Monday, July 26, 2010

Kansas City

So I suppose I should update and let you all know that I made it safely home to Kansas City.

It's weird being here, though. It doesn't feel like much has changed or anything. It's still great to see my friends and family, especially since it doesn't feel like anything has changed. That's always good to come home to. :)

However, this world is so vastly different from Haiti that being here makes Haiti feel like it's a billion miles away. I think that's what I'm going to struggle with the most - how do I help people from this place truly understand the realities that exist in Haiti? Prayers would be helpful as I explore that further.

Also prayers would be appreciated as I continue to process everything. I was processing things while I was in Haiti, but it's different trying to process things in the States because you're in a different context. Not that it's a bad context - just different. It's interesting to come back to a reality I've grown up knowing with knowledge of a new reality and trying to find ways to process both.

Anyway, yes, I am in Kansas City safe and sound. I'm headed to Colorado tomorrow and after about a week I'll be back in KC until the 12th. Then, I head back to Haiti to spend 4 months. I have a very strange life, but I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Love to you and you and you and you,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the Road Again

So I’m writing this report from the Port-au-Prince airport, but posting it later when I’m safe in my hotel room in Miami. I got through security, immigration, and everything else super quickly so I have about an hour and a half to kill. Cool and lame at the same time.

Today was hard. I’ll just be honest. Today was hard.

I mean, it already kind of sucks that my flight was so late that I was in the “ready to go” mind set, but I didn’t actually leave the Guest House until close to 2. Therefore, that’s almost a full day’s work before leaving and so things were as crazy as they usually were. It was weird and difficult to be in the “ready to go” mindset but also stay in the “ready to work and deal with life as usual in Haiti” mindset.

Also strange was that absolutely no one was ready to see me go. I mean, when I left the States, most people did not really want me to go – they would have preferred for me to stay there and have a great summer with them. However, they knew that this was such a great opportunity for me and most everyone was super supportive and weren’t upset to see me go.

This was different. Now, again, most were happy that I’d get to see my friends and family – but they weren’t excited at all about me being gone – especially since I’ll be gone for 2 and a half weeks. Mike did not want me to leave (he even threatened to rip up my passport a few times), Oge and Erick did not want me to leave, and many others expressed their sadness over me leaving. The worst, though, was saying goodbye to my boys.

I told you that yesterday they were already upset. The fact that I was leaving was a reality that was never far from their minds. But yesterday was nothing compared to today. Today, Robenson was outside my door at 6:30 a.m. sharp –when he knew my alarm would go off. I shooed him away for a short while so I could get dressed and pack up a few last minute things. By the time I came outside, though, he rushed and gave me a big hug saying, “Pa ale, Beth. Pa ale.”

He was soon joined by Davidson who also gave me a huge hug and showered me with kisses. He quickly joined Robenson in the “Pa ale” chant. I just hugged them back for a while before I had to let go to go to breakfast. It was then that I knew today was going to be difficult.

In a little over an hour, I had a whole group of boys standing outside the office wanting to talk to me every time I walked by. Their time with me was precious and it was running out. They all knew it. However, I often had to say “pita” (later) because I was busy doing other things.

When I finally saw Oge this morning I asked him how he was. He responded with, “Sad.” Yeah.

Again it is just so amazing to me how I’ve become so much of the fabric here. In just two months I have built such strong relationships, and become such a vital part of the daily life at the Guest House. It’s definitely been a God thing. I knew that God wanted me to come here, but I didn’t know just how much I would be affected as well as how much I would affect others.

When it was finally time for me to load up the van to head to the airport, things got really nuts. I went inside the Swiss House to grab my things and when I walked outside I was greeted by Robenson. As soon as he saw my big suitcase, though, and realized that I was really leaving… he had tears streaming down his eyes. Soon, Davidson saw me and came over. As an act of love and kindness, he grabbed my laptop bag to help me carry it to the van.

By the time I arrived at the van, Robenson could barely control himself. I kept on trying to tell them that it would be okay and that I was coming back. I also kept on trying to remind them that Bryan was coming today so they could have some fun with him. Nothing seemed to work, though.

Once all of my stuff was loaded in the van, I started my rounds of hugs. Only 3 kids were there so I started with Robenson first, trying to give him a comforting hug. He didn’t hug back, though. It almost seemed like it was just too hard for him.

I then gave a quick hug to McKinley who was making fun of Robenson crying. We told him to stop, but boys will be boys – and he let up a little, but not a lot.

The hardest one, though, was hugging Davidson. Davidson had been pretty happy all day. I mean, he gave me more kisses than usual and held his hugs a lot longer and told me not to go… but in general he seemed to be in a decent mood. However, when Davidson walked over to give me a hug I saw the tears start to well up in his eyes. By the time I had my arms wrapped around him, he had become a puddle of tears. I held him there as long as I could, but I had to let go so I could get on the road.

Davidson was especially difficult because I know he was thinking that he would never see me again. By the time I come back, he’ll be living in his new orphanage. Apparently, Mike had told him several times that day that I would be visiting him when I came back, but that never helped. Each time he thought about me leaving and that fact that he would be gone by the time I came back – he became very upset. That moment in my arms was when he lost it, though, was tough. It’s extremely difficult for me to think about it now without breaking into tears, myself. It was hard to be strong for them in that moment, but I knew that if I lost it, too – it would be worse.

Mike asked me how I was doing once we were on the road. I said I was okay and he said, “Well, you’re doing very well considering what you just went through. I think I would have lost it.” I said, “Yeah. I just can’t think about it. At least not yet – maybe when I get to my hotel room tonight.”

So now I’m on my way back to the States – or at least, I’m in the airport waiting to board the flight to the States. I’m leaving Haiti with a mix of emotions. Excited to see my friends and family while also totally bummed to be leaving my friends here in Haiti. I suppose that’s why I also feel extremely blessed and glad to be able to come back and continue my time here. I know that God has called me to this place.

Sending peace and love your way. Hopefully I’ll see many of you soon. :)

<3 Beth

Edit: I am now safe and sound in Miami, heading to Kansas City tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers for safe travels!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pa ale

So today was a good day, a weird day, but overall it was mostly uneventful.

I definitely had the "last day" cloud looming over me all day, though. I told the boys today that I was leaving for the United States tomorrow. I instantly had three boys clinging to me, some crying, all saying, "Pa ale! Pa ale! Pa ale!" (Don't go! Don't go! Don't go! in Kreyol) I told them that my family misses me and I miss them. I said I needed to see my manman (mom), papa (dad), and frere (brother.) Eventually they resorted to begging me to call my mom and tell her that I'm not coming.

They were begging so hard that finally said, "Okay, I'll call my mom and you can talk to her." Suddenly the sadness turned to 3 giddy boys - way too excited to talk to my mom. Luckily, she picked up and I was able to pass the phone around to all three boys for each of them to say, "Hello," How are you," and "What is your name?" It was adorable to watch as they all tried to steal the phone from one another to talk to a woman they had never met before. Because she was my mom, though, she was special.

