Friday, February 11, 2011

Finishing Strong...

I am in my last week here in Haiti. It's a little bit crazy. I have been running full speed ahead for the past 10 days and my last 6 seem to be all booked up as well.

We had two teams here last week, got a new child in our orphanage, I fell down the stairs, I went to Jacmel twice, had a person in the guesthouse that was a BIT more high maintenance than the normal guest, and had one my dearest and closest friends visit. Jam Packed!

I am not in the process of trying to transition my head from all the Haiti things to things like, getting a job!

I am leaving today and heading to Les Cayes to see Lionel's family one more time before heading back to the States next week. I'll try to write more after Les Cayes about the kids here, and things I've been trying to wrap up and how I'm feeling about transitioning. Until then, wish me lots of seafood and sun on the beach! (Those things may or may not be waiting for me in Les Cayes.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jacmel to Port AU Prince...

I got to spend the weekend in Jacmel. I'm a little sad I didn't get to see more of the city but I had a great time. My fiance is working on a project down there that is coordinating with the Lutheran Church. His "American Momma", as I like to call her, is running a Guest house construction project down there so that there will be a place for teams to stay when they come to work on building projects, or helping with the church. I love the foresight of thinking ahead to create the infrastructure needed for projects in the future. She is a total inspiration and just walks right over any snag that might try to sneak in. She came in town this weekend with a team so I headed down with them for a couple days.

I was able to worship with the Lutheran Church in Jacmel, and am excited to see all the things they have going on down there. I witnessed the groundbreaking for a new church building, and saw about 25 men, a mix of Haitians and Americans, working together to build a foundation of rocks. They worked so hard! They're still working hard. If anyone reading this is into building, let me know, I can hook you up with a trip down here in the next couple months to help work on this building project. Definitely a well run situation!

I ended up on a late night road trip from Jacmel to Port Au Prince with Gertrude's two brothers. Neither of them are strong English speakers, but I'd say we've become good friends and we make it work. They make me laugh, and I in turn try to crack jokes in kreyol...which seem to work ou about 10% of the time. I haven't found my humor in kreyol yet...maybe it's still coming. It was strange to be on the roads past 11pm. Really. No one is out. This is strange to witness when usually the streets are full of so many people and cars that you can barely move. we made it to PAP in record time! Awesome.

Today we have two teams coming to stay...I have been "kicked out" of my room and will be sleeping in a tent on the roof for the next week. I'm looking forward to the adventure, and more piggy noises from the giant pigs out back.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


*I have been waiting to post this for a few days, but the internet speed hasn't been fast enough to post...we are SO excited!

We have been working on getting this new car for at least the entire 5 1/2 months I've been here! Yesterday we finally got it...and there was MUCH rejoicing! It really is incredible the sense of accomplish there is to this little task of buying a car. It's been a long road.

Now all we have to do is figure out how we're going to pay the 13,000 loan we had to take to make it happen! We've got a plan...and now, we've got a car that won't break down on us every other day!
Living Haiti...for sure, for sure.

So, it's definitely almost 2am, and I'm definitely still awake. No, it's not because I'm not tired. It's not because I have anything pressing or earth shattering that I have to attend to. Nope. It all started with some pigs.

We have some pigs living on our back property. They will some day be food, but for right now, they are just pigs. They make weird noises. This is not something I am used to in my non-Haiti life. Pigs. The way the sound, coming through my window. That was the beginning of my animal extravaganza for the evening.

It was followed up later by "squirrels." At least that's what my friend Joanna calls them. Actually, it was a rat. Gertrude hollared to me in my room to close my door because she saw a mouse on the front porch tonight. We've been moving boxes around and re-sealing storerooms around here. Apparently we've upset the critters because this one "mouse" was living large and in charge. I closed my door and it wasn't until about 10 minutes later when I was trying to talk to my brother and sister-in-law on skype that I realized the "mouse," which was actually a rat, was in my room. I screamed. Like a little girl and jumped on my bed with my laptop in my hands. I called out for Gertrude, who is probably more afraid of rats than me, and I'm sure Jacob and Gretal were SUPER confused as to what was going on in Haiti to make me scream so loud. A lot of crazy ensued...which ended in me making two men crawl around on my floor to assure me that the rat was no longer in my room.

When gertrude and I were going to bed we realized the rat was in the bathroom...We trapped it and found a man that we work with to come and "take care of it." He didn't seem to be too entertained with our antics, but neither one of us wanted to sleep with the rats, and we also didn't want to do what we had to do to "take care of it."'m laying in bed trying not to be creeped out by the crazy pig noises, and the left over rat adrenaline. And then there are the roosters that have just started their crowing. ah.

I love living Haiti.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well...What do you say?

