I am in love. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly. The object of my affection? Haiti. The sights ( aqua blue water, coconut palms and banana trees), the sounds (chickens, goats, and French greetings), the tastes (hot chocolate with freshly ground cocoa, fresh squeezed granata juice, early birthday cake for Larry) have combined to capture my heart.
I am eager to experience all I can of Haitian culture, which this morning included worshipping at the church here at the mission. We gathered under shady trees and even though we understood little beyond the tune to Nothing But the Blood of Jesus and some stray hallelujahs, we joined in singing in English when we could and shared in communion with our Haitian brothers and sisters. We received a warm welcome and through an interpreter also had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and communicate our desire to learn and eagerness to work.
After some more great Haitian food (and the chance to play with the mission dogs!) we took a choppy but exhilarating boat trip to a fishing village. We got to try a new word: “zomie”–which sounds an awful lot like zombie but means “friend.” We’re encouraged to introduce ourselves as friends so the community does not view us as Santa Claus-like figures who pass out stuff, but friends who want to help them build a stronger country. Although I am sure the phrase is not technically correct, we “made zomies” with some children in the village and also got to see a glimpse of the work the mission has been able to do there, which includes the building of a cistern along with obvious relational connections.
The opportunity to first experience the culture has given us an amplified sense of purpose as we have seen–many of us for the first time–the faces and the place to which our efforts are dedicated.
The work begins in earnest tomorrow. And a second chapter of my budding love story with this nation will begin.
Cynthia Davis for Haiti Team 1 - Northside Christian Church