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  • Quiara

Fish, Kites, & Choir Practice

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Last Thursday night, my husband was all the sudden showing me these palm twigs, saying he was gonna make "kap" because he needed to be ready to make them with his children some day. My mind couldn't pull up the word in Kreyol, and he said he didn't know it in English, so being too lazy to get Google Translate involved, I decided to just await further developments.

By Friday noon, he had 2 beautiful kites finished, made of yellow, red, and blue tissue paper, along with the thin, bendy sticks I had seen the night before, and some twine. I hadn't realized that flying kites were an Easter weekend tradition in Haiti. We didn't have string for ours, but we went on the roof later that afternoon, and so many kites dotted the sky. As you looked, you saw more and more. Zeze said that when he was little, there were even more. The sky by the airport was completely full of kites; until people decided it was too unsafe and banned it.

Another Good Friday tradition is eating fish. To the extent that there was hardly any other meat in the market when I went to check! Blue Ridge had given out fish to the employees. The ladies were a teeny bit outraged when I didn't get fish, and talked to someone about it, who in turn just said I was white and didn't need any. I, on the other hand, should have been disappointed, but really all I could think about was how I would have had to try to get the several whole fish cooked in proper Haitian style, and didn't know if I was up for the challenge. Mom-in-law shared theirs, which was very delicious, and everyone was happy I hope.

Friday evening, we went to church to practice with the choir for the Sunday service. They had announced a special service and potluck, which turned into a few ladies making the food anyway, because most people donated money instead of food. The second song, "Salvation Has Been Brought Down" was so hard. I sat there with the other alto singers, thinking how easy it would be in English, but my tongue felt four inches thick and I couldn't get the right syllables out at the right time. I love choir practice tho. Anyone in the congregation who's interested in singing can join, and the leader is very inspired and talented. He'll walk around singing the notes to a song from memory... absentmindedly. Maybe someday I'll get there.

Sunday morning, on the way to church, in my yellow dress, with my too handsome husband sitting beside me, I was obsessing. I told Zeze, "I wish I had made more sugar cookies. I should have just gone and bought more ingredients and spent more time. They'll think I didn't do my part." Blah. Blah. Blah.

Zeze just said, "I hate it when you're negative like that. Trust me that what you did was ok, or I would have told you."

So I decided I would shut up and live the day with what was really going on around me, not in the stories I was making up about people in my head.

We had Sunday School all together without dividing into classes. So it was a manly discussion. Sunday School is a bit more structured here. Someone looks for the lesson scripture while the teacher reads the introduction, then they read it. Then we discuss the questions in the back of the lesson, in order. There are admonishments given if the discussion lags, and finally if it seems there is nothing else to be said, the teacher asks, "Is everyone OK with the answers we have heard?"

"Amen," says the class.

If the "amen" is not said with appropriate gusto, the teacher remarks that the class seems really cold this morning... "Is everyone ok with the answers you've heard because if you don't say 'amen' it means you don't agree!?"

"AMEN," we say again, hopefully louder and not so "coldly."

When the last question has been "amen-ed" we learn the verse together, which is great practice for me reading the Bible and pronouncing Kreyol.

This morning there were even more songs than usual. Group Dame, the ladies of the church, sang a song written on a sheet of paper, that I had forgotten to listen to on the chat, so I had to just sing along. The choir songs went off without a hitch too... that extra hour of late night practice sure didn't hurt.

Our minister passed out papers for everyone with notes for his sermon. He had researched a bit of the history of Easter, and he went over that. His inspiration was that Easter shouldn't be a holiday of commemorating death, or a past event like the Jews' feast of Passover, but of celebrating Jesus' ressurection and the power it gives us to overcome both spiritual and physical death. He's a very good teacher and kept the congregation involved.

I had noticed he came in with this huge book, and he brought it up front, saying it was a map he wanted to share with us. It was a time line of the Bible in English, and it stretched across the whole front of the church. It took 3 men to hold it up while he talked about different events like the Flood and Tower of Babel and kind of how the different races started.. It was so cool how everyone moved up front to see better and participated in what he was teaching.

I had also seen the song leader come in with 3 books and some black bags. And I had guessed correctly... next up was game time. This is very common at special programs or church parties. He had prepared 4 questions. If you wanted to answer, you stood up and they brought you the mike before you heard the question. Then he asked the question, and if you got it right, everyone cheered and you got a Bible Story Book and a bag of maybe some toiletries if I saw right. Kind of fun... I don't remember all the questions but one was, "Who betrayed Jesus and what was he paid?" Another was, "What were Jesus' last words and where in the Bible are they found?" Everyone always thinks it's a lot of fun, and the leader said we all need to pay attention and see if we're coming to church and just sitting there or actually remembering what we've been taught.

The deacons are always in charge of the food... no special food committee. He reminded everyone to just stay in their seats and the children to not throw trash on the ground, and then as soon as "Amen" was said, the youth started handing out boxes of food, one size for adults another for children; full size bottles of pop for adults, smaller juices for children. We got ours and headed home where a mechanic was waiting on Zeze and I spent the rest the afternoon working on a website.

So Easter weekend is over, and I wanted to end this with a nice little romantic scene of us flying kites on the roof at sunset, but guess what. We haven't gotten string. Simple thing but hasn't happened yet. So I'm still looking forward to it.

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Apr 12, 2021

I enjoy reading about your life in Haiti! What a inspiring Easter service!

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