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NEW Missions Trip to Haiti
April 6 to April 13, 2002
Genesis 12:2,3 I will bless you and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.
PO Box 2727
Orlando, FL 32802
A GREAT BOOK: A Stubborn Hope George and Jeanne DeTellis (Charlie's parents)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
What to bring
What to pack
OUR SCHEDULE: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
HAITI FACTS and STATs:Background, Geography, People, Government, Economy, Transportation, Military, Transnational Issues.
Creole or "Kweyol" Language
About me: My job is a technical writer. Writing is an obsession that I have had to live with all my life. I started journaling in the 6th grade. I limit myself to journaling only on trips now. Its my way of sharing the experience with everyone else on the trip so they can enjoy the trip by reading about it again. Its also for others who plan to go on a similar trip. Haiti is my 74th country. I travel while I'm (relatively) young so the journals and pictures will be my rocking chair memories.
Dedication - This log is dedicated to NEW Missions, to Dan for arranging this trip, and to all my dear friends that I met in Haiti. I have good memories of meeting all of you on the beach, at the shops, in the youth meeting, womens meetings, and in church. God bless everyone:
Yves, (Shawn) Charles, Michael, Peter, Lamartine, Bertha, Miralande, Michelle & baby, Mitrise, Mary, Achlie, Joseph, Erlanne, Christie, Nika, Tina, Mimi, Yolene, John, Isaiah and brother Jacques, Michelin, Jaquel, Junior, Davidson, Mike, Roobens, Louise, Olan, Elepha, Anastasia, Flore, Frandy, Anastasie and Dimi Petit Homme, Dixon, Danicha, Antoinette, and Piereline.
What to bring
Refer to the www.newmissions.org Web Site for lists of things that they need and things that people need. I also observed that Haitians would like it if you brought them:
- Hair ribbons, barrettes, pony tail holders, and nail polish for the girls.
- Underwear for boys.
- Wire or string, beads to make jewelry: necklaces, bracelets.
- Paint for decorating their sparse quarters.
- French-English dictionary.
- Wood/leather carving tools
- Cordless iron (Antique charcoal type)
- Closed shoes and socks. The kids must have closed shoe(s) to go to school. Veronique asked a boy on the beach why he wasnt in school and he said it was because he didnt have any shoes. Evidently one shoe is OK. A girl was wearing one shoe and a sock, and one flip-flop. It looked odd but it was enough to get her in school.
- Evaporated milk.
- Can opener (not electric - duh)
- Inner tubes for bicycles or tire repair kits and air pump.
- Batteries and flashlights.
- Clocks or radio that doesnt need batteries or electricity.
- Cooking spices
- Bible in Creole language
- Oil lamps
- Sewing supplies - thread, needles, fabric
- US one dollar and five dollar bills. No big denominations. Give the poorest people Haitian money if possible. It's not easy for them to change US money.
- A small screwdriver for glasses or some wire to repair glasses. On the extra pair of glasses that I brought, the bag was shaken so much that the screw shook loose.
- If you bring stuff to leave here in this country, seems like a duffel bag is easier for them to balance on their head than a suitcase. Louise left a suitcase that had wheels. I saw the pregnant mother of her sponsored child walking outside the Mission with the case balanced on her head!
What to pack
- Two 70-pound hard-sided (not cloth) suitcases of donations. I bought the suitcases for $3 each at a thrift store. Duct tape them shut because they really get knocked around. The 5-pound (cardboard) container of peanut butter in one case crushed onto some clothes. Put all food in plastic bags. No glass.
- Buy all your clothes at a thrift store and leave them there.
- Pack everything you need to live for 2-7 days in your carry on bag. That way you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable trip even if your bags get lost.
- Work gloves
- If youre going to paint - something to clean paint off your skin. (We used kerosene)
- Bandana to wipe sweat, a hat for the sun. Make sure it fits good itll blow off when you ride in the back of trucks.
- On luggage tags put your work address. Dont ever give out your home address or phone. They are always looking for a contact in the U.S.
- Water cleaner pills
- Ear plugs no matter how soundly you sleep. Unless you enjoy hearing roosters ALL night.
- If you're good at skits, storytelling, or puppets, then bring those. Haitians love any form of entertainment. Make it simple because it will be translated into Creole.
- Drink lots of water, but: stop drinking it after dinner so hopefully you won't have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
- Bring spray sunscreen. It is so much easier to apply over the bug poison on your skin and you'll need it if you get your hair braided. Braiding costs $5 in Haiti (it's 1 US$ per braid, or about $US100 (Jamaica) or 200 (Turks and Caicos) to have your whole head done in other countries.
- Beware if you wear (finger or toe) nail polish. I dont wear it, but I am told that the bug spray affects it.
- When you arrive in Haiti you fill out immigration form and a yellow form. They take the immigration form in customs. Don't lose the yellow paper. You need it to exit the country when you leave.
April 6 to April 13, 2002
|Afternoon||Arrive at Airport|
|Evening||Dinner||Spaghetti with meatballs and fresh mangos.|
|7 p.m.||Orientation and Greeting|
|9:30 p.m.||Generator off|
|7 am||Breakfast||French toast with great homemade syrup|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion|
|8:30 am||Leave for church at Masson|
|12 p.m.||Lunch||Baked chicken with a very good sauce.|
|3:30 pm||Preparation for week meeting.||Hair braiding at 1 so, preparation was moved to 3:30|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Ham and cheese (from Wisconsin) sandwiches. Chocolate cake.|
Dishes: Jim, Jolene, Barb
|7 pm||Haitian culture and Creole class|
|9 pm||Generator off|
|7 am||Breakfast||Cereal and fresh fruit, and hard boiled eggs|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion||Speaker: Cliff|
|8:30 am||Mission tour|
|9:30||Sort and bundle supplies, office and clinic tasks, or paint school benches||I did office work.|
|12 pm||Lunch||beets and cucumber tomato salad banana bread|
|1 pm||Village ministry walk up the river - do skits|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Macaroni and (yummy Wisconsin) cheese. Fresh fruit salad. Cinnamon bread dessert.|
Dishes: Dan & Emily
|7 pm||History of Haiti|
|9 pm||Generator off|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion||Shawn Budovic|
|8:30 am||School physicals and ministry at Signeau School (all day) pack lunch.||I painted school benches.|
|12 pm||Lunch||Fried Red Snapper, yams, rice and bean gravy.|
|1 pm||Continue with morning ministries|
|4:30 pm||Shops open|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Dinner was beef stir fry, rice, brownies|
Dishes: Cliff and Tina
|7 pm||Youth group|
|9 pm||Generator off|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion||Mary Budovic|
|8:30 am||Market visit in Leogane / High School tour / Chapel service||Speaker: Cliff|
|12 pm||Lunch||Tuna fish sandwiches|
|1 pm||Gifts for children|
|1:30 pm||Village ministry|
|3:30 pm||Lasalle Women's Meeting||Speaker: Laura|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Ham and (Wisconsin) cheese sandwiches, lettuce, mayo. Fresh mango juice punch. Creme Brulee for dessert. |
Dishes: Adam and Tiffany
|7 pm||Worship at Bord Mer||Speaker: Dan|
|9 pm||Generator off|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion||Rachel DeTellis|
|8:30 am||School physicals in Signeau (AM only). Cement pour at Bord Mer|
School Ministry -- Birey
|I tried to help with cement|
|12 pm||Lunch with sponsored children||Rice and beans and that great "sauce" and fried chicken.|
|1:30 pm||Cement work continues or free time|
|3:30 pm||Women's meeting in Neply||Speaker: Tiffany|
|4:30||Shops open||I kept shops open till 6.|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Pizza, salad, coconut bars.|
|7 pm||Movie night|
|9 pm||Generator off|
|7:30 am||Morning devotion||Dan Merrefield|
|8:30 am||Village or school ministry. Finish bench painting or clinic tasks. School physicals in Signeau (AM only)||I did school physicals. There was also a boat ride this morning.|
|1 pm||Free time|
|4 pm||Shops open||Barter day|
|5:30 pm||Dinner||Hamburgers, BBQ beans, great potatoes.|
|9:30 pm||Generator off|
|Morning||Return to airport|
Haitian currency is the gourdes, pronounced "goood". Exchange rate is 26 gourdes per one US dollar.
