Port au Prince

Port au Prince
"He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Psalm 40:2

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hand-Me-Downs

Yesterday morning we walked the short road from our hotel to the church. I think we are feeling quite brave following our “adult” leader up the path through the tent village we see from our window. By 8:30, it was already sweltering. Interesting thing about the roads here- they are of course dirt, but they are so tumultuous that I am really not sure how vehicles last very long. Often I can barely walk on them. They are steep, have deep (as in 3 feet) grooves, and often are quite narrow. I watch in awe as a tall, thin woman carries a huge pack on her head and gracefully maneuvers the ruts and loose gravel and dirt. She seems to float above it all.

When we arrived, the Pastor (referred to everyone including family as “Pastor”- not “the Pastor”- it has become his name) was already bustling about and we set to painting our final room and doing touchups on the others before tackling the 10 boxes of books that were to be placed on the shelves. Once the painting was complete, we worked with Evelyn, a new teacher, to sort the books into appropriate stacks.

While this may seem a mundane job, it was really quite an adventure. Now, y’all, I have spent a significant amount of my life in the south, but I truly have never seen cockroaches the size of the ones I encountered yesterday. I think my shrieks at the first ones out of the box were heard throughout the church. Evelyn took it in stride and we laughed at the graceful way she tapped the roaches with her dress shoes. Us? Armed with sneakers, it’s no holds barred…although, admittedly, some of us ran the other direction. It was definitely an unconventional way of team building and getting to know Evelyn- how many 3-4 inch cockroaches can you chase at one time?

Here is the troublesome part. We unloaded box after box of old worn out books covered in and filled with evidences of mice and critters. We wore gloves, but these are the books that were sent for children to use to learn and the school is so grateful to have received them. It’s not a big school, and it is the only way they have of getting books. The way we cleaned them?- a dry cloth. They take what they can get and are so appreciative. One of the other girls and I were schooled in the same Christian school curriculum and we began reminiscing on books that we read as children and the story morals that left strong impressions that still affect us. We looked down at the books we were unpacking and shook our heads. I wondered how the children would react to new books with stories they can relate to- books that connect to them and their world. Our American teacher kept growing more and more frustrated as we pulled out books with white folks on the covers and stories of conveniences that these children do not experience. Although, I am sure they are really looking forward to reading the history of Quebec.

Today we were scheduled to clear land. Laura and I told the one lone, black goat in the field that he really needed to get busy before we got back, but he just sat and looked at us. However, he will have to fare with just the help of few locals as a couple of us have started taking our Cipro and one of us has some heat exhaustion. So, today it’s more inside work.

Marie mentioned below that Thursday we are going to sing and play for a service where all the youth have been invited. I can hardly wait for this! We will definitely post videos and pics. The other day while we were painting, one of the local teens, Lucson, was painting with us. While we were working, I was singing and he would hum along to those he knew. I started singing an old song I grew up listening to and was surprised to learn he already knew it. He just grins and nods.

Let your living water come and pour o’er my soul
Let your sweet anointing come and make me whole
Every situation that is here below
All to You I give, Father, take complete control.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.


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