Today was Epiphany Sunday, and we woke up around 7 am to get ready. Mass began at 8, and Pere Noe instructed us to sit interspersed among the parishoners. I sat next to a girl that attends St. Andre’s, and who was gracious enough to help me with the program whenever I got lost. The service was in both French and Creole, and formally clear when the speaker would switch. Pere Noe introduced us to the congregation, and announced that we will be teaching English every week day to adult members of the congregation from 4-5:30 pm. We are delighted to have the opportunity to give back to the congregation and get to know them a bit. We also are looking forward to learning more about where the students are coming from, and see this as a chance gain more information about the context of the community.
After church, we sat at the table with Pere Noe’s family and ate pumpkin soup. He explained that every January 1st, Haitians eat pumpkin soup as a tradition. Being that it is the first Sunday of the month, we got to eat it – it was so good! Then, we went for a walk with James. James is 19 years old, and is the main disciplinarian at St. Andre’s. He is also the president of the youth group of the church, and our guide around town. Today, we walked to a Catholic church and went to the very top of the building for an amazing view of Hinche. The inside of the church was decorated for the holiday, and there were many paintings of different biblical scenes. We noted that Jesus was white.
James took us to his grandmother’s store so we could buy a beverage and get to talk to her. Haitian beer is called Presitge and Marie says it tastes like Budweiser. Definitely a lager beer. I think it tastes great, especially when it’s hot outside, which is always.
We went back to the house for lunch with the family. We had rice, chicken legs, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and a cheese and pasta dish. After we ate, we talked at the table and then went up to our rooms for a bit. Pere Noe’s 10-year old daughter, Lexi did my hair in a Haitian bun because it wouldn’t stay in braids like hers.. I’m pretty sure I got a face lift.
Later, we went to a small meeting of the church youth group. In a very self-organized fashion, they discussed their goals for the new year. Their main goal was to invite more people to their group. With Sora’s help, we made a small announcement, saying that we are looking forward to working with the older students to get the XO laptops up and going in the classroom. More importantly, we discovered that they had never seen these laptops. Tomorrow, we will talk to Pere Noe about his vision for our time here, and also how he thinks the laptops can be best integrated into the classroom.
We went for another walk with James, and he took us to his friend’s mother’s store. Marie and Sora bought fried plantains with “pikliz,” which is like Haitian sauerkraut. We also went to his cousin’s club, which was empty, although it was lit with a blacklight and had blasting music like it was full to the brim. We made our way home and had a small lesson in Creole, which I can explain in a future blog post when I know more. Then, we took time to outline a lesson plan for the English class and create some goals for our (hopeful!) meeting with Noe tomorrow.
We have to be ready to go to church at 5 am tomorrow morning. Pere Noe also said we will be going to an Epiphany party, as there is no school tomorrow. So, I must say bonne nuit!