Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day #4: Visiting Don Don and Church


Wedley slept thru the night, waking up briefly at 4:30 which had me scared, but then he fell back asleep and we made it to 6:30 or 7. Wasn't able to talk him in to a bath but figured he had only gone a day extra so we could survive and tackle that new challenge later. I on the other hand took a shower since there wasn't water the previous night and I felt exceptionally sticky. After showering we got ready for church. Got some new clothes out for Wedley for church and he looked great in them - also broke out the new crocks that I brought down to go with the Sunday outfit. After putting my long pants and long-sleeved shirt I started to sweat immediately and wondered how this day was going to end up - knowing there was a long church service ahead. Wedley liked the new clothes though at first wasn't sure about the new crocks - i think preferring his old ones. I can't remember for sure, but I think that I might have bribed him with breakfast and then they were put on immediately. This probably isn't good as he had some issues with food - but it sure works. :-( For breakfast we pulled out some oatmeal from the previous day that was in the fridge and warmed it up a little in the microwave - though it was actually better cold in my opinion because of course I'm already warm enough and sticky and its only 8am in the morning. I also broke out Wedley's new mini Sippy Nalgene and gave it to him. It was great because it is blue and my water bottle is blue also - so I think it makes an ever better connection. Wedley really liked the bottle and showed it to everyone all day. So we filled up our water bottles and ate our oatmeal - good stuff.

After breakfast, we hung under mango tree until the nanny for Eventz and Josiah had arrived and Reekens (our driver) had arrived. We (Nikki, Carla, Reekins, Wedley and I) piled into the Toyota (king cab) and left Eventz screaming with the Nanny because he didn't get to in the truck which is his absolute favorite thing to do. We made drive to Don Don - to go to church at Wedley's Papa's church. The drive was incredibly bumpy and for quite a bit was heading up a canyon into the mountains where Don Don is situated. The views of the Canyon were gorgeous - very green and lush.

We arrived at the church a little later than we hoped. Sunday school was at 8am, the main service was 10am and it was either very close or a bit after. In the main street we spotted Wedley's dad waiting for us. He jumped in and led us the couple additional blocks. Church was well underway - as we feared we were led through a door into the middle of the Sanctuary (packed full of course) and made the procession up to the front, then up onto the stage, into seats of honor in the first row of the stage (choir of 30 behind us, 5 singers standing in front of us).

What followed was a church service which I think we all thoroughly enjoyed. It was not nearly as hot as I had feared - up further in the mountains I think it was definitely cooler and they had a bunch of fans running. We were surprised at the content of the service way up here in the mountains of Haiti. They had 2 projectors run from a laptop, one for the congregation and one for the stage singers to see. They had 4-5 instruments (keys, electric guitar, and drums for sure - didn't see what else). There were 6 singers I think and they sounded pretty good. One gal that was the leader did lots of fill singing and leading and it sounded very nice. Their sound man only knew one volume. It was super super loud - if you've been at a service you thought was too loud at RNC (or elsewhere) - we haven't even come close to what they run at! Later was told that there are people outside listening as well, maybe it was for them! As I mentioned we got to the service around 10 and it was already going, and it wrapped up around 12:45 - so close to 3 hours. Also as I mentioned it was packed, I would have guessed 600 or so, Wedley's dad said close to 1000 counting those outside (who I didn't see). Service content was varied: hymns, modern songs, some sitting some standing, scripture reading, lots of prayer, greeting time (accompanied by some tracks on the computer that were again super loud - so it didn't matter that we spoke different languages), a time where all the July birthdays were called up one by one (with an international multi language Happy birthday playing in the background), sermon, Communion, and a time where Nikki shared a few words and then I also was asked to say a few words (surprise!). I just said a few things which had been going through my mind about the incredible family of God - how I come from a long way away and here we are worshiping the same God. Their Savior is my Savior, their God my God. It was too short, but I didn't have much notice!

During the service at one point Wedley started to walk away and I was really confused, because this is very unlike him - he really has safe zones and lately I am that zone. But then I realized that his dad was off to the side of the stage and was beckoning him, so I said yes - you can go. I was happy that he went to him, but it didn't last too long and Wedley was back. I later persuaded him again to go and spend time with his dad, but again he was back pretty quickly. It generated mixed emotions, on the one hand happy that he would go to his dad, but then sad for his dad when he wouldn't stay long or that it took some serious persuading to get him to go to him, but then also satisfaction at Wedley seeing me as his place of refuge and where he really wanted to be. Tough thing this is.

