Friday, May 1, 2015

A Week in the Village - Alberta Team Journal 2

Below is the second Alberta Team blog post, written by Daniella M. and Henrieke V., journaling their week spent in Pignon at United Christians International. 

February 13, 2015

Ready to board the MAF plane to Pignon!

We all loved the amazing views from above; small mountain villages, lonely little homesteads scattered among the dry, barren, mountainous terrain. Looking down, we wondered how the people living in the little huts, miles away from the nearest town, survived – did they just live off the land, or did they make the long trek down the curvy, rough mountain paths to town with their donkeys to pick up supplies? 

An hour later we arrived at the U.C.I. mission. Settling into our rooms we were surprised to have power and water and bathrooms in each room!

We met Pastor Jean Jean who we all grew to love by the end of the week and soon called 'Papa John'!

We then met the school children on the mission compound.

As we toured the school, university and gardens, Pastor Jean Jean said, “It’s all God’s work. All of this happened in 10 years. We have been so blessed.”

Outside of the mission we saw some of the homes in the surrounding community.

Here a family smiles at us from their perch in front of their home.

We also took a hike to the voodoo caves.

Although in the immediate area surrounding the mission voodoo is no longer practiced, witch doctors from farther away come to use these caves and we saw some of the items they use for their witchcraft.

One of our undertakings for the week was to work alongside a family of seven to finish building their brick home. They had been trying to build it for several years already but simply did not have the funds to finish it.

It was very different than how we build our homes. All the work was done by hand. 

We sifted sand to make the mortar which was mixed on the ground. 

Then we carried the bricks one by one from a truck to the house. Next we formed an assembly lines to pass along buckets of wet cement. 

To build the roof we helped shave down logs with machetes.

The family was very thankful for the funding and help we provided. The mother served us a hot sugarcane drink and bread to show her gratitude. Here she is carrying the big water barrel we used – incredible! 

We also got to try some fresh sugar cane! 

Doing things the Haitian way! (and yes, they were full!) 

One day we visited a market in Pignon. We took a bus through a river to get there! 

Some interesting items for sale! 

Everything from horses, pigs, goats, chickens, rice, flour, vegetables to shoes, clothes, machetes and even a bakery for baking bread -  which we sampled! 

We also helped at the nutrition centres in the outlying area, since many children do not have enough to eat.

Pastor Jean Jean took us to our first nutrition centre Monday afternoon. When we arrived we were immediately surrounded by little Haitian children. We spent the next hour playing soccer, duck duck goose and other games. They were delighted to spend time with us and we with them!

When it was time for them to eat they all pulled out a bowl from their bags, many different shapes, colors and sizes and some pan lids. They handed our team their bowls and we took them to the outdoor kitchen where the cooks filled their bowls. We looked on in amazement at how much food was put in the bowls. 

What really surprised us was how these children finished it all; even the smallest children!

We found out later that many of these children suffer from parasites, due to sleeping on dirt floors. 

When they were finished eating, we handed out candies and a coloring page with a crayon. Just a small gift, but we got the biggest smiles!!

During our stay, we also learned something about voodoo and witchcraft and its effects on the people. We witnessed a witchdoctor convert to Christianity which was a very powerful experience for us. We visited this young man at his home along with Pastor Jean Jean and another Pastor. We gathered around him as he sat on a chair and the Pastors started to pray over him. As they continued to pray, read the Bible and sing, it was obvious the evil spirits which controlled him did not want to leave. He began to twitch, clench his fists and his eyes were rolling. After a while Pastor Jean Jean called his name and when he didn’t respond the Pastor said he was still in a trance and continued to pray over him. After about 15 minutes he tried to raise his hands as a sign he wanted to serve Jesus instead of Satan. However it was as though his hands were being pulled down. He finally relaxed a bit and recited parts of the Bible after Pastor Jean Jean. Pastor Jean Jean then removed some voodoo fetishes from his home along with one he had given him and we walked down the path a ways and burned them. We saw how strong the power of Satan is, but how the power of God is stronger.  

We also went on a several beautiful hikes in the mountains and admired God’s wonderful creation.

A beautiful sunset.

A picture in front of the home we helped build.

And then we had to say goodbye. We will miss the new friends we made!

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