I am going to digress from my usual finding a life mate blog this week to let you in on the sights and sounds of my recent Haiti trip. I hope you enjoy it.
The stupid rooster starts crowing long before daylight. We awake, we talk, we pray, we shower, enjoy a quick breakfast and experience a genuine Haitian water baptism service and it’s only 6:45 AM once all this is completed.
Haiti begins to move about, starting fires with charcoal for breakfast or hot water; people shuffling around here and there with some place to go, but most have no employment. Where are they going; what are they doing? Some are headed to Prayer Mountain while others are foraging for some form of food. The fortunate children, those with sponsors, are headed to that much coveted place called school.
Overcrowded buses and “tap taps” with bodies and bananas hanging all over the sides are headed down the highway at speeds too scary to guess at. Most are headed to a market or to Port Au Prince. The market hucksters are selling rice, beans, bananas, vegetables, dresses and jeans, sunglasses and cell phone paraphernalia. Car horns are constantly blowing. It doesn’t take long to discover that it’s the most important part of the car.
It’s hot. It’s dusty and in most buildings in the village, it’s dark due to no electricity. It takes an effort to push through a day sweating in discomfort. There is no A/C and no fans to push the air around. Still leaders gather from numerous churches. They long to hear, to be taught God’s word and leadership principles. These leaders are very auditory and visual. If they hear and if they see demonstration, they will usually connect to your point.
We teach our hearts out. It’s similar to the material we taught the year before and the year before that. We are asking God for “community transformation” through the value of work and entrepreneurial thinking. Is it connecting? Are they catching the words about honesty, high moral character and integrity? They have not seen these things modeled in their country. How do we know if the training is effective or the translation correct? How much information do they actually understand? Why do only a few young people take notes? Can they read and write?
This latest trip to Montrouis, Haiti, an hour north of Port Au Prince, convinced me that some are beginning to catch a few things we have been teaching. This trip encouraged me when they expressed gratefulness that we came to Haiti to see them when they cannot pay us or reimburse payment for our flights. I was encouraged by the crudely made “Certificate of Recognition” handed to us the night before we left. That certificate reads in part, “This certifies that this pastor Steve Prokopchak has done a lot of effort to bring…godly life…value…that these children can live in unity…for services rendered during the years that we had benefited from these trips.” It was all the recognition one needs along with their beautiful smiles across that always youthful looking ebony skin.
Haiti is a difficult place for a North American…well, this North American. But, just before departing, one of the Haitian DOVE pastors came to us and said, “I am starting to get this…either we change our community or our community will change us.” I was now convinced that they were, in fact “getting it.” I look forward to returning to see the change.