Feb 13 -- A day of "rest"...
Here’s the sort of thing you don’t see everyday in the States: during our morning bus ride to the Kids Alive compound today, team member Carolyn suddenly pointed out the side of the bus, shouting, “Oh my gosh!!” We all looked where she was pointing and saw a Haitian woman carrying a large metal bowl on her head—with a complete cow’s head in it.
Upon arrival at the work site, we found the Haitian concrete crew already preparing to pour the foundation. They had finished the installation of the foundation forms, they were finishing the installation of the wire mesh, and they were preparing to mix concrete. We have a brief video clip of the mixing process that we will add to the blog when we return—it’s too big for email.
The concrete pour was something we could contribute very little help for, so our team leader, Brent, had suggested that after a brief time to watch the concrete crew, we should take the rest of the day for a sightseeing trip to the Citadel, a large rock fortress built on a mountain-top near Cap Haitien, by a former “king” of Haiti, shortly after Haiti claimed its independence in the early 1800s. It was built mostly with forced labor—some 20,000 Haitians died during its construction.
Mano, one of the Haitian KA staffers, drove us to the Citadel in his pickup—not a large truck, by any stretch of the imagination. Including our team and the KA missionaries who were with us, there were fourteen of us in the truck, six in the cab and eight in the bed, for a 30-minute ride on roads of every imaginable condition, including fording a small stream. It was not as comfortable a ride as you might imagine.
We walked the last two and a half kilometers of the steep road to the Citadel—about a 45-minute hike—and could scarcely imagine how difficult it must have been for the people who were forced to build the Citadel, carrying materials, cannons, cannonballs, and other materials from sea level to the summit of the 3000-foot peak. And in case you were wondering, every member of our team walked the whole way—none of us opted for one of the many horses that were offered to us (for a fee, of course).
The horde of trinket and souvenir sales persons who greeted us in the parking lot was there when we came back down from the mountain, with extremely high-pressure sales tactics, to say the least. Prices came down with practically every step we took closer to our ride.
After our ride back into Cap Haitien, we stopped for a late lunch at a restaurant in town—some tried more local fare, others opted for cheeseburgers and fries—we enjoyed the down time and the fellowship around the table. In fact, our meal times together have been great times of talk and laughter and fun, and, as we’ve noted before, new culinary experiences for some of us.
The last couple of evenings we’ve stayed up past 10:00 p.m. (late for us, given how weary we have been at the end of the day) playing “Boots”—a favorite card game of some of the missions trip veterans on our team. We have all enjoyed our “team bonding time.”
The last couple of mornings during our devotional times, we have been reflecting on Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, and talking about how these passages of Scripture relate to our lives, the lives of the KA missionaries and staff and kids we are here to support, and anything else that the Lord brings to mind. We’ve also talked about how this trip is affecting us personally—how serving impacts us, how our interactions with Haitian kids and adults has affected us, and what we feel God is telling us on this trip. These are truly precious times, and we all realize how blessed we are, and how important it is to be a blessing to others.
Tomorrow (Friday) we will return to the work site, survey how the foundation pour went, check to see if it has cured sufficiently for us to drill holes for the rebar that we need to epoxy in place prior to the erecting of the foam wall panels, and begin laying out the chalk lines for the walls. If we are able to complete all of that work tomorrow, we will have had a phenomenally successful week, thanks to your prayers and the Lord’s help. This will allow our second team to begin with the wall construction on Monday.
As always, we love you, and we appreciate knowing that you are praying for us at home. We realize you will not see this right away, due to the turn-around time for getting these files back home and put up on this blog, but the Lord isn’t bound by time in any way—your prayers, even late ones, are still heard and helpful.
Doug Heacock, on behalf of the team
TeamAtCitadel.JPG: A team photo on top of the Citadel, overlooking the Haitian mountain country
teamphoto1.jpg: A team photo on the playground equipment that was installed by a KA missions team a couple of years ago
CitadelWalk.jpg: A view of some of the members of our team on the steep road up to the Citadel
EliOurGuide.jpg: We hired Eli to accompany us on the walk up to the Citadel and to give us a guided tour. HaitianConcreteCrew.JPG: The concrete crew preparing for the big foundation pour
schoolwall.JPG: One of the colorful murals on the walls of the school at the KA compound
HaitianConcreteCrew.JPG: The concrete crew preparing for the big foundation pour