Join the fiesta!
Dinner ~ Music ~ Pinata ~Dessert Auction
¡CINCO DE MAYO FIESTA!
Saturday, May 4, 2013 5-8 PM
Burien Community Church/
Confraternidad Ebenezer, 16241 19th Ave SW, Burien WA
Tickets: $25 per person ~ *Family $50
*Family is defined as parent(s) and child(ren)
Please make checks payable to Evergreen Association, note Hispanic Caucus in the memo line
Mail to Evergreen Association, 409 3rd Ave S, Kent WA 98030
You are invited to bring a dessert for the auction.
Proceeds to benefit the Hispanic Caucus and Evergreen Association
For Tickets see your Association Board representative, call 253-859-2226, or email
See flyer attached fiesta_(2).pub
Evergreen Association’s Annual Take Your Pastor (and/or others) to the Ball Game is scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2013, a Seattle Mariners vs. Chicago White Sox game at Safeco Field! Tickets are $15 each or 2 for $30.
Send your ticket order with payment to 409 Third Ave., S, Suite A, Kent WA 98032; call 253-859-2226; or email for more information.
See you there!
For more information please visit the website at: http://www.bpfna.org/gather/summer-conference
Breakfast was pancakes this morning. They were thicker than our pancakes, and the syrup was darker. Delicious. Delicieux, as I learned in my French class this afternoon. We also had hard-boiled eggs, grapefruit, and bananas.
We headed out to the Dominican Republic border. Mary, Angeline, Nzunga, and I rode in the back of the truck. Angeline noticed that the signs when we enter a village say the village name in black letters on a white background. When we leave the village, it’s the same sign, but with a slash through it to show we are leaving the village.
We drove to a hotel next to the border, where we met Nzunga’s students. Nzunga felt crossing the border gets chaotic, and he wanted some extra local bodies around to help keep track of us. His students did not mess around, as Clem put it. They were behind and around us, counting heads and keeping track.
Walking across the border was an interesting learning experience. The scene immediately changed, the signs from French to Spanish, the buildings and public space all looked a little different. We walked through a park and saw a group of pre-teens dancing in a gazebo who were excited to say hello.
We got to see how the Haitian-Dominican Republic trading works. As we were walking back, Ron pointed out the Haitian home base on our left. He said it reminded him of an ant hill. People were scurrying with things on their head, but only going one way, from the DR back to Haiti. They would stash their goods and then scurry back to the DR to get more, but with nothing to bring from Haiti. Nzunga says a lot of Haiti’s struggle comes from how dependent the Haitians are on the DR.
We ate a big lunch at the hotel. Rice and beans, chicken, spicy sauce, plantains, and other vegetables. Then we drove back to the compound. A few people went to the Cap Haitien tourist market again for some final souvenirs.
The rest of the afternoon, almost everyone sat on the porch. Pharez and I got some French lessons from the guard, his daughter Elvane, and the young boy Kenson. Elvane asked to play with my hair. She very gently brushed the knots from the drive on the highway out, then twisted it into a beautiful bun.
We had a big dinner of fish, chicken, rice, spicy noodles, and vebgetables. We don’t get back to the States until Sunday night, so it didn’t dawn on me that our time here is coming to a close. That became a reality tonight. It’s our last night in Cap Haitien, and Mama Jo went all out for dinner.
We shared our gratitude with Nzunga and Kihomi. Even though they have been our hosts all week, they gave us going away presents. A beautiful vase for the Evergreen office, smaller vases for each church represented, coffee for each person, and a picture of the citadel for each one of us.
We are trying and failing to think of a good gift to show our gratitude, because Nzunga and Kihomi give so much and are not good at receiving. We know how important education is to both of them, so perhaps our continued support of the school and Kihomi’s women will be good thanks.
Mama Jo and Pastor Mano came upstairs to say goodbye. We gave them our biggest thanks for opening their home to us. They put themselves in danger from having Americans stay with them, but they never pointed that out to us.
