Saturday, April 28, 2012

Break

"One must do things sometimes to make life more bearable." -St Teresa of Avila

Catholic Church

The Citadelle- a staircase that led... nowhere.




This past week I had the privilege of observing Nurse Spring Break. I have not had more than a weekend off since I've been here, so Keziah and I decided to take some rest time. Last Saturday, we boarded a taptap and headed to Cap Haitien. Pre-revolution, Cap Haitien was the capitol of Saint-Domingue. So it's a place in Haiti that is full of history- surrounding King Christophe, the French, the revolution and the Citadelle. Our first day was spent walking through a city that looked so different than any I'd seen in Haiti. Old buildings, a spectacular Catholic Church, quiet streets, beach fronts that did not have copious amounts of trash, and U.N. staff in street clothes walking around the city. So odd it was a little eerie. We stayed at a hotel with air conditioning, hot-ish showers, and a pool! I have been battling Haitian Happiness (AKA stomach sickness) for a week, and, the first night, Keziah joined the club. So one full day we watched movies in the AC, swam at the pool, and read.

Our only other full day we determined was to be devoted to getting to the Citadelle. So we got up, ate breakfast, and taptaped out to Milot. Now, getting up to the Citadelle is climbing a mountain. So, in our wisdom, we decided to hike up the mountain (instead of taking a moto, donkey, horse, or 4-wheeler). After being sick. We get about an hour in and realize this was foolishness. So we hop on a moto, that promptly breaks. So we hike on. And on. Once we hit the actual trail, we are now hiking inside a cloud. I turn to Keziah and we have a conversation about how this is the part in the horror movie where you are yelling at the actors to turn around, idiots. And yet they keep walking. So on we walk. The rest of the story involves getting to the Citadelle, walking through it with no visibility (we are inside a stinkin' cloud, and then it starts to rain. So we walk down the mountain getting poured on, trying not to slip down the rocky road. And on the way back to the hotel, we stop and pick up some Cipro- because now it's just time for drugs to stop the stomach madness. It rains the rest of the night and we have a hot shower and drink hot chocolate. It is the first time I've been really cold since being in Haiti. 

While all of this sounds miserable, it was so nice to have a break. To step away and breathe deeply. To travel to a place that is lush and green. To eat good food (despite my stomach being angry). To stay in bed for half a day and not sweat. To swim in water that does not have trash. To travel and see a whole new part of this country we live in. A part of Haiti that is so very different than Gonaives. So different from Jubilee. 
Oh yeah- we did manage to have some fun!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kingdom

Kingdom come. It's a phrase that is heard in churches everywhere, locker rooms before games, and on a regular basis here in our community. We are asked in Scripture to pray for it. We believe it is possible. But how does it come about? I find myself frequently hitting a place of not knowing what to pray for. So I revert back to asking for His Kingdom to come here. In everyday things. We pray for The Kingdom to come in Jubilee. In Gonaives. Inside of my head & heart. But how? Where? When?

"All the way to heaven is Heaven, because He said I am the Way."
-St. Catherine of Siena

So we're on the road to Kingdom come. And I ask for it when passing little Daniel, a severely malnourished kiddo we took to Port Au Prince, around the car because he's so bony it's hard to keep him comfortable. I ask for The Kingdom to come in hoping for a visa to the States for a friend. In dealing with community in the hard things. In hearing a friend ask me for food for her & her family. That somehow He would take this messy world we live in and turn it into His Kingdom.

And I occasionally catch a glimpse. In rest. In medical supplies brought in- without request- from friends. In laughter. In english classes. In visitors. In growth. In jewelry making. In justice. In forgiveness. In friendship. In gardens. In kids at school. He's bringing The Kingdom- sometimes I just forget to watch for it.

"Take your face out of your hands
And clear your eyes
You have a right to your dreams
And don't be denied
I believe in a better way."
-Ben Harper

Daniel

Best friends

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Celebration

Last year, I was introduced to a new (for me) way of celebrating Easter. So we decided to do things similarly in Gonaives. It is good to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Good Friday turned into Good Saturday here. But everyone was on the roof. It's an amazing thing to watch the moon rise while listening to a friend preach/talk. To take communion in community. To pray and reflect back to God.

Easter was celebrating. We all got to bring a friend to come share in a feast. We sat in the yard on beautiful mats, ate delicious food, and then contra danced. Sharing things with people can be hard here. But sharing with friends is so very good. 
Setting up for Easter

My guest & friend who joined us.

Good food, great friends.
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet."
-Mother Teresa

Friday, April 6, 2012

RAIN

Last night, I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard a noise. It took me a ridiculously long time to recognize the noise- RAIN! It's been more than 2 months since we've had any. I yelled for Julie (the only other person in the house) and we ran outside to enjoy it. It cooled the air and calmed the dust that seems to be unending. It makes the plants here look vibrant and intensely green. It created mud to drive in when Rusty & I took a moto into Jubilee to grab some medicines this morning. It makes me pray that it would not increase cholera here. But for today, I am thankful for the rain.
He always looks so sad after a bath.

Beautiful baby who lost her Mom.

He's learning to be a terrifying guard dog.
Thursday nights we have Tribal Council. Now, before you go all Survivor on me, no one gets voted off the island or tribe. It's just a time for our community here to get together. Every week it looks different. This week, Isaac & I were in charge. And we wanted to contra dance! Last minute, Isaac was sick, so I got to call and teach our "tribe" here how to contra dance. It's almost a full moon and dancing on the roof is just fun. As St. Teresa of Avila once said, "One must do things sometimes to make life more bearable." So last night we danced.

Tug wakes up with ENERGY in the mornings.

This is Keziah's way of working it out.
"If we see that care for persons in need is a response of love to Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46), a chance to walk on holy ground, then our entire understanding of mission and ministry shifts. It is not what "we" can do for "them," but an opportunity for all of us to be enveloped in God's grace and mercy. In God's economy, it's less clear who is the donor and who is the recipient because all are blessed when needs are met and when individuals receive care.
-Friendship at the Margins, Christopher L. Heuertz & Christine D. Pohl