Within an hour, all the boys in the tent city knew that I was leaving and I was having waves of boys coming by. They offered hugs and kept on asking me if I was really going tomorrow. After I told them that yes, I really was going, I was instantly asked, "When are you coming back?" In the afternoon, Stanley came to visit and said he had something for me. When I came outside, he presented me with a bracelet he and Robenson made for me - complete with Argentina colors. Very touching - it will be a while before I take that off.

I always knew that I was loved here, but the response I got when they found out I was leaving really showed me how much I had become a part of the fabric here. I'm definitely going to miss them when I'm gone.

As a "last hurrah" before I return home a group of us went out for a really nice dinner tonight. Mike, Ablamy, Davidson, Oge, Doug, and I all went to the Karibe Hotel/Conference Center to eat at a buffet that others had told us about and said was delicious. They weren't kidding - best meal I've had in Haiti. They had amazing beef, cucumbers(!), pumpkin soup, and the best balsamic vinaigrette I've ever had - although it may have tasted that good because it had been so long since I last had it. Delicious.

We also called Hal (who was here at the beginning of my stay) to say hello. He's currently in California and doing well. Also called was Donette, as she's gone in the Bahamas, Nate, and Bryan - as his flight got cancelled today to come back to Haiti. Instead, he's coming back tomorrow after I'll be going through security in the airport. Very sad - definitely put a bit of the damper on the day, but at least Bryan will still be here when I return. It was good that we got to talk to him tonight, though, as well as everyone else we had the opportunity to talk to. :)

Anyway, now I get to go take a shower and pack. It's so weird to think that I'll be headed back to the States tomorrow. Although, I'm spending tomorrow night in Miami so it won't really be "home" quite yet. When I get to KC around noon on Sunday I'll be happy.

Sending blessings your way,


I made this video about my summer in Haiti. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

31 Dollars

Today was super busy, but also super fulfilling.

This morning Mike and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Financial stuff to check, people to meet with (LOTS of people to meet with,) and groups to assign and contact. Whew! Then we ate some lunch and went to go buy Robenson some new sandals as his were VERY worn out.

We did a few other things today, too - went to two car places to check on three different vehicles (two new ones, one getting repaired) and came back in enough time to do what was, to one family, a small miracle.

So right after lunch, when we were going to buy Robenson's shoes he told us that he got kicked out of school today. Mike and I had noticed that he had been around in the morning when usually he was at school. Mike asked him why and he explained that his mother was behind 4 months in school payments. Because they couldn't pay - they sent him home.

Now, this is tragic for any child. It really stinks knowing that simply because you cannot afford school, you can no longer receive an education. However, this was particularly tragic for Robenson because he was just weeks away from taking the government exam which (if he passed) would state that he graduated primary school. Without school, though, he cannot take the exam. Absolutely tragic - especially for such an intelligent 11 year old like Robenson.

So, me, heartbroken over it, asked Mike how much his school costs. We found out it cots 300 gourdes per month, so his tab was up to 1200 gourdes - 31 US dollars. At that point it was obvious, we had to do something.

We had to be smart about it, though. We couldn't just hand him the money or just hand his mother the money and not expect others to ask us for money for school as well. So, we found Robenson's mother when we came back from the car places and asked her about the situation. She told us that yes, Robenseon had been sent home because she could not pay his school fees. She told us that her husband, who ran a small store on the street (their only income) died in the earthquake. They also lost their house in the earthquake. Now, she has no income, no house, and no place to go. Therefore, a $31 fee is a difficult price to pay. Robenson is also her only child in school - she hasn't even started Peter in school because she cannot afford it.

So Mike, Oge, and I pulled her into a more secluded space and gave her the 1200 gourdes needed for Robenson to continue school and take his final exams on the 4th and 5th of August. She was on the verge of tears. We were, too, recognizing the profound impact that simple $31 had on this family. She thanked us over and over again and Mike responded with a, "Well, we're just happy to give you a small blessing today." So true - but it blessed us as well.

After that encounter it was obvious to us that we needed to more actively pursue funding for school scholarships here. Mike said that he would be contacting his organization - the Haiti Partnership - to see what funds might be available for that. Hopefully we'll be able to sponsor more kids and help more families through this financially (among other things) unstable time.

I should also note that today I met Davidson's mother. Davidson, if you remember, lives with Ablamy and Donette because his mother cannot afford to care for him. She was here today, however, because Donette and Ablamy will soon be moving Davidson to an orphanage/boys home right before they move out of Petionville. She was here to see him, talk with Donette and Ablamy, and make plans to attend Davidson's baptism on Sunday. I'm totally bummed that I'll miss that - but I'll be there in spirit.

But yes, Davidson will soon be moved off this campus. That's a very sad reality for everyone, but for him especially. He's become extra clingy since then. He's always enjoyed giving me big hugs and kisses on the cheek, but now he does it several times in one encounter and holds on a lot longer. Tonight I was helping him with learning the alphabet and at one point he just came over, sat in my lap, and just wanted to be rocked for a little while. He's 8 years old, but with how crazy his life has been - he's obviously very sad to leave stability and people who love him. Luckily, though, Donette says that Mike and I will be allowed to visit Davidson at the orphanage whenever we want to. We're also working on Mike getting permission to take Davidson out of the orphanage for a weekend. With that, he can either come stay with us at the Guest House for a weekend of fun, or if there's a hurricane (as the boys of this orphanage are sleeping in tents) then we can pick him up and keep him here for a little while so he's safe. As Mike worded it, "I could not live with myself if he died in a way I could have prevented." Agreed.

So yeah, crazy day, heart warming day, one of those days where you recognize that the ministry you're doing is vital, important, positive, and life-changing. It feels good, but it also makes me want to work harder, to go further, and to more bodly be Christ's hands and feet.

And with that, I'll end with a simple, "Amen."


The United States

So I’m about to go home. Because of this, I’ve been thinking a lot about packing as well as what needs to get done before I leave, as well as what needs to get done once I’m home, and before I come back. Whew! Lots of checklists to create in my head. However, I’m looking forward to being in America for a short while. In fact, here’s my list of things I’m missing.

Things I miss about America and am looking forward to when I return:

Starbucks (I am in want of an iced, non-fat, carmel macciatto like WHOA. Also, there aren’t really coffee houses here or places like coffee houses where you can just meet up with a friend and talk about life. I miss that.)

Chipotle (Because there is little to no Mexican food here. It’s such a staple in the U.S. so it’s strange that there aren’t really any Mexican places here. I mean, Oge has never had a taco. Oh, the tragedy!)

Air conditioning (Although I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. Strangely, I’ve adjusted to the heat. I’m worried that sleeping in air conditioning is going to make me too cold!)

