So today I was up at 5am, thanks to a rooster that was determined to get me up. But what is so nice about a morning in this lush country, is that the town is quiet & you can hear all the “life” begin to awaken to begin their day. Its in the quiet of the morning, laying in my tent that I was able to find peace. We had breakfast & then got ready for church. Out came the drums & the tambourines…& then out strutted the children all dolled up in their finest attire. All the frilly dresses & dapper dudes in their pants.
We walked to the church & soon, we were clapping & singing at the top of our lungs in Creole…well, I pretended I could sing…AND understand what I was singing. This place was so full of joy & praise. It was filled with children who sang their little hearts out. THIS, my friends, is CHURCH! You get Haitian children in a church & it doesn’t take long before the hands start clapping & heads are swaying in rhythm. I am a true white girl & it showed in church today standing next to all the dancing bodies. But what remained constant was the unity in worship regardless of where our roots are from.
We came home to lunch & then soon after the security guards opened the gates to a white truck…the UN Police arrived to join in the best water fight I have been in! Hundreds of water balloons, hoses & buckets…kids against adults. Still not sure who won, but in the heat of the afternoon, I don’t think anyone cared. What a blast! Truly…something I will never forget.
|LaRee & Ronaele ready to give out the blessings|
|Ninja sewing team|
|ready for the runway|
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Church done right…by Heather
As our week is coming to an end, I must say that my life has been enriched because of having the privilege to have been at HATS. Attending the church service this morning would lift anyone’s spirit, and it would warm anyone’s heart to see so many children in attendance. With a service like this one, there was no translation from Creole necessary…the rich sound of the homemade drums filled the building, along with the tambourines, and the children’s voices in the choir. It was enough to let anyone know that there was nothing but happiness and love, enough to go around for everyone.
People came from nearby homes, and Josue (Joes-way), the young man from Deschapelles who delivered the morning message, walked approximately 45 minutes in the extreme heat, dressed in his Sunday best. Josue is one of the many families who receive food from the orphanage once a month, and by coincidence, (Karen and Beate would call it godincidence) we ran into Josue when we were leaving the market yesterday, and Karen drove him back to HATS with us, so he could pick up his box of cornmeal, rice and beans. She asked him if he planned to come back today for the church service, and although it meant such a long walk, he said he was coming. Karen proceeded to ask if he would like to do the message today in Creole and she would translate it into English for the visitors. He said he would do so. Not only did he deliver a great message of the importance of forgiveness and the challenges to “do right” in our lives, he plays a mean drum, and his presence was a gift.
I took some video of the children singing and the playing of the drums, because this is the way to ‘do church’! But I was overcome with a ‘leaky eye’ at the end, because you could tell the families that were there came from all kinds of homes, particularly one young mother in her white dress with two little girls, who were just toddlers. Her children were dressed in their best, but it was obvious she didn’t have it easy, not that anyone in Haiti does, yet she came to church, and her children were obviously happy and looked after as best as possible. When we gave out water, cookies, juice, and chips at the end of the service (this would be the only fresh water for some children would have today), the young mother in white stayed to see if there were some extras for her to take–and remember, we’re only talking Arrowroot type cookies, and small bottles of juice. She was so appreciative, and it was clear that she really needed some help. I hope she continues to keep her connection to Karen and the Sunday services.
|Handing out blessings after church|
|A wonderful team|
We finished our afternoon with the best water balloon fight I have ever been part of, especially considering the fact that I got to be part of “Team United Nations.” The two female U.N. police officers who came to the compound joined us in an epic battle of water balloons, hoses, and buckets. Luckily, we had the best station on the second floor, but the children didn’t let up on us when we got downstairs. I still think we won, but the kids would tell you otherwise!
|Veronique & Valerie we are proud to know such great Canadian women|
|…or the enemy|
|Valerie and Magdala|
After a final hair braiding session, we had time to give out the last of the gifts brought from home, including some barbies that my son, Nicholas, sent. He really hoped the girls would enjoy them, but he’ll be thrilled to know that Moise and J.J. will enjoy them as much as he did. Another day, another lesson– church done right!
|Gifts from Nicholas, Heather’s son|