Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Important

So much has been happening! I would have updated sooner but our internet has been funky these past two nights. Sorry about that!

First of all, the tent city. On Friday I was walking with one of our best interpreters, Jean Claude, back to the Guest House after visiting the Methodist Print Shop on campus. When walking by the tent city, we realized that there was some sort of meeting going on. I asked Jean Claude what they were saying so we hung around for a little while so he could get the gist. He told me that the man who was speaking to them was announcing that they would need to leave in September and so they needed to start cleaning up their spaces so it would be a quick, easy move when the time came.

I had a lot of questions after that, but most have been answered by now. Yes, it is true that they need to leave. The exact date that they will have to go: September 15. The man who was speaking to them was the principal of Freres school. It must have been a reasonable deal that they struck with the people in our tent city because there wasn't any rioting or upset people coming to us. However, they did not give them a place to move to. I was angry about that until we talked to some of the kids and they all told us that they had other places to go. Not homes - but other tent cities where other extended family members are. Luckily, it also seems like many of them are staying fairly close by and will (hopefully) come to visit fairly often. Good deal.

Which brings me to my next story. Robenson, Peter, and their mother and sister all moved off campus. :( They did this because Mike helped set Robenson's mother up with a micro loan to start a small business on the street selling books. However, the location where she was able to set up her store is at least one or two tap-tap rides away so it was better for them to just move closer. Because of this, we hadn't seen much of Peter and Robenson over the past two weeks. They were around when I first arrived, but a few days after that was when they moved. Thankfully, though, they still come to visit. I know I'm not supposed to play favorites, but Robenson holds a very special place in my heart. I have high hopes for his future.

Anyway, the day after I arrived, Robenson was explaining that he felt ill. I could tell that he must have been feeling sick because his energy was totally gone. He looked exhausted. We gave him some meds hoping that he'd be feeling normal again soon.

However, that did not happen. I saw Robenson for the first time in a week about four days ago and he told me that he was still sick. This was alarming to me because it wasn't just a bad cough - but it was a fever. On top of that, he had kept the fever and his symptoms got worse and worse over the past two weeks. He still looked as exhausted as he had at the beginning of this illness. Also, he had lost weight. Not good.

He told me, though, that he had gone to the doctor and he would start on medicine the next day. That made me feel much better and I gave him a hug goodbye, saying a little prayer for healing.

We saw him yesterday before he went to church and he was still very sick, but I also know (especially with my recent sick experience) that it often takes two days before the medicine starts to make a noticeable difference. I figured he would begin to feel better by the afternoon, and start to feel much better by today.

That did not happen, though. He and his mother came by this morning to drop off information about Peter and Robenson's schooling and it was obvious, once again, that Robenson still felt quite ill. I asked about it and his mother explained that he was, indeed, very sick. He had barely slept at all the night before because his chest hurt and he was coughing too much. Also, his appetite was completely gone, he still had a fever, and as he stood before me (in 87 degree weather) he was shivering. His mother told me that they had seen a doctor, but it was one at the free clinic, and they did not do a good job. They had just prescribed vitamins and pain killers.

Having a fever that lasts a week is bad. Having a fever that lasts two and a half weeks is VERY bad and can often be life threatening. I was not about to have Robenson get worse or potentially die just because his family could not afford appropriate medical care. So, I took out $100, asked Oge about the best place for him to go, and we drove the two of them to City Med to see a good doctor and to get the treatment he so desperately needed.

They got home on their own, and came by the Guest House to report what had happened. They did several tests (he doesn't have malaria - thank God!) and they had given him a shot full of antibiotics. Also, they prescribed bronchial medication and vitamin C. Tomorrow he will go in for an x-ray to see if there's anything else wrong with his chest - which is what's bothering him the most. Already, thanks to that shot I believe, he had much more energy and he even asked for food. We had offered him food earlier in the day, but he just wasn't hungry. The fact that he was hungry was a VERY good sign.

Anyway, prayers for Robenson's healing would be appreciated. I stated on my Facebook that it was the easiest $100 I ever spent and it truly was. That is, once again, the most amazing part of living in Haiti - there are endless possibilities around you to make a real, tangible difference in people's lives. I'm already excited for seeing Robenson once he's fully healed. I'm hopeful that it will happen soon and I'm also hopeful that the x-ray's tomorrow will help determine what exactly is wrong.

I hope all is well in the States. As always, I'm sending love and blessings your way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Today my mom scolded me for being "a terrible blogger." Yes, I know. I know... it's been a long time since my last update. I will say that this is mostly because I am not doing much outside the norm. Also, it means that I'm generally spending the time that I would be blogging with people instead. However, I know that blogging is important so I'll try to make more time for it from here on out - at least when there are interesting stories to tell.

We did recently go to Jacmel again on Sunday and Monday as we had some time off. There weren't any guests at the Guest House so it was the perfect time to get away. We stayed at a lovely (air conditioned) hotel with GREAT food and an awesome view. Overall, it was exactly the relaxing trip that we needed. Things had been pretty stressful this past week so it was good to get away for a night.

