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Joy and Confidence in the Midst of Chaos

There are a couple things I love about this picture. For one thing, it is often difficult just to get people to smile for pictures on the Plateau. Believe it or not, smiling for the camera is apparently not natural. (Have you ever looked at old black and white portraits?) Granted, it has become easier as people get more and more used to cameras and smart phones. Still, it is rare to capture two people so relaxed and confident that they are willing to do something spontaneously joyous in front of the camera like this.

And that's another thing that stands out to me: joy. And hope. There is a sense of something to be excited about...something to look forward to. It stands out in sharp contrast to the state of Haiti as a country these days. So many people are hopeless, frustrated, and angry. The countrywide lockdown has barred many people inside their home and crippled activities.

By the grace of God, although our normal functioning as an organization has been significantly impacted, we are able to continue moving forward in creative ways, including through one of our favorite activities : fòmasyon. Despite very difficult life conditions, the fòmasyon gives the boys/young men and girls/young women in our area something to look forward to every week...something new to learn...something to build their in social skills...teaching from God's word.

In a place where material poverty and spiritual darkness stamp out people's sense of their personal value and strangle their confidence in their own capacity to learn and grow, something as simple as learning the single crochet stitch can make them do a happy dance...before we've even made anything with it yet! (True story. This literally happened the other day.) The fòmasyon continue to function every Saturday, with a few sessions even taking place during the week. Below are a few photos from the past couple weeks.

Fòmasyon: The Girls

Practicing how to make rolls.

Because the ladies don't have ovens at homes, Josiane had them practice baking the bread over coals too.

They turned out great!
Using the same dough as for the rolls, the ladies also learned cinnamon buns and orange buns.

Meanwhile, the ladies in the advanced class learned how to make Pwason Gwo Sèl ("Salty Fish"). It was delicious as well!

The little girls also learned how to make rolls.

Manis gave a special talk about timidity, which is a huge struggle for many people.

In addition, the ladies have had sessions of crochet and Bible study.

Fòmasyon: The Boys

The boys are split into three rotating groups that each go through three stations.

Station 1: learning how to make cement flower pots with Djeffson.

Station 2: learning traditional mat making from Pa Wisly using plantain "bark."

Station 3: Learning how to make hats and other things out of a type of thatch. So far they are learning the theory and process. They will begin to work with the thatch this coming weekend.

As with the girls, there are also other sessions for the boys in which they participate in reforestation, have devotions, and learn other social skills.

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