We thanked Mama Jo profusely for her delicious food, and Clem joked that we would have to take Mama Jo to the States with us. Kihomi was translating and asked Mama Jo if she wanted to go to the States. She looked at Pastor Mano. Kihomi pointed out to us that even in this household, the woman looks to the man to answer this question.
Judy came forward with some washrags as a hostess present for Mama Jo. Kihomi was explaining that they came from someone in Judy’s church, that Judy was a pastor. She challenged Mano, “You have never given a woman a church.” He said maybe he would. “When,” she pressed. He answered, “Before I die.” It was awesome to see Kihomi in action, advocating for women.
Ron asked if Nzunga, Kihomi, Mama Jo, and Pastor Mano would commission us as missionaries from Haiti, going back to the States, ready to share the story of Haiti. They had us kneel on cushions on the floor. They stood over us, their voices blending together in beautiful harmony as they sang to us in French. They prayed for us and gave us their blessing. We stood up and there were hugs all around.
Tomorrow we will go to the airport early and spend the day in Port-au-Prince. We will stay at the orphanage run by the Haitian Baptist Convention. I doubt we will have Internet, so this might be it for our reports from Haiti. It has been a wonderful experience, and we are excited to come home and continue our work there.
The Internet was down last night, so I couldn’t send a posting. Almost every day there’s a time when the state power goes off, and we’re either running on the inverter or the generator. Last night we didn’t have state power all night, which I assume is connected to the Internet not working.
I’m trying in these reflections to give you a sense of the entire group’s experience, not just my own personal one. One thing I’ve neglected to share is how most folks’ mornings go. I am a heavy sleeper, so I usually sleep fine through the night and get up just in time for breakfast. Some members of the group, especially the ones staying upstairs, start to hear a preacher on the street at 4 a.m. At this point, our belief is that someone has a recording, because it’s the same songs everyday, mixed in with lots of vehement preaching. So, this is how and when some of the group starts their day.
Breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast, bananas, and pineapple. Then we were off and on our way. We were visiting the castle in the mountains that King Christophe Henry built after the independence. Once the Haitians, who had been slaves, revolted and kicked out the French, the king was worried they would come back. He had the castle built so they would have a safe spot in the mountains if they had to fight another war. Ron, Angeline, Nzunga, and I rode in the back of the truck on the way to the castle, because we are in a free country.
We turned right from the compound, which means we drove past the place we turn off for the school, past the hospital, and into the mountains. We’re starting to learn the lay of the land after being here for a few days. The road was good, and there were even some speed bumps on the road, but the driver swiveled around them!
We drove up a curvy, cobbled, mountain road until we got pretty close to the castle. A lot of people were excited to see us coming. They tried very hard to get us to ride a horse, buy a necklace, let them guide us. As we started walking up, Ron turned around and remarked, “It takes 30 people to get 10 of us up the mountain.”
Pharez and Angeline finally caved and hopped on some horses at the steepest part of the mountain, but they walked a good amount first, at least two thirds of the way.
The guides walking next to all of us offered tidbits along the hike. They pointed out the watch towers where uards used to be positioned. We would see the windows in the castle, and they would tell us there was a cannon in each one that we would see when we got inside. The fact they said the most was that 20,000 people died building the castle. We think the people who died were the Haitians, who had been slaves to the French before the War for Independence, and now were being worked to the death by King Christophe to build his castle. I asked the guides what they thought about this fact. One guide did not know what to do with my question. Another one responded, “It shows a lot of hard work went into making this place.”
We all made it to the top eventually, whether a pie (on foot) or on horseback. The hike got steep in some places, and was hard on the group’s ankles and knees, but each person ascended up the entire mountain.
Our main guide, Cesar, took us all over the castle and told us all about it. Nzunga had warned us that many of the guides don’t really know the history of the castle. They will tell you one thing, then if you come back the next day, the story will be slightly different. He didn’t feel that way about Cesar’s explanations, he felt they were actually pretty logical.