Hot showers (Most of the time I enjoy my cold showers here, but on cooler nights, the cold showers are not joyful experiences. I’m ready for a nice long, hot shower.)

Driving (I really love getting on the highway, blasting my music, and crusin. I definitely look forward to that when I return. Also, as I cannot drive here, and it’s not really all that safe – especially at night, I can’t really go off by myself. It will be nice to get out on my own, hang out with some friends, and enjoy some freedom.)

Debit Cards (I mean, I still have a debit card here, but I can’t really use it. I’m looking forward to not carrying cash. I’m also looking forward to having an ATM machine to use that won’t charge me fees to take out money. Yes.)

Of course, I’m also absolutely stoked to see my friends and family. My mom asked if I was getting excited to come home, or sad to come home. I think I’m definitely on the excited end, but that’s probably because I know I’m coming right back. If I wasn't coming back so soon… I’d probably be bursting into tears every minute. However, since I am coming back, I’m so excited to see all of you!

I come back to KC on the 25th and then I leave for vacation on the 27th. I will be on vacation until the 4th and then I’ll be in town until the 12th. Then I fly back to Haiti! So lets find some time to get together if you’re one of my KC pals.

Also, I will be preaching at Living Water Christian Church on August 8th at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. After the second services, there will be a lunch as well as more discussions about Haiti to follow. Beyond that, I will be bringing some Haitian coffee that morning for all who want to try. I hope to see you there! If you want more information/directions and all that jazz, feel free to contact me! Oh, and if you're one of my readers from outside the KC area, then the sermon will be posted online the Monday after I preach it. :) I'll post the link here.

Anyway, I’m off. Busy day today! Couple of meetings, errands to run, shoes for the boys to buy… lots to do!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Catch Up

So this is my entry to catch you up on what has happened since I last updated!

First of all, Mike came back. (Hooray!) It is not really fun to run everything by yourself so I was all kinds of happy to have him back. However, because Mike came back, the first 3 days were kind of hectic.

There was a lot of work to do - phone calls to make, e-mails to write, groups to confirm, groups to replace due to cancellations, people to meet with, lists to make, and just general conversations to be had. Whew! We were BUSY.

The night Mike arrived we went through everything that needed to be done and made a list. The next day, we went to the Methodist Children's Home because the COR group was throwing them a party. We got to see the joy on the kids faces as they received some cake and popcorn. Too cute.

However, our party time was cut short because we had to have a long meeting with Boss Weche, who is our site boss for the majority (if not all) of our work sites. Money stuff, new projects, and project updates were all on the agenda. In fact, our meeting went so long that finally we just decided to load up everyone in the van and head back to the Guest House to continue the meeting so the COR group could get to the Baptist Mission. From there, our meeting went on for a while longer before Boss Weche went home around 3 or 3:30.

Towards the end of the meeting, though, it started to rain. After Boss Weche left the Guest House, Mike, Oge, and I watched my boys play soccer in the Guest House driveway. So funny! They had striped down to just shorts or underwear and were running around, slipping and sliding trying to get the ball. I asked why they weren't wearing any clothes and Mike responded, "Because they're smart! They don't want to get their clothes wet!" Good point. Part of what made it funny, though, was McKinley being a show-off. He would do these goofy dances whenever he was happy with a pass or a shot he made. Also, he would "swim" in the puddles which was... one of the strangest, most adorable things I have seen in a while. Anyway, I got video of it because it was too hilarious. When I return home hopefully I can post some of it.

On Saturday (yesterday) we traveled to Mellier in the morning to check on that work site. It looks awesome but there were two temporary buildings there set up by another organization that we had no idea about. So that was interesting. While we were there, Mike also met with some of the workers as they told him some of their concerns. It's always good to get the workers point of view and to try to better understand what they believe their needs are.

After that, Oge, Mike, and I went to Carrefour Manse. It's a pastor's home that we will soon be repairing... we think. It has a yellow marker outside, which means that it can't be lived in, but it can be fixed. However, looking at the damage there, we were weary of it. Beyond that, it looks like there's a LOT of work to be done. Hopefully we can figure out a way to help, though, so that it's livable soon.

Once we returned back to the Guest House, though, is when I got sick. I ate some lunch but then I just felt terrible all of the sudden. I went to lie down for a "short while" and ended up sleeping for two hours - even missing the initial dinner bell. Luckily, Donette came and woke me up, which I was appreciative of. I took it easy for the rest of the night and tried to get myself healthy again.

However, when I woke up this morning, I was still feeling ill. This was very sad because we were going to go to church (where there was going to be a party) and then to the beach for the last weekend before I go home. I didn't go, though. Instead, I rested most of the morning and had my own devotion/worship time in the quiet of my room.

Other than that, I've mostly been resting today. Taking it easy and taking some meds to get me back to 100%. Mike thinks it may have been minor heat exhaustion because it's been so warm and humid here lately. It's certainly possible. It's also possible, though, that one of the boys got me sick, or something else. You can never quite tell what makes you sick in Haiti.

Anyway, I'm hoping that Donette, Ablamy, and Mike return from their outing soon so I can eat dinner. No one was coming to the Guest House tonight until late so no dinner was made. Sad day. Luckily, I have 3 friends willing to take care of me and bring me a cheeseburger from the Epid'or. Thank you, Jesus.

Sending Haiti hugs your way,

P.S. On August 9th I will be preaching and then speaking about Haiti after worship at Living Water Christian Church in Parkville, MO. If you're at all interested in hearing more about Haiti, eating a good lunch, and drinking Haitian coffee, then I hope to see you there! If you need directions or more information, you know how to contact me. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Here's a bit of a profile (if you will) on my boys:

The daily routine for my boys goes something like this. They wake up nice and early, generally around 5:30 I'm guessing and either hang out at their tent or come by my door to say hello and tell me good morning. After that they either go to school or hang out for a while. Most go to school in the mornings, but some go in the afternoon. All kids in Haiti go for either the morning or afternoon, though. I believe it's generally from 8-12 or 1-4. Some schools (the nicer, more expensive ones) are longer. The vast majority of my boys do not go to these schools. After that they start coming around the Guest House by 2, 3, or 4 p.m. It's very rare if we don't see them before dinner. Some boys aren't around that often, and other boys are around all the time - I think this depends a great amount on family life. I think it also depends on the type of relationship they've built with me, Paste Mike, and Bryan.

Some are fairly rich (by Haitian standards) and some are definitely poor. Stanley and his sister Carly are among the fairly rich ones. They always have nicer clothes, nothing with rips or holes, they've received a noticeably better education than the others, and he's never hungry when the others are starving. It is also obvious that Stanley's mom has a fairly large role in his life and works hard to take good care of him.

