Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Merry Christmas/Jwaye Nowel

On Christmas Eve we distributed gifts to the staff at the Maternity Center. There was much joy and celebration, even when the gifts given were so very small. I love being here at Christmas time and having things that matter (friendship/relationships over gifts) put into perspective. For Christmas Eve dinner we went out with our Australian friends Bec and Baz, and a guy from Kentucky that we just met, Nick. We went to Servotel and had a lovely evening together.

Christmas day we spent a lot of time resting and reflecting. And then joined our friends in Village Theodat for the first ever "Village People Progressive Dinner". We went house to house sampling different foods and having lovely conversations, ending with caroling and desserts at our friends Ryan and Melissa.

Incarnation 12/24/12

If the incarnation teaches us anything, it's that God can be found everywhere: in a cattle trough, on a throne, among the poor, with the sick, on a donkey, in a fishing boat, with the junkie, with the prostitute, with the hypocrite, with the forgotten, in places of power, in places of oppression, in poverty, in wealth, where God's name is known, where it is unknown, with our friends, with our enemies, in our convictions, in our doubts, in life, in death, at the table, on the cross and in every kindergarten classroom from Sandy Hook to Shanghai. -Rachel Held Evans

Hear the Angels Sing Dec 24th, 2012

Oh ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
and hear the angel's sing.

Christmas Baby Arrives Early-- December 22nd, 2012

Today we labored with a sweet little teen mom, who was courageous and strong and delivered a sweet baby boy. She didn't come to prenatal class yesterday, and when one of the staff members here gave her a hard time about this Nehemie replied "Mde. John, you know I always come to class, but yesterday my sister borrowed my shoes and I couldn't come without shoes".

We made sure her little guy had shoes when we dressed him up (though he really wasn't a fan of his hat!). It is always sweet to be able to attend a birth with a teen mom around the time of Christmas--as it puts into perspective what Mary might have gone through and frames the Christmas story through a new lens. In fact, this mama named her baby Lense, and I'm sure that he will be a new lens through which she sees and experiences the world.

Jedi Pita (Thursday Later) December 19th, 2012

We ended the evening by singing Christmas carols around a bonfire...a new first in Haiti. 

Good News: Dec 19th, 2012

Melody and David have been a regular part of our Haiti life since the earthquake. They were the only kids from the Heartline Orphanage who didn't get out on Humanitarian Parole visas after the earthquake. You'll see other photos of them on this blog from previous Christmases we've spent together. But they found out today that they are going home on Saturday-just in time for Christmas!! This is such great news!!
We had a party and prayer time for them! We are so happy for you Melo and David. We will miss you in Haiti but are so happy for you to start your life in Vermont!

Settling in at Home- Dec 18th, 2012

As I write this note a small scared teenager attempts to sleep in the room below me, cradling her unnamed 4 lb baby boy. She was admitted at the women's program today to learn to breastfeed- as her baby has been losing weight since he was born last week.
At the guest house next door, across a 10 foot cinder block wall topped with barbed-wire, a group is singing worship songs (in English) that take me back to my days as a camp counselor. We still have city power, so they are sitting in a circle on folding chairs, two guitar players at the top, surrounded by blinking white Christmas lights. Someone in the neighborhood is burning their trash, so every once-in-a-while I catch of whiff of smoke and my eyes start to burn.
It's my first day in Haiti. I arrived around lunchtime today, after traveling all night, and I'm aware of how exhausted I am –both physically and emotionally. Sarah and I were greeted with hugs and dancing and lots of joy. As soon as we were inside the big metal gate, my friend Cherline demanded "pick me up". And it really was a "pick me up"--seeing her brings me so much joy! She's a small waif of a girl my age, who could easily pass for 14 or 15. She works here at the Maternity Center and is one of my dearest friends. So I did pick her up and swing her around and it was a silly happy moment that almost brought me to tears.
As I was listening to the worship circle tonight, I remembered that in the confusing days after the earthquake, the field hospital staff (including myself) ate dinner together each night in that building. I could never have imagined that almost three years later I'd be staying in the apartment next door feeling like I was "home". And yet I am.