Wednesday, March 12, 2014

February Happenings

I realize it has been almost a MONTH since I have posted! I'm sorry to those of you who check back regularly. Although time here seems slower, the days are FLYING BY! I can't believe we're already half way through our sixth month living here in Haiti.  I thought I would do another blog post in pictures to show you what we were up to in February.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

At the beginning of the month, Caleb and Michelle Chamberlain from Remember Media visited for a couple weeks to work on a new video documenting the orphanage. We were busy in meetings and helping to run them around on the quad and find anything they needed. We are excited to see the final product! We had a great time getting to know Caleb and Michelle and hope that they come visit us again :)

Here are a few kids from the preschool class. They are phonetically spelling words that the teacher tells them. One thing that I would LOVE to see is the lower elementary grades using printing. The kids are taught from the beginning to write in cursive. There are a lot of benefits to printing when they are younger. Crazy how in the States, they aren't teaching cursive in a lot of schools anymore, and in Haiti, that is all they use!  I almost can't handle the cuteness...little Djounica with her hand on her hip!

Jaron and Morgan have adjusted so well. Better than I could have asked for. Jaron has a group of boys that he hangs out with at the orphanage and Morgan gravitates to a certain house of girls as well. They are doing very well learning the language and becoming more confident to use it. The boys always love to wear Jaron's (or anyone's for that matter) sunglasses and hat!

There are a lot of teams who visit the island regularly. They are not necessarily teams who are working with the orphanage, but we like to get in touch with them and see what they are up to :) This was a team from Michigan who came to deliver Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. Morgan and I asked if we could travel with them and they agreed. We took a sailboat about 25 minutes down the coast to a remote little village. It would have taken 2-3 hours by truck (road) to get there.

It was all actually a bit overwhelming. I'm guessing that not all deliveries go like this, but it is probably more common than the fun videos of children laughing and excited. Since this village was further away from the "big" city, they don't see as many blan (white people). A lot of the younger children were crying and seemed afraid of what was going on. Then, the boxes were wrapped with packing tape, so the younger ones had a harder time opening it on their own, but they didn't want help for fear that someone would take their box from them. After they got the box open and saw that there were gifts inside, they were much happier. However, other moms of children under two were then asking for boxes for their babies (because they wanted what what inside). It was also not uncommon to see older kids and parents taking things from younger kids for themselves. I have heard that some kids will even get beat up by older kids if they want something that the younger child has. I don't say all of this to make you feel bad about giving, but it did make me see some of the reality and start questioning if this is really the best thing to do. One of our friends here on the island pointed out that in 2013 9.8 million shoeboxes were delivered to over 100 countries. ( Each box is filled with random gifts from families back in (usually) first world countries and then delivered to children around the world. Each family spends about $20 filling the box. What would happen if those families just sent the $20? That would be $196 million that would be going to support families in developing countries. The sad thing is that people are much quicker to give physical gifts before giving actual cash. They are worried about corrupt government, etc. and wonder if their $20 will actually make it where it's supposed to go. It is a tough issue...but I wonder what would happen if we were just obedient to give when God prompts us to give, and then trust Him to do with it whatever He wants. soap box now. Just things I'm learning/seeing/thinking about...I know that these gifts all come from a lot of people with great hearts and pure motives, and I'm thankful for that.

February also included haircuts! Jaron had been begging for a mohawk and Morgan wanted shorter hair, so we did it. Jaron got his wish and we cut about 5 inches off of Morgan's hair. It is much more manageable now :)

Our assistant and good friend, Bee and his wife had their 4th baby! We felt so honored that they called and wanted our family to come to the hospital to meet the baby. We love Bee and his family. His children are beautiful, respectful children. He and Julianna have done a fantastic job!

Morgan showing some of the girls at the orphanage some games on the Chromebook. They love to learn new things!!

And while Morgan was playing, I found Jaron riding around with Mme. Soliette's biological son, Kerry. Some of the older boys are learning how to drive the moto. They use the soccer field to practice driving in circles. The boys take turns being the passenger after they have mastered driving the moto by themselves.

The BEAUTIFUL, wonderful, amazing, (I can't say enough good about her) Mme. Soliette!

Morgan celebrated her 8th birthday!! (See previous post for a more in depth blog on this!)

We also experimented with some food coloring hair dye.  Long story didn't work.


