On a mountain top on the Northern Coast of Haiti stands a mighty fortress — the Citadelle Laferrière. It is the largest fortress in the Americas, built in the early 1800’s by Haitian leader Henri Christophe. Quite the imposing site it is, with large thick walls, and with many cannonballs and cannons there still.
That mighty citadel reminds me of a mightier fortress still, the mightiest one of all. A fortress that will never become obsolete.
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. ” Psalm 18:2
Last week I had the privilege of seeing a short-term missions team at work here in Cap Haitien, Haiti. They were busy at the same P4H Global training center where I teach English. One of their duties was to teach children about the Bible. As they were busy with the kids, I noticed that children in Haiti, like children everywhere, have a look that can make an adult soften up and wish someone blessing upon blessing. Here’s what some of those children looked like.
I arrived this Monday morning at work at around eight. I felt a responsibility to brew a pot of coffee because, I thought, if I don’t do it, who will? When the boss comes in this morning, will he not want the smell and taste of fresh coffee to be there waiting for him so that he can find through it the energy to wake up and be alive for the rest of the day? Will not some of my coworkers be thankful to know that someone cared for them enough to make a pot of this caffeine-laden somewhat bitter drink? No. I made the pot of coffee for myself, for others too, but mostly for myself.
So why do I like so much drinking something made of seeds that look like beans which are first roasted and then ground before combining with water and sometimes also with milk to make an acid brown or black drink? Why would I consistently drink that sort of thing especially knowing it’s not healthy? I don’t know.
Dear Coffee Diary:
This Tuesday morning I again started my day at work by brewing a pot of coffee. And along with some of that coffee, I had an apple and candy for breakfast. The dark drink has caffeine — that’s bad; and the candy has lots of sugar — that’s also bad. But the apple, well, who would dare say something negative about the nutritional value of an apple? So as it turns out, eating a bit of wholesome fruit made me feel justified in consuming some not-so-good-for-your-health breakfast elements, including coffee.
So if I’m a person who tries to stay in shape physically and encourage others to do likewise, then am I being a bad example to some of my friends by drinking so much coffee in front of them? Well … yes.
Dear Coffee Diary:
This Wednesday morning I had my coffee like I always seem to weekday mornings. However, I was also careful to drink water and not drink as much coffee as I normally would. Why water and not so much coffee? Well, this afternoon I was to go for a walk, and it was a long walk as I spent about five hours away from home with most of that time walking. Anyway, I knew that water hydrates the body and that caffeine drinks can dehydrate the body. And since I needed hydration for that long walk, I cut down on coffee this morning.
I know I would have been better off to not drink coffee at all today and to drink only water, but I am still proud that I controlled my coffee drinking at least a little. How did my body feel after that long walk? Like a rusty piece of machinery. The feeling was a reminder that I am no great athlete and that I am not so young anymore. Could my coffee drinking be contributing to my starting to feel old? I don’t know. But as much as coffee may have a momentary calming effect on me, I know it doesn’t make me feel young.
Dear Coffee Diary:
With my morning coffee this Thursday I noticed my brewed drink smelled and tasted good and helped me feel awake. Drinking that acid dark stuff seemed like a fine way to start the day. And I thought if I can slowly cut down coffee intake till I only have one cup in the morning and no more for the rest of the day, then I will feel satisfied that my coffee drinking is not such a bad habit anymore.
I also took comfort today in knowing that consuming coffee is a not such a bad drink-related habit compared to alcoholism. And if I drink five cups of coffee a day, would I be worse off than someone who drinks ten cans of soda pop a day? Today’s civilized society has such a large selection of chemically-charged, bad-for-your-health and hard-on-your-stomach drinks that no one can logically single out coffee as the only non-alcoholic beverage that is unhealthy.
So if many other drinks besides coffee are unwholesome, does that justify my drinking as much coffee as I do? Of course not.
Dear Coffee Diary:
This Friday I want to dedicate this bad poem to the dark, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet drink that a great number of Americans start their day with.
Haitian Creole is the language of the Haitian people. It is a French-based creole language. And besides French, many other languages influenced Haitian Creole, including English, Spanish, and some Western African languages.
In Haiti, I am a teacher of the English language. But I am also a language learner as I attempt to become versed in Haitian Creole. At the moment, I feel about 4 percent of the way there, so I know I will need patience with this endeavor.
Here is a video from a P4H Global leader I work for. The video is a great introduction to Haitian Creole — for those adventurous enough to try it.