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Communiqué #134


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

November 11, 2020

N O A H a d m i r e s R E V E R S E H O S P I T A L I T Y

The month of October and the beginning of November were drenched with rain. In November, the rain was a result of Tropical Storm Eta which lingered in Central America and Cuba before heading to the USA. During that two-week time frame, Haiti had extremely high winds, torrential rains and “cold to us” temperatures. Crops were washed away. Schools closed. Merchants could not sell on the side of the road. Homes filled with water needing to be bailed out in buckets. Household items and clothing became soggy and wet. The streets were flooded and impassible by foot traffic, motorcycles and cars.

It was before this storm that we had headed to Île-à-Vache to meet with the students of the Trade School to discuss their upcoming December graduation. Little did we know that we would be confined to the island longer than anticipated. I had to joke about feeling like Noah. It seemed fitting that my name (often mispronounced by the locals as “Noah”, as a hard R is not commonly used in the Kreyol language) was living up to its Bible-day origin.

Through it all, I tried to look for the blessings! With no gardens remaining, it was a blessing that cashima and kosol trees were bearing fruit in abundance. It was fun to watch as people traveling on foot would notice a cashima dangling from a tree branch. They would snatch up this on-the-spot juicy, tasty treat taking more of the fruit to their family. For several days in a row, we were treated to fresh Kosol juice and a healthy supply of cashima to savor.

We have hired a local man to care for the chickens in our newest chicken coop. We did not really know him, but because his property was next to the coop, it seemed like a good idea to offer him a trial at caring for our chickens. He has been awesome! He carefully keeps track of how many eggs are produced each day. He sells the eggs to local families and to those who wish to sell eggs at the open market. He painstakingly records each sale and calculates how much of the profit will go to the operational costs of Grace Orphanage, how much will go for his salary and how much will go for buying feed for the chicks. He cleans the coop on a regular basis and he is learning how to breed the hens with the roosters to produce little chicks. He quickly notes when egg production is down and reports it to us, so that together we can determine why.

It is to this young man, his wife and their 4-year-old daughter that we were able to offer shelter during the rain-filled nights. This young family lives on a secluded plot of land where they grow a garden and live in a small shack. The makeshift home has no protection from rain. When it rains at night, the family gets wet as they try to sleep, sometimes in a sitting or standing position. In reality, the chicken coop this man cares for is a castle compared to his home. The chicken have a drip-proof roof over their heads. The family does not. For this reason, we offered the family a room at our guesthouse on evenings when rain made their home unlivable. They would arrive after dark and depart at dawn each visit. We enjoyed having time to get to know the family better. During their time with us, we taught them to play Trionimos - a game not too much different than the Haitian’s favorite game of dominoes. The game became a nightly event and a way to temporarily forget the storm.

The husband would pay us a visit, later each morning. He would come bearing gifts of eggs or cashima or kosol. It humbled me to receive their gifts. In the midst of their poverty and bleak circumstances, they did not forget to say thanks in their own special way. It felt like a reverse form of hospitality. It was reminiscent of the touching, caring and generous nature of my Haitian friends - an example for me indeed!

We were thankful when the sun finally burst forth and we were able to travel back to the mainland, where the glorious sight of a rainbow appeared. What a God we have! He cares for us even in the midst of life’s storms. He uses His people to teach us more about ourselves and how we are to love our neighbors!

Nora Léon

Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………

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