Sunday, April 22
Ahhh, a relaxing Sunday. The week is about to get crazy, so I know to enjoy these down days while I can. Not to mention, I think we all need to recoup from our 24+ hours of travel. My "down day" started at 6 am for church. I took a quick cold shower and headed out bright out and bushy tailed (ok, maybe that is an exaggeration).
It was comforting to know that not much has changed at church. The only change was the exterior of the building. Instead of being welcomed with broken steps, we got to view the front of a beautiful building. It makes me smile just thinking about it. The worship was as passionate as ever, the songs were as glorious as I remembered and the sermon (through the interpreter) was just as relevant to our life as what was probably being said in America.
I continued to be amazed by the clothing Haitians were to church. Everything is not only church dress appropriate, but cleaner and more pressed than you would find in any American church. As the team was reflecting tonight, we realized the big difference between Haitian and American worship. In Haiti, church is the highlight of the week. In America, it's something we go to if we can fit it in. This difference shines through beyond words.
After church, the widows were bussed out to the orphanage, where we served them lunch. I felt a little bad, as the cooks were the ones who had slaved over the food for hours and we had the glory because we simply plopped it on a plate and placed it in front of them.
We then passed out tote bags for the ladies to decorate with fabric markers and paint. At first, we just had 27 widows looking at us with blank stares. But once a couple of girls demonstrated the idea with the markers, the idea took off. It was fun to see their faces light up as they made their own art. And as an added bonus, they got an decent accessory to help carry items home from the market.
We were blessed enough to have a ton of crocs donated to us (much to Customs' chagrin). And when I say Crocs, I'm not talking about what image probably popped into your head. These things could easily be fooled for regular shoes. There were flip flops, heeled sandals, dress shoes and even moccasins! So we displayed about 40 pairs and let each lady pick out a pair. It was one of the most rewarding experiences to help them fit shoes onto their battered feet and receive an English "thank you." with a kiss on the cheek and grateful hug.
Once I took a picture of one lady proudly displaying her bag and showed it to her, all the ladies wanted to model their bags. It was so fun to see these ladies who had been through a life of hardship to giggle like children when they saw their picture. All in all, I couldn't ask for a more grateful, graceful group of women (and even a couple of men).
Later in the afternoon a handful of us ventured into town to get supplies for our upcoming mountain trek. As usual, the streets of Haiti didn't lack in interesting sites. From people sleeping on the sidewalk, to market transactions to what is appearing to be the standard walking naked man, I will never get enough of everyday life in Haiti. I also tried to learn the Haiti currency system and understand the exchange rate, but apparently you need a masters' degree in finance.
I heard today that a common Haiti catchphrase is "Haiti is more complicated than meets the eye. " Yep. And the monetary system is visual proof.
I know that yesterday I wrote that trash still litters the street. However, today with the benefit of being in an open truck, I got to see how much less trash is in the street. We used to have to zigzag around rubble and hold our breath to prevent breathing the odor of rotting trash. It wasn't that bad on our Sunday drive. Dare I say that some of the streets are just a few street cleaners away from looking like some of the streets in America. Ok, maybe you won't find a bull walking down the street or women carrying baskets of good on their head, but you get the point...
I'm about to run over to hear the orphans sing their nightly devotional. In the morning, we are gonna get our rental cars and head up to the mountains. Stay tuned, I have a feeling things are going to start getting interesting!