Dan and I went on a date tonight!! When we lived in the States we tried to be intentional about getting out together and focusing on our marriage every so often. It is more difficult to do that here, but it is getting easier, at least for a while. We have a young lady named Bailey at COTP right now and one of her roles is to help with the children of long term volunteers. I get to homeschool two mornings a week without a toddler...something I have never done in all my years of homeschooling. It is a blessing. She is also giving us a date night once a month....another major blessing! As we drove and talked, I had wished that I had taken my camera. So many sights I can pay more attention to when we don't have children or a full vehicle of people. I will try to give you a short snap shot of our date, despite the lack of pictures.
We rushed around to get ready to go out so that we could leave early enough to be back around the time it gets dark here, which is around 6 or 6:30pm. We had forgotten to ask for a vehicle, so quickly emailed and found out we could take one. Something we didn't have to worry about before Haiti! Then I chatted with Bailey about babysitting. She could take our kids somewhere or she would need to be here with all ten kids and the aunts. She decided to stay here, so that meant she needed to make food for thirteen people.....a volunteer group had left us a huge package of Ramen, so that was what I suggested would be easiest. Not the healthiest, but what can you ask of someone willing to take on the craziness of our house?
Then I went to chat with the aunts about us leaving and they were both in the rooms napping with the babies. I decided instead of waking them, I would just go find Jadyn and ask her to explain it to them later. Details, details.
After being informed that our vehicle had changed, and chatting with a few people about a phone that didn't work and some other things, we were off. The roads are difficult to describe. So incredibly bumpy and rough, you feel like you need a massage after just a few minutes. We used to ride in the back of vehicles though, so really grateful that we were in a really nice vehicle with padded seats! On our way we saw many people walking their cows and goats home...and one cute little guy who seemed to have lost his shorts, but was faithfully plodding along with his three goats. We talked about the things we love about Haiti...the slower pace of life the Haitians seem to enjoy, the beauty of the countryside, the lack of materialism in many ways. We passed through a few small villages and people often wave hello.
As we neared Cap Haitian the traffic picked up and we noticed different things. People pile on motos, on tap taps, and the back of trucks. There are virtually no traffic laws. There are people everywhere selling things from fruit and vegetables, fresh meat hanging from trees, clothes, shoes, wood, metal, water, etc.
We arrived at our restaurant ready for a nice meal and conversation, just the two of us. We ordered pizza and a cheeseburger....how is that for American fare? We enjoyed being able to talk uninterrupted for a whole hour. We talked about our life here and what it would be like to go back to the United States. We discussed our children and how difficult it will be for them to say goodbye to the Haitian children that are in our care right now. Dan loves to ask me to rate things from 1 to 10, so we did a little of that regarding places we would like to live. It is interesting to listen to mostly Creole being spoken all around you. Fun to try to catch what people are trying to say, but mostly I just pick up words I know and can not follow quickly enough. No eavesdropping tonight! The food was great and the company even better.
We left the restaurant with plenty of time to get home before dark. However, traffic seemed to be especially busy tonight. We sat still several times, but it just made it easier to watch everything that was happening all around us. People arguing with police officers directing traffic, a man stepping out in front of our vehicle like he owned the road, a teen on roller blades who I was sure was going to get hit as he wove in and out of tap taps and motos. We talked about the difficult things in Haiti while we rode....the things people face, the difficult living conditions, the heartache.
Once again, we traveled the bumpy, puddle filled road home to Lagossette. A few men had gotten a late start in herding their cows and goats home for the night, and several people watching traffic, as we often see. We made it home a little later than we expected, but everyone seemed to have survived. We worshipped together as a family when we returned and the children piled on our laps and fought over us as if we had been gone for days. As I cleared my bed of laundry while getting the children ready for bed, I noticed a dead spider. One less bite I will get as I sleep tonight! It is good to be home.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
One thing we have enjoyed doing during our time here in Haiti is attending many "futbol" or soccer games. There is a field right across from the road from COTP so we go there often, and we have also traveled to a few other villages to watch friends play. Before Christmas a tournament was planned for adult males and teams played every night for about two weeks. Our aunts and children love to go also, so almost every evening several people from the Grace House could be found at the soccer field. One thing we have learned is that the games rarely begin when they say they will begin, so you have to try to guess when is the right time to go so that you aren't sitting around waiting for the game to start, but you don't miss most of the game either. Gabe is now our resident "check the status of the game" guy and he runs up to the field to report to us whether the teams are there or not.
The week between Christmas and New Years another tournament began. This tournament was for boys ages 10 to 20. Yes, quite an age gap. Gabe was asked to play on a team and he was so excited. He became diligent with his practice, and would play with anyone who would play with him, including our aunts.
The day came for his first game and we were told it would begin at 5 pm. We were on a walk with some friends and some boys from his team came to find us, saying it was time to play at around 3:30 pm. He ran to the field and the rest of us hurried there, only to find that the other team was not there. I went home to start dinner and the game did indeed begin after 5 pm. Being the scheduled person I would like to be, this constant changing of game times drives me a little crazy, but I am learning to "go with the flow".
The team Gabe played on used donated uniforms from a school in America that the adults from Lagossette use when they play, also. When I walked over to the field I had to laugh because the guys on Gabe's team were at least a head or two smaller than everyone on the other team. It is obvious that making the teams equal was not a priority. We talked to Gabe about David and Goliath and just encouraged him to have fun and play his best. It was a double elimination tournament and they lost one game 1 to 0 and one game 2 to 1 so they did quite well for playing against much older and bigger guys.
Gabe really enjoyed playing, got to know a few more Haitian boys, and will probably play again on another team soon. Here are some photos from one of the games.
Four of the team members--they play five on five and have a very small goal.
Sugar cane is a popular snack!
They are sitting on the goal, so you can see how small it is!