Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Haiti - Day Six

Today is Sunday so many special things happen today, starting with breakfast. We are served a traditional breakfast soup that the wealthy Haitians eat on Sunday mornings. It is a creamy soup with a pumpkin or squash base to it, containing potatoes, carrots, onions and spaghetti. It is actually quite good – unusual for American palates – but flavorful and filling.

Pastor and Madame Dio and the team have left for church. Church is long here – at least a couple of hours. It is very crowded and there is no bathroom. As the most recently afflicted with the oogies, I have elected to stay home and rest – close to the bathroom! The children did not go to church with the team. Instead, they stay home for church on the porch, although they are all dressed for church – clearly Sunday clothes are being worn. Church started promptly at 9:30. One of the staff began by asking the children something in Creole to which they all responded simultaneously. This was repeated 3 times, then the singing began. There is a rhythm to their church service also. There is singing, followed by prayer, followed by singing, followed by prayer. There is calling and response. There is more singing. The children sing loudly – nobody is shy about the way they sound – it is joyful singing and a delight to listen to.

In the afternoon we have more time for the pool. Today, it is the staff who go first. Several of the women come out and they jump into the pool. They are joyous. They are splashing each other; they are splashing the kids. The kids are having almost as much fun watching the staff as they have being in the pool themselves.

While this is going on, Joe and Erick take Nancy and I to Visa Lodge. This is a local hotel which services English speaking business travelers and they have WiFi. Woo hoo! We finally get to post the blog entries and check at least a little email. Visa Lodge shows a different side of Haiti. This is where there is a certain amount of money. Our waiter speaks English, but is appreciative of my French. There are white business people at a couple of tables. There are Haitians at the next table. They have a laptop set up, they have ordered food off the menu and are dressed well. Our 4 Cokes cost us $15 US. As anywhere, I think it is the discrepancy in the distribution of wealth that is so difficult to process. In order to get here, we have passed hundreds of people on the streets who clearly have nothing. They may live in a shanty that is comprised of thatched walls on large sticks holding up a tin roof. If they are fortunate, they will eat rice with beans at least once today. They will never own a laptop. They will never sit at this table in this place. They will never spend $4 on a Coke. The next time I am drinking my $4 cup of Caribou Coffee, I will remember this scene. And I will be grateful.

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