5 gde equals 1 Haitian dollar, so: 100 gourdes = $H20 = $US4
Exchange rate was 23.761 (in 2001), 22.524 (2000), 17.965 (1999), 16.505 (1998), 17.311 (1997), 15.093 (1996)
Our plane left at 8:45 am from Atlanta so we had to be at the airport at 6. Uugh. Im not a morning person. The Groffs were so gracious to invite Laura and I to spend the night and Kirsten drove us to the airport. So there we stood in curb-side check-in with our huge heavy suitcases for 20 minutes and come to find out that you had to stand in the LONG line inside for International travel. Yeow. We were starting to run short on time considering the LONG security line to get into the concourse. Well, we made it just fine. I met some nice nurses and doctors headed to Haiti also. We stopped in Miami, then on to our final destination. I had a good feeling about this trip.
Arrive in the airport and Shawn from NEW Missions rounded up everybody with matching T-shirts. We waltzed through customs. Some of our suitcases were put in our bus and others we left sitting on the curb outside the airport. Dan seemed calm about the people in charge of getting them to the Mission and sure enough, they made it just fine.
I have found that the most anxious part of every trip is getting there with your luggage. I didnt journal anything until we were in the bus driving to the Mission in Haiti. I started with:
"Driving through Port au Prince right now. I cant stand it, I have to write. "
What inspired me to start writing was a man in the gas station. The bus pulled into the station and stopped. I looked out my window, and sitting on the ground is this guy trying to repair the inner tube of his bicycle. He grabbed the tube around the hole and he was tying string tight around the hole so maybe air wouldnt leak out. It made a bump in the inner tube. He had lots of bumps.
Driving along looking at this country, I have to say that this is the poorest place that I have ever seen, and Ive seen a few places in my life time... There is tons of gravel and piles of deteriorated, falling apart buildings. People live in and on rubble. The quality of the streets is awful. And yes, Dan, they should call the county to patch up some of the potholes. If only if was that easy. Nothing is easy in this country. Dan said that some streets get so bad that they dig deep ditches so no one can travel on the street. I makes government notice the bad situation so maybe they will do something to fix it.
Seems like other places that Ive been to have always had some degree of acknowledgement that tourists bring money, so they make places where tourists can go. This country has not, or rather does not, have the resources, to accommodate the tourists. Im sure they know that if they had a nice market, a bus load might stop and spend some money. They dont seem to even have the capacity to provide for themselves, much less, provide for tourists. Im sure there places hidden away from "all this" where people with money can enjoy the good life. Theres certainly no good life here.
The bus pauses in traffic and I finally see the first sign of entrepreneurs preying on us a guy is selling water in plastic bags. Its the Culligan man! Theres about one cup in each bag. It looks cold quite a feat in this environment.
All I see is rubble-laden grimy streets. I look closely at the debris and I see flattened plastic bottles and shoe soles. These people have lost their souls (soles)!
We are traveling on BJJ Dessalines street. There are utility poles lining the streets giving the appearance that nights are bright and bustling.
A tattered sign says "Sur Internet" It means "on Internet". It hangs on a shack. Yes, a cyber caf in a shack. More signs:
Chateau Funeraire and Morgue
Traitmend de Text
Lots of "Pharmacie" and "Clinique" medical signs. These signs are painted on buildings that are very secure with locked doors. There is a small window where you buy the prescriptions. If you go to a hospital here, someone must bring you food and medicine. Family members have to get the prescription from the doctor, then go fill it and give it to the patient.
Weve been on this bus an hour. Were in Carrefours now the outskirts of Port au Prince. Ive seen very few bicycles so far. I just saw the first motor bike.
I cant compare this place to anywhere else. Its on its own and in a different league. In a whole new category of economic despair.
There a sign that says "Gressier". Maybe that's another town. We are leaving the city and driving along the ocean. The water looks nice. There are people swimming (bathing?) too. Very pleasant temperature today. Maybe 85.
Every part of this country that I see is overtaken by poorness. There are many of incomplete structures that at one time Im sure had hopes of grandeur. But no, they stand deserted, baking in the sun, and forgotten. It was not meant to be. There are many shacks around that people resort to living in instead. Bunches of banana trees, then another incomplete structure. There is an occasional cow tied to a stake in the ground. There is a constant smell of charcoal burning.
The despair, I hope I find hope too.
We arrive at NEW Missions and what a contrast. What a wonderful contrast. It looks incredibly comfortable. There are five of us girls in this building with one bathroom with shower and water that we can drink! I can brush my teeth in the sink! What luxury! Each bed has a mosquito net.
Dinner bell rang. I'm starving. We had spaghetti with meatballs and fresh mangos. Delicious.
After dinner we had an orientation meeting led by Charlie.
NEW Missions people: Charlie and Rachel with Nathan, Jeremy, Carita (means "My Love" in Italian. Also Shawn and Mary with Shawn, Ryan, and Ashley (about 13)
Wisconsin: Cliff, Derrick, and Tina. Jolene, Barb and Jim.
Virginia: Adam and Tiffany
Canada: Madeline and Veronique
Georgia: Dan and Emily. Louise, Stevie, and Christi (9). Laura and me (Suzanna).
14 people visiting. Nice small group. They can handle 40 at time here.
Haiti is a "hard core battlefield".
The Leogane Plane is about 5 miles by 10 miles big. There are beautiful mountains hovering high over us, not far away. The NEW Missions ministry continues to grow throughout the plane.
Haiti is a "5th world country". OK, this is something I've never understood is this ranking label. So I assume United States is a 1st world country. There are many other "2nd world countries". Then there are "3rd world" and here is a "5th world" ? Charlie explained that Haiti does not have the resources and even if it did have, the country dose not have the capacity to organize the resources to their benefit. That is a problem.
In Haiti there is "crisis management". But, Charlie said "you can take the situation and take the bad out of it". We are all servants.
5 Haitian dollars equals one U.S. dollar. When Charlie first came here, it was equal.
GREAT BOOK: A Stubborn Hope George and Jeanne DeTellis (Charlie's parents)
Taxes: There is Federal withholding tax and 6 percent Social Security tax. Charlie matches another 6 percent.
Haitians can own land. There is no property tax.
Transportation: Mitsubishi Jeep, Mercedes Jeep (maybe 10 in the country). Pay $30,000 for a work truck, $40,000 for a Land Cruiser.
Diesel gas is $US1.20 a gallon.
Syrians control the grocery stores .
I heard that to get married, a man must offer the girl a roof, a bed, and a table.
In the city, 10 percent are infected with AIDS, in the country only 5 percent.
I drank a lot of water at dinner. I hope it goes through me before I go to sleep cause getting up at night with a flashlight with this skeeter ("mosquito" for you Northerners) net will be difficult. The generator is on till 9:30 tonight. It goes off at 9 every other night.
Note to self: Be reverent and humble before God and others. I can really learn from this experience and these people an. Emily and Christi sparkle. I can see it in their eyes.
I have such a different feeling here. This is a nice first morning. The earplugs didn't cover up the roosters crowing. Why are they up so early? I think they started at 2 a.m., then they stop. Just as you are dozing off to sleep again, they start crowing again. They stop around 6:30 when you're getting up. Go figure. I put on a skirt, slip and top. I sure never thought I'd be doing this.
