Friday, August 1, 2008

submersion in Haiti

It wasn't easy getting here. In Charlotte, American Airlines informs us upon check-in that they have an embargo twice a year on boxes and we can't take our plastic trunk. My Dad drives to Walmart to buy us a suitcase and we repack at the airport. In Miami we meet up with Bryan and Sharon Thompsonowack, also beginning a 3-year assignment with MCC in Haiti. 2 hours on the tarmac before we're told that we need to disembark due to mechanical error. 2 hours sitting in the departure lounge and we are given meal and hotel vouchers and told to be back at our gate at 6:30 the next morning.

But, we're thrilled to have finally arrived. We're in Gwo Jan, on a mountain outside of Port-Au-Prince, where we'll be living with a Haitian family for a month. It's supposed to be total immersion into Creole and Haitian culture. Right now it feels more like drowning, but we're starting to get the hang of things: cornmeal, beans, plantains and avocados, rain, roosters, kerosene lamps, cold showers, hearing Creole, studying Creole and attempting to speak in Creole.

This morning an elder in this community died and we walked to his house where family members were wailing and throwing themselves on the ground. Having grown up in Cameroon, this seems to me a very appropriate expression of grief. There are so many similarities between Haiti and Africa that I feel like I'm home.

6 comments:

Matt said...

Ben eating cornmeal for 3-yrs? We'll need a 300mm lens to see him at the end of this stint!

Jennifer said...

Hi Friends-it may seem like you're drowning but I know you both will be swimming soon enough!

fredjeanlady said...

Hello Ben and Alexis:

Alexis we wish you a blessed day celebrating your birth some years past and will continue to pray that you both take to French Creole as 'a duck takes to water' as they say...

love to you both, Dad and for Mom

dreamingBIGdreams said...

my friend Laura just sent me your blog. I think you know her parents or something like that ...

anyhow ... very cool about the bike riding. very cool.

also i've been to haiti three times and am going back in september. my husband and i have two kids here and two kids there that we are trying to adopt.

i look forward to following your haiti journey!

:)jamie

nerkert said...

I sure am glad that I found out about your blog. (Cough! Cough!)So glad that you feel at home already. The food sounds better that in Endum, though. Love, Mom

caleb said...

HAPPY B-Day Lex

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