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06 August 2009

Haiti Day 3

We had French toast for breakfast today, prayed together with the group from NC and sang a couple of songs ("better is one day" and "come thou fount").

Today was "beach day." I felt guilty at the beginning of the day and feel a little badly still. At 10:20 we arrived at Wahoo Beach. The drive was about an hour long, through Cabaret and many villages. Thursday is market day in Cabaret, and the city/village square was literally packed with people. Thousands (?) in the space of a couple of city blocks.  

There is much less burning stuff on the way out toward the beach than there is in the area in which we're staying and Cabaret.

Wahoo Beach Resort is beautiful. Stone steps lead down to a narrow strip of beach; to the right (further down the beach) the mountains rise high in the background. Not many trees; mostly bushes on the mountains.


Tom had suggested that we take along $5 to rent masks and snorkels for the day, and sure enough, as soon as we hit the beach, not only did vendors immediately set up paintings to display, or walk around with baskets of the same jewelry and wooden carved cups, boxes, etc. as everyone else in Haiti seems to sell, but A boatman we came to know as "Feh Feh" began to ask us if we wanted to go to the coral reef. He held up masks to show what he was talking about. Tom, having been to Haiti 4 times before, was very deliberate and careful in agreeing on a price: $5 for BOTH of us -- "all day". We could eat, sleep, whatever, and come back and there wouldn't be any additional money! Great deal! He even said Dave could ride along for free.

We rode for 10 minutes or so in the boat, along the coast, until we got over the coral. At that point Feh Feh began to let us know how much it would now cost to rent the actual masks. Long story short, we wound up diving around the coral. I never was able to get a snorkel to work before today, and I continued the tradition. I swam only with a mask.

It was breathtaking to look down at the coral and the fish swimming around. I was actually pretty scared... I don't like swimming in the ocean. I was able to get over it and be amazed. It was even more amazing to come up out of the water to see the majestic hills, banana trees, coconut trees, etc. God created some amazing things...

I noticed there were tires along the bed of the ocean and in the coral. Apparently the tires have been put there as habitat for sea life. As I understand it (and I'll need to research this), there has been so much deforestation that erosion has swept earth into the ocean and destroyed much of the habitat there.

Lunch at the resort restaurant was good (but the ladies at the mission cook better!). Stewed chicken in a tomato-based sauce, fried plantains (which I believe we've had every day), beans and rice, and a traditional haitian food: spikliz. It's basically coleslaw, but it is in a vinegar base, and is often *extremely* spicy. The spikliz in our meal was just right. It was delicious.

We're on our way back to the mission now. Dave, by the way, looks like he's wearing a pink shirt with swirly print (sunburned skin with tattoos.

Back at the mission, we had enchiladas and brownies.

I believe that God may have sent me to Haiti to meet Dan Cornelius. The account that Dan gave me and Julia (and Dave and Tom in another conversation) about the turning point Jesus Christ made in his life is amazing. Several times this week I've thought, "Wow, this guy should be a full-time pastor," and almost immediately I think, "Wow, it is so cool that this guy isn't a full-time pastor!" This guy, like many friends at home, is living out "church". He really gets it. He is consumed with Jesus Christ. Others here are, too, but my few conversations with Dan have been just great. His group leaves tomorrow, unfortunatey. We'll be alone for a day, I think, until the next group of white folks arrives.

I anticipate singing and maybe some talking before we go to bed, but I'll wrap up for now. If anything earth-shattering happens I'll write "Haiti Day 3b".

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