Breakfast is at 7 a.m. We had French toast with great homemade syrup made with their brown sugar and vanilla extract. I remember Saturday mornings when we were little, Dad would make a big pot of homemade syrup and pancakes. I digress.
Morning devotion by Cliff.
Louise is our appointed "choir director". She led us in a couple songs.
Proverbs 3:15. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don't lean on my understanding. Acknowledge Him always. He will make my path straight.
8:30 load up in the truck to go to morning church services at Masson. It was about 3 miles away. We were in the back of a "dancing" truck. All of us pile in the back - we squished Christi on the end and she almost bounced off a couple times. We drove through the local village of Neply. They called out for candy as we drove by. Little children were waving and yelling. Little boys with no shorts on (oh my).
Church was an experience. We arrived on "Haitian time". Not many people have clocks here, so everyone arrives around the time it's supposed to start. A man was preaching up front. A lady escorted our group in and directed us to some benches on the right. On the left were lots and lots of children. With a couple of adults. All the adults were on the right.
Our group had to go up to the front. I really felt welcome there. They weren't trying to make us uncomfortable by doing that. I got the feeling they were interested in these odd people visiting their service. Louise led us in a song (in English). Then they wanted us to introduce ourselves and say something. OK, now I was uncomfortable. Cliff was first. He was great. Then Laura, who said everything that I wanted to say so I just said something like I was glad that they let us worship with them. We finally got to sit down.
Charlie gave the sermon. He mentioned Phil 2:8 to humble yourself. I felt that this morning. It was the first thing I wrote today. The whole service was a special time to share with them. To be there and worship the same God in different languages.
Lunch was baked chicken with a very good sauce.
After lunch Louise made appointments at the "salon" to get her hair done. The "Salon d'Michelle" was outside the fence on the beach under the tree. Michelle and Nika and others were braiding hair. Louise, Christi, Laura, Ashley and Veronique got their hair braided. It did look so much cooler. Now they need the spray sunscreen - so the scalp doesn't get burnt.
The beach is very nice. The water looked nice and many people from our group went swimming. There were very few shells. The beach was mostly pebbles and black sand. There are white sand beaches in Haiti also.
We had a 3:30 meeting with Rachel (Charlie's wife). She wanted to get an idea of what we wanted to do. We signed up for Monday and Tuesday events. I was the last person to get the sign-up sheets. I signed up for office work on Monday morning. The clinic, sorting donated supplies, and painting were already full.
The only thing left for Tuesday was helping in the school. That was the only thing that I knew I definitely did not want to do. Thats why I had such an uncomfortable, no, bad experience in the Dominican Republic. I knew that I could not stand up in front of a bunch of kids and entertain them. I did not want to be forced into that situation again. I may be ready to do it later, but no now. So I didnt sign up for anything Tuesday.
Rachel had written some skits that she read to us. We were all pretty shy, and didn't appear to want to participate. But we did a quick rehearsal to get an idea of the message. Arnold was going to translate the message to our audience (audience being anyone that wanted to watch).
Sunday dinner was ham and cheese (from Wisconsin) sandwiches. Chocolate cake.
Up with the roosters again. I might get used to them. Rooster would be good for lunch . Mmmm
Breakfast was cereal and fresh fruit, and hard boiled eggs. The milk is powdered milk, but they add some almond extract so it's really not that bad.
Morning devotion by Jim.
John 10 1-10. The story of the shepherd.
I learning that Grilling out is "Frying out".
8:30 meet for a tour of the mission complex. His house was built in 1983. It was multi-purpose building: clinic, school, missionary housing. Charlie and Rachael live there now with their three children: Nathan, Jeremy, and Corita. Shawn and Mary also live on the compound with their kids Shawn, Ryan, and (Princess) Ashley - I write that cause she explained that her heritage is in Lithuania. There is a castle from her royal Budovic family there. I told her that I had been to Vilnius and it's a beautiful city. Anyway. The other full time missionaries Scott and Tania with Tarin, Morgan and Tia were away in the states.
Before the house was built, they lived in tents. There were 15 tents and they had to bring water in from other wells. They spent $US 3000 to drill a well to 105 feet and it didn't work. Just mud and yuk. Then they prayed and Mennonites drilled another well 180 feet down. They hit sand then rock (good sign), then fresh drinking water that gushed up. Now they have plenty of fresh water - the sustenance (along with Jesus) of life. There are about 5 or 6 other Artesian wells on the Leogane plane.
The well supplies water for the whole mission compound. We can fill our water bottle from the tap and take a shower every night! Such luxury.
Charlie walked us over to the school buildings and the warehouse. This huge building is usually full of food, but not this year. Last year they would normally have 8000-10,000 sacks. Today there was one pallet of beans, one pallet of rice and one pallet of oil.
The mission serves about 4000 hot meals a day. They are really struggling to get food this year. The U.S. has cut all supplies to Haiti. Some political move which only hurts the people. Charlie was working on some contacts in Europe and Canada that could help supply some food. He has to buy all the food now.
After the tour, we went off to do the tasks that we signed up for yesterday. I signed up for office work on Monday morning. Emily and I sorted the NEW Mission letters to the kids. There were about a thousand that we put in numerical order. Then we copied (wrote) names from printed cards to what looked like a school roll call. Some "different" names that we were writing:
Torcolsky, Mackenson, Glishmith, Bedler, Gavel, Widlande, Rwidleine,Richarleson, Perterline, Yslande, Wiolmarlie, ijuelisone, Elange Love, Chyline, Woodjiny, Ymmaculeuse Zizi, Voinel, Olbichou, Passiondinio, and Frannenestha.
Other people did things like sorting the donated items, bundling them into packs. 112 of them. Ashley and Stevie sorted through the files to organize the information on the kids who were and were not in the organization anymore. Others painted benches. These were school benches that they built. Picnic table style but with seats only on one side.
Lunch was the best fried Red Snapper, yams, rice and bean gravy.
At 1, no 1:30 we piled into the truck for a "mission walk". Charlie drove 2 miles to a place where we could drive down into the river bed, then he drove about 5 miles up the "river" as we bounced around in back. The river bed was about 50 yards wide and the water at the widest was 6 feet wide, sometimes only a slow trickle. Not deep at all, in fact he drove through the deepest water with no trouble. So here we are winding our way back and forth across this river bed along this "road". We reach the "dam." It may have held back water at one time, it was all stones and trickle of water now. There were beautiful mountains about a mile away. So we stop the truck an 18 of us pile out. That's when Charlie told us that the truck gets stuck easily.
We walked on the dirt road/path where people live. Charlie stops to talk to people. As short-term missionaries, we are there to support Charlie. We are there to support him. We seemed out of place, but welcomed. People there hadnt seen a group like that before, thats for sure.
Charlie stopped at a small booth where a man was sitting. He was selling lottery numbers. He was not a Christian because he thought what he was doing may be thought of as bad in God's eyes. Charlie explained to him that it didnt matter, he could still accept the Lord and still be saved. We passed a very ramshackled building. It had a sign It was an Anglican Church. Tattered chairs (they could sure use some wood glue). There were many Christians in the village already. A crowd started gathering and Charlie suggested that we perform the skit that Rachel showed us the day before. Perform! No way! How embarrassing. OK, put that aside and just go with it. Have fun.
I stepped in to be the person that handed out money to try to get into heaven. I sure never thought Id be doing that! Christi was the "gatekeeper" who wouldn't let me in heaven. Cliff played a great Jesus and Tina was the star of the show with her performance. The people loved the skits. We made them laugh. Arnold explained to them in Creole what we were doing and the meaning behind it. It went over well. I was surprised.
