I've been back in the U.S. for over a week now, and I'm still remembering stories I haven't told yet. It was a trip that I'll never forget. I was thrilled with the amount of immersion we had - with the language, and the culture. I would go to sleep every night with a thoroughly confused and exhausted brain... By the third day I was catching myself thinking in Spanish; which was weird. Needless to say - I was only able to think very simple thoughts, which I found to be a little restrictive... Unfortunately, I just wasn't there quite long enough to make it "click" completely - but I'm still pleased with the progress made language-wise, despite the Caribbean dialect problems. (I didn't think it was Spanish at first...) My favorite phrase was definitely: "Más despacio por favor..." (Slower please...) Closely seconded by: "¿Qué?" (What?)
The mission team was made up mainly of retired couples from Grandpa's church, with the exception of myself and another young lady who is 27. She speaks Spanish fluently - and was such a wonderful language tutor for me! It was a privilege to spend time with older Christians that have walked with the Lord for many years.
We had a few scary moments; mostly traffic related. Like seeing the guy pictured above. Probably not the most intelligent means of transporting propane I've ever seen, but you'd be surprised what can be accomplished on a moped...
There were at least two aftershocks in Haiti while we were in Santiago. I didn't think I felt the first one, (at the time, I didn't realize what woke me up) the next morning however - I definitely felt the second one. We were only 100 miles from Port-au-Prince, but it was just a vibration. Kind of like when a cell phone is on vibrate.
Working with the children was such a blessing to me. I had the most difficult time understanding their names. Asking them to repeat it didn't help... It sounds strange; simple as you'd think a name would be, but they were very unique - not ordinary Spanish names. The team's main mission was to take in "JESUS Film" equipment. We were able to show the movie in Spanish at four different locations. Many of the people were hearing/seeing the Gospel for the first time. During the day, we spent time with the children, and the men painted the local church inside and out. The kids loved having their picture taken. Out of the 600 photos taken; here are a few of the highlights.
I was having a very, very difficult time communicating with this last little boy - I was able to understand that he wanted his picture taken - but that was it. After a few minutes I went to get a little girl that was bi-lingual to help me... As it turned out - he is originally from Haiti and doesn't speak Spanish all that well yet. We were pretty funny - trying to communicate in a language that neither of us knew very well. There were several Haitian kids at the school who only spoke Creole. They were our daily reminders of what was going on in Haiti - about 50 miles away.