Another wonderful, relaxing day in Haiti!
This morning Oge and I traveled to La Tremblay to pick up a team. La Tremblay is a site that opened while I was in Haiti in January so I was excited to see how far things had come in the 5 months I had been away for. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
You know, I get asked all the time, "Is anything actually being done in Haiti?" My answer is always a loud YES. Unfortunately, the media does not always paint that picture. Yes, there are still collapsed buildings. Yes, there is still rubble around. Yes, the rebuilding process has been slow and tedious. However, that does not mean that there haven't been improvements. The roads have gotten better (and seem to be mostly rubble free!) The mood seems to be lighter. There aren't near as many tents as there was before. Seriously, so much is happening in Haiti. It's truly wonderful.
La Tremblay is one of those wonderful things. It was cool to see a partially completed two story building (as it will have a balcony to be sure and hold all the people) and workers hard at work. Also neat was that this site has a cement mixer so the work was super efficient. It was SO COOL to see their process in action. I have never seen anything like it, but it was a blast... and so quick! Basically, being there made me incredibly optimistic and proud of the work that is being done here. It is awesome.
Oh, and of course, my ride with Oge was fantastic as always. Car dancing and laughter included.
After that visit (which was pretty quick because of what little traffic there seems to be now...) Oge and I hung out a bit and then Oge, Sarah, and I went out to lunch. We decided to go to Fior di Latte which is a European bistro in Petionville. I had gorgonzola stuffed ravioli with a pesto sauce and we all shared a chocolate ice cream ball for dessert. YUM. It was wonderful to have that time to poze with the two of them and hear some of the stories of life around here.
You know, on this trip, I have realized just how much I really miss being here. However, I have to keep on reminding myself that I am in divinity school so that I can CONTINUE to be in places like Haiti and working towards the betterment of the world. It is such a tough thing to remind myself of at times, but I also know that I have a ton of fans here waiting to see my graduate and become a pastor. (I've already had several people ask me when they can start calling me Pastor Beth. So fun.) I just need to remember that once I'm back in Fort Worth.
Beyond that, I had a nice chat with Pastor Paul this afternoon (although I couldn't help him much with what he talked to me about.) It was good to spend some time with him, even though it was brief. It was also good to sit in his air conditioning.:)
This afternoon I also had the opportunity to visit Giant Market with Belorne once again. You know, before I left Haiti, Oge told me "Haitians never forget." I believed that, but to a degree. I mean, I knew that the people at the Guest House would not forget me, but I figured that most others would. I'm finding that I was also wrong about that.
At Giant, I always used to exchange money there from US dollars to Gourdes when we went shopping for teams going out into the field. It always seemed to be the same guy at the counter and eventually it became almost a running joke - "same amount?" I didn't know much about him, but it still felt like tradition to say hello to him each time I was there and request an exchange.
Well, today, when I was there, he was there, too. He saw me and waved excitedly and motioned me over. He said, "It has been so long since we have seen you!" "Yes, I went back to the United States. I've been gone from Haiti for about 5 months now... it's been too long!" He then smiled and said, "Wow, 5 months!? I can't believe it! Well it is very good to see you." We chatted for a little while longer before I departed to find Belorne, but that was really, really neat. While you're here, you don't realize the people that you've left an impression on. Once you return, though, they seem to come out of the woodwork to say hello and tell you that they've missed you.
To end this entry, I will just say this: I love this country. I am so glad to be here. Only one more day left and then I have to say goodbye. It is going to be extremely difficult. Prayers appreciated.