Thursday, November 28, 2013

Manifestations, Bishops, Salt and Pepper

Last week, all American Episcopal missionaries in Haiti were called to Port-au-Prince for several days with a group of bishops, spouses, and staff from the Church Center in New York (including our boss David Copley!). The group was on a mission of presence--to experience just a part of the Episcopal Church in Haiti and to invigorate the ministry of the church in the country.
 I had to travel a day earlier than planned because of pre-announced manifestations in Port-au-Prince coinciding with the November 18th Haitian holiday marking the Battle of Vertieres, the final part of the Haitian Revolution in 1803. I traveled with a group from Cange on their way to a soccer game in the national stadium, and on our way we passed these amphibious UN vehicles on their way to the city for security. We were confined to the hotel all of Monday as the demonstrations blocked the main roads in Port-au-Prince. The crowd came just past the hotel, moving up the street through Petionville.

 The group dropped me off at the Hotel Villa Creole before they went on to the game. The hotel was so fancy--and I'm certainly grateful for the experience. It did, however, cause a bit of culture shock for me including something so simple as having salt AND pepper on the table.
 We also were joined by a film crew doing a promotional video on the Episcopal Missionaries in Haiti. The filming took a bit of staged activity, like the nursing school students in Leogane "walking to class" in the picture above.
 Julie Burd, everyone.
 We also had a chance to see the site of the Episcopal Cathedral that fell during the 2010 earthquake. Above is the temporary space for worship; below are the ruins of the previous building. The shipping container surrounded by the makeshift structure contains the three surviving murals from the old cathedral building.

 This is the remnants of the collapsed Catholic cathedral just down the street. It, too, fell during the 2010 earthquake.
 Among other touristy activities, we visited the Hotel Oloffson, the inspiration for Graham Greene's novel The Comedians. They had an interesting art exhibit on the grounds of the hotel. A few more inappropriate sculptures didn't make the cut for the blog.

The trip was a rejuvenating break for me, reconnecting me to the global perspective of the missionary work in the Episcopal Church. It was also a good time just to be a tourist in Port-au-Prince. Almost everywhere we went was somewhere I had not been before, including Leogane where YASCer Julie Burd is placed.

A big thank you to everyone who made this trip such a great time. I enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

1 comment:

  1. We stayed at the Hotel Oloffson the last night of our trip - and whooo, was is trippy! I had a conversation with the artist that made that baby doll sculpture you pictured - I asked him to just reassure me that he loves his mother. He laughed and said he does and very much! We had a nice chat wiht the owner and enjoyed the music of RAM that night. It was a great deal of fun although not much sleep.
    Thank you for making the connection for us to Julie. She was a delightful host to us in Leogane!