Sunday, September 16, 2012

Birthday Blessings

Our little Naomy turned two this week!  Her birthday was Thursday and it was a good day!  After school, Mark and Danielle came home with two packages that had been delivered for us. (Let me pause here to explain how we get our mail.  I think I wrote in a previous post about how we do not have an address.  So, we cannot get mail at our home.  Even if we did have an address, I'm willing to bet that Haiti does not have any type of organized mail service. And, even if there was some type of government mail service here, I don't think any mail would actually make it to us. Instead, we have an account with Missionary Flights International and they receive our U.S. mail for us, along with mail for many other families, and they fly it in twice each week.  Then, we go over to the next town and pick it up at the campus for One Mission Society.) We get pretty excited when packages from home arrive for us.  Both packages contained all sorts of goodies--pretzels and kleenex, candy and craisins, fruit snacks and a first aid kit, coloring/activity books and much more! One package even had a birthday gift for Naomy--it arrived just in time!

We had supper that Celine had prepared (fish and rice with fresh mango) and birthday cake for dessert. A fellow teacher had loaned me two candles (And yes, I mean loaned--I will return what's left to be burned again at someone else's birthday. Back at home I would have thrown them away without a second thought, but as you may have gathered by now, things are very different here.) and another teacher loaned me the cake pan.
Candy necklaces, even!
Although Naomy seemed to completely enjoy her celebration, I had to work through a bit of mommy guilt about the fact that her second birthday party was so understated, compared to the second birthday parties I threw for her big sisters. No balloons, no ice cream, no clever craft or goody bags for guests, no stack of presents to open...

And then, we attended a birthday party for our housekeeper and friend, Celine.  We drove into downtown Cap Haitien, parked on a busy street, walked down an alley and up a concrete stairway into a big concrete apartment building.  We made our way down a very, VERY narrow hallway past doorways that didn't have doors to Celine's sister's apartment.  Her whole apartment was the size of one of the bedrooms in our house.  There was one small bed and some shelving on the wall.  There was no bathroom.  There were a few chairs set up and a small table set with trays of chicken, plantain, pasta, and a cake.  Celine's friends and family and neighbors crowded into the tiny apartment and spilled out the doorway and up and down the hall.  It was stuffy and hot and everyone was sweating, but we sang "How Great Thou Art" in Creole and someone led a prayer thanking God for the food and friends and for Celine. Then, someone asked Mark to do the honor of opening a bottle of sparkling grape juice and we clapped and sang the birthday song (in English!) to Celine while ladies poured juice into little plastic cups for everyone. As soon as these traditions were over, Celine told an English-speaking friend to tell us we needed to leave and she would package up some food for us to take with us.  It was obvious that everyone else there was ready to party on, but it was 7:00 pm and it was getting dark and we realized that we needed to leave for our own safety.  And, leave we did.  Celine left her own party to walk all of us back to the street where we parked and she stayed and made sure we drove off before she turned to go back.

So, can you guess how I'm feeling now?  I'm feeling pretty silly for my guilt about not having a big to-do for Naomy's birthday.  I'm feeling humbled...I'm feeling thankful...I'm feeling super duper blessed. I'm feeling so honored that Celine invited us to come to her party--to come and get a glimpse into the reality of life in Haiti.  

Hebrews 12:28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."

Before I sign off, I want to share some photos from school with you!

This is a picture of the Kindergarten class, outside having a music lesson.  They each have instruments and their teacher was talking a bit about rhythm and beats.  Mostly, I think they were just having fun making noise.  That's Elli--the redhead. She's easy to spot.  She loves Kindergarten and she is friends with all of her classmates.  She talks the most about Tony and Emarlie.

These two photos are of my second graders.  There are only 6 of them. 5 boys and 1 girl...but don't worry--Abbie can hold her own.   

1 comment:

  1. Seeing such happy smiles and bright eyes on all of these children is great. Will send candles for you to share with others in next package. Elli will need 6 for her Feb. birthday.

    Celine is truly a blessing to have in your lives. Would like to meet her.


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