Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bearded Tony

The mission field is an interesting place. New cultures, new languages, new foods, new friends.

One of the things I have really enjoyed is becoming friends with people who might not have normally crossed my path in the states. Take, for example, the case of my good friend Tony.
 Tony is fiercely proud of his Russian heritage. Incredibly intelligent. Very missional. And his beard is...

Tony came to QCS a semester before Katie and I and loves to walk everywhere. This is an admirable trait once you realize that to go or come back from someplace you HAVE to walk uphill. And when I say hill I mean mountain.

Walking anywhere with Tony you immediately fade to the background. Why? Because Haitians love Tony's beard. Walk on the street with him and you hear many things.

OOO blan. Haha (while stroking chin)
Bob! Bob! (which means beard in Kreyol) while stroking chin.
Jezi! Hahaha Jezi! (Jesus)
Moises! or, my personal favorite: Osama!

Yep, that is right- Haitians think Tony looks like Jesus, Moses or, to the more well-read-on-current-events-Haitian-street-vendor, Osama Bin Laden.

They stare, they point, they laugh. I love it. Once someone was heckling him as we were walking to the store, calling him Jesus, and I politely told them, "Pa Jezi, li Moises!" He is not Jesus, He is Moses. The Haitian and I cracked up. Tony glared and thanked me for egging them on.

The point of all of this is that going anywhere with Tony is an adventure. Today we went to St. James Episcopal Church where Tony was delivering the homily. This involved a tap-tap ride at 7:30 in the morning. Then a half of a mile walk through a crowded marketplace uphill(mountian) at about a 30 degree incline. All the while, everyone shouting which religious figure they think he looks like.... except one guy.

One guy says (in creole) "Good Morning, handsome youth".

Tony, normally unfazed on the street, does a double-take, translates for me, and we start walking a bit faster.

That is why I like hanging out with Tony- his environment is completely unpredictable. That, and we both enjoy taking our "anti-malaria" medicine..


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