Greetings from The Mountain in the Sea! The natives here on Hispaniola were exterminated within a few decades of Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492, but their name for the island was reinstated when the French colony gained independence in 1804. In the language of the Tainos, "Ayiti" (Haiti) means Land of the High Mountains or The Mountain in the Sea.
I think about that as we drive through Port-au-Prince. In the distance I can see the verdant rounded mountains. They seem to form the edges of a bowl, with the city inside. The buildings are all of concrete, and they extend to the edges of the mountains, up, up the side, grasping, claiming a bit more, until in deference to the gradient of the slope they give way to trees. Inside, the city is filled with goats and people and trash and dirt.
Since I've been here, I have been drawn to the older children in the orphanage, since I am able to communicate with them through French. When I talk to the older kids, I want very much to be able to show them beauty and creativity and all the stuff in life that I find amazing. It would be cool to build a quad-copter with them.
Today I led the Bible lesson for the kids. The verse was 1 Corinthians 9:24: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."
It was a great adventure to lead. God was blessing us. At the start, I had a live demonstration: 3 of the older boys ran a race. One of them I had instructed to completely ignore the race and wander aimlessly. The other two were trying to run, but they both tripped and fell down. One got up and finished the race (my young actor was really emphasizing the agony that he was going through in getting up and continuing). The other stayed on the ground.
During the lesson, I was able to talk to the kids directly in French without using a translator. It was like totally awesome!! I was able to convey sincerity and excitement that would have been lost in translation. The kids answered my questions, and a few of them were listening intently. Happy happy Ashley. Pray to God that he will work in their lives and hearts. It is his Holy Spirit that they need more than anything, and it is he alone who makes our work effective.
I had a very interesting conversation with Dr. Junie at dinner last night. She told me that a major problem in Haitian hospitals is their inability to find qualified repairmen when their equipment breaks. Most of the equipment in the hospitals is donated used, and there just aren't people in Haiti with the know-how to fix it. Therefore, they aren't able to use the equipment they have. Dr. Junie sees the need to start a school here to train people in equipment repair. As a mechanical engineer, I was struck by this need.
Demain on va a la plage!