When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Language barriers

Just thought I would update on my lastest good news this morning...I got a hot shower! This is BIG news for me considering I have been taking cold showers for over month. I just don't think you get as clean with cold water. As a matter of fact I know you don't.

I forgot to put a funny story in yesterday's blog. I have been speaking mostly Creole to try ot learn the language. And I know I have made lots of mistakes but this one takes the cake! Last week I was tired and I told some Haitians that I was going to go lay down (or so I thought). In creole the way you say I'm going to lay down is "M ap kouche." But instead I said "M ap akouche." They were looking at me funny and laughing. I had no idea about what. I found out later that evening that "M ap akouche" means I am going to go give birth! Funny how one little letter changes everything. There have been other times that people are laughing at what I have said. But the Haitians are helping me learn the language when I am not in school and teaching me a ton. They are often surprised that a "blan" (white person) is speaking Creole.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

House Calls

Another week finished in Peredo. Peredo is the place in southeast Haiti where Haitian Christian Outreach has a church and school and is building a church camp and a medical clinic inthe future. There was a team of Americans down to do construction work on the camp this week. They were a lot of fun and hard workers. While they worked I took pics, went to the school and talked/played with the kids, and walked around the area meeting people. I did some "house calls" to a couple of the families in the area. There is a little girl who is 4 years old that goes to the school in Peredo. He name is Kaitla. She is adorable and deep down became my favorite quickly. Talk about a spunky, stronged willed 4 yr old! I have a feeling I was somewhat like that when I was 4. She asked me to come to her house after school and after nearly falling over b/c I actually understood her (my creole lessons are starting to pay off), I told her I would. I walked to her house my myself after school that day. I was surprised to find her in her underwear outside the house eating a little fish. I hope it was cooked! She said it was a sardine. I was invited in to the yard by her grandmother and soon found out that Kaitla's mother works in the Domincan Republic and comes home every once in a while and sends money home, but Kaitla lives with her Grandmother. After I asked Kaitla where her clothes were her grandmother jumped up and snatched her inside the house. I didn't know what was going on and wondered if I said something wrong in Creole. But a few minutes later they both came back out dressed in their Sunday best. Grandma started giving her a wipe down with the only water they had there at the house in a 5 gallon bucket. Then she steered Kaitla over to me and I told Kaitla how nice she looked. We talked for a while with as little Creole as I know how to say and then I left-only to see that Kaitla was coming with me. I figured I kinda asked for it so I let me tag along. Then I went to the next house. It is the house of Genio who is one fo the guys that drives the big dump truck and other trucks for the mission. I knew he was working with the others at the work site so I took the oppurtunity to go talk with Madanm Genio. She is the sweetest lady, kinda quiet and was surpised at my visit. I sat with her while she cooked. She was cooking rice and potatoes over a charcoal fire. The chickens were running around, the dogs kept trying to get in the food and then her 9 month old started crying as he woke up from his nap. We were talking in Creole-well I was talking and she was usually laughing at my mispronounciations! I was sitting there looking at the food she was cooking wondering what my mom was cooking back home and I got a little homesick but then I thought about the awesome experience I was having. I was sitting in a 3rd worled country watching how a woman is cooking and providing for her family first hand. I said back and took it all in. I wish I could fully describe it to you but I can't. I was going to ask her if I could take a picture but I felt like that would ruin it. I was really seeing into her daily life. I couldn't help but wonder if she would sit and stare at me cooking at my house. I saw Madanm Genio 2 days later and she responded to me differently than she did before I spent some time with her at her house. She was warm and inviting and probably waiting for me to say something else wrong in Creole!

Here are some pics of the progress of the work in Peredo-those of you who have been here working on it should know that it is going well. And I want you to be able to see the progress.

(the gazebo they are building)

(the new depot-the other was destroyed in the hurricanes)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I had the opportunity to teach Sunday School last Sunday to the Kids at church. There were about 50 kids there and most were in the age range of 4-8 yrs old. I did the lesson of Jesus walking on the water and Peter stepping out and then doubting and starting to sink until Jesus reached out and got him.

Matthew 14 (NCV) says
Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home.23 After he had sent them away, he went by himself up into the hills to pray. It was late, and Jesus was there alone.24 By this time, the boat was already far away from land. It was being hit by waves, because the wind was blowing against it.

25 Between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water.26 When his followers saw him walking on the water, they were afraid. They said, "It's a ghost!" and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus quickly spoke to them, "Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid."

28 Peter said, "Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water."

29 Jesus said, "Come."

And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, "Lord, save me!"

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, "Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?"

32 After they got into the boat, the wind became calm.33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, "Truly you are the Son of God!"

I used a blue sheet for the kids to get around and sit on the ground holding a piece of it and shaking it to make it seem like stormy water. Then the kids took turns "walking on the water" like Jesus. I think it went well but I could tell that the kids aren't used to object lessons here. But I know how much easier it is to remember something that you saw than to remember something that you heard. I am going to try to come up with more lessons and find some on the internet to do in future weeks. I taught Sunday school back home and finding materials and resources is so much easier in the states. But the kids here are attentive and they take everything you say in and absorb it like a sponge. I was so happy to be called Miss Ginny today instead of "blan."

It's nice to see relationships developing with the people and myself. I am missing all you back home but I am excited about the new people I am meeting and new friends I am making from a totally different culture.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last week in Haiti has been quite the variety of situations. I worked with an American team (well I took pics they worked) putting on 1.5 roofs on dorms at the church camp HCO is building in Peredo. It was hot, but Americans and Haitians alike were eager to work. They did a great job improvising and using available tools and equipment. Sometimes the generator didn’t work for the power tools, sometimes the measurements were off, but the whole time 2 groups of people from very different cultures worked together. I love watching people work together, trying to accomplish the same goal using different languages and different methods. Somehow it works out.

I met the kids at the school in Peredo this week. There are 57 students who meet in the church building for school. Right now there is preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade. I played with them, helped serve lunch and by the end of the week I wasn’t just the “blan” (white person) but “Miss Ginny.” I think I was their entertainment as I practiced my Creole with them. By the sounds of their laughter I am sure I was. The kids all meet in the same one room building. The chalkboards separate the classes. They sit in folding metal chairs all day. Lunch time is a treat for them. They each get a bowl of rice and beans or rice with a soy, protein supplement. They scraped the bowls clean! Then it is rest time-some fall asleep sitting up in their folding chairs.

On Saturday there were some people who came to the HCO clinic in Port-au Prince to start planning a surgical center for children there. They have some big plans! Please pray for this project as it would help hundreds of kids with Hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) and cleft lips/palates. The Project also would provide a neurosurgical residency for Haitian doctors which is much needed here! Exciting things are happening in Haiti.

Saturday night I went with the Short term group to see a dance/theatre put on by former Haitian Street Boys. There is a mission here that started that program over 20 yrs ago and they take in orphaned street boys and raise and educate them. They also teach them dance and do a show for visitors to raise money. It was a great time. They have danced in New York, Chicago, Canada and other places outside of Haiti. Listening to some of their life stories I was reminded how God loves each of us and never forgets us! Some of the boys had been slaves as children here in Haiti. I could see the thankfulness for opportunity in the boys dance. Psalm 149:3 says, “They should praise Him with dancing. They should sing praises to Him with tambourines and harps.”-NCV. And praise Him they did! I can’t imagine a life where people would avoid eye contact with me, cross to the other side of the street to avoid me and then to have people coming to pay to watch me perform. The boys talked about how it improved their self esteem. So there are some of the random events from last week. I need to go study my Creole more-those are instructions straight from my teacher-so that’ll tell you how school is going.