Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Living in Haiti

Living in Haiti is strange stuff. It really is.

Now there's the regular strange stuff - no hot showers (only cold ones,) near-daily stomach issues, sweating your brains out, and throwing your used toilet paper in the trashcan instead of flushing it down the toilet. However, that's not all that's strange about living here.

First of all, living in Haiti is more expensive than it may seem. Some things are extremely pricey here and other things are extremely cheap here. For example - laundry. The laundry at the Guest House costs $1.50 for pants, $1.00 for shirts and shorts, and $0.50 for underwear. That adds up quite quickly. Not that it's not a fair price - the woman who washes my clothes (Mire) works really hard - but it's MUCH pricier than it would be in the States for much less clothes. Also, things like office supplies are more expensive. Mike says he and Doug went to go buy some pens, but then turned around and decided not to when they saw that a pack of 12 pens rang up to be $20. Yikes! However, strangely enough, things like water and (most) food are much cheaper here. It's very, very weird.

Beyond that, certain sights and sounds and smells around Haiti become almost normal - you just don't even blink an eye at it anymore. For example, I am now totally used to seeing random goats wandering the streets. Yes, goats. They're all over the place in Haiti! Also, the roosters that roam Freres Campus don't seem to wake me up at night anymore. Hallelujah. I am also used to seeing exposed body parts. I won't go into any more detail there. Things I also accept as normal: people carrying things on their heads, car horns constantly honking, and garbage being everywhere.

Of course, one of the things that I've become used to is seeing rubble and demolished buildings. It's kind of sad how some of them don't even faze me anymore. It is such a part of the Port-au-Prince and Petionville landscape that I rarely notice it anymore. However, there are times when I'll see a building for the first time and I'll be deeply saddened by the sight of it. And there are a few buildings that still get me every time I see it - the hospital we pass on the way to the UMCOR office in particular. Very sad stuff.

I've also become almost TOO used to people/kids asking me for money. You almost get to the point where you become apathetic to it - or get upset at them asking for food thinking "I just gave them a whole chicken leg yesterday" or "I gave them 25 goudes this morning - that should have been enough to hold them all day." You almost get to the point where you see them as greedy - expecting to get something every time they ask for it. However, it's at these moments that you have to remind yourself that often times what you're able to offer is all they have. So that one chicken leg you gave them yesterday may have been all they've eaten in the past two days. Or that 25 goudes may have gone to get a nice breakfast or lunch - but could you eat only 25 goudes worth of food and not be hungry at night? Probably not.

And then of course, there are those times that you have nothing to offer and you feel almost as desperate as they do. You want so much to be able to offer something - anything - to help them. Tonight was one of those moments when my boys came to me asking for food. Now, there are two boys who are ALWAYS asking for food. It's possible that they don't get much other food, but I think it's also possible with them that we just have BETTER food so they come around asking for it a lot. "Beth, give me some chicken." But tonight, boys who normally don't ask for food were asking for some sustenance tonight. I think that there probably hasn't been a food drop in a while and so all of them had fairly slim pickings.

I went into the kitchen and asked Marie Claude if there was any food that I could give to the kids. She told me that there wasn't anything left that I could offer them. I felt desperate. I didn't have any small goudes to offer them and I didn't have any food. On top of that, Mike didn't really have any small goudes on him either or any extra food. I eventually ended up searching my room and found a snack package that I still had from my flight to Atlanta. It wasn't much, but I suppose those 4 pieces of Chex Mix is better than nothing... maybe. It was pretty puny. I still feel terrible about it. I hated knowing that they all really needed food, but also knowing there wasn't much else I could do. I mean, I had bigger bills I could have used to get them food - but that might have made things even more difficult. It's hard to explain, but unless you can give each boy the same amount, then you shouldn't give any money at all. And if you hand one boy some money expecting them to share it with the rest - that may or may not happen. Also, at this time in the night, I couldn't go out and get them food myself so I was just stuck. I hate that.

I suppose it really stinks being in Haiti when you're not a millionaire.

Regardless of all the weirdness, though, I really am having an amazing time. I know God is continuing to change and mold me every day. I'm so glad to be here. It's exactly where I need to be. However, I think the reverse culture shock when I return to the States is going to be pretty bad. How do you go back to living an affluent American life after living in the poorest country in the western hemisphere? I imagine it's going to be very difficult.

Anyway, I need to get to bed. I'm super tired. Also, I have a meeting with Beyond Borders tomorrow morning so that's exciting! I'm stoked to hear about their program to end the restavek system.

I hope you're well. I'm sending Haiti hugs to all my friends and family!


Monday, June 28, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I meant to blog yesterday but between the busyness of yesterday, coming back to the Guest House at 7:30, eating dinner, and then having a long chat with Bryan... it didn't happen. However, yesterday was fairly eventful so I still wanted to blog about it. So here I am! Early Monday morning Beth update! w00t!

So yesterday was... (for the most part) good, but it also had some very strange parts in it that were not so good.

Starting at the beginning of the day, it was all good stuff. Robenson (one of my boys) came to visit me yesterday morning after breakfast and I got him to do his Michael Jackson dance for Oge. Hilarious. I also introduced him to some of the members of a group staying here for the week. He had a good time interacting with some new people and teaching them the patty cake game that I taught him.

Around 8:45 Bryan and I walked down to the Methodist church on Freres Campus. It's a middle to upper class church so it was HUGE and beautiful. We were soon joined by Mike and Nate and we all enjoyed the gorgeous singing in the gorgeous church together. They even sang a song that I knew in English! (I think it's called Agnus Dei.) Since I didn't have the words in Kreyol, I actually sang it in English so I could sing along. It felt good to finally know what they were singing! Haha.

After that we went back to the Guest House and prepared for our beach day of fun. Since Nate is here visiting, Mike wanted to do at least one fun thing while he's around. We decided to go to "Wahoo Beach" because we had heard it was fun - a sand beach with a live DJ. Awesome. So Mike, Doug, Bryan, Nate, Petersen, Donette, Ablamy, Davidson (as Donette and Ablamy care for Davidson and we wanted him to join us on this fun trip,) and I all piled into the van with Ablamy as our driver.

However, it was during our trip to the beach that the first bad thing occurred. I saw the first dead body I have ever seen in real life. And it was gruesome. We think a woman got hit by a car walking come from church as she was dressed in a nice blue dress. Also, there were several people gathered on both sides of the road looking at her body as well as a man with a rifle standing nearby to direct traffic to move around her. I wish I never saw it. Nate said that he didn't see her because he was paying attention to the man with the gun. I noted, "You're lucky. It's not really something you can un-see." That experience kind of put a damper on my mood, and the mood of the entire van for a while. Luckily, though, we soon found new things to laugh about and talk about and were able to put that picture in the back of our minds - although I do not think it can ever be erased completely.

About an hour after that traumatic experience, though, we arrived at Wahoo Beach. After parking we went to their restaurant - which is where the 2nd bad thing happened. The service at this place was TERRIBLE. Like, beyond bad. It's another long story, but it certainly put us in a bad mood. Luckily, though, there was the amazing Argentina/Mexico game on TV at the time so that put us in a better mood. Seriously, if you did not watch that game - you missed out. Also, if you did not watch that game in Haiti - you missed out. Haitians root for either Argentina or Brazil so it was a ton of fun to watch it with a room FULL of Argentina fans. Each goal was such a joyful experience it's hard to describe. By the time Argentina got their 3rd goal it was a full on celebration as everyone was fairly certain at that point that Argentina was going to win. Luckily, they did end up winning 3-1 and I am now an Argentina fan since USA is out of the World Cup.

Once the 3rd goal was made, I took Davidson and we got changed into our swim wear and then met up with Bryan, Nate, and Petersen on the beach. Davidson can't really swim so he was clinging on to me in the water at the beginning. He was cracking me up at how scared he was to let go in the water. Adorable. Donette, Doug, Mike, and Ablamy soon joined us in the water. We swam around, threw a soccer ball around, danced to the music provided by the (really good) DJ, and just had a generally great time. It was a good stress reliever. Relaxing, fun, cool time.

However, on the beach is when the 3rd bad thing happened. Two French men who had too much to drink got into a rather big fight. At first it started in the water, but their friends broke them up quickly and it never amounted to anything. However, they went up to the bar/DJ area and got back into the fight and started throwing punches. Apparently one guy also found a board and hit the other guy in the face with it. It was kind of scary, and none of the staff at Wahoo stepped in to calm it down. The guys friends kept on trying to hold them back - but they were drunk and angry so it was difficult. At this point to "create some order" one of the security guys at Wahoo fired a shot into the air. The whole beach went silent at that point and people started frantically moving out of water. No one knew where the shot came from at that point and so people tried to move back on land to figure out what was going on, as well as get to place where it would be easier to get away if things got out of control. Once everything calmed down, though, people got back into the beach, the music resumed, and people went back to having a good time. Crazy.

Around 5:30 we packed up and headed home, right as the rain started to come in. Overall, it was a great day - full of joy, laughter, relaxation, and friends. But those three things mixed in there just made it... strange. I'm hoping today will be less strange - but just as great.

Sending love your way,

P.S. Pictures from Wahoo Beach can be found here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Long Days


Two long days in a row!

Yesterday we set off earlier to take some of our lovely UMCOR friends on a visit to Mellier. It was awesome to be there and see how far the project has come in the short time I've been here for.

We weren't there for too long, though, because Melissa and Lauren had a meeting with President Paul at 1 and needed to get back. Also, we had to get back to pick up Mike's other son, Nathan, who is visiting for a week.

