Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peacebang: giving up sound and fury signifying nothing

I just read a sermon on Lent and thought I'd share a few excerpts.  It's worth reading the full sermon at the link here if you have the time:


(She also has the http://beautytipsforministers.com/ blog, which is very funny and informative, but we'll leave that alone and focus on this for the moment.)

Think about how we bond over strong shared opinion, how much fun it is to argue about, for instance (and I’m just taking a few examples from my own recent life), whether Big Papi is going to be worth all the money the Sox just committed to paying him for his new contract, or whether Whitney Houston’s funeral really merited all the coverage it got, or the insanity of a Congressional hearing on contraception coverage with an all-male panel of lawmakers, or who should deserve to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Think about how you bonded this week over the terrible service you got at the restaurant, or how ridiculous your sister-in-law is being over Junior’s peanut allergy.

Such energy in all of that, and even fun. Being cynical, being witty, earning points as sharp conversationalists – these are all ego-boosting, and many of us define who we are by exercising those critical muscles, whether privately, in our minds, or in public conversation. Even those people with gentler, less combative natures engage in constant assessment, judgment, opining: what do I think about this? Does that waitress deserve a 15% tip? Where should I take my business? Was my grandchild appropriately grateful for that gift I gave him? I would have been more grateful at his age…

Critical mind is always running...

...It is important to have convictions. We should have them, we should work to define them, we should strengthen them in religious community and we should stand for them in the world. But there is a spiritual difference, and a moral distance, between convictions and intensely felt opinion that comes from personal preference and ego investment. It is hard work to discern between the two, especially when we have elevated opinion to the level of sacrament, holding it before us as a object of veneration, as if it will save our souls, or save the world, or even in the end , even contribute anything to the common good.

Now, voyager, lay here your dazzled head. Give up. Let us give up that sound and fury signifying nothing, and let us come back to earth, to the truth of it, to the peace of it. Let us find common cause not through hating and being critical of the same things, but in sharing the bonds of peace in the unity of the spirit. Neither our children nor our communities can be fed on fire and air, but with this bread.

Monday, February 27, 2012

toujou bwe dlo trete?

wash your hands with clean water and soap
prevent cholera
I just read an interesting blog post - or perhaps an article included in it, I'm not quite sure - on the water and cholera situation in Cite Soleil, one of the more desperate areas near Port-au-Prince.

Here is the link:  http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2012/02/by-dr-carroll.html
always drink treated water

I see signs, billboards, and banners everywhere advising people to wash their hands with soap and water, to drink and wash their fruit and vegetables with treated water, and so forth.  It might be helpful.  They are certainly trying.  As a matter of fact, they do a great job here with public service announcements, much better than in the States. 
always wash all fruit and vegetables with treated water

However, as the interviews in the article above show, if you don't have a cent, you certainly aren't going to be able to afford Clorox (which is what we add to water here for everything.. more on that another time) or other water treatment. 
always treat all water you use with clorox tablets

I wish there were an easy solution.  Water is so basic - without clean water, not much else works well.

counting on it

tap-taps on the road from Montrouis
It is God who girds me about with strength
and makes my way secure.
--Psalm 18:33

Thursday, February 23, 2012

today through the car window

colorful preschool/kindergarten gate
Is that Dora the Explorer?

an exuberance of color:  red, yellow, blue, green... all we need is purple and orange
(You can find those together, too, but they're not next door.)
downtown:  roosters and cell phones


child with Haitian flag
some of the most striking black spray paint art on concrete I've seen

Holy Trinity Music School violin class
under the cathedral pavilion (temporary worship space)
Yes, I was out of the car for this one... but not far from it!  (-:

See the world; pass the police van on the way
Ayiti pap peri - Ayiti pa ka peri
The photo isn't clear, but the t-shirt says,
"Haiti isn't perishing. Haiti cannot perish."
on the way home
Along with the mother and child, look at the door closely - it's lovely - and at the colors.
steep stairs up the hill
Imagine doing that while carrying water, as some must.

sidewalk vendor talking to a child
in front of the blue Natcom wall

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

dust and ashes

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Souviens-toi que tu es poussière et que tu retourneras en poussière.

