Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Haiti Mission Team Report - Part Four

Friday was perhaps our most intense day in Haiti. We left the compound at Fort Jacque at 6:30 AM and drove down the mountain to Petionville where we picked up the ladies. We then drove three hours on horrendous roads to Merebailas, a small rural village where there is a small orphanage, church and a school run by a Haitian pastor.

Our route took us right through several Friday morning markets, where people were selling stuff in the streets. The roads were so narrow and so many people were in the streets that when we drove through they had to pick up some of the fruits and vegetables they were selling so we would not run over them. The crowd was so thick in the streets that only the grace of God kept someone from being run over. Several times we were less than an inch away from another truck, car, motorcycle or person. But each time our drive (an Australian named Dave) managed to find our "space" on the crowded road.
For the entire three hour drive most of us were standing up in the back of the truck because the floor was filled with supplies for the orphanage. ‎We drove over a mountain, through a dusty limestone quarry, and down the mountain on the other side. Apparently they have not heard of guard rails in Haiti. But the Lord was with us.
Along the way we stopped at a roadside stand and ate "road food." Fried pig, fried bananas, pickelese (it looks like cole slaw without the mayonnaise and it is incredibly spicy!) and American Coca Cola. Though a few of us were nervous about eating road food, none of us had any negative reactions. At the roadside food stand we also took a bathroom break, except there was no actual bathroom. The group took turns doing what needed to be done behind a broken down semi beside the road. Let’s just say that it was an interesting experience that we hope to not have to repeat any time soon.
‎We were glad when we finally arrived at the church/school/orphanage. The church was just a roof and floor, there were no walls. They had some benches, but we delivered the parts for more and assembled them on site. We taught some of the Haitian boys in the orphanage how to use power tools and ratchet wrenches. Considering that the young men on our team were also rather inexperienced at using those items themselves, and we could only speak a few words to each other because of the language barrier, it was an interesting teaching moment. We also painted the pastor's office (a small room with windows that did not have glass) and his home (which also houses the orphanage of 25 kids). I taught two 12 year olds who spoke no English how to use a paint brush. Though they left a couple of bad spots, I was proud of their work at the end of the day.

‎Perhaps one of the most moving experiences of the day was totally unplanned. Some older teen boys in their church were playing some praise music. One of the guitars was very out of tune. One of the young men on our team, Alexander, has been gifted by God with perfect pitch. He offered to the tune the guitar. He also gave the drummer a short lesson. And suddenly, a worship moment just happened. They started playing praise music and signing together, some in English (they knew a lot of the same songs we sing at our church) and some in Creole. The worship time just kept going on and on. It was so moving to watch Alex, who has a quiet gentle spirit, take those young men on a journey to the throne of heaven and back. I do not know about other people on the team, but I cried, and then cried some more. I have been told that there are not supposed to be tears on heaven, if there are, half the angels were crying too!

‎The ladies at the church prepared an authentic Haitian lunch for us. Fried chicken (no bread coating, just chicken fried in oil), pasta salad (pretty much like ours, but spicy), beat salad (absolutely out of this world!!!!), and pickelese. It was touching to see how people who had so little treated us so kindly.

On the way back over the mountain I thought we were going to have an accident several times. There was this insane fascination with driving extremely fast and the truck with the loudest horn apparently had the right of way. Stop signs were clearly just suggestions, and pretty much no one took the suggestion! I do not know how Haitians keep from having fatal accidents daily. But three hours later, we returned to the main house in Petionville safe and sound. We dropped the ladies off and then the men went up the mountain to Fort Jacque. We were tired, gritty, and sweaty, but felt very fulfilled knowing we had touched the "least of these" in Jesus' name.

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