January 27, 2013

Good evening from Pignon, Haiti,

I truly don’t know if I can begin to capture what all has been experienced the past couple of days. Our days are always full. The time has just flown by but each day seems like a week! How does that compute? Starting at 5 AM Saturday with our mountain hike, the interaction of Iowans and Haitians is FUN! There were seven young Haitian teenagers guiding our group of seven Iowans to the mountaintop. We have the chance to ask questions, learn from each other, laugh with each other, all the while crossing the cultural divide and growing friendships. Breakfast gives the energy to tackle the next part of the day… Saturday Market! With trustworthy translators at our side, we make our way winding, ducking, leaning and squeezing among people, animals, motorcycles and market goods. Purchases include a cow to be donated to the hospital feeding program, locally-made straw hats, chairs, baskets, and seasonal fresh produce consisting of coconuts, pineapple, and then a few ‘marmits’ of salt (seven heaping cups make a marmit). Romane was the translator for my group. We had worked our way through and back and around the market. I complimented Romane on how patient he was with it all. With a smile and a quiet laugh he replied, “I do not have a choice.” We laughed and said, “Patient and honest…what more could you ask for in a friend.”

The afternoon brought a continuation of the various work projects we have going with various interruptions to go back to market to pick up supplies and a few things for the conference lunch and food items for the food distribution we will carry out this week. What a team this group of people from Iowa makes! Each one comes with different skills and interests that make us whole.

I needed to exchange some US dollars for Haitian dollars so a friend, Mesadier, took me to the “Bank”. We walked into a small dark room with just a desk and gave him $300.00. He counted it in a skillful Haitian fashion and proceeded to reach to pull his wallet out of his back pants pocket. He opened up his wallet, pulled some misc. Haitian bills out and began to count. I marveled at the method of using his wallet as the ‘bank vault’.

After a delicious supper of rice, beans, chicken legs, beets, and carrots, members of our group walked to the hospital to sing. A group of Haitian friends, two or three times the size of our group, joined us.  We came to the intensive care area of the hospital and thought we might not sing there if people were in pain, etc. But then one of the patients said, “Chante, priye” (sing then pray). One of our team members wondered out loud, “Why don’t we do this in America?” It is a fantastic way to spend an evening. Time on the roof of our dorm under a BRIGHT moon with a cool breeze and the faint sound of voodoo drums in the distance brought an end to a FULL day! God has been in everything we have experienced. We are grateful beyond words.

Bonswa for tonight, Sincerely, Christi and the team.


A scene from a Port-au-Prince street.

January 25, 2013

Good evening,

Today was a good workday. We have diverse skills and abilities within our team so there were times today that we had give different projects going on all at once. This includes tlectrical work, putting a roof on the kitchen at a nearby school, building school desks, patching cement block walls on a house then painting exterior walls, and painting interior and exterior walls of the kitchen at the hospital. We had some fun with a dead, dried up gecko, “a-very-much-alive tarantella” and a frog of which Haitians are very afraid. A meeting with Madame Francios went well to plan the lunch that will be served at the Leadership Conference to be held on Wednesday. We bought a few supplies for that today. This evening there was a worship service at the church down the street. We enjoyed several choirs singing and then the pastor giving a message. I could pick out a few words, and determined his message was about how it is difficult being a Christian all day long, something not exclusive to Haitians.

The moon is bright and full which made for some awestruck stargazers on the rooftop of our dorm building. The “Klutz” guide to stargazing was a handy thing to have along!

There was a light rain in the night that does not stop the dogs, goats, chickens, etc. from “talking” with each other all night long. They seem to be going strong again tonight as well.

Plans to climb Mt. Pignon tomorrow at 5:00 am tomorrow have been made by some team members. Others will walk to the edge of town to enjoy the sights and sounds of the market vendors walking into town for Market.

Everyone is doing well.

Sincerely, Christi