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On the third day of the trip, a few hardy individuals among us got up at 5:00 in the morning to climb Mt. Pignon, a mountain of about 2,500 feet. Amazingly, they were back in time for breakfast at 9:00, although they were a little worn out.
Later that morning, many of us got a chance to go back to the market and buy from the local merchants. We walked past stalls of vegetables, fruits, and meats. There was a lot of raw meat. Soup pots boiled over charcoal fire pits filled with animal entrails and parts. Thousands of people filled the small spaces as everyone purchased their goods for the week. Christi, our cultural guide, maneuvered through the streets with practiced skill, sharing kisses and hugs with everyone she knew, which seemed like everyone. One of the highlights was getting to see the bakery, a large hut with a huge oven in the middle. It was difficult not to get lost.
Some of the rest of us got a chance to go to a wedding ceremony for a young woman we had watched grow up at Haiti Home of Hope. The ceremony was in the church of Pastor Francois. It was beautiful, full of singing, music and dancing.
We all met back up for lunch and then returned to Pastor Francois church to play with the children in the orphanage that he runs. We met with about 100 kids of all ages. We threw frisbees and tennis balls, played with bubbles, matchbox cars, and jump ropes. We even got a chance to watch some of the kids ride a unicycle. The kids sang some of the beautiful songs that they had been learning as well. During this time some of us also went to hear a mens choir practice their songs for the upcoming church on Sunday. They sang with gusto and gorgeous harmonies. We ended with a snack time. Once again we felt so blessed to have been able to serve God in such a tangible way.
After returning to a delicious dinner, we ended the day with a movie night. The Many Hands compound occasionally opens their doors on Saturday nights to any of the locals who want to come and watch a movie and get a snack. The neighborhood kids eagerly came to watch a movie which probably made very little sense to them as it was in French for one thing. Mostly though, the theme of the movie “Ice Age” was no doubt difficult for the people from of this hot and lush country to understand.
Sunday morning was Father’s Day June 16th. We got a chance to attend church with Pastor Lumanes at his open air church. We enjoyed the time with our Hatiian brothers and sisters as we all worshiped Jesus together for 2.5 hours. It was difficult to understand, but the Spirit allowed all of us to sing and share together. As a group, we led the church in the song “Sa Se Jou A,” “This is the Day that the Lord has Made.” We sang it in Creole and then follow it up with English. We were accompanied by an accordion, Jonah on the guitar, and a couple of men playing home made instruments. We loved the morning.
After lunch we filled pillow cases with the beans, rice and bullion we had purchased at the market on Saturday. We also added oil and some spaghetti noodles. We took these bundles out and shared them with needy members of the community. Chuck became the first person ever to fall off of one of Many Hand’s trucks, much to the joy of many of the locals. He was fine. Christi had worked with another local pastor to identify some families who needed support. We met a woman who could not walk that had adopted a 15 year old daughter many years before. She was living in a temporary home and did not have any income. When asked what she did to make a living, she replied that she relied on her faith that God would provide. We were blessed have been part of His plan. The food that we shared should last about a month. We were able to share food with a couple of other women, one who had 5 kids and one who had no other way to get food.
That evening we all slept well.