A couple guys worked on a fan at the front of the stage trying to get it to work right - it kept not wanting to rotate back and forth. The funny thing was that they kept putting it on full blast (and these things can blow some air) - and it kept getting stuck pointing right at Nikki and Carla so they were busy making sure it didn't blow their skirts in such a way as to be a distraction for the row of boys in the front row. Eventually they gave up on the fan and left it off. Communion was with flavored crackers wrapped in paper towel and typical grape juice - though filled to the very brim so that all of us spilled some. By the time communion came around we'd been in there over 2 1/4 hours and it was past lunch time. As they passed out the crackers Wedley as a child wasn't given one - that immediately was a problem that wasn't going to get better on its own. So it was time to break out the solution - thank goodness for fruit snacks. If there is food and Wedley doesn't get it, that is a problem. Through the service the work with the laptop was a little comical - I knew Nikki (a past computer presentation expert at Youth Group) was having similar thoughts as we were probably the only ones there unable to hold back our critique. They were running power point and media player on the same display as the projectors - so we were often watching them work through menus and selections etc. I thought the funniest was that part of the time it was the pastor working it and one time he was editing the power point on the fly - changing the birth day slide month to July and the best - changing the color of the title of a slide on the fly - trying several until he got what he liked.

Later Nikki and Carla noted that there were some songs in Creole and some in French - I didn't notice. :-) It was nice having the words on the back wall to see - even in other languages was able to sing along and follow the intent / meaning of quite a few of them. Note that we sang probably 12 songs. Some sitting, some standing. The choir probably sang 3 or 4 numbers each with 4+ verses. They sounded really good though - was nice sitting right in front of them - could hear them all well. There also was an acapella song shared by a group of probably 8 young men - was good. It was during this song I had some thoughts about some of the changes for Wedley in leaving this life. These are groups of kids / friends and experiences that he will not enjoy. Of course there are lots of others he will enjoy in its place. Hopefully we'll be able to connect him some aspects of his heritage and culture so he can still have some of that.

 After the service was over we waited around for a while because the pastor wanted to speak to us. We hung out up at the back of the choir loft by the baptismal - it was where Wedley had been baptized as an infant - showed it to him and got some pictures. Someone from their church took a bunch of pictures of us, some with various people of some distant relation to the situation. An aunt, cousin (older lady), "Godmother" - though not sure exactly what that meant.

The pastor mean time was speaking to a committee that was planning for a church anniversary celebration (Committee was about 100 people, so not sure how that worked). When the pastor was done we met with him and Wedley's dad or "papa" - (Wilnes). Gist of the conversation was mostly things that Wilnes had already communicated to us - that they were happy that Wedley had a good Christian home to come to since Wilnes was not able to take care of him. They were thankful that we were all in God's family. The pastor also inquired a little more about the work of the orphanage. Then also mentioned that he comes to the USA once a year and I think thought possibly that we could meet up with him on one of his trips (to check on Wedley?) - however he goes typically to Washington DC or New York, which aren't exactly close - not sure he comprehended where Washington STATE is. After we completed the discussion we piled into the truck and headed a couple blocks away to I think another church building (possibly part parsonage, part church use?). Was a nice building - we sat out front while a meal was being prepared.

 During the time at the baptismal, then waiting for lunch, and then at Wedley's dad's house we took the opportunity to ask questions and get history that will be important to pass on to Wedley later in his life. Including birthdays of family, numbers of aunts and uncles, birth event details, sibling's names and bdays, and so on. We went in to have lunch - it ended up just being for us (Carla, Nikki, Reekins, Wedley and I). Was Rice, Bean sauce, another sauce w/ onions, Plantains, and a bottle of coke. Wedley of course was eager and ready. He sat on my lap and we shared a plate. The food was delicious! Super good. Except no one except our food expert (Wedley) was interested in the pre-pealed plantains. I tried part of one, been a while since I'd tried one. For those who haven't, they look just like a banana except I would say they taste more like a potato - or at least texture somewhere between a raw and cooked potato. Or at least these did.
After we finished we went back to the front porch and sat for a few minutes (not sure what was going on here). As we left the dinner table Wedley had a bit of a break down - can't remember what the trigger was but it was the result of it being nap time. I was able to hold him and console him and it didn't last too long - though he remained solemn and subdued with his head on my chest all the way till we started to head back. Leaving the porch (carrying Wedley) we walked a block up the road to Wedley's dad's house (was his parent's house before that - they have passed away). The setting of the whole community is very beautiful - with a huge mountain rising right out of the back of the town. Wilnes' house wasn't the worst, but wasn't the best. He has one half of it (others live in the other half) - had a metal roof with a number of holes in it. We went in and sat in the entry for a bit more discussion (questions etc). Wilnes wanted us to make sure we conveyed to Wedley that he didn't abandon him, that he came once a month to visit him, but just couldn't care for him and wanted a better life for him. Also reiterated that he'd love for him to be a Pastor or Doctor or lawyer, but most of all a Pastor. Nikki took some pictures of us in the house and of the interior room of the house as well (since I was holding Wedley). Outside the house we also took pictures of us in front of the house and Nikki went into photographer mode and snapped a ton of photos which will be great to show Wedley as he grows up. We didn't get a picture (purposefully) of the little boy wearing nothing but a Band-Aid on his forehead.