We dropped them off at the UMCOR Haiti office and then went to the airport. Bryan really wanted some bread or something to munch on, though, and I wanted water, so we stopped by a gas station before the airport. Walking inside, though, I saw the guy that I sat next to on my flight to Atlanta. During that flight he told me that he lived in Haiti and traveled to Port-au-Prince fairly regularly to pick teams up at the airport. We laughed and said, "Maybe we'll run into each other!" Lo and behold - we did! Crazy.

After that we met up with Nathan and decided to get lunch. As we had gone to the Epid'or the day before, we wanted to do something else for lunch. We found a restaurant that was good... but it took two hours. We left "lunch" at 4:15. When the dinner bell rang an hour and a half later at the Guest House - I just had a fruit cup.

I woke up thinking today was going to be a slow day. However, it quickly picked up. I took Melissa, the communications person at UMCOR, around Freres campus a bit and introduced her to Davidson. We colored outside my building a bit and she was able to take lots of pictures. It was fun to hang out with Davidson and she thought he was a hoot - it's hard not to love that boy!

Around 9:30 or 10 the COR team came back from Arcahaie and told me that they had an AMAZING time. So good to hear! They asked if they might be able to visit College Bird (a Methodist school that collapsed.) I know that it will probably become a big focus of COR so I really wanted to visit it, too. It's right by the Presidential Palace and it's... very sad. Actually, they've already done most of the rubble removal so you can't even tell that a building used to stand there. Crazy. I'll have some pictures up sometime soon.

Also, we went inside the College Bird church on the campus. It was the most beautiful church I have been to in Haiti - mostly because of the AMAZING stained glass at the front of the church. It was just... wonderful.

After that, we went back to the Epid'or for lunch and then went back to the Guest House. Shortly after arriving back, the team wanted a tour of campus. I didn't take them too far because classes were still in session... but we went far enough for them to see some of the buildings and the students enjoying recess. I also introduced them to McKinley and Steven. :)

Just 15 minutes after that, Belorne, Oge, and I left for a shopping trip. We have a team going to Mellier on Sunday and so we had to buy food for their week there. It was a TON of stuff. Definitely necessary to have two people (me and Belorne) simply because you have to drive two carts! Crazy.

After going to the Big Star store, Belorne wanted to get the eggs and rice off the street because it's cheaper. Oge parked the van and Belorne told me to wait inside with him. Right outside the van was a group of guys selling Haitian CDs so I asked Oge if any of them were good. He got out of the van and talked to the guys about a few Haitian artists. He worked out a deal for me and I am now the proud owner of two Haitian CDs - they're both pretty good! Oge did well.

Finally I arrived back to the Guest House right before dinner feeling hungry and exhausted. After dinner we gave some of my boys some food and laughed and chatted with them a bit. Now, though, I am exhausted... and feeling a bit... under the weather and I'm just really ready for bed. So goodnight world!


Also, here is the recent photo update if you're not friends with me on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The rest of the UMCOR/EMH (Eglise Methodiste d'Haiti) meeting went really well. I feel like we really identified some critical issues in areas of agriculture, micro-credit/micro-finance, health, and literacy. I was in the literacy group and it was... fantastic. We had really amazing, passionate people and we all seemed to be on the same page. It was awesome. We got really far and ended the two day conference with a full plan, and timeline, on how to execute our plan for free literacy classes in communities all over Haiti. Also interesting was that I ended up being the spokesperson for our group and gave the presentation of our ideas each time we presented to the larger group. The last time I presented, the translator for the event said, "Are you an education professional?" I laughed and said, "No." His eyes got really big and he said, "Well, you sure do fake it well. You're very well spoken." Good public speaking skills for the win!

Today we had a few more meetings, we watched the USA/Algeria game, and had one more meeting. Around 10:30 we loaded up the van... or more like squished into the van... and drove back to the Guest House. However, we left before the USA/Algeria game concluded. We ended up driving by a small community that was gathered around a TV set and we heard them suddenly cheer very loudly. Someone asked Oge who scored, so he turned up the radio and announced, "US goal!" The whole van cheered and we honked our horn in celebration. It was a ton of fun.

We were almost at the Guest House when we hit a big traffic jam. We ended up being stopped at the back gate to Freres Campus - where our tent city is. I saw three recognizable faces - Michle, Son Son, and Robenson. I quickly opened up the window and waved. Their eyes became HUGE and they waved excitedly back and motioned back towards where the Swiss House (where I'm staying) would be. I nodded, and they started running. By the time we FINALLY parked the van, I had 6 faces peeking at me from the fence saying, "Beth!"

I got my stuff out of the van, moved everything back in and came out to say hello again. It was soon quickly discovered that I had my camera in my pocket suddenly all I could hear was "Foto! Foto! Foto!" Deciding to appease them, I started snapping away.

Let me tell you, they LOVED it. It was a flurry of excitement on my porch with each of them coming up with new poses and asking me to take their photo. It was fun for me, too, as it brought me much laughter. Johnny also came and joined us and helped to translate some of my requests. Thanks to him, I actually got them to pose and take one NICE photo. I love it. Seriously. It's probably going to become my computer background here pretty soon. Gotta love my boys.

After that I hung out with Oge some - helped him to navigate his Facebook more and pick out music for his next mix CD. I really missed him. I was really happy to see him again today. Tomorrow, we're hoping to hang out and play some speed in the afternoon. I'm stoked.

It felt good to be home. It felt good to be given such a hearty, excited welcome by my boys. Even Doug and Oge commented later on how excited they were to see me. Although I may not be fully aware of how my ministry here is impacting others - I know I'm making a significant, positive impact on my boys. Belorne commented to me tonight that the boys "don't have enough supervision and parenting - but they're really nice boys." I agreed. They don't have all the resources they deserve, but they're still really great boys with beautiful spirits. I am truly blessed.

Lastly, I would ask for prayers for my own personal discernment. I don't want to go into any more detail than that right now, but prayers that God would make a clear way for me by opening or shutting doors would be helpful. I have a lot of thinking and praying and discerning to do.

Sending love your way,

P.S. Also, big props to UMCOR for sending so many people my way! I hope my new readers (and people who have been reading from the beginning, for that matter) are being blessed by reading my entries. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to share this experience with you! Also, a few folks were asking for my e-mail. The best way to contact me is to e-mail me at (it's an old e-mail, but still the one I check the most consistently.)

Monday, June 21, 2010


Right now I’m sitting at the gorgeous Moulin Sur Mer – a beachside hotel in Haiti. I’m attending a 2.5 day conference between UMCOR, UMVIM, and the Methodist Church of Haiti. The purpose is to determine community needs within categories like agriculture, health, micro-enterprise/micro-credit, and literacy/education. We’ve been exploring what programs have worked well in the past and what didn’t work well in the past. From there we’re determining what current community needs are and how to address those needs. The day started kind of slowly, but once we split into our different groups – it was awesome.

You know, since I’ve been here I’ve been in a constant state of discernment. Before coming to Haiti I was fairly certain that God was calling me to work on the more administrative/leadership side of things. I think my gifts really make me a good person for logistics, execution, and innovation. I’m constantly thinking of how we might be able to make things better. However, after coming to Haiti and playing with the kids, I started to really doubt that. I recognized how much I enjoyed being “in the thick of it.” It’s also very easy to label playing with the kids as ministry. It’s more difficult to label sitting through meetings planning things as ministry. I thought, maybe God is calling me more to one particular on-the-ground ministry that I might be able to really invest in. That could be cool.

But after tonight, I was reminded of just how much I love to use my gifts to address big issues on the higher level leadership side of things. I felt like I was really able to contribute something and that I could help provide some guidance and thoughts for my education/literacy group to consider. I left the meeting feeling energized and excited about what things could happen in Haiti. It really re-affirmed what I had thought all along – I need to be working with a group to help alleviate some real problems in the world on a wide scale.

Now, this is not to say that the ministry I’m doing with “my boys” is not important. It’s vital. And actually, it’s because of experiences like the ones I have with them that this “big picture” stuff is so energizing to me. To know that “my boys” might benefit from programs like these in the future brings me great joy and, honestly, some relief. If programs like the one’s we’ve been talking about exist and work like they’re supposed to – then I know there will be resources available for them to be successful in life. It was helpful, when thinking of literacy and education, to have specific people in the back of my head – the boys, Oge, Claire, Daniel, Marie-Claude, Eric, the three girls that call me “poupe,” Peterson, and Johnny. How would folks, like these friends of mine, benefit from programs like the ones we’re designing? Although I’m not certain about the answer, the idea is very exciting.

Speaking of “my boys,” though, I have a story to share.

Yesterday, I had one of THE HARDEST conversations that I have ever had. Granted, there was a communication barrier that made it even more difficult, but it would have been difficult if we were all speaking Kreyol or English, too.

Yesterday morning I was packing for Moulin Sur Mer in my room and listening to music. The boys came by and started dancing to the music. While they were there, I got a phone call about the COR group that would be landing in the airport. As soon as I got off the phone, the boys asked “Are you leaving on an airplane?” (I used Google translator to figure that out.)

I used Google translator again to explain that I was not leaving now and that I would be leaving on July 24th. They nodded but then got really sad and asked why I would be leaving. I told them that I needed to go home then… back to the United States. (You can’t say America because they’re from “America” too.) They then got really excited and said, “Okay, well then we’ll come with you.”

Thump. It was like a cement block plummeted through my body from my throat to my feet. How on earth can I explain to them that they can’t come with me?

I thought, explaining that it’s too expensive and that I don’t have enough money would do the trick. I told them that and they asked “Why?” After all, to them, I’m a wealthy American and a friend they trust. Why wouldn’t I spent the money to get them out of Haiti?

