Monday, July 27, 2015

An Explanation of Language/Yon Eksplikasyon Lang

Ou met jwenn atik sa an Kreyol anba sa ki an angle a.
Language matters, and language can be power. The language I choose to use at any moment in Haiti determines who will and will not understand what I say. Like any power, this can be used for good or for bad. When used to express superiority, manipulate, degrade, suppress or exclude it is unjust; likewise, when used to amplify the voices of the suppressed and outcast it is full of justice and goodness.

When I say language, I mean the particular language of choice, be it English, French, Haitian Creole or Elvish. The issue is not that speaking any one of these languages is a bad thing in and of itself. The issue is about awareness of the privilege being able to speak them, and wisely reflecting on when and how to appropriately use them and NOT exert unjust power over others.

It was to illustrate this point that I chose to write a brief post a couple of weeks ago on racism, the shooting at Charleston's Emmanuel AME Church, and the parallels in Haiti, yet post it only in Haitian Creole (Men jan mwen we'l). #blacklivesmatter #lavinwaenpotan

Friday, July 17, 2015

Trinity Youth Mission Experience

This past week, I was blessed to travel with the youth of Trinity Episcopal Church Asheville, NC, on their trip to visit Cange and the Central Plateau. I really can't express how inspiring and meaningful this experience was.

Debbie, the youth director at Trinity who has been such a big part of my life, led the group of 8 youth along with the participation of Rev. Scott and his wife Missy, and Greg Hilderbran, a parishioner from Trinity who is involved with Consider Haiti, an organization based in Montrouis, Haiti.
We were able to visit almost everywhere we planned for the week. One highlight was visiting Hermane in Chapoteau to assist in the first produce distribution from his community garden to some of the 25 primary school kids who are in an agriculture-education program he is leading (funded by St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Herndon, VA). I was very excited to be there for this, and I appreciate Hermane inviting the group across the lake. He even sent us back to Cange with a sample of the spinach for the staff in Cange to prepare for us. Delicious and nutritious!
We also were able to tour Cange, CFFL/Zanmi Agrikol, the University Hospital in Mirebalais, and Basin Zim. On Thursday, we stayed at a beach resort called Wahoo Bay Beach, my first time staying at a beach resort in Haiti. It was a special, relaxing treat and even included a bit of snorkeling. Also during this overnight trip, we were able to visit one of the sites for Consider Haiti--glad I finally made it. I'm impressed by their multi-faceted approach to their work in health, nutrition and food security.

The youth also led a couple of English classes for Alix's and Victoria's afternoon English program for young kids in Cange, which all seemed to enjoy. And finally, Scott was able to lead the service at Bon Sauveur Parish, which has been without a permanent priest since August of last year. I was able to translate the sermon for him to the congregation, and he was able to lead Eucharist and a blessing of the children in the church (some adults still have a bit of a child in them too).
Beyond these great learning experiences, I am most impressed with the curiosity and compassion expressed throughout the week and of course all of the Haitian hospitality. The Trinity youth proved to me, once again, that high school groups coming to visit Haiti are some of the best to come through. The work that we were able to see, the people we met doing it, and the interest of those in the group give me great hope for the future. A big thank you to those from Trinity and elsewhere that contributed to making this possible.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Some Blog Updates

Since I've now successfully arranged internet in my apartment, I've made some updates on my blog. Learning to be domestic on my own in Haiti is a challenging experience, but I'm having great interactions along the way.

Updates I'd like to call your attention to include:

1) New blog sites! On the right column, you will see the blog addresses for Episcopal Missionaries in Service (I'm still tracking down some of the other adult missionaries' blogs). Check them out to see what all they're up to. Many of the new YASCers are in the midst of their fundraising and preparations for moving to a new country.

2) How to Help! I'm not required to raise funds for this next year. However, check out the "How to Help." tab to see how you can get more engaged. Two things in particular: first, if you are interested in any of the work I mention on my blog, send me a message to discuss it further. Second, I do appreciate "mix-tapes"--it means a lot to me to have playlists from friends and family (I usually listen to music when I'm cooking). If you want to send me one, let me know!

3) Reading List! I've updated my reading list (see "Reading List." tab) with more of the books I've read on economic development, human rights, and Haitian history and culture. I highly recommend some of the books on there, so go check them out!

Bondye beni ou.