Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Haiti--Contrasts Day 3 (morning)

This is the day the Lord has made....can you believe I got up at 6:30 a.m. That's crazy for me, but I wanted to help Sharon cook breakfast. Still not early enough to see the sun rise. But looking up at the beautiful mountain view this morning, it's hard to believe that last night it was so dark that you could not distinguish the mountain from the sky.

I'm listening now to the children interacting--already up and dressed for church. I wish my kids would consider being up for church before 7 am completely dressed and still in a good mood! :) We commented how all the kids just help each other. The little ones being led by the big ones....helping in kitchen , or just making sure the little ones got a snack. I love it.

A couple of times I've already been asked was I Haitian. On the way in from the airport, a Haitian who accompanied Matt to pick us up said "I looked Haitian." What does that mean? When I was in Seoul, Korea, a young lady from Kenya came up to me in the subway and said I "looked Kenyan." I guess it means that we all just look like regular black folks until we open our mouths to speak.

As a matter of fact I remember standing in line at customs looking at the posters in the Port au Prince airport and what did I think....yep, you guessed it, "they look American!" : ) It was that recognition that we are related in some way.

Then one of the kids on our van ride to the beach asked me, "Why I was this color." I said because "I'm like you." There is a cultural part of this experience that is different. The first day we were given an orientation we were told that we would be staying in the Big House. Boy...talking about a black girl from the south having a flashback moment.

Then when we went on our mountain hike it was very clear to me how Toussaint L'Overture was able to use the terrain against the French. Then yesterday on the beach, I met a Cuban doctor who only spoke Spanish. And of course, I knew basically only English....but remembered enough Spanish to carry on a basic conversation. I don't know whether it would have made my high school Spanish teacher proud or cringe! He had been in Haiti for 2 years. The work had not been easy and he did not have his family with him. I didn't know the word for "missions" but could say "church" and "teach kids about Jesus."

From that encounter, I thought about Cuba and the Dominican and how their independence came out differently....maybe it was the Spanish....maybe it was the time period....but to think what a different place Haiti might be if the world had recognized its independence and treated it like a true republic....free to govern themselves.....the legacy of so many things from generations past that haunt their descendants today. Alas.....with that said, all of my historical ruminations, I am brought back to this beautiful day where we are all starting to feel the morning sun on our faces.

I am glad to be here. Two kids, Lougley and Stephania, just taught me the words to "God is so good." That is neat. But now the boys are starting to stir....so remember what I said earlier.....it all went out the window. This looks more like my house on any given morning....loud, rambunctious, playful boys. Love is. God is so good.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Haiti--Contrasts Day 2

Tina with Thaina...HAF 2012
Love the kids. They are so loving and unassuming. That to me was the highlight of the day, just sitting and rocking. But we also went to the beach and that was fun. I had a great time.

Then just watching folks....it did remind me a lot of the South---flea markets with everything you can think of and people making do with what they have, no matter how much or how little. It does remind me to just be grateful--so whether food, or running water, or just the fellowship of the saints.

I am glad that I came, just want to be open to the Lord, to hear His voice, to value what He values. I am still learning that lesson---it is not about me. So what is God up to? Why am I here? What does He want the take away to be?

One friend said to me when I decided to come alone-- "Some things God has are just for you, not your friends, just for you.

So I am expectantly waiting!
Richnaider at the beach. He was hamming it up for the camera.
A market we passed on the side of the road.
Ti-Paul (on the left) quickly jumps into this photo with Dorie.
POSTSCRIPT: We are very fortunate to be able to sponsor two kids that I met while in Jacmel. I hope you will consider sponsoring a child. The thing I love about Hands and Feet sponsorships is the Family Room which allows you to get regular updates about the kid you sponsor. HAF provides long-term, family-style care for each child. For just $30 a month you really can make a difference in the life of a child. Each child needs 10 sponsors.

I loved getting to interact with Ti-Paul. He reminded me a lot of my son Quentin....a bit mischievous, but very creative and energetic. Whether kicking the soccer ball or flying the kite, Ti-Paul is a good natured kid with a fun-loving spirit. Ti-Paul still has 6 sponsor slots to fill in his Family Room.

Sponsor Ti-Paul at http://www.handsandfeetproject.org/jacmel-available/ti-paul