So I explained that I am still a student and that I don’t have a job and it’s very expensive. They asked how expensive. I told them it was over $1000 US for a plane ticket alone. That SHOCKED them. It was obvious that most of them had never even seen that much money in their life, much less spent it.

At that time, one of the boys, Stanley, spoke up and said, “My mom will give you $5000 goudes (approximately 128 American dollars) to help pay for it.” Oh yikes. Oh yikes.

What do you say to that? How do you acknowledge that generous offer, make the child feel wanted and loved, but also tell them that you can’t help them?

I tried everything. I explained that their parents would miss them. I explained that I didn’t have a bed for them to sleep on in America. I explained that Americans were put in jail in Haiti for taking kids out of the country without proper paperwork. I explained that the paperwork takes upwards of 2 years sometimes – and it’s a much more difficult process if they have parents or a parent still living.

However, nothing seemed to get through. I was their friend. I love them. They love me. They trust me. They know I’m a good person who wants to help them. All of that added up to them believing it was much easier for me to take them to America than I was explaining.

That conversation has been weighing quite heavily on my heart ever since then. I keep on trying to think of families who might be willing to visit Haiti while I’m here, meet my boys, and start working towards legal adoption in collaboration with their parents. However, I know that the reality of that is highly unlikely. So I’ve also been thinking about what I might be able to provide for these boys so that their future can be bright and so they don’t continue along the cycle of poverty. Or if I can’t provide it – who can? And what would that look like? And how would I keep in contact with them to make sure they’re still okay?

I don’t know. A lot of thoughts. A LOT of thoughts. Prayers needed/appreciated.

Love, Beth

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today was filled with friends, laughter, heat, and refreshing rain.

This morning, after I updated a few documents, Mike, Bryan, Oge, and I set out to go guitar shopping. Mike has a friend in Beinet that plays guitar and loves to play guitar but he does not own one. Either he's never owned one, or the one he had was destroyed... I'm not quite sure.

Mike was given some money by friends before coming here simply to "spend on the Haitians" and put money into Haitian economy. He thought some of those funds would be well spent at a guitar - especially since this friend of Mike's used to play guitar all the time for the Beinet community. We went to one store that was super expensive and then we found another store that had a great guitar, it came with extra stuff, and it was super cheap! It was a great deal. However, Mike is kind of in love with it. He's considering going out and buying another one for himself. Haha.

After that excursion, we went to the newer Epid'or in Petionville for lunch. It was delicious, as always, and I splurged a bit and bought some ice cream for dessert. It was a divine blessing. Seriously. I had never truly appreciated ice cream until I came to Haiti. Glorious.

We then went back to the Guest House and had some down time. Bryan and I played a few rounds of multi-player "Castle Wars" with him winning the majority of the time. We also listened to music and shared a few life stories. Good times.

In the midst of that, though, my tutors arrived again asking to borrow Bryan's soccer ball. Bryan gave it to them, but told them they needed to play with it outside our home. However, because they can't really understand English, they ran off to play with it. Wanting to be sure his soccer ball would not be harmed, he left to go find them saying he would be right back.

After 15 minutes passed, though, I realized he probably wasn't coming back. I journeyed out until I found Steven, McKinley, and Fedley behind the Guest House. I asked, "Kote Bryan?" (Where is Bryan?) They instantly grabbed onto my hands and led me through the campus until we came across a group of boys playing soccer (futbol) in the most open space they could find. Bryan was watching at that point, but would join in at times.

The kids first invited me to dance to songs on the radio and then invited me to sit and watch the game. It was a ton of fun. I was cheering for both sides, it was obvious everyone was having a blast, and there was good shade and a decent breeze where I sat. On a hot day such as this one, it was a great, relaxing way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Haiti. Also amazing was that there had just been a water drop to our tent city so a few of the kids had these huge bottles of clean water. However, just because one child was carrying it did not mean that they were not willing to share. Although it probably wasn't very sanitary, it was in that moment that it really hit me how much of a community that tent city had become. I couldn't tell who was related to whom because they all hung out together. They played together, shared precious drops of water, and supported each other.

I also went on another sandal excursion for a boy named Christopher. Both his left and right sandals were unusable so I found Mike and asked if we could help. He handed me 100 goudes and I set off to find Oge to come with me (as we're not supposed to go past the outside of the Guest House alone.) As we were walking down the road to the Guest House to get to the main road, Oge kept on saying "mesi" and "mesi bokou." I turned to him and said, "What do you keep on saying 'thank you' to?" He laughed and said, "They keep on telling me that I am walking with a nice (looking) lady. So I just said thank you." I laughed. It is very strange being in a place where men are sexual hunters and they're fairly aggressive about it. Also strange is being considered extremely attractive. Not that I have super low self esteem or anything, or that my friends and family don't tell me I'm pretty... but I have been told I look nice many times here.

Tonight a few folks from UMCOR arrived early before the big conference starts. (I'll explain about the big conference tomorrow, when I arrive.) We had good dinner and good conversation with Pastor Paul and Samuel also joining us for dinner. However, we did have a HUGE rainstorm this evening because I guess we're in a tropical depression. It's cleared up now but I'm guessing it will continue to be fairly rainy tonight and tomorrow.

Also, tonight I was mother Beth for "my boys." I was sitting in the Guest House lobby and I heard "Beth. Beth! Beth!" I came outside and saw the small group gathered at the gate between the Guest House and the Swiss House. I walked over to them and Robenson tried to tell me something about Fedley. I didn't understand it so he pantomimed throwing up. The whole group nodded. I went inside my room and grabbed some Pepto Bismol tablets for Fedley to calm his stomach. However, he was hungry... as were the rest of the boys. Luckily, I talked to Donette and Mike and they both agreed that the boys could have some rolls. I felt blessed to provide them with some nourishment tonight.

Lastly, Haitians love to sing. They absolutely love it. Tonight "my boys" asked me to sing to them. Donette had suggested earlier that they learn "Up Above My Head" because it's an easy repeat song. Let me tell you, their voices were beautiful, and it brought me so much joy to sing that song with them. They really liked it, too. Afterwards Robenson asked me to sing it in Kreyol, I told him I didn't know it in Kreyol but that I would try to learn so they could understand what they were singing. Even though they didn't understand the words they continued to hum or sing it even after we were done. Awesome.

Alright well that's all for tonight. I'm exhausted! Goodnight world!


Some Kreyol for ya:
Grangou - hungry
Mesi/Mesi bokou - thank you
padekwa - you're welcome
malad - sick
glo - bottled water
mezic - music
woch - rock
pyebwa - tree
manje - food

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Airport

Yesterday was a long day, but fairly boring. We set out early in the morning to retrieve the tap-tap we purchased but didn't end up receiving it until about 4:00 p.m. Not only was it late but they didn't do everything on the tap-tap that we had contracted for so that caused some issues. However, I will say that I had one of the best meals I've had in Haiti thus far yesterday. We ate at a great buffet by the airport and the food was AMAZING.

Today, however, came with some stories. This morning was kind of lazy around the Guest House. Mike and Doug worked on financials, Bryan and I played games, and later I created the logo for the UMVIM Haiti program. It's not super fancy, but it looks good and will function for the purpose of purchasing a stamp and possibly staff polos to wear in more official settings.

After lunch, though, Mike was going to go to a music store to look at guitar prices and then to the airport to transport of a group of seven to the domestic airport for a flight to Jeremie, Haiti. However, we left later than we intended to and instead had to go straight to the airport. Being a group of white folks (plus Oge) with laptops (as I was still working on the logo, Mike was working on scheduling stuff, and Bryan was playing games) we were like sitting ducks. Pretty soon we had different kids cycling through asking for money.

They also never believed me when I told them I didn't have any money. I was telling the truth, too! I hadn't brought any money with me! I think seeing the laptop they were all too aware of how much wealthier I am compared to them. I felt terrible, but I had to keep on saying no.

Also, me being me, I am all too aware that a good portion of the kids asking for money are more-than-likely slaves. ESPECIALLY since they were kids I'm guessing many of them are slaves. It hurts to say "no" but at the same time, it feels good that I'm not giving money to a trafficker. However, it's kind of a lose-lose situation. If I give the kids money, the trafficker gets it. If I don't give the kids money, and they "don't make enough" for the day, then they are beaten.

However, I did get to help some of them. One little boy in particular stood at the window and kept on saying something that I didn't understand. I responded with "No komprann" which means "I don't understand." He finally stuck his hand inside the car and grabbed the half full water bottle in the vehicle. It was one of my extra, disposable water bottles. I smiled and nodded. Later two other boys came by and they noticed Oge's water bottle from three days ago stuck in between two seats. As it still had some water left in it, they wanted it, as well as the last drops of the Coke Oge bought me this afternoon. (Yeah, he's a good guy to have around... he bought all of us drinks while we were waiting for the group!) I nodded again and they happily took the bottles.

Although giving money can be a slippery slope, I was happy to give them drinks because I know they reap the benefits of that donation. Maybe if I go to the airport again I'll try to have a few more extra water bottles on me.

The kids were very cute, though. One little boy came up to me and said "Hello." So I said, "Hello." Then he said, "I am hungry." And I said, "M pa gen lajan." That means, "I don't have any money." He responded with "I'm sorry." That made me laugh and smile. I don't know if he understood what he said, but if he did understand it, it was adorable.

After waiting for TWO HOURS, though, we finally picked up the group we were supposed to transfer, but they were very late. The person they were supposed to meet in Jeremie called the airlines, though, and had it arranged for the plane to wait. We shuttled the team there and unloaded the van quickly. The team went inside and got through security and then the airline officials said "Sorry, you can't fly out today."

