Friday, July 26, 2013

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Mini-Camp We Go!

So what do you get when you combine fifty-five children under the age of 6, a ton of goofy songs and dances, a bunch of recorders, and two crazy teachers....the answer is mini-camp!  During the first two weeks of this month Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité held their annual mini-camp for recorder students, beginner strings, beginner band, and beginner choir members.  I was blessed with the exciting job of assisting my good friend and colleague, Deborah with the flûte-à-bec (recorder) class.

Every day for two weeks, Monday through Friday, our fifty-five recorder children showed up at Sainte Trinité cathedral around 8am.  After morning prayer, we headed to our designated room and began our day with songs and dance.  I had a great time trying to remember some of my favorite children’s songs and translating them into Creole.  

We also had a little 90’s flashback and taught the kids the Macarena.  I cannot not even express how hysterical it was to watch my class follow me in the dance!

Our morning song and dance was followed by time spent teaching basic music theory and recorder to the students.  We spent time learning our different note values and the first three notes on the recorder.  Then mid-morning we took time to refuel and took a break for snack.  These three women are the masterminds behind making sure our bellies were full.  Not only are they great cooks, but they always had a smile on their face when you came to visit them.  I’m super grateful to all of them!      

After snack, we worked on more recorder music.  Then we broke the class into two groups and half of our students went to a dance class, while the other half stayed with me for crafts.  Finally at 1pm our little munchkins went home and I spent the afternoon prepping for the next day.  

At the end of the two weeks on our final Friday, we had a big concert for everyone to show off what they learned.  Our kids showed off their new knowledge of music and mad recorder skills.  

Although it was basically two weeks of straight madness, I wouldn’t have traded those two weeks for anything.  I loved having the opportunity to spend time with the youngest musicians of EMST.  And I’m hoping some of my translated songs will live on for future mini-camps.  Also I have to give a big thank you to my parish; those VBS mission trips in the Dominican Republic were really fantastic training for mini-camp!  And then thank you of course to my sponsors Kathy & Nick Nerangis and my old flute teacher Francis Averitt!  Less than two weeks and I'm home everyone!!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Little Voyage to Cap-Haitïen!

As many of you know, I will be returning to Haiti for a second year of service with the Young Adult Service Corps.  I will be returning home in August for a few weeks to catch up with family and friends, and then at the end of September I will be flying back to Haiti.  When I return I will be working in the northern part of Haiti, so two weeks ago I traveled up to Cap-Haitïen again.  

This trip to Cap served many purposes: 1) To meet and plan with Bishop Ogé what my work will be next year. 2) To drop off some luggage to make travel home a little easier in August. 3) Check out my new living arrangements. 4) Take a little vacation from Port-au-Prince before the music camps started.

My trip was off to a great start on Wednesday.  Three partners from Episcopal Church in the US traveled to Haiti to check out new potential project sites and I had the pleasure of traveling with them.  You can only imagine how excited I was to learn when they arrived that they were from Richmond and the Diocese of Virginia!!!  

Unfortunately there was not enough room in the car for me to join the partners on their trip on Thursday.  So after a good night’s rest, I hung out with Serette, Bishop Ogé’s wife and my adopted Haitian mom!  The two of us had a wonderful day baking, sharing meals, and enjoying each other’s company.  It was so nice to feel like I was with family again and enjoyed the relaxing day.

On Friday there was room for me in the car this time!  We first headed to Trou-du-Nord where we looked at potential project of building the rectory for Saint Luc.  Then we visited the church and school where we saw the preparations going on for their summer camps. 

We then drove to Terrier Rouge to see the Episcopal agricultural school, Saint Barnabas.  I have to say I’ll always be a city kid, but it was super exciting to be walking in the country through grass again!  Everything is so green up north!        

In the afternoon we returned to Cap-Haitïen and took a trip to the plot of land that will be used for the new Diocesan center of the north.  The plot of land is another potential site as it needs a fence around it to avoid squatters.  It looks like it’s going to be a great place for the center; lots of land and a beautiful view of the mountains.

Afterwards we took a quick trip to the Episcopal vocational school which is the location of my new apartment.  Myself and Kyle, another Episcopal missionary, will be sharing an apartment there and it will also be the location of my office.  I’m excited because as you can see the view from my patio is amazing!

Next stop was on to a soccer game.  It was a game between the local priests and pastors of the Cap-Haitïen area.  Bishop Ogé had the honor of kicking the soccer ball that started the whole game.  It’s not every day you get to see your future boss kick off a game!

On my last day in Cap-Haitïen, I met with Bishop Ogé in the morning to talk about my job next year.  I will be helping get a music program started in seven different Episcopal schools in the north.  I’ll be helping train the teachers of the program along with providing administrative help.  We had a great meeting and I’m super excited to start my work there next year!

All around it was a wonderful trip and I’m really looking forward to September.  But before then I can’t wait to see everyone at home to catch up!  Thank you for all of the support as this first year is winding down and thank you to my sponsors Greg Whitmer & Anne Wallinger, Becky Stern, my Grandma Bingaman, and Kathi Adams.  Stay tuned for an update next week about the fun of mini-camp!