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13 August 2009

Haiti Day 8

We're back from Haiti now, but I never posted notes about day eight (nor did I do this for day one), so here's the former:

I woke up around 2:30, thinking it was much later than that. I went back to sleep pretty easily but awoke again at 4:30 and slowly realized that the generator apparently wasn't running (it's supposed to run until 6:00). Though our room was pretty well-ventilated, I assume that the lack of fans in the other groups' rooms was noticeable, because I began to hear mattress springs creaking all around the upper floor. People woke up, got up, and went downstairs. This was about an hour earlier than I think they'd have normally gotten up.

Mercifully, the coffee maker was on a live circuit! We had good coffee today.

The departure was bitter. I was going to say bittersweet, but it wasn't sweet to leave Haiti. The reward on the other end of things -- my family -- was phenomenal, but saying goodbye was not easy. I intend to go back to Haiti and see many who are now my friends, and possibly to work with some of the teams who'll go through Mission of Hope, though that's not really a formal desire. It was just nice to interact with teams, see how their trip was impacting them, and encourage them to remember that the trip they took was not about them, but about God impacting Haiti through them. Any personal impact God chooses to make is gravy (that means "bonus material").

The image on the right, as I understand it, is one of the many lottery ticket shops that are dotted throughout most of the cities in Haiti. This one is in the city of Bon Repos, taken as we were driving through on the way to Port Au Prince to catch our departing flight. I've never been a fan of lotteries in the USA; not because they're gambling (similar to the stock market, and I don't have a problem with gambling in and of itself anyhow), but because a lottery typically "takes" money from those who can afford it the least. Rather, it is a huge temptation for the poor that promises them potential huge wealth. And since I think that in the USA, I was even more blown away that they had so many lottery locations in Haiti. I'm not even sure what country or organization is doing the lottery, but I don't believe it's Haitian in origin.

The plane rides home were enjoyable and felt relatively short. On the first leg I sat by a Haitian who'd moved to the US when he was younger and had just completed his second visit back to his home country. His name was "Pastor Paul." I'm not sure if "Pastor" is a literal first name or a title. I'll bet it's a title, eh? The conversation was great. The man loves God.

On the second leg I sat by a lady who desperately wants to market a food product, and she's receiving encouragement from friends and her pastor. It was an enjoyable conversation as well, and I'll refrain from posting the dialog, but the conversation tone changed a little when I asked what part Jesus Christ is playing in her life, seeing as how she was reading a book on success. It didn't change for the worse! No worries.

After landing in Atlanta, we drove home. The end. I'm tired of typing now. (I journaled almost all of the comments from each day's post into Notepad in my iPhone as the events happened, but didn't do so for day eight, so I just had to type most of it from memory.)

I may do a sort of forum post (or maybe an image gallery if I can find a good layout), under which I'll encourage you guys to ask questions about the trip specifically or about Haiti in general, and I'll do my best to answer them, or I may forward them to Mission Trip Coordinator Extraordinaire Sarah. I've added her introspective and very observant blog, my sweet sojourn, to the links list at the right. I know you will enjoy it.


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