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The quest to vote…or just another long weekend

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By Emily Lovely

So how was your weekend? Relaxing, I hope. And me? Well, l’m going to need to start this story back on Friday. Benis was on his way home from Children’s Lifeline in Arcahaie, a mission that has worked for decades to improve the lives of children living Haiti. A large mission team from California was staying at Lifeline, working on constructing an orphanage and  putting on a Vacation Bible School for the children of the surrounding areas.  When Dominique and I were in the States, we were able to meet up with members of the team and talked with them about the possibility of coming to Mapou.  Their schedule was tight, but they were going to try to fit in a one-day trip on Sunday to come over to La Gonave.

So on Friday after school, we all began cleaning up Downtown Mapou for our guests. It was then we found out that the plans had changed a little. Benis is obviously a very persuasive person, because the team instead decided to come for two days. We were all very excited to see the team from the States again — me especially because one of the team members was bringing my absentee ballot to fill out for the upcoming election.

The team arrived mid-day Saturday, exhausted from the journey to our tiny little village on top of a mountain. I didn’t want to immediately bust out and say, “Where’s my ballot?” when it looked like several of them were ready to pass out on their beds. I held back until after Praise Team practice at the church. That was when I learned the devastating news…my ballot had  been forgotten back at Lifeline on the mainland. I was not going to be defeated by a minor setback, so then plotting began to unite me with my ballot.

Meanwhile, the California team was an absolute blast to have. Their special ministry is puppetry and they put on a mini-VBS for our church on Sunday night. Both parents and children were absolutely spellbound watching the puppets dance, sing, and cut up. One puppeteer in particular, David, had a puppet friend named Roger who enchanted one and all with his antics. The puppets sang in Creole and English, engaging the audience with motions that went along with the songs. A singing/shouting contest of “Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah” and “Praise Ye the Lord” was waged between the adults and kids. The kids, of course, won.

Puppet Show – “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”

That evening after the service, Dominique, Elly, and I got our own personal lesson on puppetry. As a gift, the team was leaving two puppets behind with us to start up our own puppet ministry. Roger was now the newest inhabitant of Mapou.

The next morning, the California team woke up before dawn to make the trip back down the mountain and over to the mainland. Now, here’s where my quest to vote picks up steam. I also woke up at 4:30 a.m. and traveled with the team to meet my absentee ballot which was being brought to the port for me. 

Four hours later under the shade of a tree with crabs crisscrossing in front of me, I sat on a plastic chair near the dock filling in all the bubbles completely. So, all in all, my journey down the mountain, across the gulf on a sailboat, and back again took about 9 hours. It was exhausting, but I got my absentee ballot and filled it out. It is now securely signed/sealed with postage attached, and it is safely in the possession of one of the mission team members who is flying home to the States tomorrow. No one can claim I  did not do my civic duty. So, no excuses, GO VOTE!

Emily Lovely is a graduate of Bronson High School, and a teacher at Williston High School. She took a year's leave of absence, in order to serve the people of Haiti.