As I mentioned in my previous post, my team went to bed at the end of the first day hoping for a long night’s sleep. As I also mentioned, this was not to be.
The first thing I remember when I woke up was someone yelling, “STOP! STOP!” at the top of their lungs. I had some trouble sleeping through the night last year, so I brought some ear plugs this year. When I heard the screaming, I took the ear plugs out to figure out what was going on. In the haze of sleepiness, it took me a little while to figure out what was happening. The screaming continued. “STOP” “What’s going on?” “AHH!” “It’s okay. You’re in Haiti. You’re safe. It’s just the rain. Go back to bed.”
The girl in the bunk below me was having a nightmare. It took one of my other teammates a little while to convince my bunkmate that she was safe and to go back to bed. The funny thing was that I’m not sure she was ever actually awake and once she returned to her bed, she was fast asleep and the rest of us were wide awake still trying to process the fright.
It was also only after my friend mentioned it that I noticed the rain. Oh the rain! The building we were sleeping in had a slanted tin roof and the roof didn’t actually meet the walls but overlapped on the side by a few inches. The windows had screens on them and wooden shutters inside that you could open. I explain all that to say we could hear the rain 1) outside the windows 2) hitting the tin roof like a machine gun 3) echo from outside and the roof through the gaps at the top of the wall. I’ve been through hurricanes and this is the loudest storm I have ever experienced. While the girl with the nightmare now slept soundly, the rest of us were wide awake trying to slow down our racing hearts and drown out the pouring rain. And all this by 11:30 pm.
We woke up the next morning and headed to breakfast before getting ready for church. The boys on our team were staying in a different area of the property so they were surprised to hear our stories.
It is quite an interesting experience to go to a church service where you understand very little of what is going on. There was a PowerPoint screen that projected the verses that the pastor was using and it was easy enough to figure out the translation of those from Creole to English but it wasn’t quite enough to understand the message of the sermon. While we were eating lunch after church, I was able to get a better description.
The pastor was sharing about how when people leave something bad behind, they need to leave it entirely. There is a joke that Haiti is 80% Catholic and 100% Voodoo. The practice of Voodoo has become such a cultural tradition that many Haitians have trouble separating it from their day to day lives when they become Christian.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon playing with the kids that live on the property. It was fun to play in a building that we helped to paint the year before. It was also great to play with a little girl named Esther who had been so shy and unhappy the year before and watch her smile and laugh.
In order to give the staff more time with their families on Sundays, the teams go out to dinner so that the kitchen can be closed. The best translation of the name of the restaurant is “Big Daddy Chicken” and the food is so delicious! In an example of juxtaposition we saw so often, it felt odd to enjoy such a great meal amongst the continuing extreme poverty of the area.
After dinner, we returned to the property for the evening. Most of us were writing in our journals when we saw the rooster walk by. You know the joke about the rooster crossing the road? I don’t think this particular rooster heard the joke right because the next thing we knew, the rooster had climbed the tree.
We’re still not sure about the punchline of that joke.
Again assume that any pictures I am in (and the lollipop baby and rooster picture above) were taken by my friend Julia.