Two weekends ago we were able to take an extended weekend for a short family getaway to the beach. Those of you who have come to Haiti with an RMI team are very familiar with the RMI Retreat Center in Zanglais. Since we have access to a beautiful place right on the beach, we decided to stay there Saturday thru Monday. Those of you who are not familiar with the retreat center, I’m sorry, we mostly took beach pictures and didn’t take any while we were at the retreat center itself. There will be a next time for sure :)
The retreat center is where we take our teams, usually to stay for one or two nights at the end of their trip here. It is a beautiful location to wind down from the intense experience of a visit to a sister church. We’ve always been there when RMI’s Haitian staff has been there to cook/clean for the team. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a relaxing trip or if the kids would be bored so we decided to stay for 2 nights this first time.
Zanglais is about 45 minutes from where we live in Cayes. I would say the retreat center is a step above camping. There is no electricity, so we had to purchase gas to run the generator in the evenings, mostly for lights and fans. It took a bit of planning as well. We have to take our own drinking water, ice and food. The nice part is there are real beds with linens and bathrooms with showers and running water and a fully equipped kitchen. And the view is spectacular! These are the only pics I took there. Gives you a tiny idea of the view.
The boys set their chairs up in the kitchen to overlook the Caribbean.
All the planning and packing aside, we had such a great time as a family. We spent each day at the beach. Rob had big plans to build sand sculptures with the kids. Day one was “Sandy the Sandman”
Day two was a dinosaur
Here are a few other beach pics, just cause we had so much fun.
Going to the beach isn’t always relaxing here. A bunch of blan making sand sculptures and with a bunch of beach toys can draw quite a crowd! Usually by the end of each day, we’d leave behind 20+ Haitian kids that were playing with us, the kids, our toys, or just hanging around. The good thing is it starts out as just a few kids and they trickle in here and there, so it’s not totally overwhelming the whole time. In the States, we have a different idea of personal space then they do here. In the US at the beach, a kid or two might come play with your kids, but you kind of leave people to themselves. Not here. Haitians love people, and kids especially like to be where they feel loved. So as much as I wanted to go to the beach to be left alone, I quickly realized that was not going to happen! We just rolled with it. We are in Haiti after all, not the US! It was kind of funny actually. You’d look down the beach in either direction and there wouldn’t be anyone. But where we were, there were a whole lot!
My sister saw this picture and joked that it looked like we were having a bible lesson on the beach or something! Haha! Nope, the kids just liked hanging out where we were!
When we weren’t at the beach, we were at the retreat center eating or playing games. The kids had balls and out door toys and coloring books and crayons. One evening I made pizza and we had pizza/movie night on Rob’s computer in the gazebo on a cliff that overlooks the Caribbean. We continued our tradition of each telling stories for bedtime, instead of reading books. After the kids were in bed, Rob and I had a fun time playing games, like Sequence and Take One.
It’s been a hard 4+ months. The work we are here to do, combined with language learning, is tiring. Transition to a new culture and way of life is intense. Living where we do, it’s easy to forget that we live on a Caribbean island! We had a great time and look forward to being able to do it again. It was a really fun weekend for our family.