Thursday, July 26, 2012

Haiti: Sunday/Monday

This post was intended for Sat and Sun but the Internet has been out since then b/c of lots of storms! It is, in fact, the raint season here! I must post it without pictures or video b/c it takes half an evening to email myself pictures etc. will update soon with both.

It’s POURING rain right now. Thank goodness! It is now at least 20-30 degrees cooler. I knew it was going to be a heavy and early rain this afternoon (instead of evening) due to the hotter than Hades temps during the first portion of the day. Sure enough, the clouds blew up in about 40 minutes from the Eastern mountains (singing hymn “From the Eastern Mtns”), met the warm sea air and 15 min from that the torrential rains began. It’s actually been raining for over an hour. It settled down a bit from the loud cracks of thunder, but has since picked back up with the rain. I LOVE these storms. Beautiful lightning over the sea and cool winds to make you sway into a rain-accompanied coma
J I used to play in the pre-hurricane storms on Kiawah Island when we lived there and I don’t mind being drenched with sheets of rain here since I’m already drenched with sweat anyway. Since we are all on break, I thought I’d write about the adventures from yesterday and today.

Sunday, after our counselor meeting, downing some strong coffee, getting everyone ready, and breakfast, we had a service in the Salle Karay room at the resort.  Gregory, one of our translators was to preach and I was to lead the liturgical portion of the service and add some music. I knew my iBCP iPhone app would one day come in handy! Also, I’m glad I brought the Episcopal Hymnal, just in case. It was a short service, but many of the campers had been asking on Saturday and at breakfast on Sunday whether or not we were going to have church so we decided it would be appropriate. After all, they are from St. Vincent’s Episcopal School for the Handicapped and Orphaned and asking about services. Before the service, we did some music….jamming time. We started inthe lobby and paraded down towards a bungalow. Claves, the cajon drum, shaker eggs, boomwhackers, and some great singing. Mackenson, one of the caregivers, plays guitar and knows a wealth of songs. After I led them in Louez le Seigneur, he got them started on some Haitian praise songs and they went nuts with joy!
For the service, I opened with a welcome and prayer and then a morning collect. Then, I moved on to a song and asked Andrew to lead us in Amazing Grace with his guitar. Most of them knew the melody. It’si nteresting that if you don’t pause to give specific directions, they will start immediately with singing and later started right away with the Lord’s prayer. We had to remind them to wait a moment. Next, we said the creed responsively and with translation. I had selected various lines from the Prayers of the People Rite II and then made up several lines about being thankful for the beautiful sunshine, for friends, for this camp time together, for those who aren’t feeling well and for those who had gone on before.
[aside] Let me say a few words about folks not feeling well. We have several campers who have gotten upset stomachs because they simply are not used to eating from a buffet line and once they discovered how much they could have, decided to eat three plates of food before we could warn them to slow down! They are not used to plentiful plates and I guess they feel like they had better eat all they can. Their school takes good care of them, but by no means do they have the resources to provide anything near what this hotel can do, nor the extras like popcorn, so much fruit juice, or cookies. They’re kids though and I feel like they should enjoy these things while they can, within reason of not getting tummyaches.
Back to the service - To end my portion of the service, we said Lord’s prayer - everyone in their own language and we finished all together. Gregory, one of the counselors/translators, preached using some references from Genesis, Ephesians, and Romans. To sum up (and paraphrase) - He spoke of the Loas and God existing on the Earth together and then there could only be one with breath so along came Adam, made in God’s image. Even though he was in God’s image, all deformities, deafness, and weaknesses came from Adam and not from God. Then he spoke of how Jesus was sent. He spoke of believing in God and Jesus (but not the Trinity). He used several references and did a good job speaking. His words were translated into English by Jonas and into ASL by Laura who is one of the most excellent signers I’ve ever seen. She’s very facially animated, super friendly and fun.  After Gregory finished, I closed with “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” #711 which they really liked because it’s easy and you can sing it in a canon. After the service, we had music time until it was film time.
For lunch on Sunday, the wonderful hotel staff arranged for our whole group to eat lunch on the beach under a GIANT tree. It was fabulous and I think the kids really liked it (except for the fire ants at the end –they were getting on the bread and anything that had fallen on the ground under the tables!)
Next, it was swim time and my girls did not want to go into the ocean so we all talked upstairs for a while. Hre is a picture of them in their FABULOUS t-shirts! :-)
After break time and dinner, the kids finished the movie and we all went to bed.
I woke up to the sound of footsteps outside the door. I raised the slats slightly and saw three men with machetes chopping tree branches and some weeds…seemingly at random. The area is quite overgrown so I wasn’t sure why they were diligently chopping in odd spots……They went away after a while. Today was long, but I thought it went well! After our sweltering breakfast, we broke into groups andmusic ended up on the beach until noon. It was about 16 campers with Andrew, me, and Casey. Here is a pic of Casey working with Diyana on how to hold and play a Cabasa.
After explaining to them in French that we were going to demonstrate things and take turns, Andrew began by showing them each instrument: cabasa, claves, triangle, etc. and how to play it in two ways. They did it and then passed each instrument to the next person. The structured time was mixed with free “jamming” time.  He did a fabulous job of it all and Casey helped pass the instruments out and engage each person.
After lunch, it POURED rain for a good long while. The internet went out and the water system backed up so several folks had brown or pink-ish water in sinks & showers. My girls made it to their room just in time for the downpour. Later, we watched a film: The Smurfs in French. It wasn’t the old animated smurfs I had seen before. The kids enjoyed it though and after this, I played checkers with JoJo, an amazing artist with no arms or legs. He beat me terribly and then we went to dinner. After dinner, it was music time. Casey and Andrew did another amazing job with everything. I got my three blind campers tosing their beautiful chorale and it was a hit. Here are a few links to short video examples of their singing that I uploaded to YouTube:

Jesula, Rosaline, and Rosana singing:

It was hard to make everyone ready to listen to some slow, soft, a cappella choral music. Not only was it hard to quiet the other campers who didn’t understand what was happening, it was hard to get the three shy girls to sing when everyone seemed in such a hurry. Finally, they began and it was well worth the wait. It was this experience though, that solidified the fact that I am a fish completely out of water with most non-Classical, popular tunes. I barely know the words to tons of songs and even though I may love them, I seem to always need sheet music with me that also includes the words. I wish I had brought a book of praise songs because that is what this group of campers really sinks their teeth into. There was a time when I could not stomach the vast majority of 80’s praise songs. Now, I see their value and I like some of them. I know a few by heart (not many) and luckily, we are a great music team so my singing part is only a portion of things. We made music until about 10 p.m. and sang them to their door with a "Goodnight Song" that Casey made up. Everyone went to bed laughing!
Other news today: A new counselor joined us today. His name is Howard, aka "Panda" and he is a photographer for the Physicians for Peace organization and will be taking photographs of the camp this week. Another mission group (from Indianapolis) arrived today and will be staying here at the Kaliko Bay area. They are working on finishing touches to new buildings that their church helped build, including a hospital.
Another great day with some great people. J


Randall said...

I'm glad you're getting so much done in between the rain. Sorry about the backups! You mentioned each singing in their own language; how many different languages are in your group?

thanks for the update. looking forward to pictures. would like to see the giant tree!

Randall said...

Thanks for adding the videos. I'm still making my way through them, and the jam sessions as well! Next is your album.
This looks like such a cool adventure!

Caroline of Carsonia said...

Thanks for reading, Randall!!!