Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Sunday in Congrejo

Just hit our 2 week mark! 
That's 1/4 of the way through our 2 month stay, for those math wizards out there.
It's the 4th of July!!! 
And you'd never know at least.
It does make me a little sad to be missing this festive day back home in the states.
So much so, that I almost yelled up to my neighbor to join us for something fun, as fellow patriots...
then I realized she's Canadian.
One less awkward moment in my life.
a chicken is cooking in the oven.
The smell of black beans steaming fills the room,
and thanks to my husband, I was able to procure a cake and strawberries...perhaps even whipped cream for a 4th of July dessert.
And I will be giving my neighbor some.
While things cook, I thought I'd keep trying to catch up on how our first week went.

The first Sunday we were here, we attended a church service in the community that Noah works in.
 It's the community where he spends all his time building relationships, working with churches,teaching,learning,etc.
It's also the community where we bring teams who partner with HaitiLove.
It's about a 15 minute drive down the road from where we are staying,but a world apart.

I didn't pull out my camera in Congrejo.
Cameras are funny,aren't they?
It's the photos that bring the stories,peoples stories, to life.
But it's also the camera that can dehumanize moments.
Especially for first time meetings,first time encounters, and first impressions.
Not to mention...I wasn't about to be snapping photos during  our first church service there. 
I chose instead to just soak it all up and be fully present.

I DID however bring my camera.
I pulled it out while we waited for a gwa-gwa.
I snapped a few photos of my adorable boys waiting in the hot Dominican sun, on the side of the road, hoping to wave down a van packed with people.
For some reason, it took MUCH longer than usual. Perhaps there are fewer gwa-gwa's on Sunday, a day that many Dominican's take off of work. Who knows?
After snapping a few photos of the boys waiting, Noah had me put my camera away so they wouldn't charge us more for the ride;)
But not before shooting a GAP ad.

We grabbed a loaf of bread from the bakery-one of the few cheap food items-to keep the kids from complaining of hunger during the long church service ahead.

They're so awesome. These boys really bless my life. Look at them just waiting,watching a new world swirl around them,acting like it's just another Sunday,waiting in the heat,on the side of the road,munching bread. This picture either captures a)their ability to be well behaved in various situations or b) their ability to look like a menacing gang of thugs waiting to jump you or c) their photo audition for Sesame Street.

We eventually did catch a gwa-gwa. We eventually did make it to El Congrejo.
Congrejo is a community, one of many communities in the DR that are made up almost entirely of Haitian's living in the DR.
You round the corner from the main street and feel like you've just entered Haiti.
It looks like Haiti.
It smells like Haiti.
Only it's not Haiti.
But close enough.

We had prepped the boys with both information and prayer, that the service was going to be much longer and much hotter...generally much more uncomfortable...than what they were used to.
And God gave them much grace.
They loved it.
Shepherd slept and sweat.
Aslan and Haddon spent the morning standing and sitting, then standing and more sitting, then making friends with the little boys behind them purely with expressions of the eyes.
And even though I didn't understand a word, Noah translated some major themes for me.
Regardless, there's something sweet that transcends language boundaries. Something about being in a group of people who are worshipping the same God, the same creator of all mankind,black or white, english or creole, rich or poor.
It was a sweet experience.
One of my favorite things was that they hardly acknowledged our presence,until the end of service, and then only in a personal way,while mingling.
In a culture where wealth and affluence is idolized as the way out of suffering, it can tend to build unhealthy relationships between one another.
It was refreshing experience,all around.

Almost as refreshing as our meal after the service.
We walked a bit down the street to a fish stand.
And indulged in one of the best meals I have ever had.

Doesn't he look delish?
Well he was.
You're going to have to trust me on this one.
I don't know if it was growing up in Alaska and the common sight of giant slabs of moose meat hanging in the garage, or my mom cutting up moose tongue in the kitchen, but I'm not terribly freaked out by meat issues. 
And boy am I glad nothing kept me from devouring this tasty swimmer.

Or perhaps it has nothing to do with Alaska. 

Perhaps it's the adventurous eater gene.
That's the tail he's munching like it's a chicken finger.

It's so delicious and so messy that there is a sink to clean off afterwards.
And an ad for some great beer.
That I could not enjoy.

They all loved it and ate to the point of exhaustion.
Which is good, cause it won't be a too common occurrence. Our goal is to eat meals out for about $8 for the whole family.
And this was a bit too much money.

On our way back in the gwa-gwa.

A bit blurry? 
Yeah, you gotta ride in one to appreciate why.
It's the same reason the lady next to Shep is risking an "unsure" moment to hold on to her seat.
If ya know what I mean.

1 comment:

Carolina Kavanaugh said...

Yay!!! And I must say that fish looks DELICIOUS!! That's the kind of fried fish I ate growing up and loved it! Love you more though! And am so glad things are going well and that the boys are adjusting nicely. :)