Thursday, February 11, 2010

Great food in Haiti

The food in Haiti is great! Even when we switched to mainly rice and beans to make the food last with all the house guests, we were still having great meals thanks to the regular employees who cook meals for missions teams and JeanJean’s family who took over most of the cooking.

The yellow flower is pigeon pea which people grow in fields. We have it with rice, as seen in the photo with the okra and the fried manioc in the middle. The manioc is a small tree (shrub?) that has a large root that is also ground to a flour to make cassava bread (in photo) which JeanJean buys fresh from the market.

Corn is hung to dry (or to keep it from mice and rats). Not sure if the corn in the photo is for chickens or people. JeanJean made popcorn for us a couple nights. Cabbages are plentiful and the photo shows them stored in the kitchen, along with a couple breadfruit that is served fried. The cooks also make fried plantains (bannann preze), and we had boiled plantain served with a red sauce (see photo).

We had real milk one morning! Because most people have no refrigeration, milk is heated to sterilize it and then drank while it’s still hot. The rest of the time we use powdered milk. Real cheese is not available, so it makes a great gift for missionaries (freeze a couple cheese blocks and put in your luggage). The only cheese that can be found here is Laughing Cow or equivalent (again, doesn’t need refrigerated).

The little boy is holding a live crab. Don’t know where it came from. The cooks occasionally cooked chicken before the earthquake, but I don’t remember it being served afterwards, though beef was served once. It’s easy to be a vegetarian here. We have eggs for breakfast quite a bit. The chickens run free and scramble up the trees to roost in the evenings.

I took down fixings for s’mores which made for a fun evening.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti update

Though I’m back safe in the US, I wanted to keep everyone updated on what my friends JeanJean and Kristie Mompremier are doing to help their community. Below is a portion of their latest newsletter. Click here to access the UCI website with all their newsletters.

Also, UCI has been coordinating relief efforts with Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF) just down the road (my friend Rhoda worked there and is on the board, I was to teach there). Connie at HAFF has a blog that goes into more detail about the young men who died and their memorial service that I attended.

From the Mompremiers:
We will be building 2 houses for families that want to stay together as a family but who have no space. The houses are in 2 different communities very close to us. These are families that took in people from Port even though they didn't have any place for them. They are sleeping on the dirt and are just overloaded. They are willing to work hard and contribute labor, rocks, water, and what they can to build a better house. We praise God that we are able to help them.

We are also going to employ some of the teachers that left Port. They will be holding classes for the preschool and lower elementary classes. There are many children that have no where to go to school. The UCI board identified this as a major concern for parents. We are providing books and materials for kids in the upper grades to study. The worship center has 2 big rooms in the front that will be used for this purpose. These kids will also be added to the feeding center.

We also continue to send food and charcoal to people living under sheets in Port. We have listened to people that lived in Port for a while after the quake. They said that many times they were able to receive food but had no way to cook it. There is no electricity or gas in many parts of the city. Wood and charcoal are the only ways to cook, but there are few trees in the city. We are sending down another truck load of charcoal to the churches.

Continue to pray for the emotional/spiritual health of the refugees. A kind of sad/funny story happened Thursday. We have a lot of airplanes flying overhead since the quake. On Thursday, 2 Ospreys flew overhead at a very low altitude. I hope I'm naming this plane correctly. It is the plane that can take off and land like a helicopter but can cruise like a DC-3. It is big military plane that has a distinctive, loud sound. We had never heard it before. When it went over our house, all the Port-au-Prince people came running out of the house in a panic. One poor girl even peed in her pants! Everyone was scared that it was another earthquake. From what people tell me, the noise of the quakes and aftershocks, or at least the noise of the houses cracking, crumbling, disassembling, was almost as bad as the shaking. When the people heard the Ospreys, they thought another quake was coming. When I say all of the people, I mean every single one of them, at least at our house, ran out of the house and they looked down at the earth and didn't even think to look above. Everyone laughed afterwards, even the girl with the wet undies, but it is still sobering to know how affected they were.