Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bito's Bench

When my wife got here, she had this need, this inner urge, this pull, for us to have a bench.
So, one day when a man from the mountain came down the path with rough lumber and leaned the boards up next to our house, I took it as a sign.   Me and Rough Lumber have a history, you know.

Bito, a man who lives 2 doors down, is a boatworker and a carpenter.
When I asked him how much it would cost to build me a bench, he just smiled.
"I've got no problem with you." He said, "You gave me a Bible, I will build the bench for free."
I gave Benson the money to buy the lumber, and right away that night I could hear Bito's hand saw and hammer.   It was a Sunday night, and he'd gone to work on the project straight away.

A week later, there was our bench, and we thanked Bito for his work.  We payed him regardless for his effort.   He's a kind man.  Such a hard worker.

We tried the bench in several spots, and nothing seemed to fit just right, until just the other day.
I'd taken the bench outside the front gate and was talking with Benson and Tikilene.
"It just doesn't feel right having it here.  Maybe across the road.  That seems better." I said.
Without another thought, Tikilene walked up the hill to the neighbors and asked if they'd mind having the bench on their side of the road.
They smiled down at us and gave us the ok, and so we moved it.

I didn't understand why my wife needed a bench.  I don't know that she did either.  She just knew it would be filled up.   She was right.

We call it Bito's Bench for Everyone, or Ban Bito pou Tout Moun.   Every day we take it out and place it on the side of the road.  Beaming expecting mothers, a variety of giddy school children, teenagers, elderly sages of the community, and passerby's on their way to market all find respite in the nice shade.  It's a good place to shoot the breeze. Benson inscribed a greeting above that reads, "Have a Sit".
We try to only speak Creole when we sit there, it's the only requirement.

The purpose for some projects just can't be seen from this side of things, but now and then God gives us a glimpse through the clouds into His clarity.  Some projects are so simple and basic, they only require a little bit of love to kickstart them into being, but the finished work can move mountains.

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