Today I Saw God
Haiti Mission Trip Day Six by Mary Chamberlain
[Editor's Note: In early December, a Floris mission team returned from Haiti. Since there was no internet available while on their trip, we will be posting blog posts written during their time in Haitiover the next few days.Read previous posts here.]
After refreshing rains last night, the sun rose high in the Haitian sky this morning. We all seem to awaken naturally at about 6:00 a.m. or so and quickly regroup on the borrowed pews that we have set up in front of the cottage. Everyone marvels at the great Haitian coffee that Yvrose makes and we all compare how each other slept the night before. Many of us have resorted to sleeping meds and/or ear plugs but nothing totally drowns out the sounds of the night. I actually think I will MISS them once back home.
Today is our last work day at the church site. We are sad. We want to do everything and anything we can before we have to pack up and leave Bercy. Many of the teachers did not show up for school today so those affected kids joined us, thrilled to have more time with us. They enjoy sharing my "sweaty gum" (the gum that you chew when playing sports that hydrates you) and candy canes. Steve's beef jerky strips have been a BIG hit, too. We work until lunch, break for food and then work until mid-afternoon. It's steamy hot and we are drenched in the sweat equity of hard work!
This afternoon, we have something special planned. In Haiti, things are not always equal for the girls. There is no Title IX or special funding for females. But we decided to address that and have a "Fem Futball " (girl's soccer game) this afternoon. For ONLY GIRLS! The boys were incredulous. They always had control of the one field located near-by and girls were relegated to cheerleading or watching. But for today only, we decided that it was time that the GIRLS got to play. And play they did!
The number of kids that showed up late that afternoon was amazing. I'll never understand how word spreads without cell phones, phones or electricity but the place was buzzing and the girls came in large giggling groups, still in shock that THEY were going to be able to play today. Many mothers also came to cheer on their children and check out these "blancs" that had been entertaining them all week. We gave the kids ribbons to clarify whose team they were and the older girls played on either Kate or Terri's team. Steve and several of the Haitian male teenagers were referees. Some of us wanted to see the game so we climbed on top of large burial crypts to watch only later re-thinking that maybe there was a less gruesome place we could have chosen to watch and cheer!
For the younger girls who could not play soccer, we also played games. Duck, Duck Goose is now a favorite, but we tried to introduce The Farmer in the Dell, and several relay games. Simultaneous games of football and Frisbee were also taking place. The "field" is covered in donkey dung and everywhere you stepped well, you stepped in it! The kids, some barefoot, did not seem to notice and we tried hard to ignore it, too. The girls were giddy with joy at what a fun ending to this day had brought their OWN soccer match whose final score will probably never be known!
Eventually, the darkness began to fall. We had to head home tip-toeing over a very shallow ledge, across a rocky culvert and then a short jog down the road back to our campsite. NO ONE wanted today to end and least of all the ten Floris missioners! We knew it was our last real night with these wonderful kids that had velcroed themselves to our hearts by now. Although we closed the gates at night, some of the kids could not help themselves and still came inside to spend just a few more minutes with us. It was clear that we were all very sad that our Bercy adventure was coming to an end. We were trying to pack up things to make tomorrow easier but no one got much done as each of us was lost in our memories this night.
Devotions were lead and we had a great discussion afterwards. There's no holding back any more this group works together wonderfully as a team, supporting each other and allowing very honest discussions to flow. It's unbelievable that we were strangers a week ago and so unsure what this week would hold for us. Now, we are a group of great friends on a foreign adventure, each with something special to add to the mix. No one in Haiti cares what our job titles are or how big our houses are the kids adores us for the LOVE that we infused into their lives in the past week for the excitement that we all participated in and for the adventure that we have each found here. You have to be here you HAVE to commit to a foreign mission trip to totally understand what we are describing but suffice it to say that it's magical and life-transforming. We're all very enthusiastic about what we participated in and happy to share our memories with you through this blog and in person.
Tomorrow, we break up our camp and head back to the mission house in La Cay. No one wants to go home. We want to keep the serene peacefulness and sheer joy experienced with these special kids just a few days longer. If only in our hearts