 Wedley did allow getting passed off to his papa and gave hugs and kisses. I was afraid it would be more visibly emotional for his dad, did see his eyes well up a little but he contained himself. We started the trek back - but needed to take Wilnes and his fiancĂ© a mile or so down the road and then were giving the Pastor a ride most of the way to Cap Haitian. So Wedley, Wilnes and I rode in the back of the truck. I was holding Wedley, holding onto the truck, and sitting on the edge of the bed wall. I couldn't have taken much more - my rear is really sore tonight!  

We dropped them off and said goodbye's and once in the truck again (ahhh....) the ride back was a little quicker (mostly downhill). We were able to get a few nice views of the backside of the Citadel on the way back.

 I held Wedley the whole time - this time though he was in a partially sleep daze - eyes open most of the time, but basically limp and asleep. When we got back though, as we got out of the car he woke right up and was saying "Daddy" this and "Daddy" that. After making the rounds saying hi to everyone (everyone says Hi to Wedley), per Wedley's direction we read a few books under the Mango tree and then went to the playground to play filling up and dumping the truck. A few Nannies came by to say hi to us - most have had him at one point, so it is kind of their goodbye to him. We were back in the volunteer house (probably filling up Wedley's newly loved water bottle and saw Nikki and Eventz out on the stairs. We went out for Wedley to say hi, but Wedley didn't make the step right and cracked his head on the metal door frame. So we had some more holding / consoling time and continued it sitting in the courtyard till I offered that it was time to find some Dinner - believe it or not he didn't object. Someone in the volunteer house had made some pasta so we loaded up a couple plates. Wedley devoured his, ok so Daddy's wasn't much better. After dinner, timing was perfect because it was Mateja's birthday and she had baked her own cake (per her desire) and wanted to share it. We all sang happy birthday and Wedley and I shared a piece - i tried to constantly remind him to slow down and take smaller bites - but who am I to talk. Nikki says that he is way better than he used to be, but he likely will regress some as well during this transition.

 After the cake, with lots of people (everyone?) in the volunteer house - Wedley got very social and a little bit hyper - running around to especially his favorites (Mateja, Sheila, Carla) and then after Eventz had just spent time in the Johnny Jumper Wedley took his turn. He was too big for it but had a good time anyway. When he asked to get out I decided it was time to start the night time routine. Wedley wasn't sure it was time so this was going to be interesting - low on sleep he was on edge. I was trying to talk him into taking a bath and it wasn't happening. He kept asking for a snack (we just had dinner and cake). In a moment of weakness I bargained and offered a snack if took a bath/shower. Immediately he was in the bathroom and taking his diaper off. That's how powerful food is to him. Not sure I should have done that, but hoping that it is a onetime thing and that now he won't be uneasy about the bath time in a new setting. It still was a struggle to work the shower part of it - Wedley is really not excited about getting water on his head - too many times in the eyes I think. But - step by step, we were successful. Another victory / milestone (even though I cheated). The promised snack went great of course, reading went pretty good, and sang - but Wedley wouldn't sing his part tonight. Then it was Night Night time - I kept singing to him trying to get him to actually lay down, but it was a slow process. Once he did I made an attempt to leave and see if he would sleep on his own. Not ready for that - after he was still crying 5-10min later I went back in and consoled him. Took a minute or 2 for him to quiet down - I decided to try staying in there and working on my laptop (this blog and pictures) while singing and then letting music play on the laptop. Also had to take away his stuffed moose animal because he kept throwing it around and I think it was keeping him awake. However - after 20-30 minutes he was asleep, much better than the 2.5hours - we're on a good trend.
Tomorrow - we go to the beach!

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