Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Journey Continues--YASC Year #2!

Early May will mark nine months since I moved to Cange to work for the Episcopal Church in the Young Adult Service Corps. In that amount of time, I’ve taken on the titles of English teacher, missionary, economist, tour guide, surveyor, waiter, motivational speaker, translator, and more. Work as a missionary for the Episcopal Church requires so much flexibility and availability to do what you are called to do at any given time. The past nine months in Cange have never been dull, and I have been challenged to think about life, death, society and God in radically different ways.

Living long term in Haiti has brought me a radically different understanding of this country, its history (and indeed the history of the U.S.), and the people that live here. Before I came, I knew that it was the poorest country in the western hemisphere and people practiced Vodou. I’m discovering a place of surprising diversity, rich culture, determined and resilient people, scrumptious cuisine and stunning landscapes. Before I came I spoke only English. I now confidently speak Haitian Kreyol—a language that is an absolute joy to learn and speak.
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lenten Meditations Part 2

Here's my second YASC Lenten reflection for 2014. Keep following that blog through the rest of Lent 2014--we're almost to Easter! http://yasclenten.blogspot.com/2014/04/day-33-focus-on-god.html

Speaking of Easter, the musicians and choirs of Cange are gearing up for a wonderful celebration!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lenten Meditations

Today was my first turn to contribute to the Young Adult Service Corps Lenten meditation blog. Check out my post for today, and the daily contributions of all the YASC missionaries here: http://yasclenten.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 24, 2014

Traveling in Context (Series Part 2 of 2)

Travelling in Haiti as a tourist is a pleasure full of unexpected deviations, surprising discoveries, and rich culture. I'm grateful to be well traveled, but nowhere have I experienced the intimacy and diversity of a new place like I have when traveling around Haiti.

My most recent Haiti adventure involved hiking through the Massif de la Selle from Kenscoff just south of Petionville to Jacmel on the coast with fellow Cange ex-pats Nicole Bryant and Jenn Summers.


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Monday, March 10, 2014

Traveling in Context (Series Part 1 of 2)

When I encounter a foreigner in Haiti, the standard exchange quickly jumps to the question, “What are you doing here?”

This question implies work, not leisure. It asks for little information about the person concerned, and everything about their purpose in Haiti. I see you are here, but what are you doing? This is quite different from the question, “What do you do?” which implies permanence. “What are you doing here,” implies a passing fancy, a short term objective.
Visitors to Haiti often overwhelmingly imagine they have a unifying mission. They actually have a troublesome overabundance of different, small missions—projects for this school, water for that town, toothbrushes for this clinic. Invariably, visitors come with something to do: to build schools, to teach, to provide medical care, to hand out used clothing, to run water quality tests, to plant trees, to preach a gospel. People come to Haiti to meet the children they’ve sponsored in school for the past ten years, to train a group of Haitians how to use “modern” solar panels and water pumps, and to see poverty.

“What are you doing here?” I rarely, if ever, ask Haitians this question, and I don’t ask it of people when I'm in the U.S.

A recent trip to southeastern Haiti for – dare I say it – pleasure showed me another way to travel and experience the country.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

YASC Lenten Meditations

Bonswa tout moun! I hope you are having a wonderful first Sunday in Lent, 2014. I will soon post some more substantial posts about my recent activities in Haiti, but I want to send out a quick notice about the Young Adult Service Corps Lenten meditations. Each day during lent, a different YASCer will post their reflection on the day's readings. There are already a few up now! Check them out here:

http://yasclenten.blogspot.com/