Sunday, July 18, 2010

Americans + church + extra seating outdoors

This morning we visited an English-speaking church in Port au Prince. Being our first time there, we drove around in a few circles before we actually found the place. When we arrived, almost half an hour late, the only seats available were outside the church building on some extra chairs that had been set out.

This was fine by me, the girl who can't sit still, so who has a history of volunteering to do refreshments on my very first Sunday in a new church.

Even so, I felt like I was the calmer and more well-behaved of the folk outside. I don't really know, but I got the impression that most of the other latecomers were short-term visitors in Haiti, maybe part of a week-long volunteer mission of some sort. What I do know is that they had made sure that they were utterly self-sufficient and safe from any hint of boredom.

The first thing I saw were a man and a woman with cameras. Not just cameras, but the big professional type cameras. The woman's camera was complete with one of those ultra-optical-major-zoom lenses that is almost a foot long. (And she was really skinny so the camera dwarfed her even more.) Whenever children appeared, she'd pick her hyper-lens and start snap-snap-snap-snapping. She captured two girls playing with each other, a baby sleeping, a father with son, and who knows what else.

Then she reached into her purse and pulled out a granola bar. She ripped half off and scarfed it down, folding the wrapper on the other half and putting it back away.

Just a moment after that I noticed the woman three people down from her pick up her brand-name-outdoors-company water bottle and take a few swigs. It was decorated with a map of the world, so it kept me entertained for a few moments...

...until the woman next to her drew my attention away by picking up her own designer water bottle. It was lime-green with a flip top. She unscrewed the top and held it awkwardly with the same hand as held the bottle. With her free hand she reached into her purse and pulled out a little packet of some powder. With difficulty as she juggled all these items on her lap, she ripped the packet open and dumped the contents into her bottle. Then she screwed the lid back on and gave it a shake. Looking into the bottle and deciding the powder was adequately dissolved, she took a sip and put it all down on the ground.

I was about to comment to my friend, who was sitting next to me, about this liberal behaviour when she too pulled out a granola bar and started eating. I guess this is just what happens when Americans go to church and are relegated to the outdoor seating. And distractions or no distractions, it was a rather good worship service!

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