We're winding down for the night and I think we're all pretty tired physically and mentally. It was a lot to take in today as we truly experienced Haitian culture today. But let's start with last night where we left off...
Well the power problems that I mentioned last night did continue for most of the night. It was very off and on and for most of our group it was more off. I think 2 of the rooms that are occupied by the student girls in the group had power and got pretty good sleep when the talking and giggling was over of course! For everyone else the night was hot and long with the rooms becoming like saunas at times. The staff was able to get the generator finally working around 3 am and thankfully more restful sleep followed. So far tonight we have not had NEAR the amount of power problems so hopefully tonight will bring much better sleep!
This morning we were met with cold showers which is completely normal here but after the hot night that many of us had it was welcome relief! We left here around 7:20 after breakfast which consisted of watermelon, oranges, lunch meat, and corn flakes. Everyone found something they could eat or else ate things that they brought. We hopped into the "tap taps" (trucks that have an open covering on the back with benches on either side of the bed where we ride) which are our method of transportation for the week and headed to church in Cite Soleil about 20 minutes away. It is one of the poorest areas in then western hemisphere with around 400,000 people. But let me tell you, Jesus is there. We went to a church that had around 500 people and although we couldn't understand most if it we understand worship. They were so welcoming to us and made special effort to recognize us and thank us for coming to serve. They even pinned a flower on each of us who were first time guests. We stayed throughout most of the service but left right before the preaching to head over to where we will be working tomorrow to visit their church and see the school that is beside it. We got some beautiful rooftop views on top of the school.
We left there and headed up to the mountainous portion of Haiti to "the overlook" where we saw beautiful views of Haiti, the water, and where we got a much welcomed cool breeze. We also did some shopping up there for different souvenirs. Everyone got to practice their bartering skills so parents if your students come back and are eager to bargain with the TJMaxx employees at the end of the trip remind them they're back in the land of no negotiation pricing :)
After leaving there we went to eat lunch at a bakery type restaurant. They had sub sandwiches, pizza, chicken fingers and fries for the most part. They also had ice cream which was definitely a group favorite! I think everyone had a cup....some more than others! The food was very good and we headed out to the grocery store. It had most of the same type items you would find in the states so everyone was able to find things they wanted.
We made it back to our guesthouse around 3:00 and everyone quickly headed to the pool where we stayed until right before dinner. Dinner was good as well. We had rice and beans, chicken, salad, and spinach. We have eaten very well here and are all thankful for tasty meals that don't taste too out of the ordinary.
We spent the evening hanging out, relaxing, as well as some time reflecting as a group. I think there has been some culture shock as Haiti is a very difficult place to live. Trash fills canals and lines the streets. Some people live in tents or in makeshift homes with tin roofs in parts that we drove through today. We were all so impressed though by how warm the people were to us at church and how neat it is to see us as one body united in Christ. We were reminded tonight in our group devotional that we need to practice missional living at home too. You don't come to Haiti to be a "missionary" and then stop when you get home, we need to be seeking out those around us and loving them just the same.
Tomorrow we are leaving at 7:30 to head over to our worksite where we will be painting an orphanage. We're excited and looking forward to getting to play with the children as well. We will try to post some pictures on the blog but you can also check out the FBC Facebook page for some as well. The internet is somewhat spotty so if we get a chance to upload we try and take it! We hope you all had a great service together this morning and look forward to being back with you next week. We covet your prayers as we begin our workweek tomorrow. So far everyone is in good health and we're praying that it continues. Goodnight!