Soccer is huge in Haiti! It's fun to go down to the big "stadium" once in a while to catch the excitement of a soccer (foutbol) game!

We tried the public ferry for the first time this month! It is much cheaper (and much crazier) than chartering a private boat. It was a long, yet rather uneventful ride.

We decided this month to get a hotel with a pool when we went in to Port au Prince for groceries. Our grocery trip took an unexpected turn when we got to the hotel and noticed that our cooler full of frozen food was no longer in the back of the truck. I was a bit upset at first because we had driven about 40 minutes to get to the hotel, and I didn't want to have to go back to the grocery store. Plus, I tipped those guys to make sure everything got into the truck! (my initial thoughts) Well, we got on the phone with the supermarket and after some security camera searching, they found and emailed us a still shot of our truck leaving the parking lot with the cooler in the back of the truck.  Well, needless to say, someone lifted the cooler out of the back of the truck while we were driving to the hotel. That night at dinner, Craig was praying for our food and he also prayed that God would bless whoever had our cooler. Morgan and Jaron and I weren't as quick to forgive. Morgan and Jaron asked why Craig would pray that. Then, we learned a big lesson in God's provision and love. Craig reminded us that even though we lost, God has provided that we are able to buy another cooler, and refill it with more food. He showed us that the person who now had our cooler not only had some food, but had a cooler to use to possibly start his own business. Sometimes it's hard to not be upset in the moment when crappy things happen. But try to remember to see things in God's eyes, and be thankful. It's definitely taken away my anger and frustration and replaced it with peace and thankfulness!

Out to dinner. Love our crazy boy! :)

Jaron relaxing at the boat dock while we unloaded all of the boxes.

Can I just say I am SO thankful for technology? I feel like I stay in touch with my family even better than when we lived closer! It is sad to have to miss family events, but thanks to Skype, we're even able to help sing Happy Birthday to Luke on his 3rd birthday!!

For those of you who don't follow us on facebook, click here for a video of this picture.  The kids LOVE to sing and dance. Usually the neighbor kids are right in on the action. However, today, they just sat and watched our crazy kids.

I absolutely LOVE how creative Jaron has become since moving here. After hearing "I'm bored..." day after day, it has been such a blessing to see him to start playing more with the neighbors and creating things. However, he gets SO dirty! Here, they decided to try to build a little bench outside of the neighbor's gate. Pretty ingenious since night after night they stand or sit on the ground.

LOVE this picture of little Deborah! She is a little stinker who was terrified of us when we first moved here. Now she LOVES Craig. I don't know what it is about him, but she will sit with him and he can get her to fall asleep SO easily.  (Yup, that's a pickaxe that she and Jaron are holding!)

It turned out to be quite the community everything tends to. People have a whole lot of nothing going on, so any bit of activity is always intriguing.

After the bench was finished, the sat all of the kids who live in the house down on it and wanted me to take a photo. :)

In the next few months, there will be a lot of change happening! We live about a mile from the Wesleyan Station where there is a guesthouse and hospital and many missionaries living there. This month, one of the families will be heading back home and then two more families are heading home in June. It will be sad to see these families go after building relationships with them! Us ladies decided to have a little day away before the busy month started so that we could enjoy each other's company one last time all together.  We took the boat across to the mainland and then drove about 10 minutes up the road to a beautiful resort called Moulin Sur Mer.

You can purchase a day pass to use the facilities without needing to stay overnight. We had a fantastic day lounging, chatting, swimming and eating. I think I might need to take a weekend trip with the family!! It was SO relaxing and not too many people were there that day.

The beach was beautiful! Kind of like a best kept little secret paradise in Haiti!

The WONDERFUL ladies that I have had the priviledge to share life with. I met some of these ladies on my first trip to Haiti in 2010. Others, we met in 2012 when we stayed for a couple months during the summer, and a couple we just met in October when we moved, but all have a special place in my heart!

And of course our month wouldn't be complete without a couple trips on the sailboat out to the sandbar. The kids love this treat! Whenever there are visiting teams staying at the Wesleyan Station, they allow us to tag along on this Sunday afternoon outing!

Thanks to all of you who made it to the bottom of this crazy long monthly recap! Sorry I don't do better of updating more often. We are loving life here in Haiti. We still have our hard days every now and then, but we just give each other grace and space and usually the next day, things are back to normal. Thanks so much for the continued prayers!