Cesar showed us how different water systems worked throughout the castle. He showed us the queen’s quarters. He showed us all the different cannons. He showed us how King Cristophe rigged up a way to cool his water. We were all very impressed.
When we came back down the mountain, a lot of people rushed up to us, hoping we would buy bracelets, necklaces, masks, something. Nzunga had two boxes someone had sent from the States who wanted them to go to the children in this village. We got to see first hand how challenging of a task this is for him.
He asked all the children to sit down in a row. He tried to hand out the boxes of candy and school supplies. People became anxious about making sure their family got some of the supplies, and started pushing forward. Once things got out of hand, Nzunga packed everything up and left. As we drove down the mountain, he would stop to hand boxes to children who were not part of the swarm, who were just standing or sitting on the side of the road. Especially to the girls, because of Kihomi’s work and mission.
We talked about this event in the evening, about how it did not seem like a good system. There were more children than we had presents to give. Some would receive, some would not. For those who did not, of course they would become resentful, angry, desperate.
We drove back to the compound, and Nzunga and I went to the eye clinic to get some candies for the group. He pretty much spoils us.
We had a late lunch of chicken sandwiches. Dinner came not too long after, meatballs, plantains, rice and beans.
Report from Day 5:No pictures again tonight, they take too long to upload and it is late. I will try to do some tomorrow!
This morning we woke up to a breakfast of hot dogs, hard boiled eggs, toast with butter, peanut butter, and jelly.
Then we were off again to the school site to keep building. We moved more bricks today. We layed them down inside the foundation along the walls. Today we had more of an assembly line going, it was fun to team up and hang out more while we worked. We tried to fill the foundation in by tossing some rocks into the classrooms. Ron rigged up a ramp out of the gravel, so he could wheel in a barrel of fill at a time.
The first day that we were at the school, the workers were pretty quiet. Today there was a nice rhythm. We would start laughing together over some joke, then five minutes later the Haitian workers would start laughing over something in Creole. Some women walked up to the work site with plates of rice and beans on their head, and some of the group members chipped in to buy the workers some lunch.
Nzunga took us back to the compound for our lunch. Mama Jo had made us pizza with lots of dfferent meats, vegetables, and spicy sauces. The crust was thick, it tasted like biscuit dough.
After lunch Nzunga decided he had tired us out enough, and gave everyone who needed it the afternoon to rest. Keith, Ron, and Pharez decided to brave teaching at the school. Pharez was impressed with the level of math the students were learning. Keith and Pharez wanted to talk to the students about the States in a way that helped them romanticize it less. They all want so badly to go to the U.S., but their concept of what life is like in the States might set them up for disappointment.
Meanwhile, Angeline got behind the wheel in Haiti! She drove us up a steep and bumpy cliff, her first time using four wheel drive. Then she drove around town, through the back alleys, and through the thick traffic. She did very well.
When we went to the school to pick up the folks teaching, we all were invited to the chapel for the President of the school’s birthday celebration. We sang Happy Birthday to him in English. The student teachers sang a “Bienvenue” (welcome) song to us, then sang their alma mater, and were singing Happy Birthday in French to the President as we left. While we were there, they had a question and answer session with us. Since they knew we were building a school, they asked if some of the student teachers could be hired for the school. They also wanted to know what we could do to help the student teachers, because 40 students are graduating, and each one needs $200 to pay off the final fees to get their degree. Nzunga warned us at the beginning of the week not to promise anything in these instances, because as soon as a missionary says we will raise money for you, the people being promised money are at Nzunga’s door in a week, asking where is this money.
Angeline drove us through the city, over the bridge, all the way home to the compound. We have started making better friends with our brothers and sisters at the compound. We grilled Mano the other night about his job as Secretary General of the Haitian Baptist Convention, and what life was like in Haiti. The children, Elvane and Kenson, are interacting more with us too. Elvane and Toni listened to music together, and Kenson let Judy look at his school books. The two children and the guard sat on the step with me for a while, filling up two pages of my notebook. We’re trading, English words for Creole and French words. The most important phrase to know in Creole, “Mwen pa konnen.” (I don’t know.)
