Today was a somewhat short day at the school in Maniche, and I think it might be a “less is more” situation. Just being here and getting where you’re going takes a lot out of you. It’s summer in Haiti, so there’s the heat. In addition, the drive up the mountain that I remembered being about 45 minutes is now about an hour and a half. The “road” is in as bad shape as I’ve ever seen it, no doubt a result of Hurricane Matthew and the heavy rains since then.
So, we were at St. Augustin’s School for about two and a half hours, but it was enough to finish the photography for the Advent cards, which allow people to sponsor a child’s education for a year. And it was enough for some wonderful outdoor fun as we continued the “field day.” The photography and brief interviews is something that needs to be completed, and those of us who are wired as doers find that rewarding. But the time just being with the students is what forms you. Our team offered stations for an obstacle course; parachutes and balls; bracelet making; ping-pong ball toss; and a combination of soccer dribbling, spinning for 10 seconds, and hopping on one foot back to base. Imagine all that through translators and in the midst of hundreds of kids really excited to get out of class. Jean Long is my current hero and did a great job managing the chaos. I was grateful to be the guy taking photos of the kindergartners (though I did work the soccer/spinning/hopping station, too).
It’s great being with the younger folks on our mission team, getting a chance to know Caroline Rooney as well as Allison, Elizabeth, and Ian Banks (and the kids from St. Michael’s, who are also amazing). A mission trip to Haiti is an environment in which one could encounter some inflexibility or whining. Not a bit here. Instead, it’s gratitude, wonder, insight, and perseverance when times get tough. Kudos to them. They’re living into their calling, sent to see what God has in store for them here.