After the "show" we walked further down the road. In the middle of nowhere, there was a lady selling soda. Charlie paid $H10 (~$US2) and we got a couple bottles of cold Coca Cola, and some Haitian soda. How in the world did she transport those glass bottles to this remote place and they were cold. Amazing.
We found our way back to the river through peoples "yards". They sure do keep their dirt clean and tidy around their houses. I saw the smallest baby goat, maybe 12 inches high. We walked through corn and cane fields. We passed a man on a horse. We ended up about half a mile from the truck so we walked up the river bed, over the dam to the truck. Driving back over the dam was fun. The truck tilted some and we let out a little yell, but we were fine.
We got back at 5:30 for a dinner: beef stir fry, rice, brownies (yummy)
7 pm evening time. Louise had prepared some songs for us to sing, but instead Adam brought the guitar and started playing and singing. I didn't know most of the songs so I just listened.
Charlie gave us a short lesson the History of Haiti.
Also see the end of this journal for more very interesting FACTS and STATS on Haiti.
Morning devotion by Shawn.
John 3:16-17 God so loved the world that he sent his only son.
Matt 28: 19-20 Go and make disciples of all the nations.
"Jesus does not send the equipped. He equips those who go."
After the devotion, we went off to do our assigned tasks. I got my work gloves, sweat bandana and helped paint the school benches. They used red paint yesterday. We had yellow (jeune) and green paint today. You have to get in awkward positions to paint so it gets all over your clothes and skin. Im so glad I packed work gloves. If you werent careful, you could get covered in paint. They were building the benches faster that we could paint them.
We took a break for lunch - Tuna fishes sandwiches.
After lunch, back to more painting. We were working in the warehouse which was supposed to be full of food. The kitchen was next door. A black man came over and we talked some. He was teaching me some Creole words and I was teaching him English words. I was painting while we talked. I had him point out places where I missed and I would say "mesi" (thank you in Creole) then immediately paint the missed spot. Im sure that was the first time that he could direct a white girl. At least it gave him a story to tell later. Like here I am telling the story to you.
At 4:30 the shops opened. A "shop" is a blanket or tarp spread over the dirt and covered with whatever items they can sell. NEW Missions has done a good job policing the shops. Dan said when he first came here the shops were out of hand. They had them set up all the time and constant yelling at your to some to their shop. It was such a turn off and they didnt understand that. Its still a horrifying experience to be surrounded by yelling people. They are so desperate to sell, desperate for the money. I think it was Scott, before Shawn, who explains to them (the "shopkeepers") the rules that that will help them sell more.
Be courteous. Don't crowd or harass us, or pull us and if we walk away they have to let us go. Its a very disconcerting process/ situation. There are NO tourists here in this country. [Charlie said the country has the wrong name.] They have no idea how to get us to buy. If they are courteous and kind, then maybe we'll buy.
I really dont need anything, but I cant look at it like that. If I buy something, then they can eat for a month. It may be, no, it probably is the only money they get, until the next missionaries arrive here. Many said they go all the way to Port-au-Prince (P-au-P) to buy this stuff to sell to us. There were a lot of trinket boxes, small square, round, medium size that say Haiti on top. Since there are no tourists, theres no one to buy this stuff so they make very few souvenirs, so there's not much selection of items to choose from.
I bought a rock from Charles for 5, no 6 dollars. Now heres the story. Sunday on the beach he told me he could scratch my name in a stone. I expressed some interest and he ran away and brought back a pen and index card. I wrote SUZANNA. He wrote $5. I said OK. Come to find out that I should NOT have done that. Big oops. NEW Missions does not want us to buy anything outside of official shop hours. Tues, Thurs, Fri 4:30 to 5:30. The rules are set up so they dont skip school to set up shop.
So Monday morning when we were doing the tour of the mission complex and Charles finds me. Its a nice rock but I told him that I cant buy it till shops open Tues at 4:30. I asked him to scratch HAITI on the back for an extra dollar. He used a razor blade. They need some other carving tools to make these souvenirs for us.
At official "shop time" Shawn, Mary, and Dan escorted us outside the gate to the shops. If they harassed any of us, Shawn asked us to all agree to leave immediately.
Charles escorted me over to his shop immediately. I paid him for my rock, then he really wanted me to buy something else. Now thats a tough one. There are so many people there selling and you want to help as many as possible. I had already bought something from him, so I wanted to move on and look at other shops. I ended up just looking and not buying anything else. It is always a somewhat unnerving experience that I have endured in many a third world country and everybody handles it differently. I remember those little boys in Cambodia last December they force you to take something in your hand, then they wouldnt take it back they were required to bring money home.
Victoria made the mistake of mentioning that she wanted a tea set. Pandemonium set in. Six sets emerged out of nowhere. She was crowded and squished with people shouting and yelling prices at her. It was getting out of hand. Shawn observed until he determined that Victoria needed some help to get out of there. She didnt buy any. Their selling tactics backfired and they didnt sell anything. Maybe Thursday shell get one if things are calmer on the shop-front.
After shopping, dinner. Macaroni and (yummy Wisconsin) cheese. They had a fabulous FRESH fruit salad. We have a different dessert every lunch and dinner. Cinnamon bread this time. The banana bread is delish too. I also love the beets and cucumber tomato salad.
Tuesday night. 7 p.m. Im sitting here under the mango tree. The generator is running and the lights are on. There is a youth meeting going on in the Dining hall. "Youth" meaning High School, which means any age. They are singing in English and in Creole praising Jesus. They are not allowed to talk about their shops at all (but Nika did ask me for my necklace )
After they finished their games, I joined them for the Bible Study. Each person was called to the front one at a time to recite the verse they had memorized week.
Galations 5:22-23 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Then they were given another verse to learn for next week. They also had some homework (on paper) to help them interpret a verse. They also read and discussed these verses:
Deu 6:5-6 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
Luke 6:46 Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
[Mike had to stand up and talk about this verse. He gets it. The love of God comes from his heart.]
I sat across from Nika. She had a small book written in Creole: Istwa Jezi - The Story of Jesus. As I turned the pages and tried to read the stories, Nika told me in English what was written in the book. I was impressed. Here are some of the stories:
Senk Milmoun Manje [Lik 9:1-2, 10-17] When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to head the sick. ..Jesus feeds the 5000.
Nonm Rich la [Lik 18:18-30] The Rich Ruler.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Lasin Senya a [Lik 22:7-20] The Last Supper.
Pasyon e Mo [Lik 23:26, 32-34,39-47] The crucifixion and Jesus' death.
Rezireksyon an [Lik 24:1-12] The resurrection.
Gran Komisyon an [Lik 24:36-56] Jesus appears to the disciples.
Phi 3:10 - I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering becoming like him in his death and so somehow to attain the resurrection from the dead.
Mary did the morning devotion.
Phil 2:1-7 Be like -minded like Jesus. Have the same love, be one in the spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
You should have Jesus attitude.
This morning we are going to the Market and to the school. I hope we dont get too harassed at the market. The shops last night were enough of a turn-off. We are going to drive to an overview of the Leogane Plane - the plane is 10 miles by 5 miles.
We all loaded up in the back of the truck and headed to the Leogane Market. It was located in "the city". Very old dilapidated buildings. We parked the truck and arranged to meet back in an hour.
There were many practical items in this market (nothing for tourists). Food, beans, rice, canned items, evaporated milk, chickens, some meat. wash basin, dishes, soap, toothpaste, a couple places were selling water. I saw one man with a 6 inch square chunk of ice in a shiny clean metal container with about 20 gallons of water. He was selling ice water.
We walked around looking horribly out of place. Nobody paid much attention to us because they knew they didn't really have much that we wanted to buy. A man tried to follow us around begging. We turned the corner and Emily made comment "That lady was sitting on that same corner last year."
