It is the day for the women's dinner! Behbehghull (Mom) and I are running around trying to get everyone invited and things prepared. We have a lot to do and we still have to go and help Rose and her sister Chelsey set up for tonight. Mom and I haul a couple chairs and groceries up the hill and onto the trail to the house. We are laughing so hard we are almost crying. We look like idiots and everyone is laughing at the two blan (white) chicks on a motorcycle hauling a bunch of stuff. We drop the stuff off at the house and drive over to Quinntans to help Rose.
We set up tables and chairs and then realize that everyone will be sitting in the sun. Behbehghull remembers we have a huge white tent so we drive back to the house to get it. How is this going to work? I am basically sitting on the gas tank and mom sits behind me with her skinny little arms stretched out behind her clinging desperately to this huge box full of tent and metal framing. I try to take it slow so her little arms don’t snap off over the bumps and we laugh like idiots the whole way. The "road" from our house to Quinntans is horrible. Picture the worst trail you know of and multiply it. Now picture my mom's skinny arms clinging to a huge box as I drive sitting on the gas tank, both of us laughing like fools. I have to leave Behbehghull and Rose and Chelsey to set up the tent because I have to pick up a bunch of people from town to bring them up to the dinner.
Trip after trip, driving to all areas of town to find my friends and try to guide them and a million taxis up the mountain. Everyone looks beautiful and classy. I’m so proud of my friends. They’re so cool and wild and beautiful. They’re all so excited to be here. Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up for a girls day? After two hours of shuttling, everyone is here and we are all so excited.
Rose has made gift bags for everyone. Beautiful gift bags full of
wonderful lady supplies. They all have bookmarks to color and they get bracelets. Rose talks about who she was when she was young and the women are moved and appreciate her honesty. So do I. We make sure everyone gets one of everything. My friends tell me how happy they are that they could come. They say they love the party. It is really beautiful. The decorations and the punch. The tables are all so beautiful. Rose really went all out with this and I am just so grateful I get to be a small part of it. There are almost 80 women here! This is not something most of them would ever get to do, go somewhere and get so many wonderful gifts and food. It's like a beautiful bridal shower or a baby shower but for every single woman! I have to take mom to preach at a church so I have to leave for a little bit.
Mom and I put our dresses and heels on. Am I seriously going to drive my motorcycle in heels? Yup. Mom and I laugh the whole way to church thinking about how corny we look driving like this.
Upon arriving we are informed that she was supposed to preach last night… fail. Back to the party we go just in time to help the ladies home. Each woman received a huge bag of rice and beans. What a blessing! Today was exhausting, but a total success. Everyone is so happy as they walk away in their dresses and heels with bags of rice on their heads.
Thank you Rose for being so real and kind. Thank you for loving people and taking care of them as well as you do. Thank you for seeing the people of Haiti as people and not as a mission. You are a joy to be around and you are much more fearless than you give yourself credit for. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate you. Love you!
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The team is hiking along and loving it. Louie and Sarah take motos to the trail head and the rest of us walk. Arriving at where the church used to stand, we get in a circle and pray. Our team and the locals stand on a cement floor. No walls. Nonexistent roof. The wind picks up and it feels like rain is going to fall.
The girls change behind the church into clothes more appropriate than short shorts and boots and tennies. The church members have made a makeshift building next to the old church that we can go inside to have a service. I stand for a minute on this cement floor and stare out over the mountains. So many trees are down and just lay wasted over the ground. I feel the wind through my hair and breathe it into my lungs. Fresh mountain air. I love going to the mountain churches because everyone wears what they want and they are free to sing and dance in whatever way they feel.
One by one people get up to sing. Their voices are beautiful and clear. A little boy sits next to me with bright pink foam sandals on. He takes them off when the music starts so he can freely move around. I see and hear the rain from far away as it comes across the mountain ranges and reaches our makeshift church. The water rushes over the tarp roof. People move in their seats according to where the leaks are and scooch away from the walls so water doesn’t rush down their backs.
Behbehghull (Mom) and Poppyseed (Dad) are going to preach. I translate from English to Kreyol for Mom and from Kreyol to English for Dad. It's so cool to be doing that for them because I used to dream of being able to speak Kreyol when I was a kid, especially when Poppyseed and Behbehghull would speak Kreyol to each other so we (my brothers and I) couldn't understand. I wished more than ever I could snoop in on the conversation.
Poppyseed preaches with his heart and I can feel it as I translate. It almost makes me cry. The rain falls on the little boys foam sandals and washes away the mud. Rain. I’ve loved rain my whole life. It is one of the few times I feel totally at peace. I love the way it feels. I love the way it makes the trunks of trees dark and their branches so green. I love the way it forces people to gather together under the nearest shelter. I look out the open doorway and men riding donkeys pass by in the pouring rain. They look at me and wave and smile. The team prays over person after person and the prayers are loud and powerful. I do minimal medical work and as the service comes to end the rain has slowed to a slow sprinkle.
We head out back down the mountain and no sooner have we started down the hill does the rain start. It’s pouring harder than it was before. We are completely soaked in a matter of seconds and I am thankful for my boots. Everett and his crocs don’t seem to be faring too well so he hikes barefoot. Mom joins in, in the barefoot parade. The ground is red clayish dirt and slippery. Beck is having a blast down the hill. Sis and Louie are way ahead of us. Tori and Sarah close behind. Poppyseed, Mom, Everett and I walk together and laugh so hard at this wonderful adventure.
I am freezing and nothing sounds better than a hot shower. That would require starting the charcoal and boiling water all the while freezing to death. So, I’ll cowgirl up and take a cold shower and snuggle up in a sheet afterwards. The water rushes through the trail and over the tops of my boots. I walk with a plantain leaf wrapped over my head and an old woman teases me from the comfort of her home. She yells “You have a Kreyol umbrella!” It’s much funnier in Kreyol, but basically saying I’m ghetto and doing things in a makeshift way. She watches me from her home with a toothless grin. I laugh and keep walking with my plantain headscarf/umbrella. There isn’t a single dry area on my whole self and I’m ready to be cozy. Almost back to the house. What a wonderful day. By the way...Happy birthday Chris Douglas! I definitely wish you were here on this hike today.