Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches @2017

Evergreen Association

Of America Baptist Churches

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409 Third Ave S, Suite A

Kent, WA  98032-5843

Haiti Mission Trip Day #7

4/27

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.