It's almost dinner time at La Belle Maison Guesthouse in Les Cayes, Haiti. The electricity just went out so our fans have slowed to complete halts, and the team has started showers to wash away dirt so thick that little fingers were drawing pictures in our skin by the end of the day. Mud spots are caked in a variety of places as we battled a few refusals from our pickups to make it any further through what the rainy season has left down roads that are not roads. And we've all opened a sugar cane coke to make the afternoon all that it could be. :)
We're wrapping up day two of our two week summer trip to Haiti. We've got ten people staying the whole 12 days, and six people trading out half way through. Many are returning team members and many met Haiti for the first time yesterday.
It's been a year since our first trip to Haiti, and that comes with a lot of thought. Much more than I probably want to delve into right now even if there were enough room on this blog;) Just a few though.... I'm in love with watching people come into contact with Haiti for the first time. And yesterday I got to sit in the peace of letting people take it in, knowing that this is where their story here starts, and that in some way, it always goes forward. Last summer I began a courtship with this country, and we've been trying to figure each other out ever since. And this has been our story. And I am convinced that the more souls that get to say the same thing, the more hope the Haitians have. Because more mouths are, in some way, saying, "We're doing this together."
My team is amazing. They breezed through Port au Prince airport with all (that's right) all of our luggage, and we made it out with only caving to four people who helped us carry it. Now granted, I preached for 30minutes twice about how we "do NOT need help, say 'No Mesi!'" and then was in fact the only person who allowed for one...then two...then four people to assist. Better than 5...I guess...question mark?
The drive to Cayes was familiar and new. It was the first time I had watched those roads pass since the day we evacuated in January. Surprisingly, most of the rough parts have been beautifully paved. I suppose with so much traffic in and out of the capital, people relocating to the other cities, it was necessary.
We ate around the big table and the little table in the dimly lit downstairs last night. Sitting on plastic covers and comparing Haitian gumbo to Louisiana gumbo. A few instructions about how to put your toilet paper in baggies and your baggies in the trashcan, the unpacking of a few decks of cards, room divisions and bugspray...and we called it a night.
All call for omlet (egg, ketchup, hotdog) breakfast, orphanage activity bag and cooler organized and packed, water bottles filled, last call for the potty...last call again for Sarah...and we loaded into the Pajero and the back of a pickup and headed for Bighouse.
I love Bighouse.
The boys pushed us out twice before we called it quits and walked the rest of the path to the 78 little bodies pushing to be first in line to be held, remembered, played with. The orphan village looks great, especially compared to a year ago. The recent additions of latrines, classrooms, showers, playground, dining pavilion, etc, actually make it look functional for so many children. We played, and told the story of Noah, and held, and sang, and twisted pipecleaners, and retwisted pipecleaners, and re-retwisted pipecleaners in hair. We delivered another few months worth of vitamins and made plans to paint the rest of the school house tomorrow as well as finish assembling a few desks. Makendy was in his pink pants and the cut off shirt that shows how cut his arms are (which is somewhat freaky for a 7 year old, but it kinda matches his oddly deep voice). Acenita is spunky and showing off her attitude, as if anyone would miss it. Judelain showed off the english vocabulary he's learned, and Tony took someone's glasses and posted up beside a wall till everyone acknowledged his fashion. Obnese and the older boys whooped up on a handful of our team in a game of soccer on their concrete field in the middle of the beating-down sun. And Samuel stuck a walking stick in the ground and pretended it was a microphone that he performed behind with us as his audience. And we amused him. And we loved every minute of it. And they loved every minute of it.
Still to come: painting the church, potential building of new pews, Croc drop, and introducing ourselves to our newest partners and family, Derivuge Orphanage.
"You said that Haiti was chaotic and beautiful and in pieces and rich and hard and wonderful, and I didn't understand. But now I do." -Grant, while driving through Port au Prince.
Welcome to Haiti. She comes with as much baggage and questions as she does purpose and captivating something that keeps you coming back. That keeps you telling the stories. If you've been in any part of this relationship with her for the past year of our partnership there...whether going, or giving, or reading, or sharing, or praying for hope and healing and provision...Thank You. And stick with us.... surely the story only gets better from here.
Pray for our team, for health and efficiency, for Kingdom building processing and connections,