Most of my boys are on the poorer spectrum, though. They all go to school, but a good portion of them have holes in their uniforms - which tells me they don't go to a very nice school. The nicer schools won't allow you to attend class if your uniform is dirty or messed up. Also, the others are always asking for things - money, food, water, new shoes, etc. This is (rather obviously) because their parent(s) cannot afford most of these things.

Most of their family lives seem fairly unstable. I found out from Robenson yesterday that he, his brother Peter, and his sister Amanda, have three different last names. Amanda is a baby and I have never seen her father around. I've met Robenson's mother several times, though. I've also been in their tent... there isn't much in there. Just a few pots and pans, some blankets to sleep on, and some clothes. I don't know what Robenson's mom does for a living, but she provides what she can somehow. Actually, she seems to be one of the better mothers. Her two boys are always sweet, joyful, and don't ask for anything unless they really need it. It is obvious that they have been given a lot of love and attention.

The others, though, probably do not get much love or attention at home at all. I think that's why they like hanging around the Guest House so much. We pay attention to them, we give them hugs, we provide for them when we can, and we laugh with them. I know that they receive much joy from their relationship with us. I often reflect on how lucky they are to be in our tent city. I don't imagine that many other tent cities have a Paste Mike or a Beth. I am equally lucky, though. I am so blessed to have many bright, bubbly, loving, lovable boys in my life. I just wish some of their parents would recognize them for the true gems that they are.

That's what's so difficult in Haiti. There is no social security here (as far as I can tell) and so adults almost need to have children so there will be people to look after them when they get older. However, until they become adults, children are often times a great burden for parents. They can be quite expensive to care for, especially if you send them to school. Peterson was telling me today that his secondary school costs approximately $1000 US per year. (And he doesn't even go to one of the really nice schools.)

It's just sad in general how Haiti tends to view kids. In America, we totally revere and respect our children - recognizing that they're the future leaders, and recognizing a need to protect their innocence and childhood. For us, childhood is precious. I think some parents feel that way in Haiti, but others just view their children as an investment. It's very sad.

I don't know... they live such unstable lives. I know I keep on writing about instability... but I think that's what haunts me the most. They live in tents, many do not know their fathers, food and water are scarce, they sleep on blankets on the ground, they have to shower while standing in buckets in open spaces, they go to school now but don't know if their parent(s) will be able to afford it next year, etc. I think if I were in their situations I would be terrified. I would feel like my privacy was completely gone. I would feel alone. I would be angry at God.

I suppose that's also why I'm constantly inspired by these kids. They're still able to find joy. They don't feel alone but instead have formed a new community amongst themselves. The privacy issue doesn't seem to bother them that much. And as for being angry with God... well, two Sunday's ago when I went to Freres Church Stanley, Robenson, and Son-Son all came on their own. Without parents, and after the music just to hear the sermon. I was so... blessed to see that. They were building a relationship with God, on their own initiative, when (in my opinion) they should be mad at God. How amazing!

For now, though, I'm going to sign off and head to bed. I've been running things by myself because both Mike and Doug are on vacation back in the States so I'm one tired lady! Luckily, though, Mike comes back tomorrow so hopefully things will be less stressful/crazy. I hope you're all well!


P.S. I have a video of my boys here. It's a birthday message to Bryan, but you still get to see them and hear their voices.

P.P.S. In the midst of writing this blog I received a phone call telling me that I have enough funds pledged to move forward with plans to stay in Haiti. However, I'm still raising some funds for plane ticket, (maybe) health insurance, stipend, and a fund to help provide for specific needs that I see - new shoes for the boys, food, a new uniform, etc. If you would like to be a part of this, please let me know! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


My mom suggested that I upload some recent photos of the boys with some of the goodies she recently sent for me to give to them. Here are some of my favorites. :)

P.S. If you would like to support me staying in Haiti, my e-mail is If you want more information about it, please read the blog entry below this one. :)

With their harmonicas :)

A desin party (desin = draw)



Proud artists

I hope you enjoyed the photos of these precious faces!


Monday, July 12, 2010


Dear friends, family, and new acquaintances,

The past 6 weeks have been some of the most amazing of my entire life. I expected to come to Haiti and have a life-changing experience, but a difficult one at the same time. I didn’t expect to fall in love with this country and the beautiful people I have met here. I have made incredible friendships, learned so much about life, ministry, and culture, and I have been able to help the people of Haiti heal in real and tangible ways. It has been such a blessing to be here.

Although my plans were for me to return in 2 weeks and prepare to enter seminary, I have felt a voice (could it be God?) saying to me, “Your work here is not done. There is more for you to do before you go home." Through much prayer and conversation with mentors, I have discerned that God may indeed be calling me to continue my work here in Haiti for another 3 months. I chose the 3 month time frame because that is the length of time I can spend here without a visa. Also, more importantly, that would give me a chance to be a stable presence here at the Guest House for my boys through the fall, and it would allow me to return home and work for 8 months until I entered seminary in the fall of 2011. Brite Divinity School has said that they will hold my scholarship for another year.

If I stay, I will be able to continue to help the UMVIM Haiti program with various administrative, hospitality, and communications needs. I will also be able to continue work with my boys – being a loving presence - the hands and feet of Jesus - in their lives. Beyond that, I will be able to continue assisting with the various English classes and tutoring I’ve been involved in. Lastly, I will be able to strengthen the relationships I have already built. This is important because, beyond friendship, I have become a trusted ally, someone whom they can share their stories of great loss with. I would be honored to continue to serve and to love in Haiti.

While I feel God calling me to stay here, the biggest hurdle to overcome is finding the financial resources to allow me to continue my mission work. Fortuantely, the staff at the Guest House wants me to stay so much that they've offered to give me room and board for half the usual rate. But still, with airfare, medication/supplies, cell phone expenses, laundry, tips, etc, the cost to stay for 3 more months will be $3500. Surprisingly, without even trying to raise money yet, I have already received pledges for $1100! But I still need to find the remaining $2400.

Many of you have already given generously to support my current mission here, and for that I am so grateful. But if God is nudging you to give further support so that I may continue to be not only Christ's hands and feet but your hands and feet in Haiti, will you please send me an email and let me know what you will be able to give? My e-mail is However, I do probably need to hear from you in the next week so I can make the final decision and tell Brite in a timely manner if I will be attending in August or not.

If this is truly God's idea, then I am trusting God to provide the resources. Either way, I will fly home in 2 weeks to spend time with my family and take a vacation with them. If I am able to return, I will fly back to Haiti and be here from Aug. 12 - Nov. 10.

Regardless of which path God sets before me, I want to thank you so much for your prayers and support while I have been here. I have been amazed at the response my blog has received as well as the sheer amount of people who opened up their wallets to send me here this first time. As I’ve said over and over – I am a truly blessed woman.

Thank you again for your constant prayers, love, and general support,

Saturday, July 10, 2010


So I don't usually update two days in a row, but today I hit a tough moment.

