We aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto

Cultural Differences

Not one day is the same in Haiti.  Plans change as quickly as they are made and attitudes can go south quickly too. Like mine did.
We were headed to the Center for Bible Study Monday night the 29th of February.  We were stopped by a young man in the small community on the way to the main road.  He gave us an envelope which requested rock to fix the road we lived on.  Our thoughts were, sure we can “help” with the road repair.  However, we were running crunched on time and did not take the time to deal with the letter until we were confronted with it about a week later.
Les was on his way to a meeting to deal with another issue and there was a huge yet peaceful demonstration with a group of people digging a hole in the road and standing in the way so he could not pass.  Les turned around went another way and found some help to deal with the situation from a police friend. After calling a police friend of ours, they began yelling and screaming outside our gate.   In cultures like Haiti, running to the police is usually the last resort, because the police are usually corrupt and extort the people.  When we called the police, this sent them the message that we were their enemy and not their friends and were not here on peaceful terms.  Their actions showed us they were not on friendly terms with us.  Our different ways of dealing with things clashed.
Other 3rd world cultures are the same way but not to the same level.  They were showing us that they wanted an answer and they wanted it immediately.  It all got resolved through the police friend, but Les had to explain that because he didn’t know Creole enough to converse with them, he needed help to talk about the situation.  He also shared that we would like to see the community pitch in and help.  The community was glad that their voices were heard and peace has been established in the community once again.
Haitians are a reactionary people, yet still my attitude wasn’t any better with my heart turning sour quickly because of their actions.  I felt a nudge of the Holy Spirit who spoke to my heart and said, “Aren’t you being quick to react with your own attitude?”  We all live in a fallen world which is full of sin.  My silent heart reaction was no different from their outward, loud demonstration. We all react in different ways and many times it is quick and irrational.
Yes, we may be seasoned missionaries, but we are still learning and still fight the sinful nature of man.

James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:..”


What’s all the Commotion?

Over the years we have had a number of people ask us, why they don’t see any cats in Haiti.  Dogs are everywhere, but cats seem to be almost nonexistent. We recently had this question answered in a real way while we were home one day.  It was a quiet, peaceful day, when out of nowhere, we heard a lot of commotion.  Six men were pursuing something within our compound.  Les and I exited out the front door to see what was happening.  Most of the men by then were out of sight except Michel (Meeshell), one of the men that helps maintain the grounds at the beach house.  When inquiring about what had just happened, we were told that there had been a large cat that had made its way into our compound.  These six men chased the cat down.  It never had a chance.  It was going to be their supper for the night.
Animals serve a different purpose in other cultures.  In Haiti they have specific jobs and are not known as “pets”.  Dogs are guards for the home, and on rare occasion, cats are used for rodent control.  The way dogs and cats are treated is so different.  Imagine a population where the family has a difficult time keeping food on the table for themselves…food for animals makes no sense at all.  As it turns out, cats are a delicacy in the Haitian diet.  So maybe that is why we don’t see that many cats.
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