Day 2 in Haiti – Rain, rain go away

Before leaving for Haiti I had been watching the weather forecast for the region and I didn’t like what I was seeing. The mid to upper 80 degree temperatures were fine but the rain wasn’t.

When we arrived yesterday I was pleased to see blue sky and sunshine. Well, that didn’t last long!

There was heavy rain through most of last night, it rained on and off during church this morning and we just had a torrential storm – none of which cooled us off, but instead just increased the humidity.

This is the start of rainy season so I fear the forecast may have been correct – rain all week. I am curious to see how the weather will affect any of our plans because the roadways we take into the mountains are not the greatest I am told – actually, using term “road” is probably generous if they are anything like many that we took in West Africa last year.

I know I have referenced that trip before but that is because I have found so many similarities – and I haven’t spent much time talking too much about the top two: the friendly, welcoming people; and the passionate worship.

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We worshiped this morning at the Methodist church in Cap Haitien. The church is part of the College of Modeles, a 1,000-student school for children Pre-K through grade 13.

This is one of the nine churches Rev. Admirable pastors in his role as district superintendent. It’s also where he has his office. Rev. Erik Marshall, our team leader from Church of the Saviour (COTS), gave a prayer early in the service, which Rev. Admirable translated since the whole service is in Creole. He also served communion and did the blessing of the children.

People in Haiti dress in their best clothes for church. Many of the women wore hats. We were greeted warmly by all. There was joyful music and a passionate message. Those of us in the group didn’t understand the language but we could tell passion and we recognized some of the music. The choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus and the congregation sang the Doxology as the benediction.

I was impressed that the children stayed in the sanctuary for the whole service – all three hours.

Yes, three hours. Most of the time Americans – youth and adults alike – get restless if the service isn’t over in 60 minutes.

UPDATE: This is where I was in today’s update when those of us in the group were invited to accompany Dr. Bill Benish back to the hospital in Lenbe where he works when he is in Haiti. Bill is a member of COTS and has been coming to Haiti for many, many years. He had met us at the airport yesterday and then come back to the house with us.

Remember the rain I talked about earlier? Yeah, that was nothing.

During our hour trip to the clinic there was only room for five people in the cab of the pickup. I rode in the bed of the truck with Erik, Mark and Tracy. About 15 minutes into the trip the sky opened up and truly showered us. Our ponchos did the trick for a few miles but after that they were useless.

With the heat, the wind that kicked up when this storm came in, and the time spent touring the hospital, I was dry when it was time to make the return trip. Erik, Mark and Tracy jumped into the bed of the truck – leaving Bill’s empty seat in the cab. I decided the seat was perfect for me.

Good choice, Rick!

The rain came down fast and furious for the duration of the hour trip home. The road flooded in many areas and we literally traversed newly formed rivers in spots. The runoff water flowed down the mountainside and flooded homes and fields – a common occurrence during this rainy season.

We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the road is passable to Dondon, a village an hour and a half north of here (we went south to Lenbe) where we are supposed to work in a school and teach vacation Bible school this week.

More tomorrow.

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