Published June 2013.
As my school year winds down, the prep work begins for my trip to Haiti. I will finish up work on Monday, June 10th…and will be boarding a flight to Port au Prince the following morning…LIFE IS FULL! (Good thing my sweet college girlie moved home…she even cooked dinner for us tonight!)
In preparation for this next adventure, accommodations have been made, an agenda outlined, sports equipment donated, conversations have been had with staff on site…and the anticipation of returning is filling my heart!
As with previous trips, I am going to LEARN…to share a little love with my Haitian pals…to encourage the teachers and staff…to seek continued partnerships with the work being done on a daily basis. My daughter Bree will be joining me again this time…as well as her boyfriend Kyle! Yea Team!
But on this trip…I ALSO get to share the joy of introducing two adopting moms to their sons! My friend Doreen…of the Haroldson family (read their story here)…will be meeting sweet Stanley for the first time. And my other pal Ann…of the Pearcy family (read their story here)…will be meeting dear Davensly for the first time. Their decisions to choose adoption began nearly a year ago when the Haroldsons started considering the possibility. They have experienced all sorts of crazy emotions already in this process with many obstacles along the way…and yet they TRUST and SEEK God’s will.
We held our Planning Meeting on Sunday…preparing the logistics, packing list and agenda…
And on Monday, those two families received news that their dossiers had been accepted into IBESR (Institut du BienEtre Social et de Recherches) essentially Haiti’s Social Services – responsible for approving international adoptions. This is great news! It is another step along the journey. Yea God!
next haitian adventure.
For many of you, my adventures to Haiti are well-known. Others may have heard bits and pieces along the way. So allow me to share this next adventure..with a brief summary of how it all began…it would take hours to share ALL of the incredible connections that God has woven in to our lives.
Back in 2005, my sis and her husband began their journey of adoption, adding sweet Eli into the family in the summer of ’06…
The Schlecht family continued a relationship with the orphanage that had raised Eli during his first year and a half of life…bringing bunk beds, a TV, adding a playground to their space…and supporting the work of “A New Arrival Orphanage.” During that time, JP entered their lives…and their hearts…and joined their family following the devastating earthquake of 2010…
These sweet nephews were meant to be part of the family…and our lives are richer because of their addition!
As I watched my sis’s heart reach out to expand her family, I felt a tug on my own to do something too…not really sure what that would be…yet waiting on God to mold me and shape me and direct my next steps…and so, when a chaplain at a Bethel University Mega Rally encouraged us to do something radical, I felt called to simply spend time in Haiti, living and loving and seeing where it may lead.
That first summer was spent teaching an English class for nearly a month and living at the orphanage, building relationships with the boys and staff, as my daughter and I grew to love the nation of Haiti…I have had the opportunity to return twice since that initial trip to follow up with the orphanage/school program and to provide teacher training…such a blessing in the development of the non-profit work of Kozefò.
And still the adventure continues…through various connections with girls in my senior high small group…friends at church…and the divine intervention of God…the last two boys living in the orphanage without families are being adopted by my good friends the Haroldsons and Pearcys (click on their names to be connected to their personal blogs.) The dossiers have been accepted by IBESR and now they continue to wait.
On Tuesday morning…I will be heading back to Port au Prince…with my daughter, her boyfriend, Doreen Haroldson and Ann Pearcy…to meet their sons…and to learn more about organizations working in Haiti committed to caring for God’s people…through education…through empowering families.
I am walking patiently, as I determine next steps in my involvement on this beautiful island.
We will visit the following sites…
One step at a time, one day at a time…we are trusting God’s plan…seeking to do His work.
place to be real.
Thank you for allowing me to use this space to be real…to share my thinking….to process my thoughts.
Hours were spent in flights, layovers and mechanical delays today, with plenty of time to think and ponder.
Just this week, my little sis’s family encountered a bit of racism towards their family-it is unclear whether the intentions were mean and hateful or the ignorance of adolescence…nevertheless, it was wrong and hurtful. The injustices that I see in this world occur more frequently that I care to count…the unfairness of decisions made…the incredible separation of the perceived “haves” and “have nots’ and the judgment.
As I was preparing for this trip to Haiti, so many people responded saying, “Oh, what a great thing you are doing…yada yada yada…” Little do they know that I selfishly find the need to take this trip for me….to seek perspective…to grow..to step away for a bit.
There is a need to detox-from job stress, negativity, insecurity, materialism, issues of equity…
In fact, I feel as though I am arriving with wwaaaaayyyyy more questions than any answers today. It is not really about what I am doing this week…but how God may be prompting me…how am I living my life?
