Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's Thanksgiving.  Of course, it's not a Haitian holiday, but we celebrated anyway. 

It's not a real celebration without rice and beans and sauce.

We began with the Eucharist at St Jacques le Juste with their English-speaking congregation.  Three musicians working with Holy Trinity Music School played piano, violin, and flute - Dona Nobis Pacem blew me away.  They played it over and over, moving us deeper into prayer, and after a while, very, very quietly, we began to hear voices pick it up - almost silently, but not quite - echoes of the peace for which we all pray.  As Pere M, said, if only this could be played all over the world, if only we could send all the leaders of the nations a recording of this prayer... That was something for which to be grateful.  Music and musicians in general, actually - and how much more so today, actually, since it's St. Cecilia's Day, too (patron saint of music).  Dona Nobis Pacem reminded me of our need to work for peace in our world and in ourselves, to create it by allowing ourselves to be channels of God's grace for others.  Imagine... I am grateful for the peace God does bring us, and I am grateful that God uses each of us in spite of our weaknesses - and even uses them, too. 

But perhaps I should begin earlier with the thankfulness that came during our preparations yesterday.  Thanks to Agape Flights donors, we had turkey and fixings for dinner for us and our Foyer Notre Dame family - residents, staff, and a few friends.  And while the preparations don't look exactly like the ones at home, it was still that recognizable pre-Thanksgiving communal cooking experience. 

preparing the turkey

One thing for which I am thankful is that the pumpkin pies I baked turned out better than the disastrous cookies I attempted this summer at the old convent - one last very humorous memory from that place.  (I would have settled for good cookies, too.)

I am most thankful, though, for all those people involved in our preparations.  I wish I could show you their pictures, along with those of so many others, but not having asked permission...

Here is the finished product of the turkey prep above:

spicy Thanksgiving turkey, Haitian style, sort of - delicious!

You'll have to imagine pictures of laughter, of elderly ladies and students eating together, of the dog, hopeful to the very end, of our punchiness at the end of how many hours of washing dishes...

I'm even grateful for the grey day.  We haven't had refrigeration this week (till late today), so not only was it more comfortable, it was also helpful for the food itself. 

low clouds covering the tops of the mountains bordering Port-au-Prince this afternoon

I was also thankful today for the smiles provoked by the new guard dog in training, whom I met on the way out, and who as of now stands almost as high as a step.  Such adorableness.  I don't know his name yet, but I'm looking forward to becoming better acquainted.

guard puppy doing his inspection

I'm thankful tonight also for the power returning.  Last Friday morning we had some, then a few hours Sunday, and about 45 minutes Tuesday night (after I was asleep - but I got back up!).  I am especially grateful that it came on this evening so I could call my parents and wish them a happy Thanksgiving. Tonight I'll have a fan and cold water to drink, too.

I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds me - the big things like the double rainbow I saw last week and the spectacular sunsets that come along every once in a while, and the little things like the tiny zandolit (lizard) that scampers up the ironwork along our kitchen window. I'm thankful that the poinsettia tree is turning red and that there are so many interesting birdcalls early in the morning. 

double rainbow over Delmas

All these things are nothing compared to the big things: I have good food, good shelter, and potable water.  I have people to love, interesting work to do, and a purpose.  I have sisters and friends and family who are amazing people, lovable, flawed, inspiring, grace-filled examples of all God can do in and through us. I am thankful none of them is perfect, and I'm thankful that they put up with me in all my imperfection. I am especially grateful for those who make me laugh.  I think that must be a spiritual gift Paul forgot to mention.

And did I mention my sisters, my friends, and my family?

And then there is God...

Grace.  It's all about grace.

sunset, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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