Martha (our translator) helped some people in our group purchase food for their sponsored children that they would see tomorrow. Approximate prices were about $H8 for about 10 pounds of rice, $H16 for about 10 pounds of beans.
I found a store across from the market that had "Rhum" (Rum). Madeline said it was not the good kind though. Some coconut rum would be good. They cant export it. Cocoa would be good too, but she couldnt find any of that either.
Charlie drove the truck up the streets crowded with a vendors selling their wares, then onto a side street and we stopped at a very unassuming cement building. Martha went inside and came out with a box of about 20 pounds of frozen chicken. She later told me is was $H114.
Next on the schedule was the Chapel Service at the High School at 11 a.m. Cliff (such a brave soul) volunteered to speak. I wonder if he knew what he was getting himself in to. We brought a small generator, long extension cords, a huge speaker, microphone and public address system, but they could never get it working.
It was huge building. There were about 10 people per bench (more squished onto some benches) There are about 30 benches per side, 2 sides so about 60 benches, so over 600 people. Looks like High School children. Pink tops and gray pleated skirts and pants. Here we were squished onto the front two benches.
Cliff got up to speak. Arnold translated. He told a story of a fighter.
Romans 8:31-37 If God is for us, who can be against us?
Cliff proclaims: "Victory is ours through Christ who loved us."
"Jesus is a winner!" and they shout back "Amen!"
Nothing can separate us from His Love.
Let God help us fight our fights here.
I thought it was a very effective, appropriate message. But it was such a big room. There was a lot of talking but many did listen. Many are looking at us. An occasional bell signal didnt seem to affect the noise, no talking. I see why these people are accustomed to yelling.
It feels like about 80 degrees in here. I felt a breeze through the "window". A window is cinder blocks with a decorative pattern.
After the service, back to the Mission for lunch.
At 3:30 we walked to the village of Lasalle for a Women's Meeting. Go outside the mission gate, turn left into the corn field and walk on the dirt path. The path veers right, go a little further and turn left at the tree. Walk a little further and you come up on the village. There is a 4-room school house building with the church next to it. Rachel explained that they try to maintain the inside of the buildings more than the outside. They can lock the building and keep the inside nice. Inside the church was painted with a few bible pictures and verses taped to the wall.
It was about a half hour walk. Other people on the worn path too. Eight of us women here, about 20 women from the village.
Lots of singing and praying, then we stood and introduced ourselves. Rachel translated. I think I'm getting used to this now because I finally got up enough nerve to say something more than just Hi. I cant really remember what I said, something about worshipping the same God. They said "Amen" back to it. After I sat down, I felt a huge rush of the Holy Spirit move through my whole body. What a powerful blessing of a feeling.
Laura volunteered to speak at this meeting. Last night she prepared how she was going to present her testimony and message. You have to remember that this is very different country from our country. What you say and how you say it could be very different for it to be meaningful. For example,
You can't say saying something like "I did not go to church because I was too young to drive to church". They couldn't relate. You'd have to change it to say "I did not go to church when I was young because I was too young to travel the distance by myself".
Laura did a great job of communicating her message with Rachel translating. She said to "Remember each day not to do things my way but to follow His way." Amen.
After the women's meeting, we walked back to the mission a different way towards the beach. Children ran up along side us. They walk beside you, then take your hand. I had two girls and Laura had a girl and (naked) boy. We just walked along holding hands smiling at each other. She did finally get up enough nerve to ask me for a dollar.
When we got to the beach, we said goodbye to them. The tide was up so we got our feet wet in the surf. Wet shoes and sox and the bottom of my skirt. Oh yeah, I love these long skirts that we have to wear. They are a lot more comfortable than pants. I bought this one at the thrift store, and I intended on leaving it, but I really like it so it may come back with me to Atlanta. I think Ill do a lot more shopping at those thrift stores.
It was about a mile walk on the beach. There was a beautiful sunset. We got back at 6. Church started at 6:30. Dinner was ham and (Wisconsin) cheese sandwiches, lettuce, mayo. Fresh mango juice punch. Creme Brulee for dessert. I LOVE creme brulee.
We ate dinner fast, I washed my face, put on dry shoes and we were off for a 5 minute walk to church.
They had a small generator running so the building was dark except for the lights at the front. The PA system worked and they sang and sang and sang loud with lots and lots of energy. About 100 people were there.
We had to go to the front and introduce ourselves. We also sang a song. That was .. oh how shall I say, pitiful. Louise taught us a song in Creole that we sang. I think we were all a little intimidated by the setting so we didnt have half the energy that they have when they sing. They were gracious and clapped in appreciation and we stumbled back to our seats in the dark back of the room.
I am getting used to "being on parade" now. It is not often that they get to worship with other believers. Its quite an enlightening experience.
Dan did the sermon. He had quite a message with a captive audience that waited to hear the next part of the story. I had a little girl sleeping in my lap. She was sweet. After the service, she introduced me to her mom. The baby was shy.
Walking back after the service we noticed the black sky with millions of stars. It reminded me of that night we saw the Milky Way in New Zealand. Except this time I had Charles beside me, hounding me again, trying to solicit his shop and wanting to sell me rocks with my mother's or friend's names. I was in awe of the sky. I exclaimed to him how beautiful the stars were! I wanted to admire the sky and the beautiful night and he kept at it with "you want this" or "you want that" and "I can make you this" or whatever. I didn't want to hear it. I told him that back in my home we can't see the stars. He didn't understand that. He didn't know how lucky he was to see a sky like that every night. Well, I might have offended him, at least he acted hurt, but enough was enough. No more with the shop talk. I wanted to enjoy the evening.
I took a (cold) shower, journaled, then sleep. Such a happy, tired body. Wonderful sleep for a couple hours until Mr. Rooster decides that you don't need to sleep any more.
Rachel did the morning devotion. She talked about "Responses."
God answers and things can change.
Math 15:21. The faith of the Canaanite woman.
Son of David - a term they used to acknowledge the Messiah. You must acknowledge who He is and who you are.
Verse 24 "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" - a test to see if the woman is genuine.
"In the midst of discouragement, faith will find encouragement"
Hold onto your faith and God will help you. Man and money alone cant keep changing things. A lot has been poured into this country and it is difficult to see the effect . We need God too.
Heb 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
"God allows things in our lives because he wants to see our response."
"Life is 10 percent what happens to us, and 90 percent how we respond to it."
Thursday morning, some people went off to the school. No thanks for me. I was ready for more physical work - the cement pour. This place is right on the beach so the buildings sink down. They need to pour more cement on a sidewalk that had sunk about 6 inches. It was in an awkward place, but Shawn figured out how to use the tractor to transport the cement and he strategically position it to pour over the 6-foot tall fence. There were plenty of Haitian men there to help, and we tried to offer our services.
There was a recipe of a bag of cement with buckets of sand and gravel to heave into the cement mixer. We were filling the buckets with one pitiful shovel-ful of sand at a time. Later that afternoon, after some of us (me) petered out, a Haitian man filled sand bucket in 5 seconds all by himself. He laid the bucket down on its side and shoved it against the sand pile, then he used the shovel to push the sand in the bucket. As he watch our laborious method, I'm sure he was thinking to himself that he could teach us a thing or two. Yup, we can all learn from each other.
Lunch was with your sponsored child (if you had one). Many people were really looking forward to this all week. On Monday, you give the mission your sponsored child's number. The Mission notifies the family to bring the child to the Mission for lunch on Thursday. If you have brought gifts for someone else's child, the child is supposed to come on Wednesday so you can give them the presents (toys, food, money). At one time, the mission allowed sponsors to mail money to the children. It got too dangerous for the mission to handle all that cash and a pastor even got robbed, so they stopped that practice. You have to give gifts in person now.
It's well worth the trip to Haiti to see the children. We just jump on an airplane, but some of the children walk for many hours to attend this special meeting with their sponsor. Louise was beside herself with excitement when her boy came to visit. She had brought lots of gifts. She put them in a travel case with wheels. 20 pounds of rice would be easier to transport on wheels, rather than carrying it. Well, I saw the pregnant mother of her sponsored child walking outside the Mission with the case balanced on her head! These people never cease to amaze me.
Lunch was fabulous fried chicken, rice and beans and that great Haitian "sauce". One sponsored boy ate so much his tummy really poked out. What a special time. I thought about the girl that I sponsor in Saigon. I was so saddened by what we (America) had done to that country. It is unbelievable to imagine and to see the atrocities that these people endure every day. I am thankful that these organizations provide a way for us to help in our own small way, one child at a time.
Thursday 3:30, no 3:50 - we left for a walk to another womens meeting . This one is close in the village of Neply. It was by the basketball court. Louise said this court was poured in August last year when she was here. The meeting is out in the open . Children were playing all around. They brought out chairs for us to sit in. I moved mine back so I wasnt sitting in front center of all the group. They sing and sing in Creole, then the woman in charge prays and prays and prays. Many many fast words pouring out praising God. So passionate. Then every person in the group started praying out loud for a couple of minutes. Like speaking in tongues all around us.
A cool breeze blows my hair. It feels like about 78 degrees. So nice. It has not rained all week. Shops open today at 4:30, hopefully well be done so I can give these shop people some money.
Bible reading Acts 5:1-5 Ananias sold land, but kept some money for himself. He died, his wife dies. "Great fear seized the whole church" Wow. Like when people sell their land here, 75 percent of the time they sell it because they have to pay the voodoo god...
More singing. We have to introduce ourselves and say something. Then more singing. There is a LOUD argument going on behind us - a man and woman yelling and yelling at each other. Shouting. Quite distracting, but others don't seem to notice. Nothing keeps them from praising God.
Tiffany volunteered to speak at this meeting.
Pro 31:10 - The wife of noble character.
Women can gain wisdom by consulting the Lord in their decisions. Amen.
Allow the Lord to control our tongue and our words.
Give us our earned rewards to bring praise at the city gate.
1 Pet 3 : 1-6 - Wives and husbands.
She did a good job and prepared well. After the women's meeting, we were walking back and the shops were still open. I shopped till 6! I had no idea it was so late. Shawn and Mary stayed the whole time to look out for me. Thank you! I do appreciate their help.
Dinner was Pizza, salad, and coconut bars.
7 p.m. movie night. We saw "Left Behind". That really left me with a memorable impression of what it's all about. Quite a movie. Charlie made the BEST popcorn that I have ever tasted. It was far better than any $5 movie theater popcorn drenched with fatty oil.
Pancakes for breakfast. I ate with Nathan. He is a very lovable boy. He has nonstop energy like the Energiser bunny. He keeps going and going and going.
Dan did the morning devotion.
Math 13:45 - The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
If you open something up, you may find something of value inside.
It may be hidden.
You may have to really look for it.
But the affect may be that you give up everything you have to get it.
The state of your heart must be such that you are ready to receive it also.
What do you do with it when you have it?
We should give it away.
That morning, the mission arranged a boat ride with a local man. Doesn't that sound like a fun experience to go on a Haitian boat? Many people paid $US5 each for the ride. I can't believe I didn't do the boat. I like the beach, I love the ocean. What I did instead surprised me. I volunteered to help with the clinic and give physicals at the school. They had one more morning of work to finish seeing all the kids.
They did the clinic all day on Tuesday. They saw 213 kids. On Thursday it was only in the morning and now they needed help this morning to see about 150 more kids. Tiffany and Laura helped the Haitian nurses before. Laura was going in the boat, so they needed another volunteer. It was actually quite a fun experience.
Groups of about 30 kids came out to the covered area where we were working. Martha gave them their information sheet, Adam did their height and weight, Emily did their pulse, I did their temperature, then sent them to Tiffany or the other nurse for the rest of the checkup. They listened to their heart and did an overall look with some questions, then the kids got some vitamins.
I was amazed at one very small boy whose stat sheet said he was 11 years old. Between groups, the kids would sit on the other side of the table from me. They were very well behaved. On Tuesday Louise and Christi entertained them by painting finger nails. That would have been a good idea. The kids would touch my skin and pull on my hair. They weren't rude. They were just curious. We were there from about 9 to 12:30.
Lunch, then the afternoon was free time (finally!) . What a busy, busy week. Charlie had given me a copy of his mothers' book: A Stubborn Hope by Jeanne DeTellis. I started reading it on Wednesday and finished it Friday. I couldn't put it down. Amazing stories about her life and how she was called to Haiti.
Shops open at 4 p.m. today. It was time to bring everything that you wanted to get rid of and barter for items. I got a necklace for 2 skirts and a dollar. (I figured out later that I bought the skirts for $US3 each, so you may get a better deal by just giving them money.) I gave a dress to (pregnant) Christi. I knelt beside an older lady. I didn't want anything from her shop but I did give her a couple dollars. I was down to two shirts and one dollar that I exchanged for something. I made sure to get something from Mike. I even brought him some batteries. That was a good experience.
The locals knew this was our last day at the mission so they were being a little more insistent with the begging. I couldn't help wondering what more they expected. They walk beside you and demand:
"Give me shoes"
"Give me shirt"
"Give me flashlight"
"Give me batteries"
It may help if they learn how to ask nicely and say "Please give me some shoes". It was a similar situation in Vietnam. Our guide tried to explain to me that there is no word in the Vietnamese language that meant "please". I wonder if there is a Creole word for "please".
Dinner was hamburgers, BBQ beans (like they make in the South) great potatoes.
7 pm Worship in the Dining Hall. Adam leads us on guitar. Charlie shares a message.
Is this all worth it?
1 Cor 3:8 -Each one will get their reward according to their labor.
Each one will get wages worthy of the work.
God will equip us and provide for us.
Math 16:24 - Deny things so you can pick up the cross and follow Jesus.
Luk 14:12-13 - Our good works are repaid at the resurrection.
Dont jump into just any good thing. You should follow God's calling.
Set your mind on things above.
The next focus at NEW Missions is generators and PA equipment for churches and schools.
Distribute passports tonight. We leave at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Breakfast cereal and coffee at 5 a.m. Uugh. 5:30 a.m. load up the truck and leave. :-(
Leaving NEW Missions.
The sun is rising over the corn field. Chickens and goats scatter as the bus rolls by. Many people from the village of Neply are on the edge of the road waving goodbye. Im going to miss this place.
Im sure they see our big, full suitcases on top of the bus. Were on a "tour" bus. The seats are padded so the bumps don't feel as big. Shawn and Mary are in the truck behind us. Good thing because a suitcase fell off!
As the children wave goodbye, you can see a sense of disappointment in their faces knowing that people who bring good things to their community are leaving. I feel sad. Im glad NEW Missions is here to minister and help these people. Im glad George and Jeanne stayed through the time of crisis and stayed when they were repeatedly told to leave. They stayed and continued to help and they knew the people that they were helping would protect them.. Its a good thing. NEW Missions has been here 20 years!
We just passed a sign on the highway "Douana". I guess its the name of a town. Ill have to look it up on a map.
All along the roadside, there are people with their wares waiting to be picked up by the bus. One lady had a huge basket of tomatoes on her head. I saw a 4by4foot crate of chickens. White feathers were poking out all over the crate.
On the side of the road there are numerous big piles of burnt cars and tires. They were road blocks. The kind that Jeanne told about driving through in her book.