At that moment, we started scrambling. Figuring out plans for them to stay at the Guest House tonight as well as trying to find a way to pack the van so we weren't so crammed in there like we were for the brief ride from the international airport. Halfway through packing up the van, though, a man came up to Oge and said, "I know the pilot and if you slip me some cash I can talk to him and have him take this group to Jeremie."

Oge explained the situation to Mike and Mike called their group leader over. The group leader handed the man a $10 and within minutes the group was going through security again. We got a call around dinner time with news they safely arrived in Jeremie. So weird. In fact, Mike said it was one of the strangest experiences he's ever had in Haiti. That's saying quite a bit.

Alright! Well I'm off to bed. Goodnight world!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The theme for these past two days has really been "building relationships." It's been through simple things like watching episodes of The Office, car rides, and dinner... but these simple things have created significant memories for me and moments where I realize I am becoming even more a part of this family here. Awesome.

First let''s start with yesterday. Yesterday was a pretty slow day work wise. Mike was in a lot of meetings that I didn't need to be a part of and there was nothing to inventory. Therefore, I just had a lot of time to hang out... mostly with Bryan. We surfed around Facebook, I showed him my favorite internet game of Taberinos and he tried to beat my high score (so far, no one I know can beat me) and we watched a few episodes of The Office. At this point, though, I would definitely consider Bryan to be an ally and friend.

Last night was our party to say "au revoir" to Hal. He left for the airport early this morning. To send him off last night, though, we all went out to a nice dinner at a hotel in Petionville. It was a beautiful hotel and the company was great (we even invited Samuel from UMCOR along as he was Hal's boss and is a cool guy in general) but the food was... mostly not good. I ordered a seafood bisque (which cost $14, by the way) and it was essentially inedible. The server refused to take it off our ticket, though, so Donette (mama Donette to the rescue) bought me a plate of lasagna for dinner. I was quite thankful. It was a good time, though. Lots of laughter and good times shared by all although it was sad to say goodbye to Hal. It's already weird without him here...

Today was all kinds of fabulous. This morning at 8, Oge and I left with a team to go to Petit Goave. Mike had another meeting this morning and Doug had to work on financials so that left me as being the person to communicate a few things to the staff at Petit Goave when we dropped the team off. Driving there was about 2 - 2.5 hours and coming back it was an hour and 45 minutes. Oge and I basically talked the whole time. Seriously, it was amazing. I learned so much! I learned about his past, his family - parents and brothers especially, about his wife and daughter, about his journey in learning English, about what annoys him and what he likes, and about his experience with the earthquake. It was perfect. It was like sitting down for coffee with your best friend and talking about anything and everything.

I will, however, share with you his stories from the earthquake. Oge was at the Guest House arguing with a guy about a fair price to pay for some car repairs when the earthquake hit. He said at first he didn't know what it was, but then the wall that surrounds the Guest House grounds fell down and then he saw the whole Guest House lean to the left and then lean to the right. Daniel (the other driver) apparently got down on the ground and covered his head. Donette came out going crazy and saying "What's happening!?!?" As soon as the earthquake stopped Oge described hearing screams from the street. The world was silent during the earthquake and as soon as it was done... there was mass chaos. Sobbing, screaming, hysterics. He explained that he waited at the Guest House for another 30 minutes because the earth was still moving and he didn't want to get caught up in another big quake on the road.

He returned home to find his wife and daughter doing just fine. However, that does not mean he did not lose anyone on that sad day. He described how they searched for 3 days for his brother-in-law but couldn't get to him. They still haven't seen/found any of his remains. He also had another brother-in-law who was at a university that completely collapsed. He had many neighbors that he used to see every day that died. Many friends that died, too. However, he did share a word of thanksgiving because his brother could have easily died in the quake but did not.

Apparently his brother was in town for a short while and he went to check his e-mail at a local cyber cafe. Oge, wanting his brother to hang out with him and some old friends at the Guest House called him and said "You can do that later, you need to come and be here with us now." Shortly after his brother arrived is when the earthquake happened and the cyber cafe his brother was in completely collapsed. Oge said it was kind of a wake-up call for his brother. I can only imagine.

It was just very obvious in that conversation that we not only became friends, but good friends. Friends that trust each other and feel comfortable sharing with each other. I actually said at one time, "Oge, you can be my Haitian best friend," and he said, "Of course!" Upon returning to the Guest House, Bryan heard that we were just riding in the car for the majority of the time and commented, "Wow, I'm really glad I didn't go then. That would have been so boring." Oge and I both laughed and said, "No, actually it was really fun. We talked the whole time." Seriously. One of the best car trips ever.

After we came back to the Guest House, we had some down time. Bryan and Mike put up some mirrors. I helped Oge with Facebook again. Later Bryan and Johnny (Eric's nephew) joined us... listening to music and chatting a bit.

This evening was another great moment when Bryan received a love letter from one of the girls living in the tent city. He burst into our house (the Swiss House) saying "Beth. Beth. I got a love letter." I then stopped everything that I was doing so we could read it. It was hilarious, sweet, and very cute. However, this girl is much younger than Bryan, she speaks very little English, she lives in Haiti, and Bryan has an ish-girlfriend back home. All of these factors made Bryan a bit squeamish to let her down but Johnny and Peterson came to help him. It totally made my night.

So yeah. Those are my stories for the past two days. Just good times full of building relationships. Also, I have officially become a trusted, loved person with my boys. Tonight, Robenson and Stanley greeted me with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I love it. God has certainly blessed me immensely! :)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Back to Reality

Back in Petionville. Back to reality.

It was a good day. Busy, but good. I did a ton of work this morning. I felt like I spammed Lisa's inbox about various COR related things I e-mailed her so much. I also inventoried two huge boxes of medical supplies which took for-ev-er... especially since I am not a doctor or nurse and so I didn't know what half the things were. After all that, though, I definitely feel like I accomplished quite a bit today.

This afternoon I mostly hung out with Oge. We shared music and stories and good times. He gave me some of his Compas music and I gave him some Hip-Hop and pop. Yes, I did introduce my Haitian friend to Lady Gaga, too. I fully expect him to come to work humming it tomorrow. I also showed him the "Forever Wedding Dance" video on YouTube. He thought it was pretty funny that they were doing that in a church. Good stuff. Then, I set him up on Facebook. I got him logged in and gave him a full tutorial. I've noticed that Facebook isn't a thing in Haiti. I may have started a Facebook revolution after teaching Oge how to use it today, though. I suppose we'll see how many of his Haitian friends he gets to sign up while I'm here.

Tonight, though was... weird.

I came back to my room after dinner to find some of my boys around waiting for me. It was a joy to see them after being gone this weekend. I put my things inside and then went back outside to say hello. Michle came right up to me and wanted to play the paddy cake game again. I played with him for a while and soon all the boys wanted to play. I paired them up with each other so they could all practice together, not just with me. I may re-teach myself the cup game so I might be able to teach them that while I'm here. I think they would love it. Although I will have to find some cups. Hmmm...

Then Davidson arrived and gave me a big hug. Soon, all the boys were taking turns giving me big hugs. I couldn't stop laughing because they were all cracking me up. I felt loved though. We talked a lot about building relationships in the training I went to before coming to Haiti and I'm really glad I came in with that mentality. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to get to know and love these boys.

However, the evening took a sour turn. The boys started wrestling. Now, I know that "boys will be boys" but these boys play ROUGH and kids get hurt. Sometimes kids get hurt that weren't even involved in the fighting to begin with. When Davidson got kicked in the head really hard (on accident) is when it got bad. Davidson started running after the kids and others tried to pull him back. But that just caused him to push them and go after the others still. I tried yelling stop and I tried to get them to calm down but they couldn't understand me. I have never wanted so desperately to be able to communicate. If only I could communicate to them that they needed to stop because they were really hurting one another then everything would be okay!

However, I could not communicate with them and they started to get crazier. Finally, feeling very hopeless, I went to find someone who could speak Creole and tell them to calm down. However, what ended up happening is folks got upset and shooed them away.

Now I know that there needs to be boundaries. And Mike did tell them that if they started fighting then they would have to leave. But in that moment I felt defeated. I wasn't trying to get them in trouble, just trying to get them to calm down. Also, when I walked up there with the folks yelling at them, they knew I was the one who told on them. It felt like they were all looking at me, feeling betrayed. I just hope that they understood that it was because they were fighting... not because I wanted them to leave. Blah. Mike said I shouldn't worry because they'll be back again tomorrow happy to see me again. Hopefully that will be true. :(

Anyway, I'm off. I do have photos up from Jacmel, though. Go here to see them!

Love to all of you,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Jacmel Excursion

This is probably my first blog entry that's mostly a travel blog. Not much heartbreaking stuff to relate about this weekend. Just good times.

Yesterday around noon we left for Jacmel. Jacmel is about 3 hours south of Port-au-Prince. Look at this map to get a better idea. Also, we includes: Hal, Doug, Mike, Oge, Donette, Ablamy (yes, apparently I've been spelling his name wrong this whole time,) Jammes, Bryan, and myself.

Anyway, it was a long journey. Thanks for a few funny stories and Bryan and I sharing music, though, the time passed fairly quickly.

Once we arrived in Jacmel we went straight to some of the best shops in the city. Jacmel is known as Haiti's art captial and it is the host to a big event called "Carnivale" which is similar to Mardi Gras. The first place we stopped was the shop of the mask creator for Carnivale. He had some crazy cool masks. Then we traveled to an art gallery and some of those paintings were AMAZING. I would have purchased some but a $50 painting is a bit out of my price range. (And that was for the smaller ones!)

