We are in Jacmel now, Caye Jacmel, to be precise.  This is a place of beaches and hotels.  We are staying at a fabulous place that is less than a ten minute walk from one of our partner churches.  The beach is beautiful, resort worthy even.  We have enjoyed the sun and surf and taken some time to get to know each other.  Tito has taken up a soccer game with the kids on the beach. 

The kids on the beach are mostly young salespeople.  They hang around near us with the assumption that we will buy their wares.  We probably will, but not today because we are here for a few days yet.

The trip across starts in the usual Port au Prince traffic.  We leave at 7 am, but it is Saturday and it seems that everyone is on the street at the sidewalk market vendors.  At times all five of us are taking video at the same time as we are amazed by all the people walking or selling or driving (and honking).

Our participation in the market was to buy some sugarcane to eat…or rather to suck the juice out of it.  It starts as a branch and a machete wielding salesman reduces it to a chewable delight.

A couple things are rather overwhelming – even if you have seen them before.  First is the pushiness of those who are vending.  If we ask Gregory “what is that?” and point, someone is sure to come to the window.  At the beach young boys never miss an opportunity to offer us their wares.  It feels rude to say no, but at the same time we cannot purchase everything.

The second uncomfortable thing is seeing the garbage everywhere.  Plastic bottles and Styrofoam take-out boxes are on the ground everywhere, even at the top of the mountains.  And our beautiful beach also has lots of litter.

Maybe there are a few other uncomfortable things.  The dogs here, and a few other animals, feed on the garbage and are generally rather scrawny and sickly looking.  And the driving, while well handled by Gregory, includes sitting on a small bench facing sideways, regularly feeling like a crash is imminent, and plenty of hairpin turns on mountain roads.  The views are incredible.  The people, culture and life on the streets are fascinating.  The countryside and mountainsides are breathtaking.  The beach, in case I forgot to mention it, is worthy of a resort.

Tomorrow we get busy with a worship service at 8 am.  We are good with the early start as we guys are expected to be in pants, shirts and ties.  Then we begin meeting our partner communities.  We seek your prayers as we seek to listen and learn.  We are grateful for time to ease into our surroundings even as we anticipate delving into deep and possibly difficult discussions.