His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship

Total Immersion — Day 2

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On the second day, breakfast was very filling with fried eggs, white bread, cassava bread (flat bread), yams, large apricots, mangos, and very sweet coffee. After breakfast I went to help wash dishes. They washed mounds of dishes outside all day long on a long table. Haitians enjoy being hosts so I found I really had to assert myself to help.

I was walking up a hill of dirt to get across the construction area and I totally wiped out! This ended up being the perfect thing to happen…it broke the ice with one lady! She said to me later, “Ou tonbe!” (You fell!) I started to laugh and then she started rolling with laughter. We connected! This was the beginning of our friendship and it provided an entrance into the workers club!

There are no automatic dishwashers in Haiti. This is something we are still getting used to!

There are no automatic dishwashers in Haiti. This is something we are still getting used to!

The dishes are never done!

The dishes are never done!

Shelling beans in the shade was such fun! You can see the outside showers and outhouses behind us.

Shelling beans in the shade was such fun! You can see the outside showers behind us.

Another time I was able to help shell beans with them. I sat down next to the ladies and shelled and enjoyed listening to them speak back and forth with each other. Soon one started singing then they all jumped in and started singing. It was very enjoyable to just listen and watch. Even though they like to host they did seem to appreciate me making the effort to help and also understand their culture. They would always say to each other in Creole, “L’ap travay!” (She is working!)

How do they prepare food?

I really enjoyed watching the food being prepared. One “kitchen” was inside and one was outside, but there was so much to prepare they also cooked in several outside areas. Usually, they had other pots cooking over charcoal in the inside kitchen along with the outside pots over fires. Haitians work so hard. My eyes were opened to how long it takes to cook anything. And they stick together…they are like one big family working together. First they have to get the wood and get that fire going. Many of the young teenagers or young adults were either peeling fruit or vegetables or carrying the water.

Haitians do a lot of food preparation by squatting. We like our countertops!

Haitians do a lot of food preparation by squatting. We like our countertops! Here they are making black bean sauce.

Cleaning the rice was a process that we don't even think about having to do!

Placing the rice onto the woven baskets for sifting out dirt!

The food was served hot for lunch and then reserved cold for supper.

Rice and beans were served hot for lunch and then reserved cold for supper nearly every day.

The lunch that day was very good with rice with beans, millet, fried plantains and okra, mangos, abriko, and 7Up. After lunch I tried to help with dishes, but it didn’t happen so I went and watched the ladies cutting up goat meat and chopping spices for supper! Womens work is never done! Supper was delicious with rice and beans, goat, papaya, mango, and grapefruit juice.

What was it like hearing the Haitian language at full capacity?

It was a good challenge! We tried our best to listen and understand, but it was difficult unless they slowed down. They speak fast like we do and it is hard to catch the whole thing. Yes, many times we said in Creole, “Slow down.” Having an entirely Creole immersion gave us a better grasp of the everyday language and common expressions they use. The repetition was good for us. Many times they would stop talking and ask, “Konprann?” (Understand?) That was always a very difficult question for us to answer!  They really wanted you so much to understand everything they were saying.

The area kids started dropping by after school. We played all sorts of games with them…just hanging out with the Haitian kids was very enjoyable. Then Madam Pasté took us for a walk across the road to see a few houses and introduce us to her neighbors. The kids followed along as we held their hands. It is always interesting to see how the Haitians live.

Balloons were always a favorite way to interact with the kids.

Balloons were always a favorite way to interact with the kids.

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This was a spontaneous group that showed up every afternoon!

This was a spontaneous group that showed up every afternoon!

This is our favorite photo! Grant got to teach so many boys a few sports moves.

This is one of our favorite photos! Grant got to teach these boys a few sports moves and they often came looking for him.

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Author: Mike + Susie

Missionaries in Les Cayes Haiti

3 thoughts on “Total Immersion — Day 2

  1. I love all the wonderful pictures!

  2. Sounds like you are having quite the adventure. We loved the spontaneous ice breaker. Sometimes mistakes, little accidents, etc. are one of the best ways to start a conversation. Learning a language is one of the most exhausting and overwhelming things to go through. Hang in there. With our love and prayers,

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences. The pictures along with your story helps us feel like we are there. God bless all of you.

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