Going from there we went in a few of the smaller shops and walked around the city for a bit. It's definitely a beach town. Much more laid back than Port-au-Prince. I definitely enjoyed Jacmel. It just has a nice, relaxing vibe to it.

After that, though, we had to find a hotel as it would soon be getting dark and it was almost dinner time. We had tried to make reservations somewhere before coming to Jacmel but most phones didn't work so we just thought we'd take our chances and go from hotel to hotel until we found some rooms.

We eventually got the point where we felt like Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem. There was no room in the inn! And then we really felt like Mary and Joseph when we finally found our "stable" to sleep in.

This is mostly because our sleeping accommodations were... interesting. And I’ll just leave it at that. We were glad to have a place to stay, but also glad to leave in the morning.

Anyway, after waking up and getting ready the next day we went to breakfast at a much nicer hotel and enjoyed the beach breeze and the sounds of waves. I also enjoyed my first cup of Haitian coffee. It was divine. I haven't had coffee this whole time because it's hot and I'd rather drink water to avoid dehydration but as I was up at 5:15 this morning due to the humidity... I needed the pick me up.

With our stomachs full we finally went to the beach. We decided to go to Donette's favorite beach because it's not as touristy. Let me tell you - it was fantastic. It was exactly like what you would want a Caribbean beach to be like. Warm water, soft sand, lots of palm trees for shade, booths with goodies for sale and amazing food. Ablamy and Donette actually arranged for us to have fresh lobster and fish with fried plantains on the beach for lunch. It was VERY good.

Now, this is when the "real fun" began. We had heard about these amazing waterfalls that Jacmel has and none of us had ever seen them. Therefore, we thought it sounded like a fairly good idea to visit. We drove and drove to get there - through deep waters (seriously - I was amazed our van didn't stall!) and steep hills (both down and up) and narrow roads. Finally, though, we arrived at the entrance and they told us it was just a short ten minute hike to the waterfall.

Hah. Short ten minute hike. Makes it sound like a nice walk in the woods.

Well, it was not that. Instead, it was extremely steep hills covered with rocks so it was difficult to keep your footing - especially going down. Also, we had to climb over a few rivers, up some steep stairs, and through two boulders. It should also be noted that I did all of this in flip flops as I didn't pack any other shoes. Finally, it seemed like we were near the waterfall but we couldn't quite see it yet. It was then that our guides told us to take off our shoes because we were going to have to climb down this rope to continue. It looked at that and went "No way." Oge, Donette, Doug, Ablamy, and Jammes agreed with me and we all went to the water we had just passed and sat down in it.

Now, it was a terrible hike, and the flip flops definitely made it worse... but man, the water felt great and the view from my sitting spot was INCREDIBLE. I was sitting in cool water on a hot day looking up at lush, green mountains in Haiti.

Hal, Mike, and Bryan soon returned and told us many tales of the wonderful fall they had seen. Although we were all a bit jealous, none of us regretted the decision we made to not go down the rope. :) We then began the trek back to the vehicle with wet, slippery flip flops. The hike was actually a bit easier going up than going down because the traction is better... but I am still amazed that I didn't fall and break my head open or something.

After that we rode home. Once we hit Port-au-Prince, Mike realized that we hadn't done the worship service we had planned yet so we did it in the van on the way back to the Guest House. Mike read a devotion, Ablamy led us in 3 songs (Sanctuary, and two others that I can't remember,) I led the whole van in "Up above My Head," Oge sang a solo, Doug said a prayer, Hal did a benediction, and then Ablamy led us in "Amazing Grace."

Let me tell you, it was such a joy to sing "Up above My Head" in that van. It had been a while since I had led it and so I sung it as loud and as passionately as I could. The whole van really got into it, too, and afterwards Donette said, "Beth that is such a powerful song! I could feel the spirit moving in that one." Probably the highlight of my whole day. I think I just like that song that much.

So yes. Now I'm off to bed and tomorrow starts another day of work and I'm sure more lessons from my tutors. Also, hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to post some pictures from Jacmel. Tonight Facebook is not cooperating.


P.S. My blog has been receiving a lot of love lately! It's possible that an excerpt from one of my entries will be in the sermon this next Sunday at Church of the Resurrection and Kansas City religion blogger, Bill Tammeus, also mentioned me in his blog. As I keep on saying, I really hope you all are enjoying the blog as much as I'm enjoying writing it!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Today was fun!

The morning was kind of long, though. It was my job to sort through the various tools that we've had donated to us and split them into 3 separate tool bags. That took for-ev-er. However, I was in my room by myself so I was able to turn some tunes on and rock out a bit while I did it. In the end, it was nice to kind of get that time... doing my own project with my music on. Nice.

Also, the world cup began today. It was very entertaining to be sitting in my room sorting tools and suddenly hear cheers erupt from nearby. It certainly brought back memories of being in Copenhagen, Istanbul, and Amsterdam during the Euro Cup. Many cheers coming from the streets. Also, I noticed that when certain games are on... the entire city seems to stop and nothing else matters. Too funny.

Also, I totally forgot to tell you about a new friend yesterday. His name is Peterson. Many folks at COR told me about him before I came but I did not officially meet him until yesterday. Actually, he helped me to play Kasino better so I wouldn't suck so badly. Very cool teenager and speaks a fair amount of English.

Well today I saw Peterson on a quick trip next door to get more water in the midst of my tool sorting. I asked him who was winning the soccer game and who Haiti was rooting for. He told me everyone was cheering for South Africa in this particular match. In the midst of this conversation, though, we got on the subject of the earthquake.

He explained that he had been around the Guest House the day of the earthquake and went to the Hotel Montana the next day to find the missing UMVIM/UMCOR folks. He said that he had never seen a dead body in real life until that day. Looking at him as he talked about it his whole body started slumping over, his eyes looked at the ground, and his voice got a lot quieter. It was obvious that those memories still haunt him.

He also said something that I thought was very profound and I've been thinking about all day. He said, "On that day, life did not matter. That is - everyone was the same. Rich or poor it didn't matter. Everyone was affected. People of all walks of life died. Life... it was just gone."

Wow. Everyone was affected - rich or poor - everyone was the same on that day. In a country that seems to be so often divided by rich and poor it was heartbreaking and (at the same time) amazing to me that the earthquake seemed to be the great equalizer. Well, at least for that one day, anyway.

Also, it was great to have the COR group and the Haiti Partnership group back at the Guest House before they leave tomorrow. I got to hear many stories of their adventures. A story about a mother who was unable to nurse her small baby due to injury and had been making a mix of cornmeal, papaya, and water hoping that it would provide enough sustenance for the child. This particular team purchased formula for this woman and hopefully it will last for some time. I heard stories of men on work sites who were out pouring concrete in flip flops and about men who donated their sturdy work shoes. And I heard stories of bathing in gutter water... because that's the way the locals did it. Great, great stories.

I also asked Oge a few questions about music in Haiti. He's going to (hopefully) bring me some traditional Haitian music (called Compa (sp?) I believe) tomorrow. I showed him some of the music I had and I found out he's a big hip-hop fan. Who knew? I also found out that Mike's son, Bryan, likes Techno/European dance music. Glory. I think we're all going to be good friends.

After dinner my time was spent hanging out with the kids again. Bryan brought out his laptop and played some music for the kids to dance to. I taught several of the kids a simple "paddy cake" clapping pattern and tossed a ball around with Davidson and a new boy, Christopher. Also, the two teenage girls - Carly and Jennifer - came around tonight. They were somewhat shy when I first met them earlier this week but now it's obvious that they feel very comfortable around us. They especially find great joy in teaching Bryan and I new Kreyol words. They're fun to have around and they help to calm the boys down a bit which is a blessing.

So yes! That was today! I have been updating every day but I may not update tomorrow. We'll be traveling to Jacmel (which I hear is GORGEOUS) and hopefully staying the night there. If we stay there I will not have my computer with me to update. If we can't find a place to say, though, I may update late that night.

As usual, I hope you're well. Is America as crazy about the World Cup as Haiti is? I don't remember it being a big deal in the past but maybe I was just living under a rock or something. Haha. Anyway, I'm off to bed. Goodnight!


Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's been a busy day!

But not really busy in terms of playing with the kids or anything like that. More busy in work and then, of course, my now daily card games with Oge. We did welcome another member to our team in Haiti today, though. Mike's son, Bryan, arrived today and will stay until sometime in August. So he'll be here the rest of the time I'm here for. Bryan is just two years older than me so it will be nice to have some younger folks around.

I did play with the kids a bit but that wasn't until this evening and it was just for a short while. However, I will say that it amazes me how much of this language I'm catching on to. It feels good to finally start understanding things!

So I thought tonight might be good to express some of the things I've been mulling over. And trust me, there's a lot to mull over in Haiti.

First, let's start with the language. Language can, often times, be a very interesting window to a culture and/or a society's history. Kreyol comes from Haiti's slave roots as it is a mixture of French and African languages. Certain words are also very revealing to its slave history. For example, gason (garcon in French) is normally used for boy in French... but in Kreyol it also means man. Slaves were treated like children regardless of their age. Also interesting is that in Kreyol there are no pronouns. "Li" in Kreyol means he, she, and (most-telling) it. Again, a slave you did not have an identity. You could be a person or an object depending on the circumstance.