Our nightly reflection was more inward tonight. Keith had us take the time to do an affirmation circle, and put up each group member. It was a nice experience to focus on how many gifts there are within our group.
This morning we had french toast with butter, peanut butter, jelly, some oatmeal, and pineapple. Once it was time to go, we spread out a bit today. Although it has been great to get to know all the different group members, it was a nice opportunity to all be in our own space today, instead of clumped together as 10 Americans, which makes us an impenetrable site.
We went to the hospital in the morning. Mary stayed and worked with the nurses. She was impressed at their procedures and record keeping, even without computers to store patient files.
Judy wasn’t planning on staying at the hospital, but when we visited the Rehabilitation Center for children with disabilities, she said she was at home. She worked with a group of kids between the ages of 5-11. She had time with every child this morning. There was one boy who took her hands and was dancing with Judy. Suddenly she found herself dancing in a circle with six children at once.
Some of the nurses and staff at the hospital spoke English, but some spoke only Creole. Mary and Judy had some fun doing sign language and non-verbal communication today, but said they got along fine.
Next we went to the site where the school was being built. Ron, Michael, and Keith stayed there to keep helping to build it. They were mostly chucking rocks around, to level out the fill in the foundation.
We were down to five, so Nzunga said we would just take the one truck. I asked if could ride in the back, because we are in a free country after all. Nzunga said yes, and Angeline jumped in the back with me. We definitely got some stares, but by the second ride through town, most people seemed to be used to us. Angeline got even bolder, and decided she was ready to try driving in Haiti. Not enough people were willing to ride with her driving, but I’m hoping by tomorrow we’ll see her behind the wheel!
When the five of us got to the school, they put each of us in a classroom. The teachers just left most of the classrooms when we walked in, and we were expected to teach the class for the next 30-40 minutes. The kids asked us to sing for them, why our hair was long, if we knew spanish, what we thought of their classrooms, where we were from, what we were doing here. When Pharez talked about being a missionary, she got some honest remarks from the students in her classroom. They said they liked that we were here and helping, but sometimes they felt the white man would come into their country and nothing would really change, things wouldn’t really get better. This reminds me of Ron’s statement to us on our first night, our real work begins when we get home.
Clem was in a classroom with juniors. She asked them what they needed from their education. At first they all asked her to get them to the States, to get them out of Haiti. Clem told them she didn’t want to talk to them about what they needed individually, but instead she wanted them to move to more collective thinking. Despite the languate barrier, she got her point across, and they said they wanted computers and to learn English.
We all met up at the compound for lunch to share our different mornings. We had fish and onion sandwiches for lunch, and the breadfruit and sweet potatoes Nzunga bought yesterday. The breadfruit taste like a thick potato chip.
We went to the eye clinic and gave away the hundreds of eyeglasses Judy collected, packed, and brought with her. We also got to see the generator that the Evergreen Association helped pay for so if the state power goes out during surgery, the patient will remain safe. During our nightly reflection, Michael commented that it was good to get out today and see all the things American Baptist Churches has been supporting in Haiti, to have a deeper understanding of where those offerings go.
We all went to the touristic market of Cap Haitien. We walked up and down the row, trying our hand at bartering for artwork, T-shirts, bracelets, figurines, and more. Clem found a beautiful red dress and elegant giraffe. Keith found a figurine of Jesus, and says he has been collecting ones from different cultures. Mary found a beautiful bag that is the perfect carry-on for the plane ride home. Pharez was quite the barterer. Often she would leave the same shop as another group member, and she would have either bought the same merchandise for less, or left with more for the same price. No one could top Toni though. She bartered an old woman right up to the point of us getting in the van.
