauty and was like a large bush

Beach

One of the things we often do with a team on the last day is take them to the beach.  We want the team to see more than just the city and the two-hour drive out to the beach really starts to show the countryside.  And after working hard in the hot sun for days the beach is not only beautiful but also very refreshing.

Girl in window

This picture was taken at the church where we were working as a team.  This little girl is a sponsor child of one of the girls on our team and she had been working with us all week.   She was looking out the window on a break from working, down to the street below.  She makes you wonder what she is thinking.

White Flower

This is on of the many flowers that grow in Haiti.  It is amazing to find amongst rubble and poverty such beauty.  It reminds me also of the people in Haiti.  If you dismiss the country on your initial impressions of how bad things are, or how poor they are you will miss Haiti’s greatest asset, it’s beautiful people.

Jacmel town

Our team had gone to Jacmel for the day, a 50-mile trip that took three hours.  Jacmel is cute little town on the south coast of Haiti.  I had never been there before and enjoyed seeing more of the country.  The village here was very different than anything we had seen in Port Au Prince

The Bracelet

This little boy was making bracelets on our job sight.  This is one of the ways that the children try to make money.  They make bracelets and try and sell them to us for a dollar or two.

Jacmel

This is a picture of looking out of a window in a hotel restaurant in Jacmel.  Our team had gone there for the day, a 50 mile trip that took three hours.  Jacmel is cute little town on the south coast of Haiti

Lady with Basket 2

 

I love seeing the ladies walking down the street with baskets on their heads.  It is amazing how much they can hold up there.  When I see them I just want to take their picture, but sometimes it just feels like an infringement on their lives.  It is a really hard balance, between what you want to show people back home and what shouldn’t be shown.  I have think so times, “If the tables where turned and this was me would I want pictures taken”?

Remy

Remy who was often referred to as the “cement guy” has been in charge of the making of the cement on the construction sight for many years.  He is a man of few words who takes a long time to warm up to you.  Once this has happens though, each meeting seems to build on your friendship.  He is one of the people I look forward to seeing each trip back to Haiti.

Haunting Eyes

This was my first trip to Haiti.  A little boy was staring in at us while we ate our lunch.  It was so hard to eat while eyes watched you.  I took a picture of him watching us.  When I got the picture back after we returned the eyes almost seemed haunting.  You feel that a lot in Haiti.

Buckets

I was on top of the school taking a break from the construction we had been doing. I looked over the side and saw this little boy outside his house, doing his wash.  He had all his buckets set up for washing and rinsing.  Just as I was taking the picture he spotted me.  I wonder what he thought about me taking his picture.  This was one of those times that I felt a little bad about the picture after I had taken it.  A friend told me latter that she knows the boy and he is very shy.

Man sitting on bag of charcoal

This picture was taken in La Saline.  La Saline is the place where the people make mud pies to feed their children.  The people here also live in an old prison in the cells.  It is a very sad place to visit because the people here are even poorer than elsewhere.

Five Faces

These children were looking out the bars of their school.  They were watching us work out in the courtyard doing cement work for more of the classrooms.  I wonder what they were thinking about us. I knew a few of these boys and they were used to seeing us around their school.  It is often quite humbling how happy the children become when we are there, like we are something special.

Hope and Solitude

I love the contrast of these two faces, not only in color but also in expression.  These children were looking through the bars at the school while we were working.  The children are so beautiful and their smiles are captivating.  They live in such a desperate country yet the light of Christ shines through their faces.

Cite Soleil

 

Our group was visiting Cite Soleil, which is said to be one of the poorest sections in all of Port Au Prince.  It is also one of the most volatile areas, run primarily by competing gangs.  Many children here were unclothed and the housing was often made from sheets of metal.  While standing at a higher point in the village looking over the roofs of homes I saw this girl run by with a baby in her arms.  She looked sad and almost scared.  I wanted to say it would be OK, but I couldn’t.  I saw where she lived, how she lived. How could I say it would be Ok?  Nothing made sense 

Window

These two kids where looking in at us as we ate lunch.  A lot of times the kids looking in ask us for food, but these two just laughed and smiled and seemed to just have fun getting us to take their pictures.  I love the joy in their faces even though I know they probably really wanted our food.  How do they find such joy in their lives while they are so desperate, and those from the US have so much and find no joy?

Man doing wash

We were in La Saline, the place were people feed their children mud pies to stop their crying.  A number of our team members had just met their sponsor children for the first time.  It was quite emotional.  Upon leaving the church I saw this man doing laundry.  It seemed odd because it seemed like such a woman’s job, in a country where there seems to be clear distinctions on what women and men do.  I wondered if he has family, could that be why he was doing the wash, he was all alone.

