Our first day, as long as it was, could not have been better. Our fantastic hosts, Nate & Cecilia, provided us with a wonderful lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches from a local favorite of their's, and we were joined at lunch by the World Relief Haiti country director, John O'Kelley. We got the chance to hear about World Relief's commitment in Haiti, as well as their vision for the future. In the evening we had a chance to do some team building by organizing all of the teacher supplies for the training that they are running. My one main takeaway? It took me a really long time to put a protractor into a bag. Granted, this was the biggest and best protractor I have ever seen in my life, but it really did take me longer than it should have. However, I managed to move past my adoration of the protractors and put all 50 of them into the bags. :)
Today, we woke up bright and early to prepare for church and eat a delicious breakfast. We then had the option to go to either a church service completely in Creole, with a large number of youths, or an English service. Nate, Cecilia, John, Leoni & Joanne went to the English speaking service, while Janese, Tracy, Charlotte, Alice, Lindsey and myself went to the Creole service. Just like last year, it was such an amazing experience and I was so overwhelmed by the joy of the Lord that these young people had that it brought tears to my eyes. They sang one song in English, and a few parts of the sermon were in English, so we had an idea what was going on the majority of the time. The pleasantly surprising thing to me is that the entire congregation was mostly youth. And there were a lot of people there with us. The woman who led the service asked us to come up and say a few things and our names, and everyone greeted us afterwards with hugs and handshakes. I wish we were able to go one more time to this church, but we will be in the air next Sunday when they will be worshiping. After church we headed up to the Black Mountain and the Baptist Mission on the mountain. Nate & Cecilia wanted to show us the overlook which has a view of the entire city of Port au Prince, and wanted to show us where we would be working and such. Unfortunately, the mission was closed, so we did not get to see inside. However, being the amazing hosts that they are, Nate and Cecilia still showed us around the area and we made the best of it. The mission also has a small wildlife sanctuary that just so happens to house Alice's new best friend; a monkey:
Before I go any further, I feel I must let everyone in on why they are best friends. So, this wildlife sanctuary has birds, goats, rabbits, and, right in the middle of everything, a monkey all by himself. Janese thought the monkey looked a little hungry (it was raining, no one was out, and clearly Janese is more of an animal lover than she claims to be), so she grabbed a granola bar and a stick and decided to feed the poor little monkey.
But for some reason, the monkey, although clearly tempted by the food, would not come over and grab it. Then we noticed that it would occasionally make noises and go back and forth, and we realized that it was following someone. It turns out that Mr. Monkey was following Alice from inside his cage. And, the only one that he would not back up from wen they approached the cage was Alice, and the only one he would eat the granola from on the stick, was Alice. And this is how Alice made a new best friend.
All joking and monkeys and goats aside, it has been an amazing day and a half here in Haiti, and we are looking forward to either heading to the orphanage tomorrow to run a vacation bible school for the kids, or, for our teachers, heading to a school/church to train a group of teachers. Please keep us in your prayers as we head into our week, that God will allow us to touch the hearts of these individuals and let us show them the love that He has for them.
Marie, World Relief Team