We got back to the compound and had a delicious dinner of rice and beans, meat with sauce, pasta casserole, a spinach like vegetable and tomatoes, and pie crust with fruit spread on top for dessert.
Ron remarked that he felt a lot of energy this afternoon, that the high point of our trip so far was today.
Pictures will come tomorrow night!
This morning we had a breakfast of fried eggs, toast with peanut butter and jelly, and papayas. Then we went back to the site of the school. The regular work crew was already there and had been working for a while. We moved concrete bricks around the perimeter of the school so they would be ready to go when the cement layer got there. They have a foundation, but are building it higher in case of floods.
Some of us helped level the foundation within the school building. Others used the sifter to make sand for the cement. A few people helped mix and shovel cement. We were there for about two hours. It was hard work, but it stayed cloudly most of the morning so we were ok.
We rushed back to the compound for a fast lunch of double decker sandwiches, grilled ham and cheese with ketchup and mustard. Then we were off again. We had a long drive, and a tricky road to navigate. We drove through the bottleneck of the city, where there used to be guards checking people into and out of Cap Haitien. Now you can go and come as you please, but they have left the columns of the bottleneck.
We got further and further from the city. Instead of cramped houses and piles of trash, we started seeing fields and some animals. Nzunga pulled us over at one point to see how many sweet potatoes we could buy for a dollar. He talked with an old woman who had a pile of sweet potatoes and breadfruit. For one dollar he got a pile of breadfruit big enough to feed the whole group. We will eat it tomorrow.
We drove up the mountain a bit, and stopped again next to a few stands to see some bread. There are a some hot coal fires going, with giant circles of bread on top. We got to see the men who were baking it flip the entire bread over, and then cut it into little pieces for us to eat. We bought some also for tomorrow.
We finally made it to Nzunga’s house at the University. We walked around and saw the library, some classrooms, the chapel, and the amphitheater. We heard some singing and assumed there was a massive choir. We found the source of the singing, and it was only five college ladies, but with beautiful and booming voices. They sang their celebratory song for us, and it was quite an amazing performance.
There was some unrest in Port-au-Prince today. The police are on strike. Nzunga says when there is unrest in the capitol, it can spread quickly throughout the country. He decided it would be safest if we rushed back to the compound on Cap Haitien.
We came back and had a delicious dinner of goat, rice, potatoes, and vegetables. For many of us, it was a first time trying goat. Most people agreed it tasted like beef. We had our nightly reflection, and we all started talking about what this experience is doing for us, what it means for us to be in Haiti, and what we want to do with this experience when we get home.
Nzunga updated us about the situation in Port-au-Prince. The police are not very well protected, and twenty or so have been killed. Another police man was killed today, so the police are on strike, trying to demand that they get better protection. Nzunga thinks it unlikely that the dissent will spread to Cap Haitien.
Here is the report for Day #2!
Picture is of the Secretary General and Kimoni at the site of the school.
The second picture is most of the group on the roof, looking out at the city of Cap Haitien.
We had a good breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, bread and cheese, and bananas. Then we packed up our things and headed to the airport. We made friends with a young man named Ken on standby for our flight. He had some family in Cap Haitien and was trying to visit them. He talked to us in French, Creole, English, and Spanish about how learning languages opens doors. He did not make it on our flight because it was too full, and four of our bags stayed behind as well!
The flight was incredible. Nzunga had told us to pay attention to the mountains. Most of them were bare, because the Haitiens cut down the trees to make charcoal. On the north side, the Cap Haitien side, you see groups of trees every so often.
When we got to Cap Haitien, we met Emmanuel Pierre, the General Secretary, and Nzunga’s wife, Kimoni. We were served a delicious lunch of soup, bread with butter, and more bananas. The soup was pumpkin, and there were two kinds. One had chicken, one had oxtail and liver.
