Posts tagged #2015

june 2015 visit.

Published June 2015.

when in haiti.

Our fabulous team of 23 arrived in Port Au Prince today…complete with an extra swing through the customs line to verify that the contents in our boxes were indeed school supplies.  Pastor Ernso of Eucalyptus Village greeted us at the airport and transported us through the streets to his sweet oasis of a guest house…via TAP TAPs! With the luggage piled in the back of a truck. Nothing like jumping right in as a local.

Looking forward to a relaxing evening…with plans to start working tomorrow…projects at the school – painting, building, prepping for the computer lab…time with Rock, Nahomie and Rosita!

Agenda for the week:

  • Saturday – work day – dinner at Pizza Amour
  • Sunday – church with Pastor Ernso – PAP tour to include Laboule 12
  • Monday – VBS/Day Camp – English Institute
  • Tuesday – VBS/Day Camp – The Apparent Project – Epi’dor
  • Wednesday – VBS/Day Camp – Wahoo Bay
  • Thursday – Year-End SPEKTAK at the school
  • Friday – depart

Orevwa! Bondye beni ou.

wants vs needs.

I live in a time and place that I am not even certain that I have ever really had to worry about my “needs.” I have shelter, water and food. Bills can be paid on time. There is money left over to do things for pleasure – to shop, dine out, travel. I really wonder if I have ever had to face a real NEED in my life?

The past few days in Haiti have been filled to overflowing with moments that I long to share – a sweet work day at the school, with building, painting and organizing…a neighborhood walk into the homes of three students that offered us a very small glimpse of the lives that they lead once they leave school each day…worship services that were packed with people and full of the holy spirit…energy filled days with the students – singing, dancing, playing, learning, making music together, jumping rope…English Institute lessons between Americans and Haitians – medal award ceremonies in our honor (a story for another time.) And.So.Much.More!

Yet the piece that has me awake tonight, sitting on the balcony to write this at 3 am…is the conflict between needs and wants. Wifi has been sketchy to non-existent this week. The 23 of us are staying at a lovely guest house, along with another group of 10 or so from southern California, and a couple from Spokane. I am pretty sure that we have maxed out the generator, as the electricity has been flashing on and off for the past 30+ minutes – just trying to get going. And I am not certain how long it has been since the city power has been turned on here.

For us, the inconvenience of limited electricity and wifi, impact the fans and AC that keep us cool at night…and the ability to hop on the internet or iMessaging to connect with family and friends back home. Needs or wants?

For some of our students, they have left the family they know and love, to move from the countryside to live in the city with a relative in order to have opportunities for a “better life.” Not sure how often, or if they have the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones. In the homes we visited, I did not see beds. I can only guess what the sleeping arrangements may be each night. Fans? Nope. AC-certainly not. The foods or drinks we may crave from our normal routine – clearly “wants”…as there are many, many individuals in this place and throughout the world, desperate for a meal.

I have no answers. I can only reflect. And hope that through life’s circumstances, we can pause long enough and regularly enough to encounter the abundance of blessings in our lives…to seek contentment…to share with others…to keep our eyes open…to seek joy.

So, for now, I will crawl back in bed – generator power has been restored – and I will pray for the sweet little faces waiting for us tomorrow. And I will pray for my own strength and patience and peace.

(photo snapped by a young student during the English Institute “medal ceremony”)

(photo snapped by a young student during the English Institute “medal ceremony”)

(Sweet Lovena – one of our darling students – Lovena’s mother died in March 2013, so her father has sent her to live with her aunt and one cousin.  Her seven sisters and two brothers remain with her father in the countryside.)

(Sweet Lovena – one of our darling students – Lovena’s mother died in March 2013, so her father has sent her to live with her aunt and one cousin.  Her seven sisters and two brothers remain with her father in the countryside.)

relationships.