Conditions here in the city are definitely worse than in the country. There is NO water in the occasional river beds that we drive over. So far, so good. Were moving, slow, but moving. Traffic is heavy, but we have not stopped yet Were dodging people all over the road and other vehicles, and burning piles of debris. Its two lanes in each direction, but people park in the right lane, so you have to drive in the left lane. There are often cement barriers to separate the opposing directions. An official car drove in our direction on the other side of the barrier against oncoming traffic. I guess you're allowed, if you are somebody special.
Ive been noticing the license plates. They say Prive or Taxi. There was a Toyota Land Cruiser was beside us on the road. License is "00010 Prive" The Prive plates are usually a letter and four numbers. He must be some high-up government official who go the tenth license plate.
I saw a sign that said "Telco Haiti: www.makanaky.com ". I was impressed that a business in this country had a Web site. It sure doesnt seem like a very effective way to disseminate information here, if you ask me. Some stats on this country claimed 3 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and 6,000 Internet users in the year 2000. Well, I tried the URL when I got home and got the message: "Unable to open www.makanaky.com/. Cannot locate the Internet server or proxy service."
I dont think Ive seen a single traffic light yet! There are traffic circles at "big" intersections. Madeline saw some traffic lights and she said she saw three garbage trucks! Garbage trucks?!? There is garbage EVERYWHERE, but I guess they need to start somewhere to haul it somewhere else.
I had a very nice conversation with Madeline on the bus.
She is from Canada, but her parents were born in Haiti. A friend came to pick her up at the mission and they went to the Montana Hotel. She said it was a 5-star property. I actually found it listed on the Internet.
Montana Hotel, Port au Prince 509-257-1920
No rates listed, but another hotel, Villa Creole Hotel in P-au-P is $US105 for a standard double, $US180 for the Ambassador (sic) Suite.
Madeline said they ate at Pietio Ville. All of the people who ate there were either white or mulatto. Very wealthy diplomats and government officials. Politician and lawyers. A very elite group. It was located at the top of a protected hill.
Maybe they want to keep this division of the very rich and the very poor. As long as the poor never see how good some others have it, they will keep functioning and existing at the level they are accustomed to. They are different levels of poor too. Madeline see hope in their face.
She feel totally at ease here. Very comfortable walking around. She knows the language too.
Madeline and Veronique are coming back this summer. A week at NEW Missions, and week in P-au-P.
Madeline said they called her "beige woman" or "yellow woman" "Jeune Madam" because of the color of her skin. She is lighter than most.
Madeline is a nurse. Since she spoke Creole, she volunteered to help the mission teach some health classes. Two afternoons she taught women about proper hygiene and nutrition.
The oldest worn out tires are proudly displayed at the roadside for sale. There is a woman sweeping dirt, another splashing water on the ground to keep the dust down. I saw a man lean over and pick something up from a road-side pile, then he put it in his mouth. Now I have seen true hunger.
So much debris everywhere. The people with shops I look into their faces and I dont see pride like I saw in faces of the shopkeepers in Hanoi. Here I see struggle. Yearning to succeed with what they have.
The most apparent thing I see on their faces is questions. When they see us (white people) slowly roll by in the bus I can see they are wondering
Where were we in their country?
Why were we in their country?
Where are we going?
What is it like there?
We passed a sign showing the new paper money in the country:
Nouvo Papye lajan
A Tap-Tap is a truck for public transport.
Christi learned that a lot of Haitians have never seen a white child (like her - long blonde hair and very blue eyes). The other children here are dark skinned with dark hair and eyes. Her nick name is Ti Blan. It means small white. Pronounced "Tee Blah"
We use Toilet paper - they use stones or banana leaves :(
Sugar cane is $US1 for one stalk. Stevie, Veronique, Shawn had machetes trying to take the outside of the cane stalk off. It's not that good. It 's like sweet wood. Children in the country chew on all time to supplement their one meal a day. I saw a lot of bad teeth.
We arrived at the airport around 7:45 a.m. I did see two traffic lights. "Air dAyiti" is Air Haiti. We're on American Airlines. Now this is secure airport. Here's the drill:
Stand in line to enter airport. Show passport and ticket. X-ray all bags. Random searches pulled out of line.
Stand in line to get boarding pass. Show passport, ticket. Random searches pulled out of line.
Pay $31US exit fee, show passport, boarding pass.
Stand in line to get passport stamped. They take the yellow paper. X-ray carry on bags.
Go upstairs, shop. Rum is cheap ($US2.50 a bottle), but remember its illegal for minors to have it in the U.S.
Go downstairs, stand in line to get to departure gate. Show passport and boarding pass. Exit gate, show boarding pass, X-ray carry on bags. Random searches pulled out of the line. Walk on tarmac, show boarding pass, get on the plane.
10 a.m. and we're on the plane. Flight to Miami is 1 hour 32 minutes. It's 78 in Miami.
We're leaving. I have a feeling I'll be back though.
Louise is coming back in August and Dan is coming back in July. He is going to Cap-Haitien. What a coincidence that my brother, Paul and his wife Stefanie are going to the Evangelical Free church in Cap-Haitien and exactly the same time that Dan is going to be there. God's plan in action.
Here's another true parallel. OK, maybe I get this writer and travel obsession from my father. This excerpt is from a letter that my father wrote to his father on March 6, 1962. We were living in Bogota, Colombia where dad worked for the Rockefeller Foundataion to help farmers. Sad thing is, it still applies to Haiti in 2002.
Sometimes when I get to worrying about my problems, all I have to do is look around and I can see people with real problems. There is such a large number of poor people here it is hard to imagine. And I mean people that don't have shoes for their kids, or even a roof over their heads. The cardboard from all of our furniture packing is now the roof and sides of a house of a poor squatter family that lives in a field not too far from our house. I gave them some hay and it is now their bed, and they consider themselves lucky. Some of the farmers haven't progressed a bit since the day's of Christ. It almost looked like a scene out of the Bible. In one field, they were cultivating and planting corn with a team of oxen and a wooden plow to scratch the dusty dry soil and plant their corn. There was a little boy about 7 years old following along behind the plow with his sack of corn, planting it and then stepping on it with his bare foot to cover the seed up. The dirt was dry and hard and it will be a miracle if any of it comes up. If one-third of the corn comes up, they think this is good and then the production is so low that it is hardly worthwhile for them to plant it. One family I visited got their water by hauling it almost two miles in gasoline tins from the dirty river. They used this water to drink, cook and wash their clothes in.
Letter dated March 1, 1963. Dad wrote this to his parents. He was 39 years old with a wife and 3 kids living in a foreign country. (I had to add this for my dad and my sister who worry about me and my brother traveling to someplace that appears to not be safe. You should see the Consular report on Haiti .)
I realize that you must be worried about us, especially with all the news in the paper about Colombia. But honestly there isn't anything to worry about. If something starts to happen, they have enough U.S. Air Force planes parked out here at the airport to get the Americans to Panama if necessary. But the thing is, that I don't think it will be necessary. Now, there is a good possibility that you will hear about the government falling here and the military taking over things. This is pretty well expected. But this will be the army and not the communists, But is and when you read about this , don't worry. We'll just stay home a few days and then I'll go back to work as usual. But if we need to, I'm prepared to live here in the house for more than a month if necessary.
I love this adventurous life that God had allowed me to enjoy. I am so fortunate to know His presence in my life and experience things with His blessing. I pray He reveals more escapades for me to explore and write about.