After lunch we got to talk to Kimoni and hear her story and the work she does here. She supports three or four female students at a time as they work their way through school. One of her students stopped by and kissed us all on the cheek, which Nzunga said is the way women greet others in Haiti. Kimoni explained that she met the mother of this girl on the street because Kimoni needed oranges and the mother was selling them. The mother walks for hours everyday from the mountain to Cap Haitien to sell oranges. She showed Kimoni her hair, and how it was all gone from spending her life carrying oranges on her head. Kimoni tells us she grew up with her mother living the same life as this young girl’s mother, so she chooses to find these girls and help them. This one girl is 23, and still working on high school. Kimoni says that is fine, once they get to be 25, then it’s a little too old. Kimoni helps these girls through school, and then with their education they can live a better life, and provide for their mother’s. Kimoni says that is all the thanks she needs.
Nzugna went to the airport to get the bags that came late. The rest of us went for a ride. We saw open street markets where people were selling fruit, gambling halls, boutiques, a few parks with cathedrals and court houses around them, a statue of the War of Independence. Then we drove into a boys’ college. We stood on the roof and got to see the whole city of Cap Haitien. Judy remarks during our nightly reflection that you can see the splendor of what this city used to be, and the hope of what it could be again.
We got to see the school that we will help build while we were driving today. While we were standing and looking at the school, we heard Mano’s story. (Mano is what we’ve been told to call the Secretary General.) He grew up like the kids on the streets that we see begging for dollars. His father passed away when he was 14, but there was always someone to look out for him though, and keep putting him through school. He ended up going to seminary and becoming Secretary General of the Haitian Baptist Convention. Mano wants to help the children just like he was always taken care of after his father died, which is why he is having this school built in Cap Haitien, in the part of the neighborhood where the poor kids can get to it.
We came back to the house for a delicious dinner of rice with vegetables and shrimp, barbecue chicken, chicken with tomatoes and sauce, potato salad, and a sweet muffin.
Nzugna told us what we will be doing for the rest of the week. He also reminded us to drink our water and wash our hands. This is an hourly mantra of his. “Drink your water, drink your water, drink your water.” He is taking good care of us. The main lesson he has taught us is to get comfortable with Haitien time, and that Haiti is a free country. When we ask when breakfast will be, he tells us, “When breakfast is on the table.” When we see a man walk into the middle of traffic, navigating some dangerous and amorphous lanes of traffic, he tells us, “He is a free man in a free country.” We are blessed to be with such generous hosts doing amazing work who are also incredibly fun.
Hello! I've been self -assigned and designated by the group to give you
some reports on our Haiti trip. Clem thought you could put them on your
We all arrived in Port-au-Prince Haiti safe and well, though tired,
yesterday afternoon. Nzugna met us at the airport and took us to the hotel
we were staying in for the night. The culture shock started right away.
We were approached by many men at the airport who wanted to carry our bags
from the door to the parking lot where Nzugna waited for us, to earn some
money. We tried to tell them no as he had told us to do, but they were
very persistent. As we talked about this in the van ride to the hotel,
Nzugna politely reminded us, "They are good people, you know. They're just
doing what they can to support their families."
On the short drive to the hotel. We saw colorful tap-taps, vans that are
traveling murals. The vans looked packed to us, but Nzugna says there is
always room for one more. Another van drove by us in the opposite
direction with live chickens tied to the top. People walked by on the
street balancing large boxes on their heads, without holding on at all with
their hands. The drivers did a great job navigating the streets. There
are no lanes, but as far as we witnessed people drive where they need to
and stop for one another. While we were stopped at a light a few boys came
to the van to beg for a dollar. Their mother with her baby eventually
Our hotel in Port-au-Prince was very nice. Nzugna is taking good care of
us, we are well fed and well hydrated with bottled water. We ate a
delicious dinner of rice, beans with spicy sauce, chicken, cooked carrots,
green beans, beets, and fried plantains. A man circled our table and
poured out a lavender liquid, which we assumed kept the flies away.
We had our first nightly devotion last night, and everyone reflected on our
experience so far that day. Keith read us the passage of Moses being