I am in the Miami airport waiting for the 7:50 PM flight to Columubs, Ohio. I am on my way home from a week in Haiti with four friends from First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak, Michigan, Tom, Trish, Mariana and Leila. My brother, Keith, also tagged along and spent the week as one more member of the group and we had a translator from Leogan--JC. We had a good week together, getting to know each other. Well, I guess I already knew Keith, but even so, we got to spend time together in ways that we hadn't since we were kids sharing a bedroom, together with our oldest brother Bruce.
It turned out to be a real pleasure getting to help the group connect with folks from the grassroots organization of small farmers, Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP). I am so grateful to all of the people in MPP who helped put together the trip for the group. Chavannes Jn Baptiste, the director, who always gives excellent advice and has encouraged and guided me in my work for almost eight years, now. Tyresias Juslene and Accene Joachim, the two assistants to the director, who valiantly continued to share some of MPP's history with the group Tuesday night, even as we shifted the audience and the translators while working to deal with a participant who was experiencing some illness. Thanks to Verona and Charite Jean and Josette and Eliz and all of the kitchen crew, Carel the driver. Also Evelyne and Ifonis, who provided the toilet paper and the treated water, and did the trouble shooting when any problems arose.
Thaks to Wilner Exil, who helped us coordinate our visit with members of MPP's first Eco-village and thank you to Lowò and the community members, who received the group with such warmth, even as they were suffering their own tragedy.
Wilner also coordinated our visit to see some of the yard gardens in his community of Leodiagüe (see the blog, "A Celebration of Yard Gardens", November 16th), and shared breakfast with us at his home.
Thanks also to Agame Elfraüs who coordinated the work at his home in Saintville, and also helped with a number of the other details of the visit.
Special thanks also to Mis Marie, a wonderful woman who runs the pharmacy at MPP's Integrated Health Center, "Mironda Heston." Mis Mari helped coordinate all of the work for for Mariana and Leila. Seemingly out of nowhere, she brought together a group of seven or eight community dental workers who willingly came to meet with Dr. Mariana and the dental student, Leila, to share their stories of their work, and to listen to the ideas and techniques that Mariana and Leila had to share.
Thaks to the staff of the Ti Do and Basen Zim Elementary schools. They welcomed the group to their schools and into their classrooms. They and their students shared songs with the group from Michigan, and listened and laughed and sang together with the puppets from Royal Oak, who showed them the why and how of brushing teeth.
It was a full and for me, fulfilling week. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve with the people of MPP, and am humbled by the individuals and congregations who have supported Jenny and me and our whole family, all of you who through your prayers and your donations make our work possible. You represent the two facets of our work. This week was a chance to let those who support and those with whom we serve come together in sacred space.
Many blessings to you all.
Mark, Jenny, Keila and Annika
The rest of the group will spend the night in Port au