It's been a busy day!
But not really busy in terms of playing with the kids or anything like that. More busy in work and then, of course, my now daily card games with Oge. We did welcome another member to our team in Haiti today, though. Mike's son, Bryan, arrived today and will stay until sometime in August. So he'll be here the rest of the time I'm here for. Bryan is just two years older than me so it will be nice to have some younger folks around.
I did play with the kids a bit but that wasn't until this evening and it was just for a short while. However, I will say that it amazes me how much of this language I'm catching on to. It feels good to finally start understanding things!
So I thought tonight might be good to express some of the things I've been mulling over. And trust me, there's a lot to mull over in Haiti.
First, let's start with the language. Language can, often times, be a very interesting window to a culture and/or a society's history. Kreyol comes from Haiti's slave roots as it is a mixture of French and African languages. Certain words are also very revealing to its slave history. For example, gason (garcon in French) is normally used for boy in French... but in Kreyol it also means man. Slaves were treated like children regardless of their age. Also interesting is that in Kreyol there are no pronouns. "Li" in Kreyol means he, she, and (most-telling) it. Again, a slave you did not have an identity. You could be a person or an object depending on the circumstance.
This has really helped put into perspective Haiti's modern day trials. Throughout their history, Haitians have just learned trades or they have learned to be scavengers. Therefore, it's really difficult to break that chain. If your parents know how to farm and only make $5/day then more-than-likely, you're going to grow up only knowing how to farm and continue to make the same $5/day. Also, from what I've explored, there are no "free" public schools. Yes, in America we have to pay lots of fees, but beyond fees... public schooling K-12 is free. It is not that way in Haiti and so it's especially difficult to break the cycle. That has been a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. I never realized how much of a blessing it is to be educated. How privileged I am to be educated. Wow.
Also, my eating habits have changed since I've been in Haiti. The food here is pretty good. We have lots of beans and rice (probably once every other day) and one type of meat - usually pork, chicken, or last night we had goat. Sometimes we have fried plantains with dinner. For breakfast there is fresh fruit out every morning - mangoes, pineapples, papaya, and bananas. The pineapples have a weird coconut flavor to them, though. I actually really miss the pineapple I had at Living Water every Sunday.
However, I have been eating a lot less. I think being around so many who have so little, it has made me realize how much of my life (particularly my eating) has been full of excess. Now yes, I do need to eat. I am making sure I'm eating enough so I am not hungry until the next meal time but I'm cutting down on my excess significantly. I think it also helps knowing that whatever I don't eat the staff share with my "tutors" in the afternoons. I will gladly give up a spoonful of beans and rice knowing that they'll have something to eat.
I mean, seriously. I have more than enough of almost everything in my life. I especially have enough food. Why not cut back a bit so there is enough to go around?
I don't know. I suppose those have been the two biggest things I've been processing. How do people truly "come out of slavery" without education and how can I cut excess out of my life. I'm sure I'm actually processing quite a bit more than that... but those are my two biggest ones that I've been mulling over.
Oh, and before I head out I have some great news. Beyond Borders contacted me back today and I'll be meeting with them next week. Also, another man (associated with Beyond Borders, a Methodist, and an American) contacted me directly saying he's also very interested in eliminating domestic child servitude (restavek system) and wanted to meet with me to pick each others brain on what role the Methodist church might play in that. However, he will not be in Haiti until I leave so I don't think I'll be able to meet with him unless his plans for travel to Haiti change or unless we meet later in the States. Regardless, it made me even more excited for my meeting with Beyond Borders (or probably more acurate - Limye Lavi) and for my continued discernment as to what exactly God might be calling me to do - in Haiti or otherwise.
Alright well I'm headed to bed. How are you all, by the way? I hope things are going well!
P.S. Click here for photos of my tutors. (Including 5 extra ones that I uploaded this evening if you checked it earlier today.)