Bonswa Zanmi’m! Kouman oy ye?!

After the first two weeks spent with big teams and then a week with Sara, these last 10 days have been….different. Coming down from the high of pouring cement floors and delivering food to hundreds of needy households, I’m now catching a glimpse into the “real world” of being a missionary in Haiti. I am happy to announce that I fit in quite nicely with my love for stovetop popcorn and Keen sandals! As Craig says, Keen’s are, “The preferred shoe of missionaries in Haiti”.

Last year, my favorite moments in Haiti were spent riding in the back of the pickup to and from Savanette. This year, those pickup trips have been beat out by our mopa-, I mean, motorcycle rides! So Much Fun!!! As well, Craig, Christi, and I have together mastered the art of what we like to call, “three on the moto”! We’re halfway to being Haitian! Don’t look Mom & Dad!

Don’t we look cool! If we could see Craig’s shoes I thought we should send this picture to Keen to see if they could use it for marketing purposes!

Don’t we look cool! If we could see Craig’s shoes I thought we should send this picture to Keen to see if they could use it for marketing purposes!

My days lately have consisted of tagging along with Craig, Christi, and the guys to various projects, as well as sitting in on meetings galore. 🙂 I’ve also spent some time working on my own project, acquiring video footage from a few of our Meals from the Heartland distributions. I’ve been to Haiti Home of Hope (Bill and Jennifer Campbell’s orphange), The Pignon Hospital Feeding Program, The Least of These (Eben’s & his mom’s program), and Fountain of Christ school.

Hospital feeding program

In the evenings, I’ve enjoyed relationship building with the neighbor girls, Sankara and Tracy, and their siblings. I practice my Creole, they practice their English, we laugh, we sing, we dance, we paint our nails and I get my hair “did”! I am so thankful for the opportunity to befriend these young ladies and God has been so good to provide opportunity for me to share some of my testimony as well as encourage the girls in their studies. Especially in their English learning!

Both girls joined Christi and I on our weekly mountain hike! I was a little concerned for them as they seemed pretty winded just walking from home to the base of the mountain. (I will give them credit; it is a decent 30 min fast walk.) Despite our “anpil pose” (many rests) we made it to the top in good time and once on top the girls were pretty excited at the view!

The girls on top of the mountain. I’ve worked very hard over the past few weeks to earn the trust of this little stinker and get a grin on this face! Worth every bit of effort!

I was pleasantly surprised to find both sets of parents very relaxed with the idea of the girls tagging along on our mountain adventure. We left at 5am, in the dark, neither girl having any mountain climbing experience, but I was assured it was, “pa gen problem” (not a problem). We had a similar experience Sunday afternoon when riding around looking for our cook, Evnee’s house. C&C, Ebens and I went to the area of town where we thought she lived but upon asking directions from a neighbor we found out that she had moved. The neighbor lady yelled for her son and as soon as he appeared she sent him out on his bicycle to Evnee’s new neighborhood. He returned promptly, a little girl in tow, who happened to be Evnee’s niece. Eben’s picked the little girl up, set her on the front of his motorcycle, and she softly yet confidently directed the way to Evnee’s house! It’s refreshing to be in such a relaxed and trusting culture.

Move over Google Maps….

Over the last few years, most of Haiti has hooked up to a hydro-electric grid, but due to some faulty wiring in our valley community, there’s always only a 50/50 chance of whether or not our street lamps will be lit come twilight. (Our dorm which is located just south of the city is now hooked up to an amazing solar power system, so thankfully we’re powered up 24/7.) This past weekend, however, both Friday and Saturday were graced with a consistant charge which I’m sure helped to generate the lively buzz among the populace! I’ll modify a well-known phrase to more accurately fit this situation, “Lights, Radio, Action!” 🙂

Saturday evening around dusk, Craig, Christi, and I were again riding “three on the moto”, home from a visit with a lovely American missionary family on the “other side of the mountain”. The city was alive with sights and sounds, when we stopped at our accountant Appolon’s house to pick something up. In conversation we shared our observation about the electricity helping to create the festive atmosphere in the streets. We asked him if all the noise was ever a bother to him. He responded jovially, “No! We like it when it’s hot!”

Priceless! Without the ability to afford more elaborate forms of entertainment such as movies,  television, video game condoles, and computers with internet, Haitian culture relies heavily on music and dance as some of their foundational forms of entrainment. So when the electricity is up and running, the music is blaring and the people are dancing! “Get it while it’s hot!”

As I finish writing this, I have only one last day before I must leave this devastatingly beautiful country.  And while my heart is already breaking, the wise Ebens always says, “If you want to come back, you must first go.” Sad but true my dear brother.

So as I go, words cannot express my appreciation for this time that I’ve been given to serve, connect, worship with, and learn more about my Haitian brothers and sisters. It is an experience I will not soon forget and I am confident it will provide the much needed motivation for my return adventures of rockin’ out another season of Mango Tree madness 🙂

N’ap rewe anko, my beloved Haiti!

xoxo Liz

Cashew apple found on the property we’re looking at for the new dorm. Cashew’s grow on trees, atop the cashew apple who’s flesh resembles a mango. Some kids trying their hand as miming