If you want to visit Haiti and a have a similar NEW Missions experience, contact:
PO Box 2727
Orlando, FL 32802
Web Site: www.newmissions.org
Dan Merrefield also does a newsletter featuring Haitian information. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAITI FACTS and STATSFound at http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ha.html
Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982) note: roughly one-half of the population also practices Voodoo
Languages: French (official), Creole (official)BackgroundOne of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. Over three decades of dictatorship followed by military rule ended in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE was elected president. Most of his term was usurped by a military takeover, but he was able to return to office in 1994 and oversee the installation of a close associate to the presidency in 1996. ARISTIDE won a second term as president in 2000, and took office early the following year. Geography
Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: land: 27,560 sq km , water: 190 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 275 km , border countries: Dominican Republic 275 km , Coastline: 1,771 km
Climate: tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m , highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
Natural resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 20%, permanent crops:13%, permanent pastures:18%, forests and woodland:5%, other:44% (1993 est.), Irrigated land: 750 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 40.31% (male 1,421,945; female 1,385,580)
15-64 years: 55.52% (male 1,869,323; female 1,997,246)
65 years and over: 4.17% (male 140,556; female 149,899) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.4% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 31.68 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 15 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female , under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female , 15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female , 65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female , total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 95.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.38 years
Total fertility rate: 4.4 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 5.17% (1999 est.) , HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 210,000 (1999 est.) , HIV/AIDS - deaths: 23,000 (1999 est.)
Ethnic groups: black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982) . note: roughly one-half of the population also practices Voodoo
Languages: French (official), Creole (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write, total population: 45% , male: 48%, female: 42.2% (1995)
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Haiti , conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti
local short form: Haiti
Government type: elected government
Administrative divisions: 9 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est
Independence: 1 January 1804 (from France) . National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1804)
Constitution: approved March 1987; suspended June 1988, with most articles reinstated March 1989; in October 1991, government claimed to be observing the constitution; return to constitutional rule, October 1994
Legal system: based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE (since 7 February 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Marie CHERESTAL (since 9 February 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 November 2000 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the Congress
election results: Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE elected president; percent of vote - Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE 92%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (27 seats; members serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (83 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held for two-thirds of seats 21 May 2000, with runoffs on 9 July boycotted by the opposition; about eight seats still disputed; election for remaining one-third held on 26 November 2000 (next to be held NA 2002); Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 May 2000, with runoffs on 30 July boycotted by the opposition; one vacant seat rerun 26 November 2000 (next election NA 2004)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FL 26, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FL 73, OPL 1, other minor parties and independents 9
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
Political parties and leaders: See the web site. Acronyms are:
ALAH, RDNP, ESPACE, OPL, and MOCHRENA, KONAKOM, PANPRA, PDCH, PADEM, FL [Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE], MDN, MRN, MIDH , MOP , FNCD, MOCHRENA , and OPL .
Political pressure groups and leaders: Autonomous Haitian Workers or CATH; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Roman Catholic Church
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, Caricom (observer), CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Louis Harold JOSEPH . chancery: 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 . telephone:  (202) 332-4090 FAX:  (202) 745-7215
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Brian Dean CURRAN . embassy: 5 Harry S Truman Boulevard, Port-au-Prince . mailing address: P. O. Box 1761, Port-au-Prince . telephone:  222-0354, 222-0269, 222-0200, 223-0327 . FAX:  23-1641
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength)
Economy - overview: About 80% of the population lives in abject poverty. Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and employs about two-thirds of the economically active work force. The country has experienced little job creation since the former President PREVAL took office in February 1996, although the informal economy is growing. Following legislative elections in May 2000, fraught with irregularities, international donors - including the US and EU - suspended almost all aid to Haiti. This destabilized the Haitian currency, the gourde, and, combined with a 40% fuel price hike in September, caused widespread price increases. Prices appear to have leveled off in January 2001.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.7 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.2% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 32% , industry: 20% , services: 48% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: 80% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% , highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 19% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 3.6 million (1995) note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (1998)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 25%, industry 9%
Unemployment rate: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs (1999)
Budget: revenues: $317 million
expenditures: $362 million, including capital expenditures of $84 million (FY99/00 est.)
Industries: sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, tourism, light assembly industries based on imported parts
Industrial production growth rate: 0.6% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 672 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 52.83% , hydro: 47.17% , nuclear: 0% , other: 0% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 625 million kWh (1999) , exports: 0 kWh (1999) , imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
Exports: $186 million (f.o.b., 1999) , coffee, oils, mangoes
Imports: $1.2 billion (c.i.f., 1999) , food, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Debt - external: $1 billion (1998 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $730.6 million (1995)
Currency: gourde (HTG) .Exchange rates: gourdes per US dollar - 23.761 (January 2001), 22.524 (2000), 17.965 (1999), 16.505 (1998), 17.311 (1997), 15.093 (1996)
Telephones - main lines in use: 60,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 0 (1995)
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better
Radio broadcast stations: AM 41, FM 26, shortwave 0 (1999)
Radios: 415,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (plus a cable TV service) (1997)
Televisions: 38,000 (1997)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 6,000 (2000)
Railways: total: 40 km note: privately owned industrial line; closed in early 1990s (2001)
Highways: total: 4,160 km , paved: 1,011 km , unpaved: 3,149 km (1996)
Waterways: NEGL; less than 100 km navigable
Ports and harbors: Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Les Cayes, Miragoane, Port-au-Prince, Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc
Merchant marine: none (2000 est.)
Airports: 13 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 8 (2000 est.)
Military branches: Haitian National Police (HNP) note: the regular Haitian Army, Navy, and Air Force have been demobilized but still exist on paper until constitutionally abolished
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age . availability: males age 15-49: 1,635,253 (2001 est.)
fit for military service: males age 15-49: 888,305 (2001 est.) , reaching military age annually: males: 87,049 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA; note - mainly for police and security activities
Disputes - international: claims US-administered Navassa Island
Illicit drugs: major Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; vulnerable to money laundering
Jesus, name above all names
Jezi, non'w anwo tout non
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord
Bon sove mwen, Gloriye Segne
Emmanuel; God is with us
Emaniel; Bondye avek nou
Blessed redeemer, living word.
Redampte beni, Parol vivan.
Se pa Puisans
Se pa pouvwa
Se pa Lespri di le Segne x2
Montay yo va deplase
Montay yo va deplase-e
Montay yo va deplase
Se pa Lespri di le Segne.
I have decided to follow Jesus
Mwen te decide pou suiv le Senye, Mwen te decide pou suiv le Senye,
Mwen te decide pou suiv le Senye, Mwen p'ap tounin, Mwen p'ap tounin
Mwen p'ap tounin, Mwen p'ap tounin, non non, Mwen p'ap tounin
Mwen p'ap tounin, Mwen p'ap tounin, non non, Mwen p'ap tounin
Lord I Lift Your Name on High
Segne, Mwen Leve non Ou
Lord, I lift you name on high
Segne, mwen leve non ou
Lord, I love to sing your raises
Segne, mwen konton louve ou
I'm so glad you're in my life
Mwen konton ou nan lavi mwen
I'm so glad you came to save us
Mwen konton ou te vin sove mwen
You came from heaven to earth - To show the way
Ou sot nan syel vin sou la te - Pou montrem chemen ou
From the earth to the cross - My debt to pay
Sot sou late al sou kwa - Pou peye det pechem
From the cross to the grave - From the grave to the sky
Sot sou kwa ale nan tonb - Sot non tonb monte nan syel
Lord, I lift your name on high.
Segne, mwen leve non ou.
Creole or "Kweyol" Language
Creole is to French, as emoticons are to English.
If you have caught onto reading emoticons, and you know a little French, then you may be able to figure out Creole. For example:
"Cn u by me sm lunch I 4gt mny" means "Can you buy me some lunch? I forgot my money"
"pls wk me if he sez nethng important" means "Please wake me if he says anything important".
"wsp" is "What's up", and "xlnt" is "Excellent"
|Bon jou||Bonjour||Good morning|
|Bon swa (Bon swe)||Bonsoir||Good afternoon or evening|
Web sights for learning Creole