Ash Wednesday.

The priest this morning talked about the fragility of life and the grace of God.

Life is fragile...

Somehow I think there are a lot of people in Haiti who know much more about those things than I do.

tap-tap driver 
aware of the grace of God

"Give thanks in all circumstances."
I think this is a witness to that possibility

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

lundi gras

We've had power all day today.  I kept waiting for it to go off, and it never has. I hope typing this isn't tempting fate!  But then this evening, they explained to me that Kanaval (Carnival) is a holiday period here. It started Friday and will go until (or through?) Thursday.   EDH gave us power quite a bit during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, so I bet the reason for our luck is precisely that.

And it has been an appropriately relaxing day.

Monday is our day off, to begin with.  We can wake up slowly, pray on our own time, and have breakfast later than usual.   I can take my prayerbook and Bible and coffee out on the porch for my quiet time and not have to look at my watch. 

remembering the beauty of the
mountains and sea at Montrouis
Later in the afternoon, I had time to take my sketchbook outside. Playing with art supplies is refreshing as well as relaxing. It's been a long time since I have done that.  Why, I wonder?  I think I may have to do this next week, too. 

playing with colored pencils

When I came in, I found that the music drifting out on the porch was coming from the television - live from Les Cayes, to be precise, where they are having the official national Kanaval celebration this year.  It's the sort of energetic, rhythmic music that encourages dancing.  And there is certainly dancing!  Bands on floats are apparently a big part of it, but the part of the parade I saw had someone walking on stilts in national colors and, later, a troupe of dancers in blue and white.  Many people were in costume with Mardi Gras masks, of course.  Along with the music, the color has been quite striking. 
Kanaval 2012, Les Cayes

It's been on all day and into the evening, though we haven't watched it all that time, needless to say.  As I type, they are interviewing the president, who is in a t-shirt matching those of the people around him on his parade stand.   I have no idea what he is saying, but it has something to do with the carnival as well as perhaps more official sounding business (I did understand the word work - travay).  I gather he has a five-E theme here: education, environnement, emploi, and two others. 
Kanaval parade dancers

Of course, there are actors and other public personalities. Earlier this evening, the carnival behind them, a commentator was bantering with a comedian whose voice I recognize as the Ti Gran Moun on the radio.   I'm not sure he was playing the same character, as he was wearing a wig and dress, but he kept everyone in stitches as usual.  He's funny even to me just because of the voice he uses.

Here is a link if you want to know more, see photos, or watch videos: http://largeup.okayplayer.com/2011/03/09/post-game-the-sights-sounds-of-haiti-kanaval/

8 PM, and the streets of Les Cayes are packed.    It looks like fun.

I, however, am happy to be home enjoying this down time. 

a quiet, beautiful evening in Haiti
  May each of you enjoy your lundi gras - and your mardi gras - as suits you best.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

puppy sports

And we conclude our coverage of the puppies with a report from the Puppy Olympics.

wrestling practice
...and will it be a pin?
broad jump

I can do it!

pregame stretch

Flexibility is essential.

So is double-checking the equipment before the big game.
...aaaaaaaaaand she's SAFE at home plate!
mountain climbing
obstacle course
the leaf pounce:  on your mark...
pairs figure skating
tug of war

Teamwork is essential.

Don't give up! I've got it!
preparing for the sprint
pairs napping
on the medal platform
...and I'd like to thank God, my mother, and my sponsors...

a strange hush

It's awfully quiet outside.  There is the music of the rain, which has just begun - and has it ever.  But no yip-yip-yip.  No patter of many little feet running to bark at the dog or the goat in the street.  The puppies, now weaned, have all gone to their new homes.

And I miss them.

I'm sure my habits are breathing a sigh of relief, and it's certainly much easier to get to the trash can without tripping or worrying on stepping on someone, but I did love having those little warm fuzzy creatures to sit with. 

In their honor, I'm going to post a few more puppy pictures as a sort of belated send-off. 

Enjoy them, just as I have.

Laps are for climbing on, right? Lemme up!
One last post-trash-disposal evening with the puppies, one last attempt to fit
themselves on my lap.  There's only room for two of them now, but
the other curled up between my feet and the stoop.