Church and Soccer
By Samira Sayad
Today started early by getting up at 6 am and leaving the guest house about 6:45 am to go to church. When we got there, we entered from the front, behind the alter. We got quite a few stares, as we are used to by now having been in Haiti for 5 days now. We sat at the front off to the side where we got a pretty good feel and view of what a Haitian church service is like. It was absolutely amazing how energetic and passionate they are to be there at 7 am to worship Jesus. They were all in their Sunday best and so awake, so alive, and so happy to be there. Despite the hard times they have faced (especially in the past 2 years since the earthquake), they are as happy as ever to be alive to serve and praise their God. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to be apart of this congregation this morning. After the service, quite a few Haitians were excited to come by us and say hello (“Bonjou” in Creole). There was one thing that amazed me. All our days here so far, we get stare after stare. This is not just a quick stare, but a dead stare for minute after minute (mainly as long as we are in their view). In a way, it feels like we’re part of a circus, and we’re the elephant balancing on one foot and jumping through fire rings. But this morning was different. Even though people naturally looked at us as we walked into service (late), this morning,the people were so focused on their service and there time with God that we didn’t get straight, dead stares the whole time. It impressed upon me how much their time with God meant to them; they took their eyes off of the “rich, white Americans” and focus on what was at hand this morning because it means so much to them.
We arrived back at the guest house about 9 am and had free time until 3:30 where we were able to rest, go on a hike, journal, etc. We then left to go to a soccer game! The game was two to three hours longs and was between the two best Haitian soccer team that were playing to go to represent Haiti in the next round which was “The Caribbeans” (one team from each Caribbean country competes). We’ve toured the city, helped at orphanages, had little history lessons, but never have we experienced real fun-time Haitian futbol. This was such an exciting, new way for us to experience Haiti. Some surprising things we discovered at the game is that the Haitian fans weren’t decked out in both the teams colors (orange/white & green/yellow), unlike in America where we always wear our supporting teams’ colors. They also didn’t have stands for the fans to sit in either. They had the field roped off to where the fans either stood right at the roped off lines or up on roofs within the soccer field stadium, in trees, or even out of the gated area of the soccer field in surrounding buildings, balconies, or roofs. People definitely found a way to watch the game! Neither team made a point until The Americas (the team we were voting for from the south) made one after half time, and the crowd went wild!!! The band started playing and everyone cheering and dancing. Another surprising thing we noticed was during half time, we had male and female cheerleaders performing, which we’ve never seen back home in a soccer game. In the end, The Americas won!!! 2-0 It was an exciting victory and all the fans and the band came out playing onto the field. After a while, people started dispersing out of the stadium, and we took a picture on the field with our Centenary sign (:
We then went back to the guest house where we ate a wonderful dinner and had debriefing where we talked about our day, as we do every night. Today’s experiences were so amazing!