This has really helped put into perspective Haiti's modern day trials. Throughout their history, Haitians have just learned trades or they have learned to be scavengers. Therefore, it's really difficult to break that chain. If your parents know how to farm and only make $5/day then more-than-likely, you're going to grow up only knowing how to farm and continue to make the same $5/day. Also, from what I've explored, there are no "free" public schools. Yes, in America we have to pay lots of fees, but beyond fees... public schooling K-12 is free. It is not that way in Haiti and so it's especially difficult to break the cycle. That has been a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. I never realized how much of a blessing it is to be educated. How privileged I am to be educated. Wow.

Also, my eating habits have changed since I've been in Haiti. The food here is pretty good. We have lots of beans and rice (probably once every other day) and one type of meat - usually pork, chicken, or last night we had goat. Sometimes we have fried plantains with dinner. For breakfast there is fresh fruit out every morning - mangoes, pineapples, papaya, and bananas. The pineapples have a weird coconut flavor to them, though. I actually really miss the pineapple I had at Living Water every Sunday.

However, I have been eating a lot less. I think being around so many who have so little, it has made me realize how much of my life (particularly my eating) has been full of excess. Now yes, I do need to eat. I am making sure I'm eating enough so I am not hungry until the next meal time but I'm cutting down on my excess significantly. I think it also helps knowing that whatever I don't eat the staff share with my "tutors" in the afternoons. I will gladly give up a spoonful of beans and rice knowing that they'll have something to eat.

I mean, seriously. I have more than enough of almost everything in my life. I especially have enough food. Why not cut back a bit so there is enough to go around?

I don't know. I suppose those have been the two biggest things I've been processing. How do people truly "come out of slavery" without education and how can I cut excess out of my life. I'm sure I'm actually processing quite a bit more than that... but those are my two biggest ones that I've been mulling over.

Oh, and before I head out I have some great news. Beyond Borders contacted me back today and I'll be meeting with them next week. Also, another man (associated with Beyond Borders, a Methodist, and an American) contacted me directly saying he's also very interested in eliminating domestic child servitude (restavek system) and wanted to meet with me to pick each others brain on what role the Methodist church might play in that. However, he will not be in Haiti until I leave so I don't think I'll be able to meet with him unless his plans for travel to Haiti change or unless we meet later in the States. Regardless, it made me even more excited for my meeting with Beyond Borders (or probably more acurate - Limye Lavi) and for my continued discernment as to what exactly God might be calling me to do - in Haiti or otherwise.

Alright well I'm headed to bed. How are you all, by the way? I hope things are going well!


P.S. Click here for photos of my tutors. (Including 5 extra ones that I uploaded this evening if you checked it earlier today.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


So today was kind of a crazy day!

The morning was fairly slow. I completed some documents to send back to the States to be laminated and updated a tool list and our medical supplies list. After I completed those tasks, I played a few more rounds of Speed with Oge and attempted to teach him Crazy 8's. I was not really successful in explaining Crazy 8's, though. About 11:30 Mike, Oge, and I went to the Children's Home that I have heard so many talk about.

Actually, there wasn't that much to report. We arrived and dropped off some toys. After that we waited for the kids to finish getting ready for school because apparently we pick them up and drop them off at school every day. Who knew? Haha. One cool thing, though, is that they get together for a large group prayer before going to school. After that, all the kids pile into our van and we take them to school. We counted and there was 25 total people in that van today... including 4 adults! Crazy!

We dropped the kids off and had a quick lunch at the Guest House. After that, I took a short nap and then went back to the office expecting to sort tools this afternoon. However, shortly after I arrived, my tutors from yesterday showed up and Mike turned to me and said, "It looks like it's time for your lesson!"

I went outside and soon had a mob of boys around me. I counted this time and there were ten of them traveling with me. We went all over Freres Campus again, and they took me through their tent city again. There, I met more girls. The girls don't seem to come out past the tent city very much and I am still not quite sure why. However, it was a joy to meet some of the women and young girls there. There were two little girls in particular who totally stole my heart. I have a photo of them. Tomorrow when the internet is better I'll post it. :)

We soon came back to the Guest House and saw "Paste Mike" (Pastor Mike) outside. The boys also scooped him up and took him through the tent city too. On our way back, we ran into Oblami and Donette who had just bought a car. Donette wanted to do a prayer of blessing over the new vehicle and so we (Donette, Oblami, Mike, myself, and all the boys) held hands and gathered around the vehicle. Mike prayed, Oblami prayed, and then Donette asked me to pray once in English. I don't know if I have ever prayed over a vehicle before but it was certainly an experience to remember.

After that, the boys turned to me and started saying "legs in, legs out" and motioning toward the Guest House. I told Mike they wanted to swing and so we led them to the swing for them to have some fun again. However, we had many more kids... all of them wanting to swing so it was a bit difficult to find some order. We eventually got it, though, and it was once again a great, great joy to watch them find such pleasure in something as simple as a swing. Mike turned to me at that point and noted, "They need a playground." I have never thought much about the need and necessity of parks and playgrounds until that moment. Oh what joy a simple slide and some swings would bring these boys!

Then, the boys turned to Mike and asked if they could color with me again. I led them over to my house and got out the stencils, crayons, and paper again. The boys really like the stencils because they can ask Mike and I what the objects are in English. Mike and I spend most of our time labeling their various drawings. One boy, McKinley, came over to Mike tonight and asked him to write down certain phrases he wanted to know how to say. Since Mike knows a significant amount of Kreyol and is (obviously) fluent in English he was a good person to ask. Halfway through writing these phrases, though, he turns to me and says, "Beth, if you want to really know what life is like here... you just gotta read the phrases that McKinley wants to know how to say."

At the top of the paper was simple things like "How are you?" and "What is your name?" Halfway down the sheet, though, you see:
My house is blue.
My house fell down.
I live in a tent.
My cousin died.
My aunt died.
My teacher died.

Wow. You know, you're in the midst of playing and laughing with these kids and then moments like this hit you... when you realize that they have seen more in their few years of life than most have in much longer lifetimes. They've had to endure some extreme heartache and hardships. I am awed and inspired by these kids and their ability to find such happiness in the midst of such struggle.

And that was my day in a nutshell. I still haven't heard from Beyond Borders yet but I'm hopeful that I'll hear back soon. Which reminds me that I need to tell you about the restavek system.

Restavek, in Kreyol, literally translated means "stay withs." Obviously, poverty in Haiti is extreme, and in some families... unbearable. Each child that is born is another mouth to feed. And when you can barely afford to feed your family, you have no money for contraceptives. Therefore, many families (in the very rural areas especially) are not able to fully care for all or some of their kids. So, they negotiate to sell their children to a wealthier family hoping their child will be fed, cared for, and will have the opportunity to go to school. Once this happens, they become a restavek. Once this happens, they become a slave.

In extremely rare occasions are the kids actually cared for. Most of the time, they are forced to do chores and other forms of labor from dawn until dusk. They are not given an education. They are, in general, physically and sexually abused. They become a disposable commodity and since these transactions are done between families (without the government getting involved) there is no paperwork on these kids. This makes them even more disposable. Who cares about a kid that no one really knows anything about?

Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves has partnered with an organization called Limye Lavi that is actively working to end the restavek system. Although, from what I hear, it is technically illegal now, it is still an extremely common practice. I'm really excited to meet with them and learn about their different initiatives and how exactly they're going about defeating this ugly situation in Haiti.

Okay. Whew! Long entry! Sorry about that. Also, I took some really good photos today so hopefully I'll have some of those up on Facebook tomorrow. I'll be sure to post a link when I get there!

Sending love your way,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Could love be a mob scene?

So much for writing about processing! It is coming, though. My first slow day that happens I'll be sure to write about it.

I thought this morning that I might have the opportunity to write about processing this evening. Nothing happened this morning. No groups came, I didn't see any of the kids, and Mike and Doug went to the bank and ran other errands that I did not tag along for. I created a few signs in Word to send to the States to be laminated and then I worked on my Kreyol for a bit and then I ran out of things to do. I just kind of puttered around Facebook and did some research on human trafficking organizations in Haiti. Mike told me about the organization, Beyond Borders, (which is also mentioned in the book I mentioned yesterday)and today I contacted them about maybe setting up a chance to meet with them at some point. Hopefully they'll respond soon and I'll get to learn more about their plans to end the restavek system.

I'm guessing most of you do not know about the restavek system? I'll be sure to explain it later, but not today.

After eating lunch alone I went to my room for a quick nap as I didn't sleep very well the night before. When I awoke, Mike and Doug had returned. However, I still had very little to do. To keep myself busy, I asked Oge if he wanted to play some card games with me so I could work on my counting in Kreyol. Although I didn't say one word in Kreyol, it was an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

At first, Oge called Jammes over to teach me how to play a Haitian card game called Kasino. I was TERRIBLE. Like, beyond bad. They kicked my butt twice. We played a third round with Mike, Oge, and me (because Jammes had to go home) and I lost miserably again. Wanting to regain some dignity back because Oge kept on making fun of my Kasino skilz (yes, with a z) I first told him about the game Spoons. Although there was only two of us, I explained the whole game and we played a practice round. Hopefully we'll be able to round up a few willing participants soon so he'll get a real Spoons experience!

One thing Oge kept on saying when we were playing Spoons, though, was how fast it was! So, while thinking of other games I could teach him that the two of us could play, I remembered my middle school favorite - Speed. I explained Speed to Oge and then we played one slower round so he would get the gist. After that, it was full "speed" ahead! Let me tell you, it was exciting stuff. So exciting that I was dripping in sweat after just a few rounds. Oge was cracking me up the whole time, too. "Oh! Oh my goodness! She is too fast for me!" And "Oh, there she goes again! Boy, she is quick. I am a loser." Hahaha. He kept on wanting to play, though, like it was an addiction. By the end of our time he had won 4 rounds of Speed and I had won the rest. He said, "Have you ever come across anyone who can beat you!?!?" I said, "Yes! You did a few times!" And he said, "No, I meant beat you like all the time. You can't can you?" I laughed and then he said, "Well, I will beat you at this game before you leave. We'll have lots of time to practice and play. I will beat you." So. Much. Fun.

