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08 August 2009

Haiti Day 5

I awoke to the now-familiar Haitian smell of burning rubbish heaps. It isn't as bad as it sounds, but it's definitely not a good smell. There are a couple of general smells of burning trash heaps here; one of them carrying the stench of tires being melted and another that's very reminiscent of burning marijuana. It's not the latter. I've asked around to confirm.

Off-topic note: most public (and many private) buildings in Haiti seem, to my observation, to be open-air rather than enclosed structures. This is so that there will be air circulation in the absence of air conditioning. 

After everyone else woke up, we started out the day talking (over a breakfast of banana bread) about whether it is possible for the believer, who has new life in Christ and has died to self, to live without sinning... For one minute... For an hour... For a day...? It was a great discussion that took us through the Word and brought a couple of opinions. If we *just* use the Word as our guide (and not what people have taught), what would our answer be to this?

On the way to do things today we stopped by the office of the mission, and Sarah gave us a short tour. She pointed to a stack of books and told us that a lady from Iowa, Joan Martineau, is writing the first Haitian Christian school curriculum. Currently the first 3 years of kindergarten (they go to K for 3 years) are completed. Currently it is in the process of editing, etc.

After this we drove to Turpin (a farming region) to see the baptist church. 600 kids go to school here. Otis commented that if a group let the people in the area know about it, a "crusade" or a special event like vbs could draw 1500-2000 people (kids and adults together).

It's still interesting to me that everyone has to pay to go to school here the mission offers school at a much cheaper price (visitors sponsor children to go by paying half of their cost), and is recognized as on par with catholic schools, which are the best here.

We walked through a path for a short distance, and stopped at a house where Julia and Tom talked with a lady for a little while. It should be noted that everywhere we go, we're constantly exchanging bonjours and salyes with passers-by, both adults and children. There is always a non-stop stream of people walking, driving, and riding, no matter where we go.

I began to feel light-headed and sat down for a minute. I think this was from lack of enough coffee or food this morning. Sarah kindly gave me a fresh mango to eat as we drove back to town.  That's the first fresh mango I've ever had. Delicious and messy. And I have mango stringy things in my teeth still.

I should note that we go everywhere in a pickup truck (except when we went with a larger group the other day and took a bus). Three or four of us typically ride in the bck while three or four others ride in the cab of the truck. People stare at us as we drive by. My assumption is that this is because we are white people in a decidedly non-white place. As a matter of fact, aside from the mission and in one truck at the airport when we arrived, I haven't seen any other Caucasian people.

I'm typing as we've stopped by the side of the road where some men are working, building a car wash. Otis knew one of the men and stopped to talk with him. This seems a pretty normal thing to do. The pace of life in Haiti seems to be relaxed and enjoyable, just like its people.

More random thoughts on general things... I haven't mentioned Tap Taps. These are vehicles, usually pickup trucks or buses, that are like taxis. They stop to pick people up and carry them wherever for a Haitian dollar or two. They're all around. They are typically decorated in a very colorful fashion. The closest I can come to describing the decorations would be to compare them to carnival rides. Painted multi-colored lettering on wood, etc. Pictures of people that look weirdly scary at times, or just unusual.

At 3:30 we headed to Souse Matla for a church meeting at a mission run by a man named Tom Osbeck, an old friend of Tom Parker. We rode in a Tap Tap! It was weird but fun. There were about 20 people already in it when the eight of us climbed in. I'd given the Haitian money for the cab to JR (a Haitian) so they wouldn't try to short-change an American.

Tom's friend Tom invited me and Dave to lead a few songs with the team at the church we visited. Familiar songs, familiar keys, unfamiliar chord changes, and definitely unfamiliar words. It was great! We have the opportunity to lead tomorrow with the team here at Mission of Hope's service. Greatly looking forward to it. The worship leader here, Claudelle, is highly respected in his talent and love for Christ. He'll be in the US later this year; hopefully we'll be able to host him, or at the very least, hook up with him.

Another group has arrived and Sarah is giving them the ABC's of Haiti. I'm not sure whether to get to know them tonight or leave them alone. Their flight was very late.


Preston N said...

If we *just* use the Word as our guide (and not what people have taught), what would our answer be to this?

My response to that question would be: "In Christ (Another way of saying one is in relationship with Him) we can DO ALL THINGS! yes - including not sinning on a daily basis."

Thanks Dean for the updates they are inspiring and a blessing to read. May God continue to use you in Haiti in a great way.

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