West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Tap Tap

This morning, NIck, Sherye, John and I accompanied Adrian to the local Catholic Church. Adrian works at the guesthouse, he is Haitian and is an “aspirant” for the Franciscan seminary. He also plays drums for the choir at Guatemalca, a nearby Catholic Church. To get to the church, we had to catch a Tap Tap. If you have been to Haiti, you know this means a pick up truck with benches along either side, covered by a roof. Usually about 12-15 people ride in the back of this vehicle, and when you get to your destination you tap on the driver’s window to let you out.

We waited while several TapTaps passed us, too full to accommodate 5people, especially 4 Americans (Americans are generally much larger than Haitians in girth as well as stature). We worried that we were going to make Adrian late for church, and we did. But he kept telling us, “Pa pwoblem” ( no problem) and eventually he asked us to walk to an intersection where there were more TapTaps available. This “walk” was a brisk trot on broken dirt/pebbled road, but we did get to a place where we could climb onto aTapTap and off we went. There was a toothbrush tied with a dirty rag to the back of the window of the driver’s cab. We did not know what it was for, and Nick said, “That’s what you tap on the window with”. Sherye and I said “No way!” until about 5 minutes later when sure enough, someone tapped on the window with the toothbrush. You never know in Haiti.

We arrived 30 minutes late to the service, but in Haiti this means we got there just in time for the first reading. The entire service was in Kreyol, and I could catch about every 10th word, but we knew the order of service and could follow pretty well what was happening. The gospel was from Matthew, about the transfiguration. The priest preached about asking God to change our lives because we have ” no food, no job, no house” and God has already changed our lives through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Pretty powerful stuff when you’re in Haiti, and they truly have no food, no job and no house.

The music was delightful, with Haitian voices and their rich quality. When you go to church in Haiti, you know you’ve been to church.

The priest was Father Ramon, who greeted us afterwards. No english, so we spoke in a combination of Kreyol and Spanish. He is Canadian and has been in Haiti for 23 years. Many people greeted us during the Peace, and we felt very welcome.

Back to the guesthouse by Tap Tap. This one was a BIT more crowded, 14 people in all. Sherye and Nick held on to the back of the truck, and I told Drew to hang on to Sherye because I did not want to leave her in Haiti. 5 gourdes per person per ride (about 12 cents). Not much to spend for a vivid memory.
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