The Haiti Chronicles – Part 5: Into the Jungle

Our last full day in Haiti was a great opportunity to be among the people in the countryside.  Unlike the hustle and bustle of Port-au-Prince, life in Gressier (about 20 miles from the city) is almost recreational in nature, with farmers and roadside stand-keepers working diligently yet relaxed at their trade.

In the morning, we had the pleasure of taking to the country as the locals, walking along age-old paths that wove through the hilly terrain.  On our brief walk (pictured right), we strolled through fields full of plantains, along (and in my case through- whoops!) a chilly mountain creek, and along the back roads of this vibrant area.

On our walk, we had the opportunity to visit with one of Reach Global‘s partner ministries, a school of nearly 150 students.  There we met Maxo, a native Haitian who works for the UN and as co-director of this growing school.  It was really encouraging to see his passion for these kids.  Though he would never tell you himself, he contributes over a third of his UN salary to pay his teachers and enable even the poorest of children to be able to attend.  However, their conditions are by no means ideal.  Part of the school is currently meeting in a home that remains severely damaged from the earthquake (below).  Thankfully, the other half of the school meets in a brand new building built by Reach Global teams, with plans for a second building to replace the damaged schoolhouse.

I’ll close this section with one of my favorite photos from our trip.  Though Haiti is sorrowfully in need of so much, it is certainly not lacking in natural beauty.  On our last day, we went atop one of the foothills in this lush countryside to watch the sun set.  To our east, the hills were dotted with shelters which Reach Global teams (together with materials donated by Samaritan’s Purse) had erected – over 1,200 in total.  To our west, the rugged mountains of Haiti met the Caribbean as the sun filtered through layers of clouds.  It was truly stunning.

Below is a collection of photos from our last two days in Haiti. Enjoy!

Copyright 2011 Deremer Studios – Jacksonville, FL
Check us out at DeremerStudios.com  |  904-744-1103  |  nate@deremerstudios.com

Advertisements

The Haiti Chronicles – Part 4: Beauty and Ashes

Our third day in Haiti was filled with some wonderful experiences of hope, as well as a stark reminder of the oppressive darkness that still seems to hang over this nation.  Above is a photo I took while at Séminaire de Théologie Evangélique de Port-au-Prince (STEP) seminary during one of our interviews.  Though you can’t tell it from the blurred background, this spot overlooks the city – this sticker a poignant reminder of our purpose in Haiti – a call to serve God by pouring our lives out for others.

One of the things I really appreciate about Reach Global‘s philosophy for Haiti is the humble mindset that we as American missionaries do not have it all figured out.  While we certainly do have things to offer, the Haitian Church has many things it can teach us as well.   They are the ones who know their culture, who see the needs and are best equipped to minister to their people.  And so, with that in mind, we spent our morning at STEP, hearing what our Haitian brothers envisioned for this fledgling church.  It was really a treat to hear their heart for the church and their desire to see Haiti transformed by the power of the Gospel.

We also had the opportunity to visit Jesus in Haiti for their Wednesday night service.  When you picture the service, don’t think of your typical Baptist Wednesday night.  It was much more vibrant and energetic, though not charismatic.  The flow of the service was fluid and participatory, marked with lots of worship, a few testimonies and a message.

Another goal for Reach Global is the support and multiplication of indigenous churches among Haiti.  Historically, missionaries have entered Haiti and largely planted American-styled churches among the people.  In contrast, Reach Global is asking the question, what would a Haitian Church look like?  The church at Jesus in Haiti (above) is one such manifestation.

Speaking of beauty in Haiti, the photo above is of the Milky Way taken from the roof of our base home, the Haitian Queen.  Because the countryside is so dark, after just a few minutes (and a rather scary climb up the metal latter to to roof) you can clearly see the Milky Way (Above).  I’ve been to several dark sky sites over the years, but I would venture to say this was the clearest view of the night sky I have seen.  Having spent so many years in Jacksonville, where a clear night means being able to see a few dozen stars, this was pretty special.

Below is a collection of photos from our third day in Haiti. Enjoy!

Copyright 2011 Deremer Studios – Jacksonville, FL
Check us out at DeremerStudios.com  |  904-744-1103  |  nate@deremerstudios.com