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Haiti Mission Trip Day #2
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-
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.
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