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Mud, Mangos, and Friends by SuAnne Vannatter

Just getting to Haiti is apparently where the journey begins. I am not the first and won’t be the last to deal with delays and cancelled flights though knowing God is in control always helps. I was grateful to make some new friends and practice my Creole with my new friends who happened to be in the same boat.

I was met at the airport by Petion who has driven and travelled the route from Anse Rouge to Port au Prince many many times and Wiltha one of the teachers for the school. If you want to see more of the landscape and the culture it’s great to make the drive which actually only took us 6 hours. The drive was fairly uneventful thankful for air conditioning and a skilled driver even when he had no idea what speed he was going!

Having gotten up at 3:15 am (for the second day in a row) it made my guest room at the Lemuel campus a welcoming sight. Krischelle was gracious to offer me the tour of my “Ocean” themed room which is beautiful and made me feel like I was not here to serve but to be served! Of course the mahogany bed was the most inviting for me.

It was great and refreshing to hear and feel the rain falling as I reconnected with friends.

As is always true I will eat the healthiest I do all year long and already it has proven true having been served a tasty chili and cheese quesadilla’s made with Canadian cheese that ‘found’ its way to Haiti.

My first night in Haiti was humid and hot and on my way to bed I found myself laying on the rocks after my Toshiba computer when flying into the air and landed not far from me. I discovered that rain soaked Haitian clay- filled ground is a lot like walking on ice like we have in Wisconsin. I can’t remember the last time I’ve fallen and thankfully nothing broke but my pride and I felt bad for Judy who was walking along side of me as she didn’t know whether to rescue me or my flying computer. Walking a little slower and sitting very gently today and I am STILL very grateful to be here. The humidity is extremely high and it has continued to rain off and on making everything here on the plateau beautifully green and colorful.

Even on a day like today when the teams from the States or Canada are no longer here there is always a lot of activity. The loudest sounds here are often only the loud roosters or the goats. So, it seemed strangely out of place to suddenly hear a very loud noise realizing it was a small plane landing on the Lemuel airstrip which the goats have learned to share. It was a Misson Aviation Fellowship pilot on his way to survey another area of land about an hour away – by truck -to see if another airstrip could be made.

It has been fun to see Jenna again and today she is working on her mural for the front of the church which is beautiful. Nice to see Sam also who is always busy fixing something and can even take time to offer advice to Jenna.

I am currently sitting at Judy and Manis’ house sipping on Krischelle’s lemon grass, Thai basil tea with a fan blowing directly on me also having been served a tasty and refreshing bowl of mangos. I love the fresh fruit and vegetables they can get here including mangos, tomatoes, and peppers. It’s also interesting what goes in the refrigerator and what doesn’t.

Nearby sits three beautiful young women embroidering while off and on humming and singing songs in Creole. My plan is to purchase a few of their items which helps them and serves to always remind me of them and Haiti.

I’ve been so happy to meet again the friends I’ve made in past trips and amazingly nearly every single person is asking where my husband is; I guess Randy must have made quite an impression, not to mention they still remember his kettle corn!

OK, well time to take a refreshing afternoon cold shower before the darkness arrives and I have to walk by the beam of a flashlight being extra careful where I step. Two lessons I learned; some mud you sink into and can’t get off your shoes and the other feels a lot like Wisconsin ice; just as hard just not so cold.

Today even with the heat, humidity and sore “areas” on my body there is no place I’d rather be….

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