After that I went back up to the office and Oge headed home. However, it was not long before the heard of boys started yelling my name outside the office door. I peeked out and Mike translated for me that they were saying it was time for my Kreyol lesson.

My friend, Ben, recently returned from Haiti and posted a ton of pictures on his Facebook. The photo album was titled "Can love be a mob scene?" I laughed at first, thinking it was cute, but I did not truly understand it until the boys took me on a Kreyol scavenger hunt of sorts tonight. I had many boys teaching me - Steven, Robenson, Davidson, Miche, Michle, Peter, Son-Son, McKinley, and a few others that never told me their names. Both of my hands were promptly taken and some of the others held onto my arms as they led me through Freres campus. I learned words like pyebwa for tree and wash for rock. They LOVED teaching me and with so many teachers sometimes it was hard to understand who was trying to tell me what. It was a blast, though. I was out with them for a good 45 minutes. We went through their tent city, to the Methodist church on campus, around the schools, and even walked past a college class as it was in session. I was amazed at the amount of joy they had at just trying to teach me simple words in Kreyol. I, of course, tried to teach them some words in English as well but I think all that stuck was "tent" as it's very similar to the Kreyol word for tent.

Towards the end it was time for me to head back to the Guest House for dinner. They escorted me the entire way. Once we arrived and I realized it wasn't quite time for dinner yet, the kids found a bench and reminded me of sit down in Kreyol and tried to get me to sit down with them. They were sitting in the swing outside the Guest House, though, and did not know it. So... I pushed it. I can't really describe the look on their faces when it started moving but it was one of amazement and great, great joy. I realized they may have never been on a swing in their entire lives. However, with a full bench and no one pumping the swing began to slow down. Again, realizing they had probably never been on a swing, I attempted to teach them how to pump using gestures. Standing up I motioned and said "Leg in, leg out, leg in, leg out." Soon, I had all the boys laughing and chanting "leg in, leg out, leg in, leg out." And voila! They had learned how to pump! It was so much fun.

After I ate dinner, they came back for me again, ready to give me another lesson. I explained that I was tired (m fatigue) but that I'd color with them if they wanted to do that. The boys got very excited and soon I had a group of 7 boys outside my door coloring using the stencils, paper, and crayons my mom sent to me. It was, once again, a ton of fun. I tried to take some pictures but they weren't in the mood. Maybe next time. However, I am almost completely out of paper now. Oh well, I'm sure I can get some more and they had fun using the stencils and learning the English words for some of the things they drew.

Although I feel like, in general, I did very little today... it was a great day. I had a wonderful time with Oge (I swear, he'll probably be my Haitian bff by the time I leave here) and I felt "accepted into the group" with the young boys living in the tent city. I'm finally settling in. Haiti feels like home.

Anyway, that's all for now. Sleeping time is definitely necessary. Sending peace your way!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Loving Dangerously.

Oh my goodness. Today was a day. Full of nothing yet full of everything.

Starting at the beginning the COR team left this morning for Arcahaie. I was going to go with them, but once we started loading the van it was like human tetris trying to get everyone in. It became quite obvious that there was not going to be enough room. That was okay with me, though. I waved goodbye and then got out the colors and stencils for Davidson and Robenson to color with. I fall more and more in love with the kids here every day. They make me smile and laugh and are so joyful even in the midst of great tragedy and unfortunate circumstances.

I also found out more of Davidson's story today. He is 8 years old and is an orphan. Luckily, Donette got a hold of him before anyone else did and offered to care for him and send him to school and all that jazz. He does not live in the house with her and Oblami, though, because he is too afraid to go inside buildings. Therefore, Donette bought a tent for him and two other boys to share in their backyard. When Donette and Oblami leave at the beginning of August, Davidson will go to a very nice Children's Home.

I found all of this out because tonight Davidson came by the Guest House before dinner with two other boys. Eric saw Davidson and called him over to Mike and showed Mike some markings on Davidson's forehead. We found out that Davidson was playing and "messed up" some girls hair by rubbing his fingers through the top of her hair. As Davidson is a silly, vibrant young boy, he giggled and began running away. The girl, being upset, told her mother. The mother became irate and told some other kids to go find Davidson. They found him and tricked him by saying they wanted to play. Instead, they lead him to this woman who beat him. She kicked him and slapped him several times... obviously hard enough to leave the mark on his forehead.

I cannot even fully describe to you the emotions I felt upon hearing this story. I find myself choking back tears just thinking about it. Davidson is such a great kid... one of the first to learn my name and "accept me into the group." He hung out with me this morning for a good 45 minutes coloring. When he saw me this evening he shook my hand and said "Bonswa Beth!" and later returned to give me a big hug. What amazes me even more is that he had no intention of telling anyone that story. Eric had heard it from another one of the neighborhood kids and that's how he knew to tell us about it. Luckily, Oblami, Donette, and Mike talked to the woman this evening and hopefully she will never touch Davidson again.

These kids have totally stolen my heart. Tonight, Robenson, Michle, and a new boy named Louis were hanging out wanting to talk to Mike tonight. As I was around, too, I came outside. Robenson remembered my name but the other boys came up and asked. Michle must have had a case of the giggles tonight because he kept on asking me what my name was and every time I would say "Beth" he would say "Beth" back in his deepest voice and laugh a lot. Also, every time I laughed, he would laugh, too. Then the boys started gathering around me and asking me many questions in Kreyol, trying to teach me how to say different things. Mike told them that they should help teach me Kreyol and I would help teach them English. They decided that was a great idea... I'm going to have many teachers by the end of these two months.

I have not quite pinpointed the ways in which this experience has already changed me, but I can tell you that it absolutely has. I just started reading a book called "Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously" by Kent Annan. It's all about how he came to live with the poor in Haiti in 2003 to experience "life from the other side." He talked about how when you truly open up your heart to someone or something then you're on dangerous ground. Truly loving someone changes you whether you want it to or not.

Well, I believe I'm on dangerous ground. What comes to mind is the song "Esther" by Sara Groves and "What It Means to Love" by Meredith Andrews. I'm compelled, I'm compelled by what I've seen, and how can I go back to life as usual? How can I return to who I once was?

I knew this was going to be a summer that would change me and direct me. A summer where God would be able to speak loudly and clearly. I can already tell... I am going to get that and so, SO much more.

I am so thankful for all of your prayers as I continue on this journey. I have felt them surround me as I care for, work for/with, play with, and enjoy fellowship with the people of Haiti. What a beautiful and wonderful thing it is to be a part of the body of Christ!

Anyway, I should probably get off to bed. Read some more of this book. Process some more. Maybe if not much else is going on tomorrow I'll tell you about some of the things I'm processing. Now THAT is bound to be an interesting blog entry.

Sending blessings, love, and words of thanks your way!

P.S. I put a counter on here to get a better idea of the amount of people reading my blog. According to my counter, I have had 64 different people read this in only 4 days! Wow! Well, I hope you all are enjoying reading this blog... I know I am enjoying sharing this experience with you!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life is a Cabaret


It's mostly been a lazy Sunday (which was quite nice) but I did have my second Haitian church experience this morning.

Mike says that he wants to visit every church on Oblami's circuit before he's transferred. That will happen at the beginning of August so more-than-likely I'll be visiting a different church every Sunday which is kind of neat because I'll have many different experiences.

This Sunday we visited the Methodist church in a town called Cabaret. It's near Arcahaie where we went to church last week. This church is much larger though and actually looked like a church. It also had a paved floor and a roof without any holes. However, this church was MUCH warmer. The church last week seemed to have a nice breeze all the time and this one was just plain hot. Also, it was two and a half hours long... all in Kreyol. Whew.

It was certainly an experience, though. The singing was loud and beautiful. I was even able to sing along a bit because Mike has a Kreyol hymnal. Awesome. After some singing, a woman apparently shared her testimony about how she was sick in the hospital and had never prayed until then. After she began praying to God, though, she was healed. She was very dramatic in her telling. I didn't understand what she was saying (until it was explained to me later) but I could tell she was a good story teller.

Oblami then got up to preach and he preached on John chapter 5 - Jesus healing the lame man. I had an English bible with me so I was able to read along while Oblami spoke. Very cool.

The coolest part of the whole 2.5 hour long service, though, was communion. Not everyone receives communion... only those who really wish to partake come to the front of the church and kneel with hands out, ready to receive. Although I did not like the fact that there was not enough for everyone to partake it was a very interesting experience to receive communion while kneeling at the altar with hands outstretched. Very humbling. Once you're there, a pastor comes and gives you the bread. Then, he blesses the bread and you all eat it at once. After that, they pass out the wine. And yes, it really was wine. Hot wine. After that, a quick benediction is said and then you get up and go back to your seat.

I was glad to have communion today. Although I may be spending my time with the Methodists I'm still a Disciple at heart. It was a joy to receive.

Also, the children there were, once again, adorable. One little girl in particular was very curious about us and kept on making eyes at me. She was probably about two or three and would waddle over to where we sat and would stare at me and my friends for a little while and then waddle back over to her seat. At the end of the service, though, when everyone is saying their greetings, she came over and Mike shook her hand. Her mom started to walk away, but she stayed with her hand outstretched because she wanted to shake my hand, too! I shook her hand and she giggled and smiled and then went to find her mother. Her mother shot me a smile, too while I waved goodbye to the little one. Too cute.

