Into the Desert

This upcoming week will be my last working with Heartline as their driver.  Next Saturday, Lord willing, I move out to a village North of Port-au Prince called Ravine Seche(perhaps for 3 months?).

The village name is the Creole version of Kerith Ravine, the place where Elijah went to hide after informing evil King Ahab a time of drought was coming on Israel (1 Kings 17).

At the Kerith Ravine, Elijah was fed by ravens and provided for supernaturally by the Lord. In the Biblical narrarative, it appears this was a time where God had Elijah in a training “school,” so to speak, teaching him how He could (and would) supply his physical needs.

Perheaps I too will learn lessons about God’s provision at this modern, Ravine Seche.

Ostentisbly, the point of my moving out to a village is to spend time studying the Creole language in an immersive environment.  I’ll be the only “blan” living in the area.  Additionally, I hope to gain a better understanding of Haitian culture.

In relation to the closest “big” town (St. Marc), here is a map showing where Ravine Seche is:


And here is a satellite view of the village.  Note the arrow pointing towards my new bachelor digs:

Map of House

While I remember thinking Silver Springs Apartments was inexpensive, this pad has Silver Springs beat to pieces… only $150/month.  Pretty amazing, considering for that price I’m renting a house with caribbean beach-access. 

My rental house consists of a concrete room with tin roof overhead.  No running water.  No indoor plumbing (not even a sink).  For toilet there’s an outhouse.  Water is funneled off the tin roof to a rain barrel out back.  A table and propane stove is included (see? furnished!).  There is no bed, so I’m bringing a cot to sleep on.

While electricity doesn’t come standard, I’m bringing my own solar setup (100 watt system) with a battery.  This way I can at least charge my cell phone. 

How do I feel about this move?

I’m sad to be leaving my friends here in Port-au Prince, especially Ryan and Melissa, who have become like a brother and sister-in-law to me. 

But I’m excited for the change of pace, and for the time to pull back from the busy (and at times stressful!) life I’ve been living.  Time to reflect, to learn new things, and to forge friendships across the barriers of socio-economic status, culture, language, and race.

My greatest worry is I’ll go stir crazy not being able to speak English with anyone else (in particular, a fellow Westerner whom I can openly “debrief” with about the myriad experiences bound to occur). 

I’ve mentioned to Haitians what I’m planning to do (living in a village), and they all seem enthusiastic about the idea.  They tell me how wonderful it is I will gain important perspectives about Haiti through being in close proximity with locals in this way.

Two Haitian guys I spoke with earlier this week explained to me, through stories, how important it was for a foreigner to first listen and understand before trying to “fix” things.  I recorded part of our conversation (which was in the car driving, so not very good quality) because I found their viewpoints fascinating. 

Here is a 3 minute clip, starting with a story about a missionary who had the idea to create a water well for ladies in a certain area who had to walk a long distance to get water:


The advice to “listen first” has been drilled in my head so firmly by experienced missionaries that, before coming to Haiti, I had determined to not jump into any sort of people-ministry position until living here at least one year… as an observer.

When one watches something awhile, they begin getting a different opinion from their first.  My observation now is that Haiti is improving.  And I’ve also found it’s far more “Christianized” than I ever had imagined before. When I pickup a new guest from the airport and their immediate first response is shock at the trash and so forth, my feeling now is to be defensive and want to say, “But it’s getting better, things are on the upswing, and this country has so much beauty too!”