We’ve had some lovely overcast weather over the last few days. It’s been such a treat for us. Seems the rainy season has finally come to Pierre Payen and we’ve had showers almost every other day or more often.
Carmen and our little family have been having a wonderful time together. We’ve been busy showing her around and mixing that with down time. Yesterday her and I went to the lighthouse beach, this nice little hideaway that we’ve got here, and got ourselves thoroughly sunburned. Today we’re taking a trip into St. Marc to visit our friends Barb, Bev and Al. Olivia is going too so she can have some play time with the boys. At breakfast we were practicing saying “No boys.” My favorite was when she said it in her little voice and raise her hands up and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “No boys. Those poor boys. But I just can’t spend too much time with them.” As if it all made perfect sense. I told her just to keep saying that until she was 18.
On the weekend we left Olivia with some friends and Carmen, Chris and I took a little trip to Terre Blanche (white earth) to finally visit some friends from Washington. They bring medical teams in to the mission there several times a year and we’ve been trying to go and visit for the last year and it just didn’t ever work out, so it was fun to finally make the trip. We got to see some team members that had visited two years ago which was fun, and mostly just enjoyed the company of some great people and some time away from Pierre Payen.
One of the highlights of the weekend was church on Sunday. It was the first service in the new church building. We knew it would be a big deal, especially at 6 am when Chris said, “Oh no, there go the speakers in a wheel barrow.” Meaning, because it was a big deal type service, it was going to be a loud service. When we walked into the church I think we were all caught off guard by what we saw. The place was packed! There must have been about 1000 people filling every available space. And they were still bringing in more benches. And then they took a bunch of the kids over to the clinic so they could listen to the service from over there. We and the team were the guests of honor so we sat up on the stage and it was very, very humbling. As we sat down I looked across at Linda and saw her just bawling, which brought on the tears for me. The day before she had given Carmen and I a tour of the mission (school, clinic and church) and told us the history of how everything got going. As we sat there in that church it wasn’t just a celebration of a new building, it was a celebration of hard work, perseverance and obedience.
When Joe and Linda came to Haiti about 12 years ago they did so to feed 65 kids. Pastor Delamy, the Haitian pastor they work with, believed God was calling them to build a church and a school for the community. There was neither at that point, and voodoo was prevalent. The old church is about the size of my kitchen and living room. The school started as one or two rooms. Now it has 800 students, and last year they opened the secondary school. The clinic opened it’s doors two years ago after many years of doing clinics in the church. Now it’s open every day with Haitian staff and they can see a large number of patients when Joe and Linda bring their teams in. It was just a sweet, sweet moment to be a part of. I think the thing that just got me was knowing how hard life can be here, knowing how many times you feel like you have nothing left to give, and how many times you want to throw in the towel in frustration or just exhaustion. Knowing all the struggles there can be here, and knowing how hard it can be to make any progress left me feeling like a ball of mush as I got to be part of such a sweet moment for our friends, for Pastor Delamy, and for all the people that came from surrounding communities.
Checking on a filter built and installed by one of our former students who builds filters for people in Terre Blanche. It was really well installed :)
Carmen getting first hand experience with how excited kids get if they get their picture taken.
Carmen came to Medika Manba on Tuesday. It was a good day for all of us. We have about 30 kids coming regularly at this point and it was fun to graduate 4 of them, and admit another 10! Some of the severe cases of Kwash were looking so much better and are at the point now where they will start gaining towards their goal weight.
There are some things that are becoming funny to me now. I think that the longer a person lives in a place like Haiti, the less stuff seems like a crazy big deal, unless you have someone here from the outside that says “Huh, that’s a bit of a big deal.” Case in point. Yesterday Carmen and I went to the beach and came home after a nice time. I stopped the truck in the driveway and as I opened my door I hear “water” running off the truck. The first thing I thought, and said, was that we had gone through so many puddles and so much mud (true) that it was still pouring off the truck. Then I got out and saw diesel running out of the gas tank onto our driveway. I yelled for Chris and then some of our workers came running with buckets to catch as much as we could. They had just cleaned out the gas tank a couple weeks ago, and Chris realized that it hadn’t been tightened down properly, so it had shaken around a lot on the road and loosened a bunch of rust, and thus the holes. The crazy part of it was that we had taken the truck, about 25 minutes from home, on a back road with little traffic, and no cell service. To say that we were grateful that it happened close to home and not out at the beach was an understatement.