Note: A nine member team from Floris ventured to Haiti from December 1 to December 9. This is the second team to go to Haiti from Floris this year. These are stories of their trip on this blog. We invite you to read about their experiences working in the community of La Tremblay.
Well here I am again 9 months later hanging out with my buds on the balcony of the La Temblay School, just another puppy in the box. We had a great final day, several times we nearly wrapped up early but there was one last form we were filling with concrete that keep taking additional batches so we worked a little late until it was done. Everyone was having a great time working with the big man Felix. The guy must have 1% body fat and carries 94lb bags of cement on his head up the ladder to the 2nd floor. Amy our medical lead on this trip said she could use him to teach an anatomy lesson on muscle groups not visible in most people. When some audacious children starting getting too near our unattended bags on the ground floor Felix peppered them with gravel from his shovel, some fierce words in Creole and even fiercer demeanor. We all laughed and cheered. We love the kids, but I think we love Felix and his character more. Tonight on the balcony I asked the team how shocked they would have been on day one if that had happened, they said they were shocked, but yes after only being in Haiti a few days it’s shockingly funny and not just shocking. I think the ladies want him to run for president.
The view from the scaffolding on the second floor overlooking the top of the church is wonderful. Looking out over fields and nicer farm houses in the valley with the mountains in the background I yearned to have all my team mates from Team 1 share the vista with me, it’s such a contrast to 5 feet below ground. I hope to do it justice when I see them. The progress is fantastic, it’s amazing what can be accomplished with buckets, shovels, fellowship, sweat, muscles and a strong faith in Christ. This work has been less with the Boys Brigade and more with the workers. The truly honored us when they invited us to work with re-bar, forms and pouring concrete. We were pretty happy moving sand and gravel, but to take part in putting things together has been awesome.
We learned Estherge would have his 28th birthday tomorrow. He’s a very serious and intense young man. We worked a great deal together last trip and I think his been here every night as part of the crew watching over us. I consider him a very good friend. Carine, one of our fantastic interpreters, and Ricardo (a la Boys Brigade) accompanied me into town to get a birthday cake. It was a great little adventure to ride a tap tap with the locals, I was a grain of salt in the pepper shaker. I heard a few murmurs and calls of “Bla” “te Bla” a few pointing fingers and eyes from everyone. I asked Carine teasingly, “Why is everyone staring at me!?” She replied, “because you are white!” I said I know and laughed. We got a nice frosted cake that said Happy Day in Creole and the cooks had made a cake too, so there was plenty of cake for everyone. We sang Happy Birthday to Estherge and Genevieve because it’s her birthday next week. I think Estherge was very happy, it’s so good to see him smile. From what I understand we’re still on the hook for soft serve ice cream in Miami for Genevieve, she’s made that pretty clear. Having whatever boys are hanging around at meals join us has been a real pleasure. It’s a real family dining experience, everyone talking, laughing and enjoying some basic but delicious food. I think having been here, not just Haiti but La Tremblay, has given me the courage to open up on all the social interaction. I think it’s hard to know the boundaries until you’ve been here for a while. One of the surprising things is the cooks don’t seem to mind the extra folks at the table at all, I think they’re happy to see us join together and share both the food and the camaraderie.
The unavoidable transformation is the Bucket Shower. I think Team #2 thought Dave Redding and I were joking when we spoke of the Bucket Shower with a sense of reverence and delight. By Tuesday the entire team was talking about how much they were going to enjoy a bucket shower that night. It’s like a auto-Baptism were the grime, sweat and dirt accumulated from working for the Lord is washed from your body with a refreshing deluge of well water from a bucket, it’s like all your sin is washed away with the grime and you walk out of the Biblioteca (our shower room in La Tremblay) refresh, renewed and born again. I loves me some Bucket Shower!
Nixon has suggested many times this week he would like us to come back and worship with them when the church is complete. I know my imagination is too small to foresee how awesome their singing will be in the new church, I truly hope that’s a trip I and others can make one day.