The day started off wonderfully. Peterson and I went to his school and I met another English class. The principal of the school was very excited to see me and sat down to talk to me for a long time. They made me promise to come back again next Saturday to help students. They weren't planning on me coming today so there wasn't much I could help with today, but next Saturday is bound to be an experience. However, it was hilarious that I was asked twice if I was married and once if I had a boyfriend. When I responded "no" to the boyfriend question one of the men in the class responded, "I will be your boyfriend." Too funny.

After that we went to the Epid'or for lunch and apparently a famous person was sitting right next to us. He was a white guy with long hair and Peterson told me that he's a singer in a band that performs Voodoo songs. He's a well-known guy in Haiti I suppose. Weird.

Around 3 Johnny (our driver) and I departed for the airport to pick up the COR team. We arrived early so we just hung out in the tap-tap as we awaited the team's arrival. This is when the "moment" happened.

I remember that on the first night I was in Haiti I was talking to my mom online. I was crying remarking on how difficult the next two months would probably be. (Now, I realize I was crazy for worrying - but that's how I was feeling at the time.) During that conversation my mom said, "Well, Beth, you may feel the need to just sit down and cry every night. There may be things that you see and experience that you won't have any other response to but to sit and weep. And that's okay." Although I haven't had many times where I had no other response but tears, today I did.

At the airport, you are constantly accosted by people for money. Many people beg outside the gate of the airport asking for just a little bit of lajan (money.) I don't even bring money to the airport anymore because then I'm not lying when I say "M pa gen lajan." (I don't have any money.) I'm just so used to responding in that way that I often don't even pay attention to the people asking anymore.

Today a boy, around age 14, came to my window while I was sitting in the tap-tap and said, "Madam, please read this." He then put a piece of paper on the window for me to read. I read the first three sentences, "I am an orphan. My mom died in the earthquake. I sleep on the street." I didn't even finish the piece of paper before responding with "M pa gen lajan." It may sound heartless, but like I have explained so many times - the kids begging for money are often trafficked kids. The trafficker will have them tell any story to get white people to donate money and then the money doesn't even go towards the child but helps the trafficker to continue his profession. If I have water available or food on me, I always give that - but I never give money.

However, as soon as I said, "M pa gen lajan," the boy looked sad and a confused. He shook his head, "No money, madam. Read." That threw me off - a child telling me their sad story but not wanting money? I looked at the bottom of his sheet. It read: Please adopt me.

"Ohh," I replied, "You want adoption?" He shook his head excitedly and proceeded to pull out his birth certificate and a photo page of his kindergarten graduation. He had the birth certificate to show that he had documentation. I think he had the graduation photos to show what his life once was and probably also to illustrate how he would like to continue his education.

Johnny asked him a few more questions and found out that his dad had died before the earthquake and his mother died during the earthquake. Now he lives on the street and does not go to school. More than anything he'd like to be adopted and cared for. He did not want a temporary solution (money) but a permanent one.

I told Johnny that I would love to help - but I'm too young to be a full time caretaker of a 14 year old boy. Besides that, I don't have the money and it would still probably take me 2 years to fully adopt him. Johnny explained all of this to the boy and he looked crushed, but just responded with, "Okay. Mesi, madam." After that he retreated to a median nearby, sat down, and started weeping.

There are so many reasons why I wanted to help this boy. First of all, to be 14 and alone is heartbreaking. No brothers or sisters even. It's just him. Second of all, I really sympathized for his deep desire for his life of inconsistency and tough situations to end. He just wants some stability, comfort, and love. Third, he is an at-risk boy. If a good family does not get a hold of him - someone else will. He could become a victim of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or he could easily end up a restavek. It broke my heart that he was trying so desperately to not end up a victim and get on the road to a healthy, full life - but there was nothing I could do.

When he walked away and started weeping I started to become more desperate - raking my brain trying to think of an orphanage or other safe place the boy could stay and would be cared for. Unfortunately, though, every orphanage that I could think of is full and would not have the resources or space to take him in. Instead of helping, I had to sit and watch as he lost hope, once again.

I couldn't help it. My eyes welled up. They well up now just thinking about it. I so hate these moments when you feel so compelled to do something - anything - and yet you cannot. This situation was the worst I have encountered yet, though. I think mostly because I know that tonight I will get a full meal, sleep in a comfortable bed, and I will continue to lead a fairly comfortable life until I die most likely. He, however, will go to the streets, not eat, sleep on concrete, and continue to lead a life that is one big question mark.

Please say a special prayer for this young man tonight. Pray that he may find someone to give him the proper care, love, and attention that he needs. After that, thank God for stability. It is more of a luxury than we often care to realize.

Sending love your way,

Friday, July 9, 2010


I feel like a lot has happened in these past few days and at the same time - nothing at all.

Yesterday I went with Oge to pick up a group at Furcy - which is a town about 45 minutes up the mountain past the Baptist Mission. (Also, we apparently passed the President on the road there because he lives near the Baptist Mission. We know we did because there was police everywhere directing traffic. I wanted to wave, but Oge said that would be a bad idea.) Since we were headed that way anyway, Oge and I left a bit early and drove to the lookout at the top of one of the mountains. It was GORGEOUS. You could see all of Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, and Petionville. Very, VERY cool. I'll post pics at some point in time. However, it was a bit cloudy so some of the photos didn't turn out well. But seriously - you could see everything. The National Palace, the Digicel building, etc. Awesome.

Also, Oge and I went to his land where he is in the process of building a home for him and his family. So far he only has a foundation built and some rebar towers for wall support. I'm guessing it will take quite some time to finish because building materials in Haiti are so expensive right now. However, the land is GORGEOUS. He's up a bit past the Baptist Mission so it's filled with green grass. Also, it's nice and cool up there. I'm excited to come visit him some day when it's complete!

After that, we picked up the group in Furcy. It was really funny because some of the guys there came over and started talking to me right away and even though they had just known me for 5 minutes - they all wanted pictures with me and remembered my name. They were nice guys, though, and so it was fun.

We ate lunch at the Baptist Mission and then came back to the Guest House. That night at dinner, Wendy and Tom (the leaders of the Furcy team) started talking about their memories from the earthquake as they were staying at the Guest House when it happened. It was crazy hearing their memories. They shared that one of their biggest concerns was standing over the cistern while the earthquake was happening because they didn't want the earth to split there and them to fall into it. Also, apparently Donette was a mess after it and Wendy was explaining that consoling Donette was one of the things that helped to calm her. She had to be strong for someone else and that helped her to stay collected and not fall apart. Absolutely unimaginable hearing their stories.

