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Monday, March 6, 2017

The eight month mark

Haiti Fact #14: Tropical fruit is available at very low prices in Haiti.  Visitors should try a variety of fruit, especially mangoes and papayas.

This job lasts a year, which initially encouraged me to forecast what would change over the various intervals.  I started doing this almost immediately after arriving.  Where would I be after four months?  How about after nine?  When would I understand the sermon in church?  How about the songs on the radio?  All of these questions had and have answers that change over time as expectations turn into experiences.  Not surprisingly, the detailed plans ended up not working out how I imagined.  Reality swept us up into it and hasn’t let go yet.  It’s as though we’re floating down a river and can’t see anything beyond the upcoming bend.  But that mindset works pretty well here: specific expectations consistently lead to disappointment or frustration.  Additionally, a lot of good stems from that necessary mindset.  Opportunities open up once the urge to have expectations fades into the background.  I can read books and just let them affect me how they will.  I can study French because it’s fun, even though I don’t know if I’ll ever need it or use it.  I can build relationships with people and just enjoy getting to know them.  None of this was impossible before but I love it now that I’m actively doing it.  I still have plans and expectations, but living in the moment and reducing stress has become a higher priority. 

The first four months here came with big doses of stress that took huge quantities of Netflix to mitigate.  Life was a roller coaster between soaring highs after successes and crushing lows after embarrassing failures.  The second four months started out like a grainy, out-of-focus picture.  As minor details of daily life began to make sense, I appreciated mundane places and routines on a whole new level.  Less obvious small joys unique to this job and situation popped up everywhere.  Over the past few months I really got established and comfortable here in Cap-Haitien and as an English teacher.  But now that I’m at the threshold of the final third of this year, I have no idea what to expect.  I want to focus on three goals: caring about people, giving time and energy to what is important and having faith that God has my back.  To do those things requires a blend of beliefs and priorities that the past eight months have so gloriously forced upon me.  So I continue to ask for your prayers and your support as I strive to care, to give, and to trust. 

I am so thankful for this job and its many perks.  That being said, home is on my mind too.  The Creole word for to remember is sonje.  But mwen sonje peyi m does not mean I remember home.  Rather, it is better translated as I miss home.  Prior to Haiti I would have doubted that I’d ever say something like that.  But here I am saying it.  So while I look forward to four more months of dizzying and gut-wrenching (but awesome) experiences, the memories of home are not likely to fade.  I can say with perfect honesty that I am as excited for the next chapter of life in Haiti as I am for the return home.  It’s a win-win situation. 

A special thank you to these donors:

Mr. and Mrs. David Pittsinger
Karen Honan

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