This written by Josh and Paige Konoza, of Pittsburg, PA. They were married in August and decided to go serve with MH4H in Haiti for their belated Honeymoon. This is both of there first time traveling to Haiti.
CHRISTMAS IN HAITI! That’s about as exciting as this post gets. Christmas is not a big production in Haiti. People go to work, and generally go about their business as if it were any other day. There are some Christmas Eve and Christmas services, but otherwise there is not nearly the level of secularization of the holiday here in Pignon as we experience in the states. No last minute pandemonium in the market for procrastinating shoppers. To be honest, I kind of like it that way. We got to skype and wish our families a Merry Christmas, we played a lot of gin rummy and uno, and just genuinely enjoyed our time together.A picture of 3 Bears and Me school, located outside of Pignon.
In the afternoon, we went with Zeke to meet with one of the school Principals to assess the needs for the upcoming semester. The school (3 Bears and Me) is in the countryside with a beautiful view of the rolling mountains that surround it. (In contrast, my high school is in the middle of a suburb and was designed by a prison architect.) The three main needs of the school are basic: 3 chalkboards, a latrine, and a fresh coat of paint. They aren’t worried about a computer lab for the kids…they need a toilet! As of now the kids simply go out into the field to relieve themselves. The tiny toilets in our elementary schools seem like quite the luxury in comparison. As for the chalkboards, as a visual learner, I cannot imagine the difficulty of learning new concepts and ideas without being able to actually see them, and I hope they will find a way to provide them as the new year approaches (side note from the Editor – we had Paige and Josh do this assessment of the school, as next week, we have a group (Pella Christian Winterim) that will be painting the school and putting up new chalk boards. We needed to know how much supplies we needed to get all the needed work done). Lastly, in regards to the fresh coat of paint, who wouldn’t want a nice bright school that you could be proud is YOUR school?
We rounded off our errands with a trip to pick up a new supply of bottled water. Generally we are more than happy to drink from the tap, but obviously that’s not an option here for us (at least not a viable one), and I look forward to returning home to the flow of free water from the faucet.
On our way back Josh asked Zeke about the children he’d noticed with white dreadlocks, and he explained to us that these children are thought to have a bad spirit in them and have been dedicated to Satan. It is widely believed that these children will die if their hair is cut. It reminds me of a twisted version of the Biblical story of Samson: the hair as a sign of Samson’s dedication to God as a Nazarite and the loss of his strength as a result of the cutting of his hair. It seems like a tragedy that a story about the strength with which God endowed His follower Samson would turn up in such a perverted form as to cause such fear that would lead to the dedication of a child to Satan in the belief that it would spare their lives. It is a very obvious example of the need for Christ here in Haiti, and the power he has to deliver us all from a life of fear and uncertainty when we become God’s children.