Today was filled with more interesting moments. I went with Oge to drop off the Furcy team at the airport and then we went to an artisan shop nearby so I could look for a cloth to give as a gift. I didn't find the cloth, but the prices there were CHEAP so I was able to get a few other gifts for folks on my list. Awesome. However, there was another crazy guy experience today. While we were driving to the airport I was sitting in the front seat with Oge. A man crossed in front of us but instead of going all the way to the other side of the street he came and stood right by my window and stared at me. It was really strange. He didn't talk to me, or ask me for money or anything... he just stood there and stared at me until the light turned green and we drove off. It was creepy.

However, Oge has become like the older brother I never had and I knew that he was keeping a close eye on the man. I wasn't too scared it was just... creepy. Especially with the crazy guy kissing me just a few days ago! Things like this only seem to happen to me. There was a whole van full of white people but this guy just wanted to stare at me. So weird. I do think it spooked Oge a bit, though, because after we dropped the team off he told me to roll up my window halfway. I said, "You're scared for me, aren't you?" And he said, "No... well, maybe a little bit." Haha. At least I know I'm in good hands.

I also got to hear more stories of Oge's experience with the earthquake at lunch today. It's obvious that he doesn't get to talk about it that much and sometimes it's just... necessary. Although I already knew about what happened to him when the earthquake hit I did not know what happened afterwards. I found out that he did not have a place to stay because the house he was living in fell down. He was able to get most of his stuff - but the house was unlivable. Therefore, he slept in one of the trucks at the Guest House. His family came and stayed on the back lawn of the Guest House. The only reason why he didn't sleep back there with them is because he wanted to create more space for others. He said that on that first night there were 150 people just sleeping on the ground wherever they could find space. Apparently, that's how our tent city was originally formed - from people who came to find safety and rest on that first night.

He told me that he slept in that truck for about 3 months. He moved into the house he's living in now a week before I arrived in Haiti. During that time, his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law stayed with his sister's family in a city that wasn't really affected by the quake.

The Guest House ended up running out of food 3 or 4 days after the quake and it was very difficult to find food. All the grocery stores closed and there were a few folks selling food on the streets but it became very expensive because it was in such high demand. It was also difficult to find drinkable water. Luckily, it is not difficult to find food or water now - but for at least a week after the quake those things were in low quantity and high demand.

Oge also told me about how you could hear people all over the city screaming for help that were trapped in the rubble. He noted that was the hardest part. Hearing their screams, knowing they were alive, and yet not being able to do anything. He said, "It's just you - you don't have any heavy machinery, you can't move those big boulders and so the people just stay there. It's very difficult listening to someone dying and wishing you could help, but you just can't get to them." I almost burst into tears at the lunch table thinking about that. I can't imagine walking past a building hearing people screaming for help. I am certain that some of those screams still haunt Oge. I'm sure those screams still haunt many Haitian people. Wow.

I had more to say but I think that's where it needs to end tonight. I know that when the earthquake hit we knew there was a great need for food, water, and medical attention. We also knew that it was an unsafe place for kids as kidnappings were high. What we didn't really hear about (or at least, what I didn't hear that much about) was how people were continuing to cope with the situation. I mean, Oge lived in a truck for 3 months - separated from his family. Most Haitians are dealing with some PTSD and there is almost no counseling available to help deal with that. They have seen dead people being burned in the middle of the streets, heard the voices of people trapped underneath rubble, and lost friends, family members, and folks they saw every day. I have no idea how they are so strong even after experiencing all of that. I just don't understand it.

Haitians are a special kind of people. God has blessed them and cared for them in some incredible, awesome ways. I am so thankful and glad to participate in God's great plan of healing for Haiti.

Love to you and you and you and you,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Usual

So I feel like I don't tell you enough about the "ordinary" things in Haiti - the things I see, do, experience every day. Therefore, I thought I would take this time to do that. (Although I will also share the story of the crazy guy who kissed me because I'm certain that you want to hear it.)

So. Ordinary things.

First of all, I sleep every night with earplugs in because of our rooster on campus as well as the "disco" (night club) that is behind Freres Campus and is SUPER loud. Luckily, I have become a master at putting them in and I don't even notice them anymore while I sleep. Good times.

I get up every morning at 6:30 a.m. because breakfast is served at 7. Yes, I am awesome and get ready in a half hour every morning. Also, sometimes my building is out of water in the mornings so I have to flip the switch to pump the water so that I will have running water and flushable toilets again. It should be noted at this point that just because the toilet flushes does not mean you can flush toilet paper. Yes, I have to throw my used toilet paper in the trash bin next to the toilet. It's lovely. Also, we live by the rule of, "If it's brown - flush it down. If it's yellow - let it mellow."

At breakfast, I am usually greeted by Claire, Marie Claude, and Belorne. Claire and Marie Claude work in the kitchen and also do some cleaning in the main Guest House. Belorne is the assistant manager who is in charge of the meals. Claire always says "Bonjou Beth" to me because she really loves hearing me speak Kreyol. I respond with, "Bonjou Claire! Ki jan ou ye?"

We pray before breakfast and dinner with whoever might be eating with us. Generally around the time that we start eating, I see Davidson waddle near the pool to draw some water from a water source for Donette and Ablamy's house. He usually smiles at me and says, "Bonjou Beth" before giving me a big hug.

Mire comes to clean the Swiss House (where I live) around 8 and always greets me with a smile if I happen to be in my room. She is one of the most lovely women I have ever met - and I say that even though I generally cannot understand a word she says. She is also the best cleaner and laundress at the Guest House. Basically, she is awesome.

The mornings and afternoons always seem to be different. Some days I'm mostly hanging out working on things - sending e-mails, creating documents, making phone calls, giving reminders, etc. Other days I'm out and about - running errands, picking up/dropping off groups, etc.

In the short time I have been here, though, I have seen progress in Port-au-Prince. I suppose the best example of this is the Caribbean Market. The Caribbean Market is walking distance from the Guest House and is a sight that we pass almost every time we come and go from the Guest House. It's a fairly memorable/recognizable landmark for most who have visited Haiti/the Guest House in the past before the earthquake. Now, it is just a huge pile of rubble. However, in the past week or so, folks have started to come and do clean up. A significant part of it is now completely cleaned up which is really neat to see.

What is not neat, though, is smelling the scent that you know is from freshly uncovered bodies. It was really bad for two days there, especially. We had to close all of the windows in our vans before passing and all the Haitians on the street were finding a way to cover their nose or plug it if they had a hand free.

Now, there are bad smells all over Haiti. Rotten garbage in the middle of the street or on the sidewalks is a big problem. On hot days, like today, the scent seems to get worse - like it permeates every molecule of air within two blocks of it. But the garbage smell is different from the smell of dead bodies and more tolerable - for me, anyway, it's mostly because I know the source of the smell. The pungent odor coming from the Caribbean Market makes me sad all over again.

