Thursday: A Thanksgiving in Haiti

Thursday was Thanksgiving! For all of us, it was a different kind of Thanksgiving observance. Since it is an American holiday, the Haitians don't celebrate it. For us, it was a Thanksgiving to remember.

In the morning, Jim worked on a door he built for the family we had visited earlier in the week. The front of their little block hovel is just a piece of plastic hanging in the doorway. The door that Jim made should help keep out the cold at night and then some. He did a great job! Unfortunately, we had to leave before the new door could be installed. It will probably go in next week.

Also in the morning, the ladies from our team went to volunteer at the kindergarten class at MDL school. They came back with several funny stories from the classroom.

Before we ate lunch, we went over to hang out with the school kids at their lunchtime. I particularly enjoy this because this includes the kids from the Claireville Ravine. They are nice kids -- good natured and lots of fun.

Lauren prays for Doula
Our Thanksgiving was highlighted by a couple of events. First we went to Cenneas, a tent city that is right near the Guest House. Ivens, the school principal, took us to visit three families. They let us into their tents, and we prayed for each family. It was a tremendous privilege! I was really struck by something said by Doula, matriarch of one of the tents: "Whenever someone comes to your tent and prays for you, it is like being visited by an angel."

That evening we went to the Boys' House and had Haitian spaghetti for Thanksgiving dinner. The boys brought over some hot sauce for those of us who wanted it. They said, "This is Haitian hot sauce. Be careful. It's very hot." I sprinkled a few drops on my spaghetti, and then I looked at the bottle: Louisiana Hot Sauce. I said, "This is American hot sauce. Louisiana is in the U.S." Keso and I then had a discussion about whether Louisiana is in America. The next time I saw the bottle, the label had been torn off. :-)

Thanksgiving dinner at the boys' house
After dinner, we served the boys the miniature pumpkin pies our ladies had cooked. We topped them with whipped cream. This was the first pumpkin pie the kids had ever eaten. Most of them liked it. We went to the girls' house last, and after we had served up the tiny pieces of pie, we still had a lot of whipped cream left in the aerosol can. Of course, we had to shoot some whipped cream into a couple of the girls' mouths. Then Adeline insisted on shooting some into my mouth. I knew what was coming. It ended up being all over my face. Adeline is one of my favorite dezods (troublemakers), and we have always had a great time antagonizing each other. Between me and the other girls, we made sure Adeline ended up getting hers. :-)

Adeline, Isguerda, and Chedline
After we washed our faces, Adeline returned to her homework, and Jim and I had quality time with our sponsor girls. He sponsors Cherline, and I sponsor Isguerda. Isguerda helped me pronounce and translate the words in the blessing of Aaron from Numbers 6. Even more than this, I appreciated learning more about Isguerda's life and her thoughts about her future. She is like a family member to us, so these are very important conversations.

With Adeline after the whipped cream war
I think Thanksgiving is a holiday that helps us remember what is important in life. Praying through the tent city and sharing food with the boys and girls of MDL were right in the sweet spot for us. What is important is relationship, and we are thankful to have had the chance to be a blessing to these beloved people.


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