Raleigh, N.C. — Fifteen women from four Triangle churches marked the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti this week by spending time with children there, as the island nation continues to recover from disaster.
The missionary group volunteered at the Hearts and Hands Children's Home in Gonaives.
"Our primary purpose was just to go love on the children," said volunteer Lisa Jensen.
Hearts and Hands for Haiti is a Raleigh-based charity that serves children at the home. Members of the Hayes Barton United Methodist Church in Raleigh sponsor children by sending them money and supplies.
With 70 children and just four adult caregivers, Jensen said, "there are limitations as to how much time and attention you can give the children."
So the trip focused on the children, showering them with attention and love as they face the ruin around them.
"You want to bring them home. You want to give them the same experience that I've given my own children," Jensen said.
Seeing the conditions in Haiti first-hand made saying goodbye all the more difficult, she said. The group returned to North Carolina this weekend.
"I was disappointed in the lack of rebuilding that has taken place," said LuAnn Charlton, associate pastor at Hayes Barton United Methodist.
She had traveled to Haiti before. In fact, she was there the day the earthquake hit.
Two years later, she said, not much has changed.
"We saw tent cities where a few tents have been removed, but for the most part, they are intact," she said. "People are still living just as they were right after the earthquake."