Other sights on the roads include: people carrying things on their heads, a Digicel Pap Padap stand on every other block, folks selling clothes, shoes, food, toiletries, etc. on the side of the road, trying to sit under umbrellas for some shade, wild dogs, goats, pigs, and chicken, and people finding creative ways to go to the bathroom.

The evenings are always different. Most nights we eat dinner around 5:45 and then all retreat to our separate areas. Sometimes I stay in the office if there is work to do, but otherwise I generally head to the Swiss House to start winding down. Usually my boys arrive around 6:30 or 7:00 looking for some manje (food) as well as some hugs and smiles. Depending on how tired I am they're there for a few minutes to an hour or more.

All of them are lovely. All of them have big holes in their pants and shirts. Their sandals have holes through them. Some of the clothes they wear are actually made for girls and not boys. I don't laugh, though, because I know they wear it out of necessity - not because of a strange sense of fashion. Amazingly, though, they don't care. The only bit of clothing that they care about is their sandals because it makes it difficult to walk - as you can probably imagine.

After that I go upstairs for my cold shower to cool off and help settle in for the night. I come back to my room filled with mosquitoes that are eager to greet me. I've killed some by hand... but it's near impossible to get more than "some." Then I get online and post this blog or chat on Facebook with friends - that is, if the internet is working. Sometimes it does not.

And yes. That is the daily stuff. The ins and outs of living in Haiti. To add to these experiences I should note that I have also seen a small mouse scurry across my floor this evening as well as a green gecko on my wall. Also, joining my mosquito friends are small ants that like to crawl on my keyboard at night while I'm sleeping.

But yes. Life is good. Tres bien.

Lastly, I'll leave you with the kiss story and then go to bed. I'm a tired lady!

Yesterday I was riding in the front passenger seat on the way back from the supermarket with Belorne and Johnny (our driver.) We come to a corner where there is a slender, dirty man, with long unkempt dreadlocks dancing wildly to music being played at a CD stand. He turns around and briefly makes eye contact with me. I quickly turn around and look at Johnny and try to start talking to him so the man will stop staring at me. Within a few seconds though, Belorne yells, "Beth, roll up your window!" I turn back around to roll up my window and the man is at my open window, staring in. I grab hold of the thing to roll up the window with, but I tried to push it the wrong way. While I'm realizing this and trying to push the other way, the man leans in and kisses my arm. I jumped and inched away from the window while trying to quickly roll up the window at the same time. I thought he had tried to bite me, but Johnny told me it was just a kiss. Belorne then gave me the great advice of, "If you see a crazy man, roll up your window." We think he was drunk/maybe on drugs/maybe mentally unstable. He was definitely drunk, though, as Johnny saw him drinking soon after the kiss. Crazy times in Haiti!

Okay so I'm off to bed! Goodnight world!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Best Ever.

When I was planning on coming to Haiti I expected life here to be hard. I expected that I would be in need of a great long vacation to decompress after I returned home. I expected to build relationships - but ones that would probably only be temporary and mostly on the surface. I thought it would be really difficult to build strong relationships with the Haitians with the language barrier and the fact that I would be in and out in two months.

I am not often wrong... but I was SO wrong in thinking all of those things. Not that life isn't hard at times, or frustrating at times, or that some of my relationships here aren't past the surface stuff yet.

But I will say this. There aren't many days that I can look back and remember and say, "If I were going to relive any 5 days in my life... that would definitely be one of them." However, yesterday was probably one of those days. I just... loved it.

The day started off strangely, but it at least made for laughter, bonding, and a funny story to tell later. We had decided to go to the English speaking church - Quisquera Chapel - for the first time. We thought it was fitting for the 4th of July to worship in English. It is the church that Peterson worships at every Sunday so he agreed to get us there. When yesterday morning came, though, he did not actually have a ride for us. He suggested a tap-tap, but Mike suggested that we just walk because it might actually be faster/cheaper.

We walked up the street and around the corner, past the fallen Caribbean market, and up to Delmas - one of the main roads by the Guest House. At that point, Peterson found a tap-tap and suggested to Mike that we just take it. He agreed and once we started driving and realized that the church Peterson was talking about was past the Epid'or - we were glad to have the ride. As soon as we got off the tap-tap we started walking down Delmas 75. Peterson told us that the church was right off Delmas 75 so we thought that we must be fairly close. We got to the end of that road and then Peterson said, "Okay, now let's take another tap-tap."

All of us thought that sounded silly. First of all, there were barely any tap-taps around and Peterson said that we were probably only 10 minutes walking distance away from the church. Mike said, "Then let's just walk." We all agreed. We didn't want to be late for church, and we had a nice breeze, and a ten minute walk sounded like a nice little stroll. What we didn't realize, though, is that Peterson is on Haitian time and so a 10 minute walk was much more like a 18-20 minute walk. Also, it was through Port-au-Prince back roads - not the nice sidewalks of Johnson County.

The walk got to be so ridiculous that Mike started making jokes that Peterson was going to lead us to a super remote place and kill us so no one would know. It was all part of his evil plot - to get close to us and then kill us. We all laughed and sweat started pouring down our faces more and our water bottles got emptier and warmer.

Finally, though, 40 minutes after we left the Guest House, we arrived at the church. However, we seemed to be the only folks who walked to church - or at least, walked a distance. Therefore, we were DRENCHED in sweat while everyone else was relatively dry. Also super embarrassing because they make visitors stand up to be welcomed by the congregation. Peterson made us stand up. Although there were many other visitors there as well, it felt like everyone was staring at our soaking backs and behinds. Yuck.

The music was good, though, and it was nice to hear prayers and songs and scripture in English. The sermon wasn't very good, but it was still a generally nice experience. Oh, and we got communion - not a bad thing about that!

After that, we arranged for Eric to pick us up so we wouldn't have to do the massive walk back home. We arrived back to the Guest House and began getting ready for the party. I was in charge of music so I set up a playlist and plugged my computer into a speaker to be "DJ Jazzy Bethe" as my dad would call me. The pool was also finally ready yesterday so Bryan and a few others jumped in before people started arriving.

The party started to pick up between 4 and 4:30 when families started arriving. We decided to make it a big staff event and invite all the Guest House staff and their families. Also, although we had not originally intended to, we ended up inviting my boys to stay and share in the feast with us. We probably had 50-60 people in attendance. One of the highlights, though, was getting to meet Oge's family. Oge came with his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law. They were all absolutely lovely, but I really enjoyed his daughter, Laura.

She was very shy at first. She just wanted to stand with her mom and grandma even while all the other kids were dancing, or throwing balls around, or swinging on the swing. Eventually, though, she decided to go swing with Oge which eventually resulted in her agreeing to dance with me. She grabbed my hand and started swaying to the music. We became instant friends. She was a crazy awesome dancer with crazy awesome dance moves. No joke. It was just a ton of fun spending time with her and dancing with her during the party. It was also fun to see her go from being super shy and uneasy at the party to not wanting to leave. Love it.

