Well, our first full day in Haiti is coming to a close (Leah is already in bed and it isn't even 9pm!). We rose before the sun today in order to get to Mass on time. This is typical in Haiti because people like to beat the heat, although it is only a balmy 80 some degrees in the winter. It is also necessary to arrive early since the church fills quickly. There were people who brought their own chairs and sat outside once the pews were full. Definitely different than back home. Mass was entirely in Creole which helped us to dive directly into the Haitian culture. I know we all enjoyed the Caribbean twist on the songs.
Later today we also had a group activity/discussion revolving around the various ways to approach injustice. Some of us identified ourselves as "helpers" while others felt that advocating, arranging protests, or working as "organizers" is a better approach. We took turns speaking directly to other groups and mentioned what irritates us about working with each group. The activity brought some great discussion to the surface about our purpose in Haiti and the need for all four of these approaches to positive social change to collaborate. We became slightly frustrated that we couldn't pinpoint the reason that we are here, but later we had the opportunity to meet with two university students from Haiti and learned the importance of relationship.
Jimmy and Laurente talked about the education system here and it was fun to see similarities and differences. I don't think a lot of us thought about the burden of actually getting to school. Many of us live directly on campus and have constant access to the library and other students for academic support. Laurente has to wake up at 3am to brave the traffic and get to class on time! We all struggled to get up at that time to leave from Gannon on Saturday. I can't even imagine doing that every day. It was wonderful to meet with people our age and learn more about their culture. Forming actual relationships and exchanging stories (and dance moves) helped us to realize that maybe our purpose here is more about being than doing. Do you take time to live in the moment and be, or are you constantly in the action of doing?
All in all it was a beautifully thought provoking day. Bònn nui. Dòmi byen
Tyler, Meredith, Kate & Paige