I'm honestly a little lost for words as to an opinion about what's going on in Haiti with this whole Duvalier thing. The reality is that, if you are reading this from the United States, you have seen more news on the subject that me. I was talking to my dad last night, and he'd heard more on the nightly news than I had heard all day. But it seems that even then news entities don't really know what's going on. We keep trucking along. Yesterday we had a LONG list of things to accomplish, so Gertrude and I headed out. We're looking forward to a FULL guesthouse the first week of February and we had some preparations to do. We bought 8 new fans yesterday. Even in the actual retail store we had to haggle for a better price. I will never get used to how much things like this cost here. BUT we got them, and ended up with a pretty decent price. We've ordered new chairs, worked on the wall at the old guesthouse, and worked on getting a loan for the new car that we so desperately need! So...even in the midst of political confusion and uncertainty, we still hit the roads of Port AU Prince and tried to make a little something happen.

If you're interested in an opinion piece on this whole new crazy in Haiti, check this out...

This is from a (I think, Independent) Journalist working in Port Au Prince. She usually brings a little something different to the table. Read if you will.

Also...Big thanks to my mom for getting my paypal and new bank card all sorted! Paypal is up and running again for those who are interested.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Every Few Days...

Honestly, it seems like every few days something just plain wacky happens here. Well...I should clarify. When I say something that's "just plain wacky," I mean something that seems wacky in my North American, United States Citizen frame of mind. It's amazing the amount of crazy that is dealt with at times here.

Before I get into the crazy, I would just like to say that I have had a GREAT couple days. Yesterday was so restful and provided me the opportunity to do some of the much needed tasks that needed to be attended to in the United States that are SO easy for me to ignore in my life here. Ok, sometimes I'm not ignoring the tasks, I'm actually unable to perform them because I am here...but still, they need to get done. I talked to my parents for over an hour and even got to have a conversation with one of my best friends. I worked on some wedding details, and was able to try to sort out some of my banking/paypal issues due to the bank reissueing me a new check card without my knowing. So hopefully soon I'll have that all in order.

A very good friend of Gertrude's and one of my favorite people form my "Haiti circle" called to say she was in country. Her name is Mary and I met her my very first trip to Haiti. I knew she was the kind of lady to say it like it is, and not be worried about pretention. She was just here because she wanted to serve. And serve she does. She works at the Missionary of Charity hosptial for the sick and dying here in Port Au Prince when she is in country now. Gertrude and I went up to meet her there last night and went to the mass they had there. If you'll excuse me for a moment while I skip into some "churchy" talk. I'm not Roman Catholic. I am Lutheran and come out of a pretty liturgical tradition of Lutheranism. And I am learning to love the times when I tag along to the Roman Catholic mass here, because even though my language skills are not super awesome, I always know what's going on in the service because it follows the same liturgy I know from my church tradition. It's feels like coming home. Yesterday I had the added benefit of being surrounded by people with, what most of my friends and family, would call devastating diseases...HIV, TB, etc. I think worship takes on a whole different meaning when they people you are surrounded by really truly believe soon they will be seeing their Savior face to face. There was a comfort and a hope there...and it was beautiful to be a part of something like that.

We spent last night and this morning catching up and telling old Haiti stories. It's good to be with friends!

Tonight we heard knews that Baby Doc, Jean Duvalier, former dynastic ruler of Haiti returned this evening after 25 years in exile. This is the "wacky" of today. None of us are really sure yet what it means to have him back. I was only 6 years old when Baby Doc fled to France...I have no real knowledge of his rule here. Only what people have told me and what I have read. Google it, if you'd like to know more. I won't write anymore here for now. Who knows what will happen next. For now, I'm praying for peace. Really, what Haiti doesn't need right now is one more crazy thing to try and sort through. The days have enough trouble of their own right now, without extra crazy needing to enter in. I guess we'll wait and hear what the news is tomorrow. Haiti could use a little rest.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I'm happy to report that the little girl who I was working on the medical visa for has safely arrived with her hosts in the United States. I had the easiest time EVER at Social Services...until later in the evening when they said they weren't going to sign my papers and Gertrude told the mom to sleep there if she had to, but to not leave without them. Somehow she got the papers, and everything went off without glitches the morning little W left us. My friend, and fellow HMPer, Joanna did a fabulous job escorting her and even had the added fun of getting stranded in Haiti overnight with a child whose language she couldn't speak. If you know Jo, you know that it's no problem...she knows how to make it work.

W is scheduled for heart surgery at the beginning of next month. Getting to help kids who need visas is a LOT of work, but it sure is nice to know they are getting the help they need when it's all said and done. I'm happy to have helped this little munchkin!

UPDATE: Here is an article written about this little girl that I spent a month trying to get a visa for!