Tuesday, May 9, 2017


We (the team) are hiking to one of our outstation churches in Setri today. Everyone is bustling around getting prepared for the hike. It’s only five miles from the house and I’m excited to get to hike. I have Bakatol and I am always driving people and things around so today is a special day for me to get to walk. I have all my medical supplies in a backpack because who knows if I’ll need them on the way. The sky is grey and cloudy and it looks like rain. I remember this hike from when we had a youth group team here almost nine years ago. This same trail is where I learned how to say grass, tree, rock, dirt and sky in Kreyol. 

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.

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