I spent afternoons last week rehearsing about 12 young people who make up the ASAPH brass band (fanfa). We play a simplified version of the national anthem La Dessalinienne. By the end of the week, we sounded pretty good with two trombones playing a bass part, two different trumpet harmony parts, and one more advanced player on trumpet doing melody. I played my sax to support him on the melody.
May 18th finally arrived. Sunday. We went to church and came home. Our plan was to warm up and then go meet the 'parade' of kids coming from the Baptist school and church. We shared some ASAPH sandwiches (bread with a trace of peanut butter and raisins), and drank water in order to make sure we didn't tire out along the way. :) Then we warmed up and sounded great. As we prepared to head out, rain! It rained and rained. While we waited out the rain, I called home and had the band play for my mom and family via telephone. (I think it was the best we sounded all day.)
Then, we all decided rain wasn't going to stop us from playing our song. We make preparations to head out into the rain. By the time we stepped out the door, it had stopped raining. We stopped every 100 yards or so and played our song a few times through. People were delighted and complimented us. Then we headed west to the Baptist school. There we met up with the real parade! There was a sound 'float' and lots of marchers in varied uniforms. And many blue and red flags. We played our song there, and then walked back to Pasbwadom with them...leading the parade! (Too bad we never took the time to learn how to march!...next year!) There may have been a few showers on the way, but we were having too much fun to notice. :)
It was a great day for young and old alike. Older folks here always talk of great flag day celebrations in days gone by. Some years the date has gone by with no celebration due to political strife. This one was very nice. It was a day of community and oneness. Kids shared what they had been learning to do. Old folks enjoyed the chance to watch a 'spectacle'. And Haiti celebrated its patriotic symbol once again.
Today I attended a school program. Visitors with no background checks had direct access to the students. A group of students presented a short play in which the President’s security guard carried a wooden gun. A student spoke about the importance of family…mother, father, and children. There were songs that spoke of Jesus as Lord. Students were served a meal that was not approved by the wife of any member of the executive branch. They prayed…out loud…invoking Christ.
The cameras of CNN will not show up here tomorrow. There will be no stories in any paper. There will be no investigative panel established to find out exactly who did what. The principal will not be fired, and the school board will not be revoked. Why? Because this program didn’t take place in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It took place…in Haiti.
Years ago I accidentally slept without taking me contacts out. My cornea was oxygen deprived and I suffered for days. I couldn't stand light. I couldn't open my eyes. There was burning pain. I ended up going to two different hospitals here in Haiti before I found a solution (not many people wear contacts here). Since then I've forgotten to take out my lenses once or twice, but it's never been as dramatic as the first time.
Last night my dog was barking. He just kept going. A neighbor dog was barking too. Communication? I don't know. It seemed like something was bothering him. I laid there and waited. More barking. He never tired a bit. I got up and turned on the outside light. Nothing I could see. Looked at the clock to learn it was almost midnight. Laid back down. Barking continued uninterrupted. I got up again, opened the door, and called the dog. He came around, but went right back. I laid down. More barking. I go out a shout at the dog. (Two kinds of barking now). The dog remains agitated. I close the door and lay down thinking about how animals have a sense we don't have. Is there some doom pending. I open my eyes again and realize that the window appears clearly to me. I look around the room, and everything is clear. MY CONTACT LENSES ARE STILL IN MY EYES. I forgot to take them out before I laid down to sleep! I got up immediately and removed them. When I laid down, the barking was finished (except for one short blast about three minutes later.)
Did Scooby know something? Had I slept through the night, I might not be able to type these words this morning. Some would hear this story and say, "Dogs are amazing." I say, "God is amazing. He uses all things to bless those who honor Him."
I'm thankful to God that Scooby disrupted my sleep last night. What is annoying you?
There are a couple of questions people ask me all the time. "How hot IS it there? Is it really humid? How many people live in Passe-bois-d'orme?"
I never have a specific answer. I'm working on that. I brought two thermometers with me and a barometer. I have one thermometer inside and one outside. My plan is to pay attention to highs and lows and have some numbers the next time someone asks. Last night, it was 80 degrees with 80 percent humidity in the 'cool room'. My cement house was worse than that.
So I haven't been lying when I tell folks it's hot.
I'm also going to try to find out how many people officially live in this town. The do a census from time to time, but I'm not sure how I can acquire the results. We'll see.
Jesus talked about how hard it is for wealthy people to enter The Kingdom. When I read those passages, I tend to think of people who live in castles and who own a fleet of vehicles and who eat food that costs more per plate than my monthly food allowance. BUT, when you take this world's population and put us all on one big scale, everyone reading these words would be in the very top percentage. Americans are wealthy. We're amazingly wealthy.
And wealth makes people strong. And strength makes people FEEL strong. And feeling strong makes God seem weak. And thinking God is weak makes people reject Him. And rejecting God means rejecting His Kingdom. It is difficult for the wealthy to enter The Kingdom of God.
I'm blessed with the opportunity to leave American culture. I'm blessed to live among people who are wealthy in many ways, but not in dollars. It's easy here to realize we're not in charge. My impressions of American culture these days is that America is really, really, really overconfident in itself. Mankind in general is soooo prideful. It's easy to see, if your eyes are open. May God open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see...really see our own condition.
Bless us with poverty, Lord, if that will lead us closer to You!
Missionary in Haiti.