I have a couple of great books packed, my ipod is filled with inspiring songs(I Saw What I Saw by Sara Groves, Slow Me Down by Robbie Seay Band, Beautiful Things by Gungor and Wake Up by All Sons and Daughters), and my travel partners are AWESOME! Tomorrow we will see the boys….awwwwww.
The anticipation for this trip created excitement, wonderings, hoping that all will go well. On previous trips, I have only been responsible for myself…comfortable to roll with whatever each day brought. And on this trip, as I set the agenda for the day, attempting to share the joy I feel for this special little island and it’s people…so many questions bounced around in this silly mind of mine…
Will the school kids remember Breelynn and me? Oh yes!
Will there be learning in the school? Oh yes!
Will I connect with the teachers? Oh yes!
Will there be new adventures? Oh yes!
Will the boys and moms begin to bond? Oh yes!
confessions of a school teacher.
As an educator for the past 20 years, I have probably spent over 30,000 hours in classrooms…teaching, observing, training. I have sat in workshops learning about the “latest initiatives and how to implement them with fidelity and a high degree of rigor.” (Any of my fellow teacher pals reading this, know what I am talking about!) I am a natural teacher-geek that still gets pretty excited about creative strategies and techniques to increase student engagement. And yet I can get caught up in the negativity that often occurs in teacher lounges and Friday eve happy hours…frustrated with the politics of it all. Whining with my colleagues about what I think I need…or wish I had…or all of things that seem too difficult to solve…
So today, as we toured classrooms in Williamson and Luly, I am humbled. I saw patient, positive teachers with smiles and children eager to learn. We were welcomed in their spaces to hear singing and greet the students. I am certain the teachers must walk a distance in the hot sun to arrive each day. They are expected to wear uniforms and work in conditions that are meagerly supplied. There are classrooms supporting two classes…open areas for multiple classrooms. Technology is not available…and the seating is limited. And I am pretty sure that the pay is not really that great.
As I met with teachers in our primary classes yesterday to discuss the possibility of closing down the school due to lack of funding, they pleaded their cause that we must go on…”our children are learning!” The reading has improved and the students can now have conversations about what they read. Mme. Roselaure and Mme. Alta Gracia requested another teacher seminar-this next one about math or science.
I feel so encouraged…and so inspired.
Take a look…
Following our time visiting classrooms, we treated the boys from the orphanage to a fabulous field trip to the beach!
p.s. If education administration in the US is looking forways to save a few bucks on the cost of transportation, it may be an option to consider additional seating on TOP of the bus!
peace and joy.
In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, it is such a blessing to experience a little peace and joy. That is where I was today. Feeling a sense of appreciation for the work that is being done in Haiti by incredibly passionate humble folks…lingering in the joy on the faces of children…giggling in the backseat of a pickup truck with some of my favorite peeps (we are truly bonded for life after sitting so snugly with our slippery sweaty skin!)
I arrived here days ago with many questions, much uncertainty…and although I still seek direction and truth, I am feeling a peace that only comes from trusting that God knows what is next…and I LOVE when he gives me little sneak peeks of possibility.
Again, I will allow the pics to speak for themselves…
savoring the incredible beauty of a mountaintop view of Port au Prince…
…soaking in the sweet faces…
…loving the FUN moments shared via technology…”Facebook Video” for Stanley to meet his dad and sisters back home!
My head is spinning with possibilities…hope…anticipation…
and my heart is overflowing with a lotta love tonight.
***Check out these blogs of my pals to read about their perspectives…
Doreen at Waiting-Four 2 Five!
Ann at Pearcy Zone D
and Bree at Heart for Haiti
hospitality and farewells.
We spent a beautiful day in the mountains, thanks to the incredible hospitality of the Cayo family. The orphanage director, Rock, took us to his sister Danie’s home today. Following a jaunt through the earthquake damaged downtown area, we traveled up rugged roads, with an amazing view of the sea, into lush green tropics….and I was observing this all as I bounced around in the bed of the pick-up! (Don’t be jealous Sis!)
It was such a fabulous way to spend our last full day here, relaxing and enjoying a meal with Rock’s family…that made us feel like family! There was crispy chicken (homegrown by Rock) and fried plantains with pikliz…served on a table outdoors. We shared language lessons…English to Creole and vice versa…and many giggles over our attempts. The cook in me was fascinated by the coffee, mango, banana, and passion fruit trees…as well as the techniques and spices used for making our dinner! Rock and I had great conversations about what it will take to keep our school running…so it was wonderful to dream and plan…so now we pray. [For those of you interested in supporting our school, PLEASE let me know! We have big plans and will need a mighty BIG village to gather around this effort. It will be a blessing to partner and keep these sweet classrooms rolling!]
The mamas and boys savored their time together and said farewell for now…please be praying for the process to flow smoothly…for the time between now and then to go quickly for all.