Thursday, January 20, 2011

Haiti 6 Log 2

Haiti 6 - Day 3 - January 7th - 1st day at Jacob's Well (Friday)

I woke up early this morning and stepped out of the cabin, ready to take in my first glimpse of Jacob's Well in the daylight.  It was amazing.  I hadn't formed any definite ideas of what to expect because I knew that the campsite had changed drastically since the last trip in March, none the less, I certainly wasn't prepared for what I saw!

View of the five cabins from the pathway
between the parking lot and the kitchen
The girl's cabin (Naphtali - the cabins are named after the twelve tribes of Israel) was one of five little white cabins with red roofs lining a curving rock pathway on the side of a hill.  Several more unfinished cabins stood above Naphtali on the hillside, completing the circle.  Below, our tap tap and the Valcin's truck sat in the parking lot.  And to the right of the parking lot stood the large outdoor kitchen, bathhouse, old bathhouse, and dining hall.  When the Haiti 5 team left last year, they had just finished work on the slab for the outdoor kitchen.  Aside from that, the only other permanent building on the whole campsite was the old bathhouse (it's now a camper bathhouse/storage facility).  The Haitians were already up and working - a construction crew was mixing cement in the parking lot and carrying it in 5 gallon buckets up the hill.  I learned later that they were working on building a cistern.

We ate a delicious breakfast of pancakes, grapefruit juice and Haitian coffee.  One of the team members took to calling the grapefruit juice "magic juice," it was so good.  By the end of the trip, the name had stuck!  Then, we got to work!

I was assigned to an unpacking and organizing team and set to work with several others on unloading and relocating everything we had brought.  It took a while but at last all 1,500 lbs of luggage (construction tools, school supplies, camp activity supplies ranging from BB guns to craft kits, etc.) had been stowed safely away and scattered across the camp site!  After lunch (Haitian sandwiches), I was reassigned to another team entrusted with the task of setting up a canopy for the archery activity and mowing the archery range to limit the number of missing arrows.

So, we four intrepid volunteers - we later became known as the mowing team - set out armed with machetes and sticks to mow Haitian style.  My "twin" Natalyn and I were some of the first girls who were allowed to mow in Haiti.  It was quite a fun experience - hard work and tougher than it sounds, but it was fun.  Basically, you get down on your knees, holding a stick in your left hand to push the grass over to expose the stem and then swipe the machete across the grass, and keep moving on in a straight line, "rolling the grass back" ahead of you.  It's difficult to explain.  :)

After mowing, we headed down to the village to have a play day with the village children.  The field where we play is actually a part of the camp's land, but you have to go through the village to get to it (the village school and church are also located on the field).  Some of the team had gone over earlier and were already "talking" and playing with the kids when we arrived.  I only knew a few basic words in Kreyol (Hello, What is your name?  My name is... etc) so conversation was a little difficult, but the kids didn't seem to mind.  They kept chattering away and loved to hold our hands!  They couldn't quite get my name right, so eventually I gave up on trying to get them to say "Gillian" and told them it was "Julie" instead.  

I took this picture while we were mowing
a space for the Bible Drama - you can see the piles
of mown grass. This is aview of the upstairs
(straight back) and then a little to the right
is the attic! 
We played games for a while, sang songs (I know now the words to This is the Day that the Lord has made in Kreyol!) and then around 4:30 headed back to camp.  Finishing up the last of our work projects for the night, we hiked up past the drama hill, to the upstairs (the  hill where we have campfire) and then on to the attic (a tall hill point that overlooks the camp) to watch the sunset.  Some of the village children were wandering around and came running when they saw us up there.  They sat with us for a little while we stared at the beautiful countryside and watched the sun go down behind the mountains.  Then we were raced down the hill, arriving just in time for dinner.

After a Haitian meal of rice and beans with chicken meat sauce, we discussed the day and talked about work projects for the next day.  We then had time to sit around and talk for a little bit (discussed shower taking... we have running water but it's not always reliable, sometimes it's there and sometime's it's not.  We designated specific girl/guy shower nights to make sure that there was enough water to go around.)  The plan is to head to bed early tonight... another long day of work projects tomorrow.  There's quite a lot to do to get the campsite and all the activities ready for day camp!

Haiti 6 - Day 4 - January 8th - 2nd day at Jacob's Well (Saturday)

Another early morning.  The sun always wakes me up - even at home - so when the sun starts coming up in Haiti, and the roosters start crowing, and the rest of the village is springing to life, I just naturally woke up around 5:30 (that's 4:30 back home) and then lay on my bunk until about 6:15 or so.  We've been doing devos every morning over Haitian coffee and "magic juice," continuing our study of Jesus' last week.  It's been really interesting to look at the story more in-depth, comparing the four different gospel accounts to get the best idea we can of the chronology, discussing why different events happened the way they did.  I've really enjoyed it so far and look forward to studying more throughout the rest of the time we're here.