The feast was also fantastic with more than enough to go around. The best part of the feast, though, was our bar-b-que chicken. When we had gone shopping the day before, Belorne said that she wanted good sauce. I, of course, suggested that we purchase the brown sugar kind. It tasted like good Kansas City style bar-b-que in the middle of Haiti. So good. Also, each country that was represented (USA, Canada, and Haiti) sang their own national anthem before dinner. It was so much fun to listen to each group sing with pride and to hear each national anthem. It felt good to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" on the 4th, too... even if we were in Haiti.

The rest of the night was filled with dancing, chatting, swimming, and realizing just how many Haitian friends I had made. Belorne even called me the "life of the party" mostly because of how many kids I had dancing with me throughout the evening. At one point, Mike remarked, "So you realize that you've just become the mother to approximately 15 kids... right?" I laughed, thinking, "Yes. I am the 21-year-old mother of 15 adorable, awesome kids. I'm a lucky lady."

The night ended with taking a dip in the pool. It was the 2nd time I had felt cold in Haiti and it felt glorious after sweating so much between the walk in the morning and dancing at the party. So glad that we have the pool up and running now. I will definitely have to take advantage of it during my last 2.5 weeks here.

Beyond that, all that is important to report is that Bryan and Mike left today to go on their family vacation in the States. Mike will return on the 15th, and I convinced Bryan today to return on the 23rd so he can see me before I go. It's already strange without them here, though, and I'm already ready for them to return. Hopefully these next 10 days will go quickly.

Anyway, I am off to bed. I'm exhausted. However, one last note.

It is raining here tonight. Earlier today little Peter told me that his family had a hole in their tent that made their tent flood whenever it rained - getting his sleeping space wet. He asked for a new tarp. However, I didn't have a tarp so I felt kind of helpless. After seeing the rain that's out here tonight, though, I'm determined to find something to help his family - even if all I do is duct tape the hole shut. Please say a little prayer for Peter (and Robenson's - as they are brothers) family. And while you're at it, say a little prayer for all the Haitians living in tent cities right now.

Sending love your way,

Friday, July 2, 2010

English Class

Oh Haiti, how I love thee.

Good days these past two days! Yesterday we said "goodbye" to Nathan as he went back to New York. After that we ran a few errands and picked a group up from the airport. After we arrived back, though, it was craziness all around. We have a medical team here right now (although they leave tomorrow) and they were offering care to the Guest House staff and friends of the Guest House.

As soon as I arrived at the Guest House, one of the doctors turned to me and said, "One of the boys was here earlier today and told us he was peeing blood, but it was right before we had to go so we couldn't see him then. Do you know how we might be able to find him now?" I asked what the name of the boy was and Leonard, the interpreter, said, "I believe he said his name is Steven..." The mother hen inside of me went, "Oh no! Steven? Really? I'll go find him right away."

Luckily, Steven was coming back from getting something on the street right as I was looking for him. I quickly called him over and took him to the doctor. They were able to diagnose him and give him some medication. I was grateful - I don't want my boys to be sick!

After that, I played some basketball with the boys in our driveway with a soccer ball. That was interesting... especially since the ball kept on going in the sewage water... awesome. But it actually was a lot of fun. The boys were totally into it and they were quite impressed with my skillz. I'm really not very good at basketball, but I was willing to play and they loved it. However, we didn't have any hoop so mostly it was just a lot of passing and dribbling. Oh well, they still loved it and that's all that matters.

I was also roped into some shopping by some of the vendors that sit outside the Guest House. Yikes. However, now the majority of my gift shopping is done... so that's good I suppose!

Last night Mike and I decided that we would combine all of our leftovers and give them to my boys so they would have some decent food. We did that and then Belorne offered, "Would you like me to create a plate of food for your boys?" I, of course, agreed to take another plate for them. However, I underestimated Belorne's awesome-ness because she created a plate PILED with food - rice and beans, chicken, and some vegetables and potatoes. A few boys came by last night and we gave them the plate. It was such a joy to watch them FEAST. Loved it.

Today was also pretty cool - filled with a lot of work. I created several documents for Mike to use this morning and felt super productive. We stopped for a quick lunch break and then it was back to making more documents. I'm kind of proud of what I created. It's quite nice. Also nice is that Mike and Doug trust me so much at this point to create this stuff that they just tell me what they need and I run with it. When I'm done, I show them and they say, "Yeah, that looks great!" I have a good deal here.

(Also in the midst of this we saw Brazil lose (which made half of Haiti very sad while the other half (the Argentina half) rejoiced) as well as the lame win for Uruguay. Ghana - you totally deserved the win. Oh well, though.)

At 4:40, though, Petersen found me and Bryan and told us it was time to go to English class. Petersen teaches an English class to a few young adults who want to better learn English. I believe that they're all there voluntarily - including Petersen who leads the class every Friday at 4 (it started later today because of the Ghana game.) They use one of the temporary outdoor class spaces and bring their own chalk for Petersen to use on the chalkboard. I thought that was beautiful and a great example of what having a "thirst for knowledge" really looks like.

Petersen started the class and then essentially he had me lead the majority of the rest of it. As I am a native English speaker, the 3 students really liked having me there to correct some of their pronunciation as well as teach them new words. It really amazed me at how willing they were to "put themselves out there." For example, Petersen had me read a text to them so they could listen to how I said the words. When I got done, one of the guys in the group said, "Can we all take turns reading the text so she can correct us?" Petersen happily agreed and they all three took turns reading the same text. It was awesome and they were fairly good at reading English text.

However, it was during this lesson that I discovered just how difficult it is to say certain words in English. The big text that they took turns reading was about how too much traffic is a global problem because there are too many cars on the road. I found out that "road" and "roads" is very hard to say. Like, super hard to say. Their "roads" sounded more like "words." We spent a long time trying to pronounce it correctly and they never quite got it. They worked so hard, though, and it was so inspiring to be with them and see how hard they were working to grasp the information.

At the end of the lesson they all said "thank you" to me and asked if I would be able to return next week for their next lesson. I said that I certainly could and they got very excited. I look forward to the next English class next week on Friday. :)

Speaking of learning languages - I hear that my Kreyol is becoming very good. Johnny says that I say words like Haitians do and Claire, the woman who works at the Guest House and speaks NO English, told Mike that she thought my Kreyol was very good. It's good to know that not only am I learning - but I'm learning how to say things correctly! Hooray!

Therefore, I suppose I'll end this with some more Kreyol:
Kote - Where is (So Kote Bryan is Where is Bryan?)
Poulle - Chicken
Domi - sleep(ing)
lave rod - laundry (lave - wash, rod - clothes)
jupe - skirt
Cheve - hair
Ti moun - kids
li - him, her, she, he, it
lajan, kob - money

Now I am off to bed. Goodnight world!


Page Stats