Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day Five

April 25, 2010

I slept so well last night! I am so relieved and no extra bug bites this morning. I still don’t itch. We all got up and showered and dressed in our Sunday best.

We got in the truck and went to mass. It was in the main chapel. It is a beautiful chapel. I noticed streamers and decoration, it reminded me we missed the people the other day. But in many churches there were flowers and streamers decorating the room, that is a big deal for them, to go as far as to get streamers and ribbon. I feel honored we are respected so much. Mass was packed and, of course, it didn’t start on time. But Fr. Dave, Fr. LaVoud and the retired bishop (who jokes Fr. LaVoud is his boss now) gave mass. It rained for a bit during mass. The bishop gave the homily, mentioning the rain, calling it a sign from God that we are the water that will help Chateau flourish. Domo was great translating the sermon and telling us when to give out offerings. Men first, but Sue and Janet made it up there before Domo could stop them. Then women, the women outnumbered and out-offered the men. Sometimes it seems things are so separated but then there are so many powerful women in charge.

We found out the sermon for Easter alone was an hour and a half. This one was quick, for our sake I am sure. They still thought we were leaving after breakfast. So it was sped along. Fr. Dave gave communion. His line was double the line the bishop had. It was neat to see people rushing him.

It was neat to see all the kids in the choir dressed in uniforms that were pristine. And there were different uniforms for different ranks and boys and girls had different uniforms, some might be for helping with mass. There was a guitar player and drums and maybe something else too. The men and women sat behind all the kids. We never saw a family together. I rarely saw women. Men would work the fields and the kids would swarm the rectory. I have to wonder what their families are like.

I know they take the ‘it takes a village’ saying seriously. Kids run around and everyone knows them and will take care of them if needed. Everyone is there to help and lend a hand and love. It is neat to see so much caring for people. We don’t get that here in the states.

Once mass was over we went back and had breakfast. There was so much food. A pumpkin soup, bananas, bread, sour sap juice. That juice is so good. John and I decided we were going to market it in the states with vodka or rum in it and call it Haitian Sour Punch. It would sell so well I think.

We had a little down time to change and figure out what we were leaving and what we were taking home with us and then we ate lunch. I wasn’t even hungry but there was so much food again. We had another soup and bread, chicken legs, rice and a bean sauce. It all is so good. I want these recipes.

We had more down time. We played with the kids and Sue wanted me to record her singing the song Magnificant. It is a beautiful song but took so long. And poor Domo was there to help too. He didn’t enjoy it and neither did I. And he was called so many things, Romo by John and Dumo by Sue. The poor guy, he works so hard and then is pulled even farther then required.

At three we had a meeting with Father. He gave us proposals on what it will cost to finish a few buildings, the rectory and church and we talked about funding for schools and a new chapel for the one that had no walls. It is a lot. I hope we can help. Some of the projects are over 300,000 goudes, but in American dollars it is a little over 9,000. I know people would man up to that. Lord knows they need it. The rectory is Father’s main mission. It is the central place for the entire community. It is a gathering place and a social service center. It represents the heart of the community. But it might be hard for people who don’t see that understand why that comes first.

We left for the soccer game after that. It was supposed to start at four, which in Haitian time means 5:10. Our team won! Amber scored three goals, but none of them counted for one reason or another. We were bombarded by people wanting money to go to school. And smiling kids. This soccer game was as big as Monday night football, and just as serious. After the game we went back to the rectory. Tons of kids piled into the bed of the truck for a ride. Donut (John’s bud) was throwing people off and got yelled at by John. One kid fell off during the ride. Domo was not happy about that. And Brian and John said that the kids (and really non of the Haitians do) have personal space. They were grabbing body parts just to stay aboard the truck. The kids love to touch us, our arms, our faces, our red noses, my mosquito bites (everyone noticed those today, I was a little embarrassed but there was nothing I could do about it), and our hair. They love to touch our hair and play with it. It is so different from theirs and thy love to touch it.

We had dinner, some pasta casserole thing. We weren’t sure what kind of meat was in it but it was good. We had wine and Haitian rum and coke and beer. There was so much fellowship that night. We all came together and became so close through this trip. There was a baby girl that we were passing around. I held her and put her asleep. She was so precious. I was sad when her mom came to get her. She definitely needed a diaper change. That was evident by the wet spot on my shirt. It is funny how things like that don’t gross you out after being in Haiti for a while.

The two dental students came in to talk about what they would like for the clinic. They even had eBay items to show us what they want and how much. It is all so expensive but at least everyone we have talked to has had proposals and plans. That is encouraging. We made sure they knew we couldn’t do it all and maybe nothing.

We got to check e-mails again. I accidentally sent mine to my dad’s work e-mail so I forwarded it along with another small message to my dad at his home address. I miss them all so much. The people of Chateau have become my second family though.

We talked about what time we are leaving in the morning. What a bittersweet conversation. I am so sad to be leaving. The other day Domo offered to build me a house and I could live there in Haiti and I seriously could. But I am so excited to see Carter and my parents. And I am so nervous about adjusting back to American culture. It is so easy to adjust to Haiti, but I have a feeling getting back into the swing of things will be very emotional.

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