However, the real purpose of this particular entry is to let you know that the money you donated towards this trip to Haiti is already being put to good use.

Thanks to the amount of money donated, I was able to put $1000 into a discretionary fund. This was particularly exciting because Mike's discretionary fund was on it's last legs. Already your money has helped in numerous ways.

1. Davidson's biological mother came by and expressed a need for funds for a medical exam, x-ray, and medicine. This cost approximately $38.
2. A 14 year old boy (who we had never met before - named Reitveld) came by the Guest House hoping to get scholarship money for his secondary school. His schooling is INCREDIBLY expensive. He was a very sweet young boy, though, and it was obvious that he had a strong desire to continue his education. We gave him $100 but it felt like barely a drop in the bucket. I am hopeful that his family will be able to come up for the rest. I would love to see him continue his schooling.
3. Jammes, the Guest House accountant, also asked for scholarship money for his sister who is in secondary school in Cap Haitien. We were able to give him $80 to help with that, but might up the amount to $100 depending on what other money comes in.
4. We've also been able to help with random needs. For example, Mike's shoe shine guy came today for the 4th time this week. Mike said he didn't have any shoes for the man to shine because he just shined his shoes. The man told us that he hadn't worked all day, though, because no one wanted their shoes shined. He was hungry and he needed to feed his family. Therefore, we were able to pay him what we would for a shoe shine job without him doing the work. Now he can eat!

Basically, your money is doing good things and I just wanted you all to be aware of how your generosity is such a blessing to others. Also, it's been a good reminder of how there are daily opportunities to really make a difference in people's lives here.

Also, after I preached a few Sunday's back, many of you asked about providing scholarships for Robenson to continue schooling and get Peter, his younger brother, into school. Rest assured that we are working on that and hope to enroll both of them in school within the next few weeks. :)

Beyond that, things have been as they usually are here. Groups to receive, groups to send off to their various work sites, work sites to visit, money to distribute, e-mails to send, people to meet with, etc. Lots of good work to be done for various communities all over Haiti. I feel blessed, as always to be a part of it.

Sending love, peace, and abundant joy your way,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Laid back

So what have I done during these past few days? Not much of anything super significant.

I've been working on a brochure for the Guest House, finishing up the name badges so we can (finally) print them, going on shopping trips for teams going out into the field, and various other random things. Beyond that, I've gone swimming with Davidson and Bryan and I finished watching all of Season 1 of Community with Bryan.

We also visited the Baptist Mission and the look out the other day with a group. I love the Baptist Mission and the look out. However, after being in Haiti for as long as I have, there's not much to do at the Baptist Mission anymore except eat and see if they have any new stuff in their store. The shop owners on the side of the road have cool stuff, too, but we've seen most of it at this point and since I'm not headed home for another 4 months - I don't have much that I'm looking to buy in terms of gifts. Even with all of that, I still like going to the Baptist Mission mostly because it's so beautiful and cool up there. It's definitely one of my most recommended places for people coming to Haiti.

Today has been pretty crazy so far. We had to get a team to a work site and get a team to the airport so there was lots of packing up and arranging things. I also got to take a team on a tour of our campus and say hi to the kids. It's still so amazing to me that so many of the tents have left that we now have half a basketball court for the kids to use for recreation again. Love it.

So yes, that's why I haven't really been updating - not much to update! However, we are taking another trip to Jacmel tomorrow (and this time with Davidson) so I'm certain that I'll have much more to report in the next two days. :)

I hope that you're all well... I'll work on having better stories for next time. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Mend

It's been an interesting past couple of days. Sorry that I haven't kept up with my blogging as much, but that's mostly due to one big thing - I got very ill.

It all started on Saturday. We went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch - yes, in Haiti - which ended up actually being quite delicious. I should also mention that by "we" I mean myself, Bryan (yes, he's back for a while - hooray!), Mike, Doug, Oge, and Davidson. I totally forgot to mention in my first entry that Davidson is not going to the orphanage any longer. After arriving in Cayes, Donette and Ablamy realized that they could care for Davidson and have decided to take him with them. However, as Donette is on vacation until early - mid September Mike agreed to take care of him until then. Therefore, he's hanging out at the Guest House with us. That was a joyful surprise to come home to. :)

Anyway, after Chinese, we went out for ice cream and then came back to the Guest House and got back to work. I noticed that as the day went on though, I got to be in a pretty bad mood. I had this cough that was developing and I was exhausted. Bryan suggested that we go swimming so Bryan, Davidson, Johnny (Erick's nephew), Elysee (Johnny's friend), and I jumped in. However, I was FREEZING. I thought the water might just be unusually cold, but when I realized that everyone else was not that cold... I became a bit concerned that I might be coming down with something.

