Monday, August 16, 2010
Peace in the Painting
Today was our first experience going into the town of Jacmel. We went early to get paint and supplies from what the Pastor‘s wife called “Haiti’s version of Home Depot”. The buildings are so beautiful and the people very friendly- even though all most of us know how to say in French is Hello, Good Day. The old, white haired gentleman behind the counter was pretty sure I was his sister. Or maybe he thought I was a nun. The language can be so confusing.
While we waited for the Pastor to gather his supplies, a couple of us ventured to the front porch to take some pictures at his urging. Considering it was a very small store, I think the 5 of us took up quite a bit of room. So, we wandered along the street (truthfully, about 4 yards from the store) and saw just how really lovely the people and the city is. It is a port town, so there are very old buildings and hotels everywhere. There is a lot of commerce and busyness on the streets and it appears to the eye that the ills of the earthquake barely touched it until you hear the stories.
Unfortunately, the pastor’s wife was not feeling well today, so once we had our supplies, he went to pick her up from the Dr.’s and take her home. We wondered why he was casually walking into a Café (with a Bible verse over the arch) and asked what we wanted to drink while speaking with the hostess in Creole. At first we didn’t realize why in the world we would need to stop for a drink when we just came from breakfast. He told us he would be right back after dropping off his wife and we could enjoy our Cokes and V8s. After he left, we realized that the 5 of us had been left to be babysat by the restaurant owner. We found this hilarious, but poor hostess. We also are getting a taste for the difference in cultures as the man in our group is the only one the Pastor considers an adult. All things considered, none of us mind.
Once the Pastor returned, we walked down to a very old hotel that overlooked the port. On the way there he stopped at a corner and pointed to a one story house that was crumbled. “This house was destroyed in the earthquake- it used to be 3 stories tall. It is now one.” He went on to explain how many people were killed in that area of town. Because of the depth and heaviness of the damage, people could not get to the injured. He shook his head as he described what it was like to listen to their screams and cries and not be able to do anything about it. He said many, many people died in Jacmel and that the earthquake literally shook the whole town. Thankfully, their home and church were not damaged at all.
Once we finally reached the church, we dug right into painting with bright colors of salmon, blue and yellow. We painted until about 4:30 when the pastor made us quit. We were looking forward to today –painting in a sweltering un-air conditioned building considering tomorrow we are clearing land for the new medical clinic…with hatchets. The thing we look forward to most about tomorrow is that we will be with more church people and locals. We are all hungry to build relationships here.
I echo Jill’s post below when I say that God truly picked our team. I think the combination of our surroundings and the hearts of team members, the pastor and his wife is overwhelming to say the least. We are all praying that God will use us mightily here and open hearts and doors that we, nor the people we meet, could have ever expected.
Off to some of the most amazing food I have ever tasted. Seriously, I may bring the pastor’s wife home with me.