A different Haiti

We experienced a different Haiti on Saturday. We could call it “Haiti Heaven” or Our Mountaintop Experience”. Venturing to a different part of Haiti didn’t change Haiti. We came down the mountain to the same smelly streets and sad faces. But it did change us. Our hearts were mended. Our minds were changed. Our minds were changed about what we are doing here. People often ask, “What do you do in Haiti?” or “Why did you come to Haiti?” We often ask ourselves the same question. Sometimes we ask it when we look at our bank account. We usually ask it when we are taking a cold shower. When students we care about cheat and have to face the consequences. When the tenth beggar boy assaults our vehicle with his rag frantically wiping…hopeful then angry when we don’t have any gourdes to give. When we pass by the street our girls live on and try to think about enjoying the day without them. How in some ways being here where they are is easier…how in many ways it’s harder. When we wish that so many things could be different about Haiti. When we wish so many things about Haiti we could have everywhere else. When we admit that we didn’t come here expecting to change Haiti. When we admit that we came here because we needed change too and how ironic that feels. And how true that is.
And so when the Oostland family invited us (actually we asked and they said “yes”;) to go with them to Belot, we felt a twinge of guilt for getting to have this experience…then asked ourselves why we felt that way. Maybe because we feel like this isn’t supposed to be about us. 
Like our lives here are supposed to be about fixing the broken Haiti 
(even though we’ve already said we don’t expect to do that). 
And when we see a different Haiti where people are smiling, 
where the air is cool and clear,
where children look healthy, 
where there isn’t much…
but there is SO much…
and we don’t see anything to fix change. 
And we ask how we got here and what this is really all about?
We are on the mountain edge which keeps caving in from erosion.
Day by day more is caved away.
In the world we are on slippery ground;
we are standing on the edge of a caving in mountain…

Speaking about who and what we are won’t secure us.
For safety, we must step up to higher ground.”

-Haitian Prayer

“Don’t put your load of trouble in a basket on your head…

Put them on Jesus head…

You won’t have headaches.”
-Haitian Proverb

It is a long walk up the mountain.
Today this boy didn’t have to walk as far.
And our kids scooted over…and learned.

We arrived here at the mountain top before following the -> around the corner to Montcel.
Something about this small mountaintop community made us jealous.
Jealous of their lives.
Their simple lives.
The way they smiled and lived and played cards on this Saturday.
Content simply to breathe this air.

I know my garden doesn’t grow or produce
unless I work it and visit it.
So, please Lord, work and visit the garden of my heart.
I want to produce for You.”

-Haitian Prayer

After a bumpy ride we find that there are still 4 kids (Jenna, Ethan, Evan, and Nathan) in the back of the pickup as we arrive at Montcel. They didn’t complain about the bumps…cause when did they ever get to do this in the states?

We looked around to see what there was to do.
We didn’t feel like we were in Haiti.

There were ponds and buildings that were very un-Haiti like.

But there is a lot of French influence and it was evidenced here

where we later ate lunch
and pretended we were at La Madeleine…

But if we come back for a date here…we won’t be ordering “poulet sauce creole”.
We advise you not order it here either. 

We saw lots of these.

And tried to catch this one.

And discovered there will soon be strawberries in Haiti.
And we know where to find them!

For Kelli 

In addition to dining, pig catching and tennis,
Le Montcel has other activites.

Like horseback riding!
And flower gardens

And rock gardens 
Where the kids climbed and explored.

Where Evan was in his element.

Where we enjoyed our children…
though we wished the rest of them were here with us.

Le Montcel Restaurant

Montcel balcony view (made up for the poule sauce creole).

“Dèyè mòn gen mòn.”
“Behind mountains there are mountains.”

-Haitian Proverb

And at the top of the mountain that’s what we saw

…more mountains.

And goats.

Thoughts of David watching over his flock came to mind.
And the Psalms he wrote while overlooking hills like these.

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.”

Psalm 95:2-4

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.”

Psalm 95:6-7

“Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.”

Proverbs 8:1-2

“Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He established the clouds above…”

Proverbs 8:25-28

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:1-2

We lingered…

breathing in the mountain air 
and fantasized about living here.

And driving back down the mountain…

 through these clouds 

the following verse echoed in our hearts. 

And we were reminded that… 
None of this is about us. 
None of it is about Haiti. 

All of this is about Him.

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.”

Psalm 19:1-4
Thank you Oostland family for letting us come and experience, and learn, and change with you! We are so thankful for you and for all those who pray and partner with us in this life as we look forward to the next. Thank you for pointing others to Him!

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Romans 11:36

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