Doug’s Friend

This little girl was such a wild thing, always teasing and joking around.  She especially took a liking to one of our team members, Doug.  He could never remember her name but often picked her up to pretend to dunk her in our giant water bucket.  We ended up just calling her Doug’s friend.

Water Jugs

These girls walked through the schoolyard on their way to find water.  The girl on the right stood there so solemn in her shorts, which are not custom for girls to wear, while the one on the right was all girl.  It made me think about the world these two lived in.

Michaline

What a picture it is to see little girls all dressed up in their Sunday best sitting among the rubble.  It doesn’t make sense to see such poverty yet all the little girls run around in dresses.  Some dresses don’t have buttons or zippers and are held together by safety pins, yet they still try to have girls dress like girls!

The Conversation

These two little boys were sitting on the stairs at the school.  They were so cute just in their own world having a conversation.  The one on the left I know and he is just the cutest little guy.  His name is Winda, and his dad helps run Pastor Rigaud’s orphanage.

Evans

This little boy always sat to the side, away from all the action.  Years later when I looked over the pictures I had taken on my first trip I realized that this little boy was Evans, a boy that I have become very attached to.

Emmanuel

During one of our breaks from work this little boy was looking in at us.  He was so cute.  It was four years later when I looked at this picture again and realized that this was Emmanuel, a little boy that I knew.  He is a delight and joy, and he just makes you smile when you see him.

Red Door

red-doorToday our group was moving bricks from the kindergarten school to the main school. Leaning against the side of the building was this boy just watching us. He wasn’t someone we knew. He didn’t speak with us, he just watched. I wondered what he was thinking while he watched us. Were we a positive sight to see or negative? Did he want to talk with us but couldn’t because of the language barrier? Why didn’t we try to talk to him?

Melande

melande
It was our day of fun. We were headed to Jacmel. The drive was long, about three hours over a mountain, but it was beautiful. I loved seeing more of Haiti. We stopped a number of times at road side stands because Melande wanted something. I wasn’t sure what it was she was looking for until she bought it, a stack of small bananas for the group to eat on our travel. They were great!

Onlookers

onlookersOur group had come to Haiti on a short term mission’s trip for ten days. We were working in the Cite Solidarite section of Port au Prince at Pastor Rigaud Antoine’s school and church. Each day in Haiti was filled with profound emotions some more difficult to deal with than others. Lunch time was one of the more painful times. Lunch time was one of these. After working for a number of hours it was time for our lunch. It consisted of one peanut butter and jelly sandwich each. For some of us this seemed inadequate, but for our onlookers- the children who visited with us daily at the work site-it was probably more than they would have all day. We represented hope for them. We had come to help build their school and their church. This was the school that would teach them and the school that would feed them, if they had the privilege of attending. But that hope seemed to be overwhelmed by the despair reflected in their eyes as that peered longingly through the ventilation holes in the wall. We also represented something they would never have, a life they could only imagine. This gripped you at the pit of your stomach. Many wanted to give away what little we where served but that would only weaken our effectiveness on the construction site. So we ate with the onlookers’ eyes forever burned in our memories. We had to focus on why we were there. We came to serve the Haitians though the building of the school. This school would touch the lives of so many. There was hope in that.

Little Girls

little girlsOne day while working on the job site at Pastor Rigaud Antoine’s school and church, I decide to walk around to take some pictures. When I walked around back I found these three little girls playing a game. They were so cute just sitting there playing some home made game. It was as if they were in their own little world just being children while their Haitian world went on in chaos around them.

Solitude

solitudeWhile on a family mission’s trip, my oldest son was taking pictures on the roof. I wasn’t aware of the pictures he took until we got home. I loved this picture of a little girl sitting all by herself on the stairs. She seemed so alone and small sitting there on these really big stairs. Compositionally it captured something that touched me. How alone we can feel in the vastness of this world. How alone one can be in Haiti even as a small child, where parents desert their children because they can’t care for them.

Baby

babyWe were in Cite Soleil. We had just walked through one of the poorest sections in Port au Prince, and saw sights beyond our belief. The way people lived, the garbage canal that ran between their homes, the unclothed children that collected at our feet, they were all more then our hearts could handle. Then we walked around the corner and saw this baby crawling down the path. We all just stood and watched. We did nothing. We didnÕt know what to do; it was if we were frozen in a state of utter disbelief and helplessness all at the same time. And then we left. IsnÕt that the way people tend to react? We donÕt know what to do so we do nothing?