We arrived in Haiti on a Saturday, so our first full day was obviously on Sunday. It was an interesting way to ‘start’ our week, because instead of settling in and getting to “work” (we had been given our task list the night before) we spent the morning worshipping in the church.
The service officially started at 9:30 am, but we were instructed to get there by 9:00 am so we could appropriately greet everyone and actually get a seat. The place was packed.
As we sang together worshipping (in English and in Creole), I loved how loudly everyone sang. Their joy and passion for God was so evident, when in America we are so easily ashamed.
The spiritual climate in Haiti is changing. On previous trips, people have mentioned seeing many flags flying on houses, marking them as a residence of a voodoo priest. On this trip, we did not see a single one. Shortly before our trip, on the one month anniversary of the quake, the President of Haiti called for three days of fasting and prayer for the country – a remarkable event considering their history.
After singing, hearing the pastor speak about the steadfast love of God (from Psalm 86), and taking communion, we left with the children to go to their Sunday school type program. Since none of us really spoke Creole, our hosts thought it would be better for us to spend time with the children than try to follow along with the pastor’s message (and they were right!).
The teachers were so excited and passionate about what they were doing and had so many different activities to get the children involved as well. They even sang a little song for us as a greeting.
I tried my best in some of the games, but as you can tell it didn’t always go very well. The girl on my back doesn’t look to confident about my piggyback abilities does she?
We recognized some of the songs from the American versions – a lot of you have probably heard them too – like this one:
The children were all dressed in their finest clothes. Knowing what they usually had to wear, you could tell the value that they placed on honoring the day (something we have mostly lost in America in my opinion). Some of the children actually ‘criticized’ some of us later when we came to play with them still in our ‘church clothes’.
Since the kitchen staff at the mission had the day off, our hosts took us to a local restaurant for lunch. The place was called “Gwo Papa Poul”, which basically translates to “Big Daddy Chicken”. Shortly before the quake, they had finished adding on a second floor which is now unusable.
The food was so good and we certainly all cleaned our plates! I did not see a single diet soda the whole time we were there, so I would usually take a few sips from a friend if I was having a soda urge.
When we got back from lunch, it was time to go down to the orphanage to bring the kids up to the playground by the guest house (a Sunday afternoon treat for them).There was a little girl names Esther that broke my heart. She wanted so much for someone to pay attention to her and love her and she would literally fight with the other kids to get it. She would also fight with you and even try to bite you even if you were paying attention to her. During church, she had been sitting on the lap of the girl next to me and was pulling out the hair of the girl in front of us, putting it in her mouth and eating it. We knew she was doing it for attention, which we of course wanted to give her, but not for that.
From the playground we saw the most beautiful sunset but I unfortunately did not have my camera with me. Our hosts were laughing at us as we admired the sunset and told us that every Haitian sunset is just as beautiful and I was able to catch it the next night.
Monday brought our first day of ‘hard’ work and the first time that diabetes made its ugly presence known, which I guess will be a sto
ry for tomorrow.