Here’s a funny story that illustrates our need to better learn the language: Well, we are staying at the Global Outreach Mission Base in an apartment above the volunteer headquarters. There are Haitian staff who work on the compound. As a matter of fact, every missionary here has a maid that they have hired for their home. (Quick disclaimer here – For us, the thought of having a maid working for us and serving us when, in fact, we have come to Haiti to be a servant to the people, was very difficult for us to understand. And we said that we would not have a maid working for us once we get our own place. But we have since learned that having a maid as an American in Haiti is absolutely customary and it is a complete offense to the Haitians if you do not have one. By having a maid, you are providing employment to a person and their family, and providing a very good employment at that. If you do not have a maid, you are looked at as being selfish and stingy with your money that you would not even give a Haitian a chance to earn some money from you. Also, having a maid is very essential because Haiti is so dirty and dusty, a home has to be swept, mopped, and dusted every day just to keep it clean. We, along with all the other missionaries we know in Haiti, believe that we are being better stewards of the resources given to us if we are spending the majority of our time ministering to the people rather than spending all of our time keeping our house clean. It really is a full-time job just to keep a house clean in Haiti. So, we will follow suit, not offend the culture, and get a maid once we get our place. Many missionary women also use it as a way to form a good discipleship relationship. Because when you hire an individual woman to be your maid, you get their entire family that soon becomes part of your life for better or for worse)
Back to the funny story: Yesterday, we originally told the maid (Cecil) here that she did not need to clean our apartment because of the fact that we were unaware of all that I just described above. After learning the importance of what I described above, I decided that I would ask the maid if she would in fact clean our apartment the following day.
She speaks very little English, and I am always trying to speak Creole so that I can learn, so I went up to her in the kitchen where she was washing dishes, and I leaned my hand against the big thermos that was sitting there, and I asked her in Creole if she would clean our apartment tomorrow. She agreed and so I thought that everything was all set and that she understood my spectacular Creole.
Well, apparently my Creole is not quite as spectacular as I thought because our apartment was not cleaned today when we got back. But what was cleaned spotlessly and placed on the table for us to see was the big thermos that was in the kitchen that I had leaned my hand on when I was asking her to clean the apartment.
Needless to say, I still need to work on my Creole. Map apwan…Map apwan (I’m learning…I’m learning) – Cody