Friday, July 17, 2015

Bonjou! (That means good morning in Creole. This morning was not so good for us). We left the house at 5:50 am (that's 4:50 Minnesota time) to make it to church by 6 am. We are not a group of early risers, so the actual getting up was somewhat like pulling teeth, but it was all worth it to experience the joy and praise happening in that church. The service we attended was actually a pre-service worship time that consisted of singing and prayer, both together and individually. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. Stoic, white, Minnesota Lutherans did not blend in very well. Everywhere we looked, Haitians on their way to work were singing and dancing with their hands in the air. One woman even let us in on her 6:30 am salsa dancing. Everyone agreed it was an incredible experience. After church, we headed back to the guest house for a quick nap and breakfast, and then it was back out into City Soleil for futbol and water truck stops. At our first stop, the Haitian Initiative, some of us played soccer while others played with kids. We felt that our soccer skills and arm wrestling abilities were pretty inadequate, but we had a ton of fun regardless. Our first water truck stop was cut short by a women's rock band on parade. However, we did have time to carry a few buckets and love on a few kids first. Refilling the water truck after that stop took about an hour and a half. Let me tell you, you have not really bonded with anyone until you've sat in a 90 degree metal cage (tap-tap) and eaten melted trail mix with them. We're all a bit closer than we'd like to be after that experience. Our next water truck stop was one of the highlights of the trip for many of us. Long before we stopped the truck, kids were chasing after it, trying to climb onto it and yelling "ayou", which they seem to think is a more casual way of saying hello. The joy on their faces was truly precious and something none of us will forget for a very long time. A few of us (Andreley) have decided that they are bringing approximately 2 million children home with them. We were hoping to do one more stop, but it started to rain, so we had to go home in case the streets flooded. Eventually the rain slowed down, and we made an excursion to a lovely little boutique that sold shoes and jewelry made in Haiti by Haitians. The shoes are made with rubber from recycled tires and leather from a local tannery, but they are nicer than most flip flops sold in the states. We also saw some pigs near the store, which caused great excitement, and had a run in with a giant spider in the tap-tap. By this time, we all thought it was probably time for bed, but actually it was only 3 pm. Island time is nothing like American time. We swam at the hotel pool, which is probably 90 degrees but even that feels cold in this humidity. The cold showers are more appreciated than we could have ever imagined. After a fantastic dinner of spaghetti, we had a surprise visit from Jeff Gacek, the founder of Healing Haiti. He talked to us about the importance of looking for purpose in life as opposed to material success. That really hit hard for all of us as Haiti has made us realize just how truly privileged we are and how often we tend to look towards the material for happiness. We ended the night with devotions and worship and are now going to bed so we can turn on the AC. Au revoir, Andreley and Maddie

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