Monday, May 14, 2012

Clucking Today, On the Dinner Plate Tomorrow!

The beet salad was delicious!!!

Do you remember one of my biggest fears before visiting Haiti?  The food was a huge concern on mine --  most especially the thought of eating chicken feet which is considered a delicacy in Haiti!!! 

The first 24 hours there I was determined not to eat anything that was Haitian cooked.  I brought lots and lots of tuna packs and crackers with me, and I even "practiced" eating my own version of my Haitian diet for three weeks prior to boarding the plane for Haiti.  I got to the point of really liking the tuna, especially when a little bit of hot sauce from Taco Bell was added to it.

However, something strange happened to me on the second day of the trip.  When entering the dining hall (which was a small, hot,  humid concrete block room swarming with flies), I saw food laid out on the table for the blanc (white) visitors which happened to include me.  I also saw the women who had been standing up all day preparing the special meal for us.  They, too, were hot, humid, and being swarmed by flies.  They were exhausted from being up since the rooster let out his first cock-a-doodle-doo, and, in spite of the heat, exhaustion, and scarcity of food,  they had worked for hours preparing a feast just for us. 

Something in my heart changed.  I felt so humbled by the grace and love of these women that the food somehow looked different.  It looked delicious.  "Why not?  Why not at least try eating the food?" And, so I did! 

On my plate, I spooned a rice dish with creole sauce (yum!), another scoop of something that looked like fried bananas, and a portion of chicken breast.  Truly, a meal fit for a queen!  And, let's not forget my all-time favorite -- the beet salad!  It absolutely, positively was to die for, and I'm still waiting for someone to send me the recipe so that I can prepare it for my family here in the states.

As the saying goes, "You've come a long way, baby!"  In the morning, I heard the squawking of the chickens followed by feathers flying.  And, in the evening of that same day, I bowed my head in humble thanks for the meal that was so lovingly prepared for Team Squirt!

Talk about some God changes!!!  Just one more opportunity for me to say that God does indeed change our hearts (and our taste buds) when we allow Him!

Love and happy eating,
PS  In case you're wondering, God didn't perform a miracle on me--not just yet, anyway.  No chicken feet entered this mouth of mine!  He isn't finished with me yet!    

Friday, May 11, 2012

Haiti: Weighing In, Small Planes, and No Sleep!

"Weigh the luggage...make every single item count.  Don't even take an extra tuna packet or peanut butter cracker."  I never knew we'd have to concern ourselves with such things when flying to Haiti!  The cost of going on a mission trip isn't just the emotional cost or the cost of staying in the country.  The cost becomes a big concern just trying to get there!  It took three of our team members hours of phone calls, changing flight plans, and packing and repacking just to get the luggage to meet the regulations of the plane!  As you can see, we were busy little beavers weighing every piece of luggage at the airport.  Who knew flying was this complicated?!? 

  Next came the real biggie of the trip --the actual  flying!  Two of our team members had never even been on a plane before, and now they were going to have the "experience" of flying in a mini plane.....the kind that goes bump with every air pocket!  Lots of anit-nausea meds were eaten like candy prior to boarding, and there was an overall, "You've got to be kidding me -- this is the plane that is going to carry us AND the luggage to Haiti" kind of look going on.  In other words "FEAR"!  Okay, Lori...we heard you wimper at one point, "Why am I doing this?  I never wanted to fly.  And, I'm never going to fly again.   Never, ever, ever, ever, ever."

Want to hear one of many embarrassing moments?  Yes, we each had to step up on the luggage scale in full view of everyone and get weighed.  Ugh!  Roni, thanks so much for letting everyone know that Granny has a little work to do on my calorie counting! 

Team Squirt did okay, though!  We were given the green light to board the plane (with no promises of our luggage going with us). 

After spending a sleepless night before leaving for Florida, then another sleepless night on the floor of the airport, who really cared if the luggage arrived?  We, the official Team Squirt of Pennsylvania, were boarding our little plane for Haiti!  We were taking with us a spirit of adventure, a spirit of faith, and most of all a spirit of love.  Our mission was to do all we could to encourage those who were in despair, feed those who were hungry, and bring the message of God to those who longed for hope in seemingly hopeless situations!
And, we didn't need luggage for any of that!

Off and at 'em, Team!  Look out Haiti, here we come.................

PS  Obviously we survived the plane trip because I'm here to write about it.  Our biggest concern while in the air was ....of course you have to know the answer.  "Where's the bathroom?"  You gotta love Team Squirt!  :)
PPS  Lori did just fine.  The meds knocked her out and she never even knew she was on a plane!