This morning we had the joy of attending services at Holy Trinity Cathedral. It was all in French, but the service is familiar in any language. As promised, the service lasted about 2 hours. At the end of the service, Sienna turned and said, “Congratulations, everyone, you MADE IT!” One of the hymns was Just a Closer Walk with Thee, so I could hum the tune and sort of fake the french words. I turned to James Gruber and said, “Drew would know all the words in English if he were here.”
We visited the Foyer Notre Dame after church, this is a rest home for older folks, run by the Sisters of St Margaret. I brought the altar linen from St Mary’s Cathedral, in hopes the Sisters could embroider designs on to it. Having emailed the Sisters ahead of time, I expected to see them at church, but when they weren’t there I asked Jean Robert, our guide and translator, to take us to see them at the Foyer Notre Dame. Arriving there, we were told the Sisters were in Leogane! ( a city about 2 hours away). SIGH. Leaving the linen with written instructions in the hands of a competent appearing woman named Gertrude, by that time we were hot and hungry so we visited the Plaza Hotel for lunch.
Ordering from a menu in Kreyol was an adventure for everyone, but they had DIET COKE (something I always miss when I come to Haiti) and with Sienna’s help and Jean Robert’s assistance , we managed to order food everyone enjoyed, including a plantain sandwich with picliz (the spicy Haitian cole slaw that John and I fight over) and other delights.
By now it was early afternoon, and we got back on the bus to drive to St Vincent’s. The children were much surprised when we arrived! Sweaty smiles and hugs all around. Marie Carmelle was in her usual place, which is the breeziest place in the compound. Most of the team went upstairs to see “Drew’s kids” and of course attracted a big crowd. It was touching to see our team, especially the first timers, experience the love and joy of meeting these children for the first time. Diana Vincent managed to get my sunglasses from me, then quickly convinced Edie to pick her up out of her wheelchair. Not bad for a girl with cerebral palsy who cant speak or stand or control her arms. Vicky and Ashley met many kids who remembered Robby Skinner from his last two visits. The deaf teenage girls were thrilled to see Sherye again, and a lively conversation ensued (in sign language of course) about who these new people were, especially WHO IS THAT TALL BOY OVER THERE? (Gordon Johnson). Sienna had to explain that he already HAS a girlfriend.
Speaking of Gordon, one of the blind kids grabbed Gordon and held on for several minutes, soaking up the hug. Brittany has a large plastic pink watch that fascinated several. Margaret Vincent was sitting up in her chair, looking well cared for although not able to respond very well to any stimulation by voice or touch.
After about 45 minutes we said goodbye. We returned to the guest house and the wonderful pool, happy to drop our body temperatures by several degrees.
Evening spent making labels for the pharmacy (take one pill twice a day = pran yon grenn de fwa pa jou), and so on. Sherye blindfolded all of us to teach us about how to lead blind people from one place to another. She has made us all STAR SPARKLY name tags for tomorrow, which the boys (Gordon, James, John) are taking in stride as good sports
Remember those AC units I was so excited about? They work REALLY WELL. So well in fact that folks were too cold last night! I guess one never knows what to expect in Haiti, I told Gordon that I have learned not to have any expectations when I come here. It is a lesson that I have to learn over and over, humility at letting God work and not trying to control the outcome.
Thank you all for reading this very long post; I know some of you are family members and want to know that your loved ones are safe and sound. For the others who have made it this far, thank you for your prayers and support. Tomorrow we will have clinic and all are excited about that. I told the team that today was a vacation day, tomorrow we work.