Adorable little boys - the ones in the
back were trying to jump into the picture.
They loved having their picture taken!
We had more work projects planned for today - more Haitian mowing and preparing the site for day camp.  Before we got started on our regular projects though, we were each supposed to carry several 40-pound cinder blocks (one at a time of course) from the parking lot up the hill to where the workers are building the cistern.  After that we all split for our individual projects throughout the morning and then after lunch went back to play with the children in the village!

I tried to learn more Kreyol today in the village but I wasn't very good at it.  I did learn to say "I don't understand, I'm sorry," which helped a lot!  After this trip is over, I know that I'll want to come back, so I'd like to try and get some kind of Kreyol dictionary!

After a great lasagna dinner - Haitian style with Louisiana hot sauce in the tomato - we climbed up to the campfire ring and built a fire.  We looked out over the surrounding countryside and saw total blackness - not a single light showing.  Then we turned around and looked down at the campsite behind us, and there was a light on... it was kind of neat to think about - that one little light in the midst of the darkness.  The Gospel has come to Jacob's Well Camp in the little village and it is a light in the darkness... but that light will spread!

Double Head Mountain - behind the camp.
You can see a little bit of the outdoor
kitchen roof through the trees.  That's where
the rest of the camp is located.  
Hudson, one of the team members, played the guitar for us as we sat around the campfire and we sang songs for a good hour and a half - if not two!  It was so wonderful to be sitting there on a mountainside in Haiti, singing worship songs to the Creator of the Universe!  I wanted it to go on forever!  Still, eventually we had to come down and head to bed.  We'll be going to church in the village tomorrow - it'll be really neat to see what  a Haitian church service is like.  

Haiti 6 - Day 5 - January 9th - 3rd day at Jacob's Well - Sunday

Gathering together our bibles and a bunch of folding chairs, we all tramped down the camp road in our Sunday best, through the village, and up the little dirt path to the church.  The church is built on the camp playing field, but we have to walk through the village to get to it.  It's basically a bamboo hut with long wooden benches, and the Haitians all get dressed up in their Sunday best and assemble inside.  We all crowded in and the service started.  They sang several songs in Kreyol and it was really neat to hear them sing.  They sing so much louder than we do - I think we're a little too self conscious about things like that in America.  There everyone sang loudly and it sounded great!  No one seemed the least bit worried about what his/her neighbor might be thinking.

The little children kept stealing my attention.  I learned that a lot of them come by themselves without their families.  A Haitian woman armed with a little switch sat among them to keep them in order.  They were so cute.

During the sermon, Peter Mark (a Haitian who works with the Valcins in Port-au-Prince and our Program Director for the camp) was asked by the pastor of the village church to translate for us.  So, we were able to listen to a church service in Haiti in English.  They also sang several worship songs for us in English so that we could sing along.  When they sing in English, they slur the words together because they're imitating the sounds rather than understanding the words, so it sounded different.  I'm sure it sounds the same way when we try to sing in Kreyol.

After the service had ended, we followed Hans around behind the church to view the well that the camp is named after.  Jacob's Well is an old Spanish well dating back from the Spanish colonial period in the 1500-1600's.  It's fairly large - about ten feet in diameter - and is now just a hole in the ground, lined with stones, and filled with dirty brown water and trash.  Most of the stones that were above ground have been taken away over the years and used for other buildings.  Hans talked to us for a while about the history of the well and where it's name (and the name of the camp) came from.  It's named after the well where Jesus met the Samaritan Woman in John chapter 4.  This, Hans explained, is a great example of cross cultural ministry which is what Jacob's Well camp is about!

We finished off the rest of the day with staff training!  Villagers came from the church to be trained as counselors for the two days of camp that we will be running.  Peter Mark, along with Hans and several other team members, led the training.  The rest of the team did other work projects.  I was busy, along with Natalyn, heading up the Bible drama team.

Village children watching us practice
the Bible Drama from over the hedge.
I think they got a kick out of it...
In the past, the Haitians have always done the Bible Drama - acting, narrating, everything.  This time however, we'll be doing it.  The drama theme is Jesus' Miracles, and we picked 6 stories to use over 3 drama periods: Jesus calming the storm, Jesus feeding the 5,000, Jesus healing the blind man, Jesus healing the leper, Jesus raising Jairus' daughter from the dead, and Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  After picking out the dramas, we worked out a big idea and application for each one for Peter Mark to explain to the kids and then we sat down to work out the logistics.  We eventually settled on having Peter Mark narrate straight from the Bible in Kreyol while we act out behind him.  We'll have to see how that will work eventually since none of us speak Kreyol - perhaps we can memorize the major cue words that will tell us what we need to be doing next - for now, we're simply acting out the stories with the English Bible and memorizing the order of events!

It was a good day today!  We delayed going to bed for a little while and sat around on the porches playing a card game by the light of a flashlight.  It was fun, but it's getting easier and easier to laugh at nothing so I think we're all getting a little tired!  Looking forward to another full day tomorrow!

More to come later...

~ A Servant of the King

1 comment:

Amy K said...

The children are so beautiful! It's amazing how they don't realy care if you can speak the same laungage or not, you can still laugh and have fun with them. Laughter and Music usualy translate pretty well :) And so do Smiles!