Converse, who was there in late April, told club members that a lot of the children are poor and hungry.
“A lot of kids haven’t experienced electricity, real plumbing, video games,” Converse said. “In light of the devastation all around them, the kids were always smiling.”
Converse stayed at the home of former Gordon County resident Ed Lockett for almost a week. Lockett lives in Haiti and is a missionary.
“If you ever been to a place like Haiti, it’s hard to tell a story just through pictures,” said Converse, showing Lockett’s home, surrounded by a thick iron gate, on a slideshow.
Lockett speaks Creole and was able to help communicate with other natives during Converse’s trip.
Converse, who is the pastor of Rock Bridge Community Church in Calhoun, served as a missionary through Lockett’s ministry in the Lakul community and surrounding areas.
There, he helped provide shelter for outdoor churches, led worship services, handed out pencils at schools, and spent time with the children and ministered in “tent” communities.
Following the aftermath of the earthquake, there were many areas that experienced sustaining damage, resulting in many Haitians setting up field tents for shelter.
The inside of a field tent consisted of a pile of concrete blocks stacked on a dirt floor with a thin foam pad placed on top and two thin sheets as a bed.
“When it rains it floods,” Converse said. “They had to make sure to have it stacked where they wouldn’t get wet.”
Plumbing, garbage and a kitchen were communal areas that were also ill-equipped and outdoors, he said.
Many Haitians eat rice and beans, he said.
One memory — out of many — that will remain with Converse is a five-mile hike up a mountain.
He and other missionary volunteers delivered a tent tarp for another church, and the group was surprised when they saw the entire church awaiting the delivery.
“We had worship there and it was one of the most meaningful and best worship services. The people there are just grateful,” he said.
Converse mentioned that on the way up the mountain, they also passed a man, who had lost his leg, walking the five miles downward into the nearest town.
“The day we got back it was hard to complain about anything,” Converse said.
The other three team members were: Jeremy Owens, Kevin King and Alfred Turley.
Converse will return to Haiti the week of Nov. 6-13 with a small group of people from Calhoun and Gordon County.