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06 August 2009

Haiti, Day 2

I wrote all this down yesterday so I figured I'd share it. Please forgive errors. This was done on my phone.

Haiti day 2

This morning Tom & I talked over 1 Thessalonians 1. Our group devotional began today in Titus. Before we were through we were invited to pray over a group from Kansas city before they left today. About 10-15 of them.

After breakfast we started out the workday by painting desks for school, bottom level. Painted ~50 desks. 70 remain upstairs to paint tomorrow or Friday (or we may paint ceiling and walls). About 5-10 kids helped us paint and carry desks back in.

We walked up the hill to our guest lodging (a *long* uphill walk) and waited for lunch - ham & cheese sandwices. The kitchen always smells like some weird mixture of herbs or spices, sometimes mixed with disinfectant. Never bad; just unique. 

Talked with a guy named "Weegee" from another mission group who was married w/5 kids (his wife died in '92) and was a closet homosexual. God delivered him and he now helps people our of that lifestyle.

Around 1:15 we boarded our little bus and headed to an orphanage in the village of Simonete. Went through a little settlement with lots of squalid hovels, banana trees, and cactus walls grown to keep people off their property. Most people (adults or kids) were washing clothes in basins outside the front of their houses.

By the way, people embed broken bottles in the tops of the walls surrounding their property so that no one can climb over. 

At the orphanage in Simonete we talked with the children. Dan (from the other group) told the story of Jonah via a translator. I met a little girl named Jolene. She was wearing Dora pajamas. The kids obviously enjoyed getting to be around visiting adults. 

(On a side note, the hills in Haiti are almost always barren -- no trees, but bushes here and there. The roads are typically awful, even if paved. The road to the orphanage wasn't paved. Cars & trucks here must get torn up often. I surmised that if a car is parked by the side of the road and has a tree branch sticking up, they need assistance. People honk all the time while driving, with no reason I could tell.)

(Continuing the side note, Haiti has no regular electricity; it's sporadic. Sometimes on, sometimes off. Lights are on at night in the hills because the rich people live there (they own generators?).)

All throughout the city are half-finished cinder-block houses. Sarah (our guide) said this is because they ran out of money. Weegee (from the other mission group) said that he was told they don't have to pay taxes until/unless the house is finished.

4:00 pm... We went to the Good Samaritan orphanage in the village of Cabaret. The bus dropped us off & took the other group to another orphanage. This orphanage (built in a former disco place), housing 127 kids, was far more explosive than the last one. Kids came from everywhere to get us to hold them. I've learned a few Creole phrases, but it's still hard to communicate.  

After the children started eating beans & rice (HUGE plates of it!), Tom suggested we walk through the village. So we walked through the street - me, Tom, Dave, Julia, Sarah, JR and Roni (interpreters). Weird, weird experience. Dirt road, people everwhere. Almost everyone watched us walk by. When we walked through the market area it was very unnerving. Too many people, all staring at us; I was afraid some would be openly hostile, but almost every time we greeted someone they would smile back at us and greet us, as well.

Eventually when we rounded a corner a guy with a striped polo shirt & ballcap started to talk to us, smiling and taunting. It was obvious it wasn't too cool when JR and Roni just kept walking and JR halfway smiled as he replied with a few words. Apparently the guy was saying something like, "Come on... (you want to start something, that kind of thing)... You can't do anything because this is my country. I don't like white -- I like black (skin color)." We were already walking back to the orphanage at that point, and it wasn't soon enough for me. :-)

The bus picked us up a few minutes after we got back to the orphanage. In the meantime JR told us that most people in Haiti think it costs a huge amount to go to the USA, but we can come here for nothing.

Later in the evening before everyone went to bed, we sang songs with the other team for quite a while. Many songs we all knew, a couple that weren't common to both groups.

Slept less last night. No air conditioning means that your bed soon becomes a water bed due to perspiration. No complaints! Just still getting used to it.


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