Couple returns from visit to Haiti

Ted and Ynske Kaemingh have returned from their Discovery Tour of Haiti, where they were part of a team of five plus the tour guide.
Their agenda included hearing the story of Haiti’s history from a picturesque mountaintop setting, a tour of Port-au-Prince (home to two million people), a day spent with a deacon and his/her family, a three-day trek to the countryside, and a visit to a literacy class.
There also was time to get to know missionaries and attend a lunch at a Haitian Christian Reformed Church.
The couple took along a large suitcase packed with brand new shoes. Thanks to Cathy Sinninghe for purchasing them and also to our deacons for supporting a needy cause.
“We were a group of six, one of which was a lady who had worked in Haiti for seven years as a nurse 15 years ago and could speak the language fluently, which was indeed a great help sometimes to us,” the Kaeminghs said.
Upon arrival, the couple was greeted by CRC staff, who took them to the guest house where they stayed for 10 days. St. Joseph’s is a home for 20 homeless boys and taking in guests helps to provide for them.
They cheerfully welcomed the guests by singing a few songs and giving a bouquet of flowers.
“Our morning would start with breakfast at seven,” the Kaeminghs said, though adding the rosters already had been crowing since 4 a.m. A devotion took place, sometimes with one of the CRC’s staff.
The first day was spent touring Port O’ Prince.
“A real eye-opener was to the living conditions where most everyone lives on the street from early to late night,” the couple said. “The traffic and street conditions, garbage, and poverty are very hard to describe in writing.”
During an evening in a CRC chapel, the Kaeminghs were able to witness the Lord’s Last Supper in the upper room being portrayed by the 12 disciples and Jesus (missionary Mark VanderWees being one of the disciples).
The Kaeminghs, along with an interpreter, also were able to spend a day with a Haitian Christian family—a young couple just married.
“We were taken first to buy food for the meal, a good 15-minute walk up and down stairs, through broken sidewalk, mud. This is a daily walk all people do,” they noted.
It took three-and-a-half hours to fix the meal, with cooking done on a small wood fire in an open pit (there was no stove, fridge, or water). The kitchen was an 8×8 room with a tin roof, and no windows or door.
The other room was the same, which included a table, four chairs, and a cabinet for kitchen supplies. The rest was kept under the bed.
“The hostess prayed when we arrived and a prayer was said again by a guest who had been invited to this meal,” the Kaeminghs recalled.
On a Sunday, the Kaeminghs attended a Haitian Christian church, an hour’s drive out in the country, where Creole was the language. Choirs already had started when they arrived and altogether the church service was about three hours long.
“It was packed with people and hot. [But] the people are very alive and love to sing,” noted the Kaeminghs.
“To get a better understanding on how the CRC mission is going in Haiti, there are church articles/magazines circulated that say it all,” the couple noted.
Haiti is an exotically beautiful country. Lush tropical flora is still much in evidence, if no longer thoroughly covering its mountainous terrain. The climate, though humid, is inviting.
The Haitians the Kaeminghs met whether educated and well-off, but even poor slum-dwellers were unfailingly polite and quick to smile.