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Happy New Year

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

soup joumou happy new year by quiara pinchina port au prince haiti

Where did you welcome in 2022?

I was at my yellow house on Tabarre 16. We let our cousin host her little girl's birthday party here, and at midnight, the last few guests were still waiting for rides home.

We didn't get much sleep. By 4:30, we were out in the dark streets - Zèzè and I and my parents, who arrived New Year's Eve. We passed several drunk parties and parked outside church.

As soon as we got out of the vehicle, we could hear the singing over the buzz of the generator. The church was filled with light - the only bright spot in a dark neighborhood.

Many in the congregation spent the night at church. Each family brought something to put into the two huge pots of traditional pumpkin soup - celery, plantains, cabbage, yams, potatoes, carrots, macoroni, pork, and chicken. They washed the meat with sour oranges and massaged in the epis and boiled and pureed the pumpkins. When we got there, the soup was bubbling away on the tiny, glowing charcoal fire.

Children were sleeping on the back benches or laid out on blankets on the floor. The older minister and one deacon were wearing suits, but most people had on jackets and stocking caps - some of the ladies were wearing baseball caps or floppy hats instead of their normal headcoverings. Because staying all night at church is for the dedicated, not the fancy.

We had missed the preaching service, and our song leader was already in his place with his notebook full of names of people wanting to share a song or testimony about their year.

We heard stories of sickness and doctors and hospitals that made me cringe. Of course, many people shared stories of being robbed or threatened by the gang members. It was beautiful to hear so many stories of how God delivers people from huge problems that seem to have no solutions.

One man told of his handicapped daughter that couldn't learn to walk. His wife's aunt made a crushing comment - "Aren't you embarrassed to be walking around with THAT?" But God has been helping her make progress lately and she learned to walk at age 3.

Some sang solos. Some called their family up to help them, or the ladies group, or the church choir.

Our song leader who faced a very difficult time this last year, wrote a song of thanks to God for the new year, and a few of us helped him sing it. I'm going to include it here. It's such a typical prayer of thanks. It's words I hear my husband pray every morning and evening, and in this country, you feel the dangers around you, and you understand that your life is truly a gift from God.

Today we thank you, Lord

For the love You have for us.

Every day you cause us

To sleep and wake.

We say thank you, Lord.

When we see what's happening in the world

A life is hardly worth anything,

It's by your grace

That we still exist.

We say thank you Lord.

Friend, let's hold on

Even stronger to Jesus.

His return isn't far away.

Help us Father to stay faithful

And not fall into sin.


We say thank you Lord

We say thank you Lord

For all you do in our lives,

We say thank you Lord.

In Haiti, the dawn comes suddenly. The sky fades from black to navy blue, then rosy pink - and the world comes alive.

With eight people left on the list to share testimonies, they decided it was time to close the meeting.

My dad had closing prayer. They said it didn't matter if he prayed in English.

We shook hands all around and went to get our bowls we had brought from home. The soup was spicy, and it felt good to be standing in the churchyard in the new light of the first day of 2022 with a hot bowl of soup to warm your hands.

It also felt good to go home and sleep. This morning, my parents are having a recovery morning. Zèzès family is coming later for fish that my brother sent from Louisiana.

And I am thankful to have this amazing chance again - both families at one table!

For all you've done in my life, I say thank you Lord. Mèsi Senyè!

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