A week in Haiti…filled with activity – Vacation Bible School [music, crafts, games, free play], sponsorship letters, new student registration (42 more enrolled to add to our current 51!) the construction of two new classrooms, painting the computer lab, tech teacher interviews, laptops prepared, English class lessons, neighborhood walk/home visits, budget review with our accountant, teacher meetings, and the year-end Spektak for the school – whew! What a week!!!!

Dreaming, planning, praying for the future. Reflecting personally on all that we have experienced.

Yet, when all is said and done…it is really just about the people.

“Love God, Love Others.”

And that is what matters. Language barriers did not hinder the love between us. New friendships began, and old ones were renewed. There are just so many sweet stories to tell.

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under June Trip 2015.

april 2015 visit.

Published April 2015.

Bob and I are just wrapping up a week in Haiti…I sit here with a Rebo coffee and a chocolate croissant in the Port au Prince airport, trying to capture the events of the past week.  What fun to finally experience this adventure with my hubby…it is really impossible to explain until you live it on your own.  We have shared many conversations over the past 7 days regarding life, choices, perspectives, poverty, racism, education, family, faith, opportunities, work ethic, aging, gratitude, frustration, hope, joy, America, Haiti….so.much.talking…so.many.questions.

Just as it was impossible for me to explain to him all that I see and feel when I visit…it is so difficult to capture our experience in words here too.  We had the opportunity to spend much of our first day with Gladimy – English Teacher that runs the English Institute as our school…attending church [well over 1,000 in attendance, sitting in stairwells, standing, packed in for the service-yet we were given seats right up front of the congregation.] Visiting the children’s church was a highlight – hundreds of children in a large classroom, spilt by age levels. Bob jumped right in with these little ones – completely in his comfort zone.

Following church and a lunch stop at Epi’dor, we went to Gladimy’s neighborhood of Delmas 24, meeting his father and brothers – such a privilege to meet his family and visit his home. We walked the neighborhood, visiting with boys that had constructed their own kites with sticks and plastic bags, wandering the market filled with goods to purchase-rice, beans, vegetables, and piles of fresh chicken, goat and beef.

Our guest house was lovely – Pastor Ernso and Gina of Eucapyptus Village made us feel so welcomed (relaxing pool and dinner for two on the patio!)…and meeting other guests was an added bonus. Shout out to Team Tassie-Vivien, Trina and Danielle and their connection with Tony Sanneh of the Sanneh Foundation (retired pro soccer player doing great things with soccer players in Cite Soleil with the Haitian Initiative PLUS the students of Saint Paul Public Schools! Love the crazy cool connections that occur when I show up.)

Monday brought us to ANA Primary School. All of my favorite little people showed up! Even though this was Easter Holiday week, they came to see us….with a welcome sign, classroom decorations, songs and recitations! Once again, Teacher Bob was in his element. He met with each class and taught them math games with cards – 7-up, High/Low, War. And while I held a teacher meeting to plan for the June team trip, he lead all 50+ students in Red Light/Green Light, Kaboom, thumb wrestling, and hand clapping games. At one point, Teacher Jonas needed to ask him to “keep it down out there” as the kids were cheering and yelling and laughing so loudly.

Plans were made regarding the hopes and plans for the summer team trip, the year-ed Spektak, the development of a computer lab, expansion of two classrooms for the 15-16 school year. The teachers are hard-working and responsible – seeking to hold students to a high level of rigor, challenging them to succeed. I always leave here humbled, inspired, and anxious to find ways to meet the needs and press on to make our little school a success for these students.

Following the work – we took time to play. In recognition of our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary, we chose to relax at the beach (and give the tourism industry at little support!) Wahoo Bay has been a day trip for me several times, so this time we chose to spend a few nights. Owner/Manager Jennifer was darling – taking the time to visit with us. We lounged by the pool, soaking in the ocean breeze, scoring a sweet snorkeling deal with George and Michel for $10 and a fresh grilled crab on the beach for $12! Bob love a good deal! There were scrabble games at sunset and morning runs around the tennis court, as other guests played soccer on the court. We recharged and are ready to face reality again. Until next time! Orevwa!

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit.