As we set up the sound equipment, I noticed a few gray clouds in the north. Rain doesn’t come from the north, so I thought nothing of it. After an hour or so of worship, a young man came by with a plastic sack and said, “We better be ready. The weather is changing.”
As the service leader made arrangements for the main speaker to begin, rain! The crowd scattered. Before I knew what was happening, plastic appeared on every piece of equipment…the speakers were covered. The board and amplifier were covered. The keyboard was covered. I did practically nothing.
I am surrounded by people who understand me and protect me…and my stuff. They are appreciative of it. One young girl ran down the street and borrowed a plastic tablecloth from someone so that my stuff would be dry. They did it all on their own.
It was dark. There was confusion. People were everywhere. As I stood and listened to a speaker try to do an abbreviated message with no sound system, I thought about my situation. When I first arrived in Pasbwadòm, I probably would have been suspicious that some piece of equipment would disappear in the darkened confusion. Not only did the thought of losing something to theft not enter my mind, but I was touched by the things so many people did to protect my equipment. I am blessed to be a part of this community that we call Pasbwadòm.
Since last winter we’ve been anticipating the arrival of several big items in the mail. The blockbuster was a sousaphone donated by J.F. IT MADE IT! It’s safe and sound here at the ASAPH Teaching Center. We also received a glockenspiel donated by ‘Diane’ from Schuylkill County. And there is a new trombone and trumpet thanks to J.S. and folks from St. Paul Trinity Lutheran Church in West York.
It’s like Christmas. And, well, it actually is Christmas. After all of the long anticipation, the articles have arrived. And it’s sweet having them here finally.
It’s mid-December. Students all over Haiti are going through the ritual week of exams. I’m not involved in any school, so it’s a sweet and easy time for me. Teachers and students alike are stressed. It’s good to be a calm voice to sit and talk with students in the afternoons as their exams tick by one or two per day.
Being in the US is not so far away these days. Telephones and social networking allow me to be pretty much up to speed with people. BUT, there are always surprises when I’m back in town. So and so left the country, I found out. What a shocker! I had no idea.
Travel used to be an exciting adventure…for me anyway. Not so much anymore. Were there another way to get from here to there, I’d take it.
It all began when I checked the American Airlines website regarding luggage allowance. I do it every time because I’m paranoid about getting stuck with something I cannot put on the plane…like happened years ago with a footlocker. Missed my flight that day. Still remember the lady who blocked my flight.
This time, I had three bags. I was prepared to pay for #2 and #3. The computer screen only gave the option for one or two bags. Uh-oh. The lady at the counter put both hands in the air and said, “It’s Haiti’s rule, not ours!” A seasonal embargo on luggage. So there was no way around it. I couldn’t ditch a bag full of stuff in a corner somewhere, so I asked if I could reschedule my flight for later. She kindly tapped away on her keyboard and set me up for later that day…at no charge.
I went to a quiet corner of the airport and unloaded all three bags completely. (I had 12 hours to accomplish my task, so there was no pressure. I got a few funny looks, and one funny comment though.) I put my stuff on three piles : stuff I need ; stuff I’d like ; and stuff I don’t need. I worked it out so that I had two 50-pound bags of stuff I chose. The rest would go home (thanks Jared Baldwin!).
SO, I was now going to overnight in Miami. I got there about 9:00. Never found the hotel shuttle until 10:30. There I was at the hotel desk…it was 11:00pm and I was asking about getting a shuttle to the airport at 4:00 am for a 6:00 am flight. That would mean a full four hours in a bed. Having spent the previous night at BWI, I was sleep deprived already. I decided to skip the $100 bill for a four hour nap and shower. I sat on the lobby chair. As my head spun, I decided I better get the room. (My decision making was deteriorating.)
I showered, ate an expensive sub, and rested on a bed. I felt much better…and noticed that my flight was actually not until 7:00 am. Another hour!
The next morning I flew into Port and rode out to Pasbwadòm. I was punchy by the time the sun went down…four hours of sleep in three days. I laid on my bed for just a second. No one else was home. I fell asleep immediately.
I heard a noise. It annoyed me. I know I should stop it. (It was my phone ringing.) It was dark. I had no idea what country I was in. I had no idea what position my body was it. I had no idea what a telephone was. It lasted for some time. My senses came to me. And I lived happily ever after.
Traveling ain’t the adventure it used to be.
Missionary in Haiti.