That night, I had several hot and cold flashes that told me that I was probably coming down with a fever. Come Sunday morning, I had a terrible headache, my throat was extremely sore, my cough was still there, and I had a fever. This was a HUGE bummer because it was supposed to be a beach day for us and I, obviously, had to end up missing it. Big bummer.

So I ended up essentially sleeping all day, drinking a ton of water, and taking antibiotics. Yesterday I was still pretty sick, but started feeling much better - especially when I took Advil as well. I was so sick that today, once I began feeling MUCH better Mike said, "Oh look! Beth's among the living again!" It felt good.

I will say, though, that I felt bad because my boys kept on calling for me wanting to help me while I was sick, but I couldn't go near them and I didn't know how to say, "I'm sick so I can't hug you." I could tell them that I was sick, but that didn't relay the "don't touch me" part. Therefore, I just had to keep my distance at all times... which sucked but it was for their benefit.

Luckily, though, as I said, today I began to feel MUCH better. I still have a TERRIBLE cough, but the fever is totally gone and the majority of my energy is back. Therefore, we decided today would be a good day to visit Carrefour Manse.

I visited there right before I went back to the States and before any work happened on it. Let me tell you... it's dramatically different! Not much rebuilding has happened, it's mostly gutting the building now before rebuilding and repairs can happen. However, demolition is progress in the world of construction so it was very cool to see how far things have gone in 3.5 weeks.

Anyway, it's definitely my bed time. Goodnight friends. I hope all is well your way!


Friday, August 13, 2010

I made it!

So I just wanted to update quickly to tell you I made it safe and sound. I hit a few bumps during my traveling - including getting my baggage right as it started pouring and then having to wait under a tarp for a good while before finally walking to our vehicle - but I'm here safely now. :)

I also had another celebrity sighting at the airport but I'm not sure who it was. At first I thought it was Wyclef, but apparently it was not. I saw a picture of him today and realized that he does not have a beard and the person I saw did. I'm now thinking, after further investigation, that it may have been from the Black Eyed Peas. Either way - it's pretty cool.

As soon as I arrived at the Guest House I was also greeted instantly by my boys. Apparently they had been waiting for me all day, yelling "Beth, Beth!" whenever any car pulled into the Guest House driveway. However, we came around the back way so they didn't see me pull in. When we started walking closer to the Swiss House, they heard my voice and started yelling, "Beth, Beth, Beth!" Eventually, they turned the corner and saw me and I was attacked with hugs. It was a very happy reunion.

It feels great to be in Haiti again and it actually felt like coming... home. I feel like a girl who now lives in two totally different worlds - but I love it. Wouldn't have it any other way.

I hope all is well back home - I'm sure it is!

Monday, August 9, 2010


So now that my time in KC is nearing an end, I'm preparing to head back to Haiti.

This consists of a lot of things. Practical things like obtaining insurance, taking money out of the bank, getting malaria meds, buying toiletries, and packing are certainly taking up quite a bit of my time. Also, I have a great desire to see many of my friends before I head out - which I've also been spending a significant time doing.

Beyond that, I've been trying to mentally prepare myself. Four months is a long time - the longest I will have ever been away from my family. However, I know that God is good and will take care of me. I also know that I have a Haitian family (or at least, a family made up of people living in Haiti with me) that will be there to support me. Further, it is looking like one or both of my parents might be able to come visit me in October around my halfway point, so that would also be super exciting.

I've also been doing some personal discernment as to how long God might really be calling me to be in Haiti. At this point, it seems as if I may have a few options if I feel like God is calling me to extend my time even further than these four months. I would still come home in December - can't spend Christmas in Haiti - but it might happen that I come back to Haiti instead of working in the States after that. Prayers for my continued discernment would be appreciated.

I suppose that things just feel different this time around. I'm super excited to see my Haiti friends and jump back into things there. I feel much more excited, in general, than I did last time. Last time, I was quite nervous... it was a nervous excitement. I didn't really know what I was getting into or how things might pan out over the 2 months. Now, though, I know what I'm getting into and I'm stoked for it.

Things that I am excited for:
Giving my boys a big hug.
Seeing my many other Guest House pals - Oge, Erick, Johnny, Claire, Marie Claude, and Belorne just to name a few.
Seeing Mike, Doug, and Bryan of course. :)
The excellent food at the Guest House.
Trips to the beach.
New places in Haiti still left to explore.
Movie nights.
Progress at the work sites - I'll be especially interested in hearing about Carrefour Manse's progress... two work teams have been there since I've been home so I bet quite a bit has changed!
English classes.
Learning more Kreyol.
God speaking to me in new and powerful ways.

Lastly, I wanted to tell you all that I preached at Living Water Christian Church (the church that my mom planted 5 years ago) this Sunday. If you would like to listen to the sermon, please click here and enjoy! If you miss it this week, though, it will be moved to the worship archive space on the site so you can still find it there!

Sending peace, love, and joy your way - next time I update I'll be updating from Haiti! :)


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