Saturday, August 31, 2013

An End Cap

A little over a week since I've been here. The sights, the sounds, the people, and the food. It's all been a roller coaster of sensory overload. How are you? That's the question you want to ask me. Don't worry, I am fed, I have people around me, a bed to sleep, and a shelter to keep me dry. I am still, psychologically speaking, adjusting myself. It's hard. It's very hard. For this Westerner to come here, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, and experience this. And it's only been a week. Haiti is lush and green and full of life in nature and amongst her people, but it is nothing like one has ever seen before and nothing one could imagine. I am currently typing from my school and I believe I am going soon, so I will leave you all with this: I have taken a step into the unknown that is Haiti and in one week I have been forever changed more than anything else has before.

Good night.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Let's Go to the Beach, Beach...

For those of you who get the reference to my post's name, I salute you and yes, I totally did just name it that!

Anyways, on Sunday Pere Ajax was a visiting priest at this small parish on the hills north of Les Cayes. Scratch, the mountains north of Les Cayes. The trip only last about 50 minutes but it seemed to take forever. Roads here are rocky, literally. And to get up the mountains it takes all one's got. Spectacular views but gosh was it bumpy. The service was in form an Episcopal service, but it was also much more. Songs. They love to sing and after the final blessing, three different groups, a girl's choir, a boy's choir, and the main choir all sang their own songs in Kreyol (All of the songs used in the liturgy were French). 

After the service and some lunch, Pere Ajax, took Robert (another American from Memphis and recent grad from Suwanee who arrived Saturday) and I to the beach for some much needed downtime. I know I haven't started my actual work (besides some light work on Friday), but the total onslaught of smells, sights, and sounds was overwhelming. If you can believe it was my first time in the ocean. I didn't care for the salt. I dove right in, came up, and that's all I could taste. But it was relaxing.

Mission St. Augustin in Maniche, Haiti

Plage de Port-Salut

A boat!

School starts next week on Monday, so no Labor Day for me! Not that I need it. I'm finally getting settled and accept the fact that I won't be home this weekend or next month, much to the chagrin of some. But the school year is going to fly by, as it always does. Even if the pace of things is slower here, life still beats on. And I'm just going to ride with the currents.

A pi ta!
(See you later!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Here I Am!

I have arrived! Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day. After an emotional goodbye to my sister and my parents, I left Detroit at 6:30 and arrived in Port Au Prince around 2. The car ride to Les Cayes was something. In Miami, I met Paul and his Nathou (an awesome nickname for Nathanial). They knew my boss, Pere Kesner Ajax, and live near Les Cayes so he gave them a ride back as well. In the States, along a freeway, the trip could probably take an hour and a half or so. It took nearly 4 hours. But that is to be expected. It was amazing to see the stunning coast views of Baie de Port-Au-Prince and the inland villages and her people. Unfortunately, the culture shock got to me and didn't think to take pictures. And here are some pictures because everyone wants them!

The top one is a view of my room. And the bottom one is the crest of the Bishop Tharp Institute (BTI) on the front gate.

And now for the address!

Rev. Kesner Ajax
c/o Agape Flights Acct. #2519
100 Airport Ave.
Venice, FL 34285

It is very important to address it to Kesner Ajax and include your return address. Do not address it to me.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Last Word in America...

One year. One year. That's it. I can do it. I know I can because God will be there. And the community from which I come and the community to which I go, they will all be there as well. Thank you all who made this possible, my friends and my family and strangers alike who saw in this mission something great. I leave tomorrow at 6:30 AM with a layover in Miami. I will arrive in Port-Au-Prince at 2:05 in the afternoon (same time zone!) See you all soon! And Haiti, I am ready! Bye, USA and Bonjou, Ayiti!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Home Stretch to Haiti

Well, here I am. In four days time, I will be in Haiti. Today, my church, St. Luke's Episcopal in Ferndale, Michigan, gave me a send-off service centered around service and mission work. Juan Perez, a fellow parishioner and seminary student, preached the sermon and reminded us all of our duty to mission in the way God calls us. He gave me a special shout-out right after, that was simply beautiful and unexpected. Thanks again, Juan! I was then blessed by our rector, Clare, and by my fellow Christians with their arms stretched out, and sent me off. Coffee hour was then spent talking and saying my goodbyes to my family at St. Luke's. I am so happy and blessed to be a part of such a loving and supportive community there. Bye, St. Luke's!

St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Ferndale, Mich. Ain't she purrty?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Last Cottage Weekend

I spent this weekend with my dear friends I've known since grade school. Like the summer weekends before, we spent it out at "the Cottage" in, my so-called named regio, the Brightons. To make a long story short, it is a place of character, charm, friendship, and fun. I am so honored and blessed to have the friends I do, they threw me a fabulous goodbye party-weekend that included a visit to Hell...Michigan! I said goodbye to Veronica, the daughter of the owner of the Cottage, she lives up north. I will be saying a final goodbye to other friends within the next week. But I know we will be at the Cottage again late next summer when I return. And isn't that the best part of saying goodbye? Counting down until seeing each other again.

I read a great quote at breakfast in the Coffee News newsletter,

"One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve" ~Albert Schweitzer

It was a great end of a great weekend.


Monday, August 5, 2013


I would like to thank everyone I saw on Sunday. It was a jam-packed day full of friends and family and encouragement and inspiration.

It all started at Christ Church Cranbrook where I gave a presentation before church to some adults about YASC and the mission. After church, I met with some members of Christ Church. A special thank you to Beth Taylor for that morning!

Then it was off to the annual St. Luke's Church picnic. It was a bit cooler than it should be for August, so I didn't bother to bring swim trunks, which I should because, while going on the boat was fun, going on the inner tube would have been more fun. Unfortunately I had to say goodbye to Sandy, the choir director at St. Luke's who I sing under, and Chuck Tuffley and Ann Merry, a couple who have given me many words of advice and encouragement throughout this process. See you three next year!

Then it was a sprint to downtown Detroit where my aunt and uncle threw me a fundraiser at their friend's restaurant, WaLa (the corner of WAshington and LAfayette, get it? I didn't, I thought it was a corruption of Voila). Anyways, they invited many of their friends, my family, and some of my friends. The food was Haitian, with some cheese and crackers and other fruit. It also featured a local urban winery, by my uncle's niece and her husband. It was a huge success! My thanks and appreciation to Angela, WaLa's owner, and Lisa and Ken, the winery owners, it beyond words! And thank you to everyone who came out and supported me.

Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was great. Thank you everyone!