Welcome to MCC Haiti.

On Manners

Haitians are so formal, ya'll. I love it! This morning, we sat anba tonel - underneath the shaded meeting space -  in our office's backyard. We were meeting with two young pastor/attorneys, who have been working with Ted on the beginnings of a Christian legal association or network in Haiti.

These guys - both named Simeon - are enthusiastic about connecting legal professionals around the pillars of faith and justice. This morning, they held an informational meeting with another attorney, who is Haitian-American and the wife of a pastor here in town. She holds a lot of program planning, evaluating experience as well as a clear passion for Christianity and justice issues.

The meeting starts off so formally, like they often do. Each Simeon presented their name, background, and stated the purpose of the day's meeting.

There is a formality and high value placed on speech and presentation here in Haiti. When people enter a room, they make sure to give a general greeting to all who are present. If it's an individual greeting, they ask after you, and your family. Did you sleep well, did you have a good weekend. Visitors, at a church service or a prayer meeting, are often asked if they'd like to share a word with everyone present. One often prefaces their remarks with a ''Bondye ave nou" (God be with you) and the requisite response is promptly given, "Amen," before the speaker continues.

Haitians love to give speeches, and they are darn good at it.

In addition, people here are sharp dressers. The photo above serves as Exhibit A. You can bet Ted and I never look as snazzy as those with whom we are meeting. Shoe shiners dot the sidewalk between the office and our house. Kindergartners, college students, businessmen - they are all stopping to get their regular shoe shine for less than 50 cents a pop. 

Why do I appreciate this attention to appearance and to manner that I see exhibited in the Haitians I meet? I feel that it has something to do with the honor and respect that these mannerisms demonstrate - a respect for the given day, for the business, meeting, or task at hand; it connects somehow with the reverence Haitians have for the present moment.

Our week in D.C., 2015 edition

Experiences that Shape Us