Haiti. Part two.

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Haiti Mission Trip

We sat amongst the children between our times on stage. They looked so into what we were doing. This surprised me. If we did the same job back in America that we did there, there would have probably been kids dozing in the pews. Not so here. It’s as if something different was happening in the monotonous days of their lives and they didn’t want to miss a thing. Everyone wanted you to sit next to them, and when you did they were always looking up, smiling and saying things that only they could understand so all you could do was smile back. Then they would laugh and ask you for the hundredth time to re-tie the bracelet they got as the craft around their wrist because they had untied it again.

At the end of VBS we got out the suitcases full of candy and passed it out to the children. When they realized what was going on they crowded us and shoved to get into the front of the line. Kids put candy in their pockets as soon as they received it and asked for more. Once again I could see the mindset and attitude that we had found in the village but on a much smaller level. Life in Haiti is rough, so naturally one has to be rough to survive. And that usually means taking all one has the opportunity to take. Can one blame them? To a certain extent maybe. But I found myself wondering that if I had been raised inside a nation of this state, would I turn out the same way? Would I take someone else’s food so I could feed myself? It’s fear that drives people to the limits. Would I have enough self-control to get past my fear and wait? The answer was that it would be very hard to break out of the mold that this attitude has created and behave differently and patiently. Especially when greed is a social norm over there.

After VBS we had lunch which was canned soup and rice. So much rice. Never so much rice again. Then we headed to a mountain church that was a branch of believers that Pastor Lemione was associated with. The bus drove us a decent way through the city part of Port-au-Prince, but then we all had to pile out of the bus and cram into and on top of Land Cruisers to traverse the steep, rocky pathways of the mountain. The drive up was outrageous. There were dips and holes in the road large enough to tip a car. Which we were certain almost happened a few times. Looking back we could see the pick-up with a cage around the back to hold people inside with some of our team inside wobble to and fro on the dirt road. I don’t know if they realized just how close they were to tipping.

When we finally got to the mountain church, which was quite literally on the side of a mountain, people were already gathered around a central area where we would be performing and speaking. They were all dressed nice, very nice. They almost looked out-of-place in their suit and ties sitting on metal folding chairs placed on the dirt in the church’s courtyard. But that’s the way they dressed. I guess they feel like it’s more respectful to do such. Who is anybody to tell them they are wrong?

First, the men’s choir sang a few songs. It was always fun to hear the Haitian music and songs. Even though one could not understand what they were saying, and they repeated the same verses over and over again, they were so into it that one could not help being blessed by their devotion. Afer this, there was a couple testimonies and speakers from our group. They always went well. There were times when I was nervous because I thought that some people didn’t know what was socially acceptable in another country to talk about, but touchy subjects and phrases were avoided to my relief. We then performed our dramas. The Sin Chair, This Blood, The Everything Drama, and The Heart Drama. They all went well. The Everything skit was accepted better than we have ever seen before, and these people couldn’t even understand the words to the song. It was a blessing.

After the dramas ended we prayed for everyone. They were hesitant to come forward but then as people started coming, as if on cue, they all piled in. They formed one straight line all the way out to the back of the chairs. Our team passed by each one of them. It was an amazing experience. God was moving on that mountain in Haiti that day. 

After all was said and done it started to rain. We all quickly gathered the sound equipment and loaded the suitcases into one of the Land Cruisers. However, we didn’t take the same cars back. Oh no, this time we all were led to one of those box trucks that looks like half of a semi truck and all piled in. Like cattle. The box sitting on the back of this truck frame was originally made for packages and cargo. The only thing making this truck unique was the air holes that were cut square-shaped into the side of the truck at face level. They were as large as about a square foot and had metal grating on them. There were four of these in the whole truck.

It was a good thing it was raining and cooler outside because if it wasn’t the thirty-six people sardined in that truck would have  been extremely cranky. Me being the worst one I can imagine. It was then that I remembered the way up the mountain and how bumpy it was. We were going back down in a top-heavy box truck on the now slippery winding dirt road. The trip was unforgettable. People were being tossed around until they collided with their neighbor. There was nothing to hold onto except for the person next to you. I managed to be close enough to one of the windows so I could grab the grate with my fingertips which turned white after a little while. My other hand was plastered to the roof where I found some grip on the frame holding the box together. I also got to see out the front of the window and look at the impossibly rough terrain ahead. Somehow our driver got us through. It was something I will never forget.

When we got back to the orphanage all of us were so tired we just passed out on our mattresses. Tomorrow was going to be another full day.

Part three is coming soon and probably more after that. I want to do these in easier to read segments than part one. That was a killer.

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