Monday, July 21, 2008

Haiti Journal, July 4, 2008

I woke up this morning with a fat lip. My top lip was the size of my thumb. While big lips looks great on some people it is not a good look for me. And did I mention that it doesn't feel so hot either. I have the beginning of a fever blister. Thankfully I brought medication for just such an occasion and the swelling was down before anyone else was awake to notice.

Then it was off to the pavilion for another beautiful sunrise. A storm was passing in the distance. Besides the beauty it added to the sky it also ushered in strong breezes off the Caribbean Sea. What an enjoyable morning.
After breakfast we had our last devotion under the mango tree. When asked what we should sing someone suggested "The Star Spangled Banner." And while some thought it was an odd thing to sing at devotion I loved the idea. After all, today is our Independence Day and my patriotism is an extension of my faith. So we stood, some with our hands over our hearts, and we sang our national anthem in Haiti. What a great memory.

A little while later we loaded a bus and a truck and headed to the beach. The nice beach an hour and a half away. The beach at the mission is black sand with lots of rocks, thorns, and pollution.

The beach we are going to today is more along the lines of what you will find in the states, but for the water. The water is so different. It is magnificent shades of blues and turquoise that give pause to your soul. Blue has always been my favorite color and the variations I experienced through the water and sky brought a welcomed intermission to my life. Here is a view of the beach just before you step through the gateway in the rock wall.

We camped ourselves at the beach in the distance at the right of the background. Kim MacDonald, Lauren Hurst and I walked up the beach and around the point (on the far right). We collected shells for various friends back home. Then Kim pointed out a treasure to me, tiny seashells near the tide line. There were tons of these precious little gems. No one was looking for small shells so there were plenty to find. I grabbed about 20 and hope to make necklaces with them. A couple of the shells are so small you could fit 7 of them on a dime. Thank you Kim!

We had another opportunity for shops at the beach. This time I was ready. I asked God for wisdom on what to buy and the price to pay. As a result, I had a much smoother time this go around. I actually walked away with quite a few gifts and can't wait to distribute them when I get home.

And I can't forget our musicians. Last March we were impressed by a couple of guys and their ingenuity. One gentleman played a medley of songs on his kazoo as he tried to sell a few seashells. He played hymns and Christmas carols. And why is this memorable you ask? What makes it memorable and remarkable was that his kazoo was really a rolled-up leaf. Cool huh?

The second gentleman wasn't as musically talented but he gets high marks for creativity. As the resident guitarist he walked the beach showing everyone his guitar and singing. His playing wasn't good and his singing was worse. However, how well could you play a guitar made with tin cans and strummed with a plastic spoon?

On the way back to the mission it began to rain - HARD. Those of us in the back of the truck were soaked. Now I realize we just came from the beach but that was warm, beautiful water with a hot sun overhead. The rain was another story. It started as a sprinkle that no one minded. The sprinkle quickly became sharp, wet bullets as we traveled down the road at about 50mph. And in case you haven't ridden in the back of a truck in a while let me remind you how windy it can be. Even I got a little chilled and that is saying something since my friends have vote me as "Most Likely to Spontaneously Combust." All in all I have to say that I still enjoyed the ride.

When we returned to the mission it was time for the other activities we had signed up for during the week. Some folks were going on boat rides while others had manicures and got their hair braided. I chose hair braiding, or rather hair twisting. It took awhile to explain what I wanted, with the aid of an interpreter of course. Finally Carmen understood what I was looking for and set out to turn my head into a mop of tiny twists. Bless her heart because she was one of the only ladies that didn't have an assistant to help her. She was flying solo and I have A LOT of hair. So as soon as Lauren's hair was finished one her stylists came to help Carmen.

When it was over I had a funky, ever-so-slightly cute, quite a bit ghetto hairdo. I had 2 options. I could leave my hair as it was or I could don a do-rag. Hmmm. Ghetto or Pirate? I chose pirate. Unfortunately the only photo I have is blurry so you will have to make do with this one of Lauren and me at our silly best.
(I actually kept this "do" for a couple of days and went to church as a pirate. Everyone at home got such a kick.)

Since it's Friday we gathered after dark by the pavilion. Charlie, our missionary, has a Friday night tradition to end each mission week in Haiti. Fireworks. It's especially appropriate today. I'm always amused when we have the fireworks show. I wonder if the nearby villages are used to Charlie and his pyrotechnics or if they think he's crazy. Regardless, they have to enjoy the gorgeous explosions that fill the sky.

We headed to bed rather early since we have a 4am wake-up call. We have to be on the buses at 5:00 to leave for the airport.

I can't believe this week is over. I have so much to process. There are so many amazing memories for which God has allowed me to take part. "Thank you" seems so inadequate sometimes. I am so blessed. My heart has much to digest.

Beautiful people. Beautiful country. Beautiful faith.

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