Yes, 2022 has finally arrived. Happy New Year! In Haitian Kreyol we say, "Bon anne!" In the US we tend to associate the new year with new goals, resolutions, vision... It's a time to jump-start life. We leave the past behind, learn from it, and start over again - hoping for an even better year.
In Haiti, we celebrate Independence Day on January 1st. We remember the bondage of those who came from Africa and were forced into hard labor in what had become a French colony - the wealthiest of the French colonies, at that. The French slave owners rarely had compassion for their slaves. Eventually, the slaves had enough and they revolted. On January 1st, 1804 they declared their independence from France.
The traditional way of celebrating this national holiday is to make and partake of "soup joumou" - pumpkin (or squash) soup. The culinary history of this soup finds its origin in France. Sure enough, the French enjoyed eating it in Haiti, too. The slaves, who actually cooked the soup, were not allowed the luxury of eating such a dish. As a result of defeating the French, the liberated slaves took great pleasure in indulging in this "forbidden fruit".
218 years later, the tradition is alive and well. New Year's Eve Day open markets are a busy place, as the search for beef bones, pumpkin, leafy greens, root vegetables, pasta, and a variety of herbs and spices is in full swing. In many households, the mother stays up all night making soup, and families gather early in the morning to relish the indulgence. A little later, young people get dressed up and go visit their other relatives and god-parents, hoping for another bowl.
We celebrated Independence Day this week with the babies in the feeding program. The staff enjoyed making the soup and sharing history with these little ones. We also gave out bags of dry food for their families to enjoy at home.
The church in Thozin continued their revival meetings right into the new year! There were times of prayer, preaching, deep worship, times of lively praise, and even fun times of rejoicing in the Lord's presence.
For all those beginning the new year with pain, sickness, and sorrow. My heart goes out to you and I am praying for you and your loved ones. The calendar doesn't dictate our physical and emotional states of being. I'm grateful for our medical and dental staff in Haiti who work so hard to bring relief from pain and instill hope in hurting people.
Wonderful service this morning at the Thozin campus!
This is my prayer for 2022. Will you make it yours, as well?