The rest of this afternoon was full of rest and mostly relaxation. I was still feeling a bit under the weather but after my nap I'm feeing MUCH better. Also, the COR team came today so I received a lovely care package from my parents full of some art supplies for the kids to use and some things for me. Which, by the way, if you're reading this... thanks to Timothy and/or Attisen for the drawing! It made my day. :) It will be hanging in my room shortly.

I hope you all are well. Sending blessings, once again, your way!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Swiss Countryside of Haiti

Alright. Eventful day! Lets start with the morning, shall we? We shall.

So this morning, some of the boys from the tent city on our complex stopped Mike. They told him that their grandmother passed away and they needed nice shoes and socks for the funeral. Mike was sympathetic and had me come down to talk to the boys, too, while he figured out what he could do to help them. In the process, though, Davidson, another boy from the tent city, came by. The boys did not want Davidson there while they talked to Mike about the shoes because they didn't want him to try to get some, too. Mike, in a way to divert Davidson's attention, asked him to teach me some Kreyol words for things and I would teach him the English words. He got really excited and we started on our walk.

Let me tell you, I may not remember any of the words Davidson tried to teach me today... but I had an absolute blast. Davidson was on top of the world taking me around Freres Campus and teaching me the words for things. We would sometimes pass by folks, too, and he marched forward like he was on a very important mission. It was adorable. I also watched him play a bit with this small-ish rubber ball that he had. He played basketball with it (using a trashcan as the basket) and soccer. However, it was quite sad when he ended up losing the ball on a roof. :( Overall, though, we had a great time and I definitely made a new friend. He remembered my name, too, and began introducing me to some of his friends. He was a beautiful blessing in my day. I hope to have many more tours around the campus with the kids there.

For lunch today, we decided to do something fun so we went up to the Baptist Mission. It's up in the mountains of Haiti, in a area called "Kenscoff." It is so beautiful and green up there that it is considered the "Swiss Countryside of Haiti." It was GORGEOUS and nice and cool, too. Probably about 75-80 degrees up there which was a nice break from the heat. We ate lunch there (I had chicken fingers, french fries, and a milkshake... delish!) and then visited the museum on their campus and their zoo.

The museum was cool and had some interesting things in it - including a whole section on Voodoo, which I thought was very interesting. The zoo was also funny because there weren't many interesting animals in there except a crocodile, a monkey, and a few peacocks. The monkey, however, was HILARIOUS. When we walked up to his cage, he immediately swung over to us and started going a little bit crazy, at one point Oge walked away to answer his phone and we noticed that the monkey followed Oge and wouldn't pay any attention to us. When Oge came back we put it to a test and had Oge walk around the cage. Sure enough, the monkey followed him everywhere! It was hilarious and so much fun. We think the monkey must associate Oge with the guy who feeds him or something because he literally followed him EVERYWHERE. It was too cute. (Oh, and in the photo is (from left to right) Doug, Mike, Hal, and Oge. :) )

Before we left we also did some shopping. For those of you that know me, you know I love bargaining with folks. In Haiti, I get to put my bargaining skills to good use once again. I got two pictures and a statue all for under $20. And one of the pictures is hand painted. Good deal! I'm especially excited about the statue, though. The statue is a replica of a statue that is near the Presidential Palace in downtown Port-au-Prince and it is a national symbol for Haiti's freedom from slavery. As many of you know, the Haitians were originally slaves until they lead the slave revolt and overthrew the government. I bought the statue to keep on my desk when I head off to div school as a constant reminder of the call God has placed on my heart. Although, some slaves may be free, many are not. It is my job to work as hard as I can until all can blow the triumphant horn of freedom! Amen!

Also, I learned a ton about Oge today. I'm definitely a fan - he's pretty awesome. He is 30 years old, married, and has a 5 year old daughter named Laura (like my mom!) I also found out that he lost his two brothers-in-law in the earthquake and his mother-in-law went a little bit crazy after that. It was very sad hearing him talk about it. I also found out that his wife used to work but does not anymore because the man who used to watch his daughter also died in the earthquake. Until his daughter goes to school full time... his wife has to stay home with her. However, I did find out some other fun things in that Oge is building a home up by the Baptist Mission and he enjoys playing Dominoes. Except, their game of Dominoes sounds very painful. I guess he and his friends put clothespins on their skin if they lose a round. At the end of all their games, they find out who was the overall winner based off of the amount of clothespins someone has on. Yikes! I told him that I probably wouldn't want to play with him... he laughed at that.

For now, though, I probably should head off to bed. It's ridiculously early, but I got very ill this evening. I'm guessing that milkshake did not sit as well with me as I thought it would. Blech. I'm hoping with the help of some Pepto Bismol, Gatorade, and lots of fans, I'll be nice and fresh by the morning.

Tomorrow we're going with Oblami again to another church on his circuit and he'll be preaching tomorrow. I'm excited for my 2nd Haitian church experience! Hopefully I'll be feeling significantly better.

Anyway, goodnight my loves!


Photos: And again, yes, you can view them even if we aren't Facebook friends!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Epicenter.

Today was a very interesting day. Very interesting indeed.

This morning I loaded into the van with Mike, Oge (pronounced OJ... a driver for the Guest House,) and a group of four and headed for a town called Millier. (Pronounced Mill-yea) On our way to Millier, though, we stopped in a town called Carrefour (Kah-foo) and picked up the head cook and assistant cooks for the group working in Millier this week. It was a packed van with the luggage and the ten of us but I suppose that is the Haitian way.

Between Carrefour and Millier, though, is where the epicenter of the earthquake was. It was amazing driving through some areas and seeing literally every single building absolutely damaged. Also crazy was the cracks in the road where you see the earth shifted. Another heartbreaking scene was seeing refugee tents set up in the median on the road in one part of town. Yeah, the MEDIAN. The structures were very small and thrown together with pieces of wood, tin, and tarps. In fact, they were so small that we saw a shirtless woman bathing herself by the side of the road today, probably right outside her "home." How sad to be so cramped in your living space to have to bathe yourself in public. :( And the saddest part was seeing these areas that looked like huge cities based on the amount of buildings... and seeing very few people compared to other cities that size. I imagine many perished in those areas. Neighbors, family, friends.

Honestly, I've seen all the pictures and even driving around town you get kind of desensitized by it. But today, while we were driving through that area, it was all I could do to hold back tears. Photos cannot fully explain the damage this earthquake did - to the buildings, to the people, and to the Haitian way of life. Absolutely heartbreaking stuff. Please continue to pray for and send aid to the people of Haiti! The need is still very great.

When we finally arrived in Millier, though, we were greeted by some Haitians of the community who helped to unload the van. After unloading everything, we realized that we had not stopped at the grocery store on the way to Millier and the team still needed some bread. We asked Deena, the head cook, where to get the bread and she told us there was a bakery within walking distance that we could travel to.

So Mike, Oge, Deena, and I hiked through the Millier trails to the Millier bakery. It was amazing! It was right in the middle of nowhere (or at least, it seemed that way) and the inside reminded me of an Amish bakery almost with the tools they were using and such to make the bread. We did get a taste of the bread before bringing it to the group, though, and it was DELICIOUS. Very, very good bread. It was just a fun little excursion. However, it was hot and I had worn long pants and a long sleeved shirt to help ward off the mosquitoes because I heard they were heavy in that area. Oge kept on saying, "Beth, are you okay?" I would say, "Yes... are you okay?" And one time he responded with, "I'm cool." I asked him what his secret was to being cool... he wouldn't tell me.

After that, we said our goodbyes in Millier and headed back to the city. We went by the Presidential Palace to see if the National Museum was open but we found out it wasn't. I still haven't driven in front of the Presidential Palace, but the damage around that area was severe. The tent cities in those areas were insane. They were all over the place. In one area, there were tents set up on the sidewalks and vendors selling things in front of the tents. We also saw one demonstration march down a hill towards the Palace.

We made two quick stops at a paint shop and an tool store and then came back to the Guest House for the rest of the day around 2 p.m. When we arrived, Jammes was in the office and he once again helped me with my Kreyol. I'm really taking to it much more than I thought I would. I still can't remember the right words for things right off the top of my head... but I do understand most of the words I've learned when people use it in conversation which is fun for me. In the process of helping me, though, Jammes mentioned that he was watching the Lakers today. I found out that he's a big Lakers fan. I told him my brother was a big Lakers fan, too, and he got very excited. He asked if I was a Lakers fan and I said, "I don't really have a favorite team... but I do know that the Lakers are good!" He laughed at that. Jammes is always a bright spot in my day and so it was good to see him and talk with him a bit this afternoon.

One last thing. Today while we were driving from Millier, Oge had the radio on and I heard the song "Wavin' Flag" in Kreyol twice. "Wavin Flag" was the song the Canadians did as a benefit for Haiti... much like we did "We Are the World." However, "Wavin Flag" is much better and much more uplifting. It was very cool to me that the song has become so popular in Haiti and almost seems to be the anthem of the country right now. "When I am older, I will be stronger, They'll call me freedom, Just like a wavin flag." Although, Haiti has gone through so much and continues to go through so much, there is hope. There is great hope that the future will be better, that Haiti will be stronger. Even on nights like these, when there is much rain, and many families - some just a few feet away from my comfortable room and bed - are living in tents with dirt floors... there is hope. There is great, great hope.

God is good.


Map of Haiti: I went to Carrefour today and Millier is between Carrefour and Gressier. On Sunday I went to Arcahaie.
Photos of the day to be found here (on the page 2) and here.

Page Stats