Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 4 in Haiti: Sweaty

Sweaty palms.

No, I’m not nervous.

It’s my new way of life in Haiti.

Of course, my palms aren’t the only thing that sweat here. Sweat oozes from every pore.

I’m a spoiled American missing my air conditioning.

But when the Haitians even say it’s hot, you know it is the truth.

To add to my sweatiness, I also have ant bites on my ankles and a heat rash.

Each new obstacle reminds me to be thankful.

Talking to Celienne, a 16-year-old girl here, and the girls she shares a room with, you see so much joy. From before the rising of the sun until well after the setting of it, the girls sing. She has a beautiful smile. She knows that this place offers her a greater opportunity at a better future. If she studies hard, she might be able to go to college and find a good job.

I share the “penthouse” apartment on the second floor of one of the girls’ dorms with two lovely ladies from Tennessee. They are part of my team that is here working this week. Each morning, they too can hear the lovely voices raised in song. Usually it’s in Creole but sometimes in English. Mostly Christian songs but sometimes secular.

Music is part of the lifestyle of Haiti.

You can share the joys and struggles in song. Music lifts the spirit. It encourages.

The braying of a donkey interrupts the sound of children chanting to learn a lesson in school.

Even the pastors who are here for training share together in song. At each meal, we come together and sing a song, clap and pray.

The pastors left today to head home. One of our team members drove the bus of pastors, leaders and school children.

I can’t imagine driving on these roads.

The bus driver even said at least one of the bridges was out, and he followed a line of vehicles down the side of the embankment and into the water. It is Haiti, after all, and a bridge that is out doesn’t slow them down much.

As an American, I take a lot for granted. My life grinds to a halt when my Internet connection is down or phone lines don’t work. Many times I am so reliant on technology that I don’t know how to operate without it.

I had a song in my heart as I watched the sun set above the community where I am staying. I walked up the hillside and saw the light painting the mountains and highlighting the ocean. It is beautiful here. From the people to the landscape, you can see the ugliness — the years of soil erosion and cutting trees — or you can choose to see the beauty — lush grass and trees or a smile.

I also got to hold a precious little boy today. He seems so serious. But he loves to be held. He latches on for dear life to anyone who wants to hold him. I don’t know his story. Who knows what he has seen in his short life here, but Lord, I pray for him and the other children. I pray God watches over them and keeps them safe.

Lord, open my eyes to the beauty around me. Yes, I need to know the reality of the poverty, but help me to find joy in the midst.

Lord, help me to be thankful in all circumstances. Help my joy that I find only in You be evident to all.

More photos.

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