Abitye – to become familiar with

My Creole friend and I were washing laundry one day.  My knuckles had become raw and sore.  She spent the better part of an hour trying to explain to me that it was because I was not “abitye.”  Perhaps I would have understood sooner if she knew some English but I came to understand that abitye means to become familiar with something, to become accustomed to a thing.  I am not convinced I will become accustomed to doing laundry as Haitian women do but there are a few things I have become accustomed to here.

Gathering water from the well is no longer as difficult for me as it once was and I have a few new callouses on my hands from the rope.  The language is still a challenge for me but I am understanding more of what it being said and speaking more although at a much slower speed than the natives speak.  The food is delicious and unlike what can be found in the States.  Pumpkins look like watermelons until you cut them open, yams are white instead of orange and the avocado in Haiti is bigger and better than any I had seen before coming here.

Last week one of the neighbor kids proudly showed me a “truck” he had made from garbage.  The body was made from a discarded pop (soda) bottle.  The wheels were made from bottle caps.  The wheels actually rotated as he pulled the truck behind him with a piece of string.  The ingenuity of this 8 year old boy impressed me.   The resiliency and resourcefulness of Haitian people is one of their most admirable traits, along with their ability to live in community.  Perhaps it is because of necessity.

One of the things I do not like is the impression Haitians have that foreigners have a lot of money.  It is not something we can change, so we adapt.  Most things in Haiti are negotiable and Haitians love to negotiate.  If a white face is seen, the price automatically goes up.  I have become familiar with taking a “back seat” role in helping the boys start their businesses and plan for their future.  We discuss things together but they do the transactions.  It is their faces which are seen and it is better for them in the long run.  We have been able to help facilitate some part time and some full time businesses which  are operated by the boys.  We are also working to help them build a home so they never find themselves living on the streets again.

Every day here is like summer with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s and perhaps it is most easy to become accustomed to seeing the sun each day.  On Wednesday night I learned a storm had developed.  It has since become Hurricane Matthew.  Yesterday morning I talked with the boys about preparations we need to take to keep people and property safe.  At first it seemed to me that they could not comprehend how it could be known five days in advance that the sun won’t shine and heavy rains will fall.  Fortunately they have taken me seriously and are doing what is needed to be done in case Hurricane Matthew wreaks destruction on Haiti.

Please join us in prayer for all people in the path of this storm, particularly those living in houses like the houses of the orphans in Canaan shown below.

Thank you for your continued support and may God continue to bless you!

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