Sunday, September 26, 2010


It's becoming much more difficult to come up with a title for these things... especially when I do a catch up post from a whole week. (Sorry!)

I've been fairly busy recently as my dad arrived in Haiti on Thursday. Therefore, I've been hanging out with him and also enjoying some of the movies he brought me from my mom. :) Sorry I've neglected the blog!

Life is as it usually is in Haiti - VIM teams to plan for, various documents to create, and kids to send to school.

As school begins on October 4th, our office has been handing out a TON of scholarships. I was so thankful when my dad arrived with a $1400 donation that I was able to add to our mission fund. Otherwise, we would be VERY low on funds to give to the various families that come to our door. Thank you if you contributed to that fund. Thank you if you're praying for those who receive assistance from that fund. You will probably never know how much you just impacted a life - but please take my word for it when I say your support is a significant blessing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Of course, there was one scholarship that we handed out that made me smile more than any other. Thanks to people giving money specifically to send Robenson and Peter to school... we were able to pay their entire way. Seeing his mothers face when she realized that she wouldn't have to pay a dime for schooling... that she wouldn't have to worry at all about that expense was... amazing. I was thinking about that today and recognizing that if we had not stepped in to help, Robenson's mother would be in a pretty desperate situation. Three kids (one a baby), no income, no leads, a limited education, and a leaky tent. I do not know what she would have done (although some likely responses may have been prostitution, putting up some (or all) of her children for adoption, or putting Robenson into the restavek system) but I do know that it would not have been good. How awesome is it that because God has blessed us financially we are able to bless others in such a significant way?

Which reminds me to ask for a prayer request. Since Robenson got sick, I've been spending a lot of time laying awake at night worrying about what might happen to that family when I leave. I never EVER want Robenson, Peter, little Amanda, or their mother (Lomene) to get that sick again and not be able to pay for proper medical care. I also never want that family to get a point where they have to stop sending a child to school because they cannot afford it. Therefore, I am in the process of trying to get Peter and Robenson into a child sponsorship program. I have a contact and he is working on gathering information for me, but it is still unknown if sponsorship is even going to be a possibility or not. Please pray about this. Pray that this family gets the consistent support they need - if not through child sponsorship, through some other means.

Also, as of right now, I plan to sponsor Robenson myself, but I would love it if one of you would be willing to sponsor Peter if they get into a sponsorship program. Or, if a church or youth group wanted to sponsor Peter - that would also be really, really cool. Pray about it, and if you're interested - please let me know.

Lastly, as some of you already know, it is possible that I will be extending my time in Haiti AGAIN because I may be getting a full-time (big girl) job. I will probably know for sure about this mid-late October. Please also pray for guidance for me as I discern further what I am called to do. It would be a big step and I don't want to do it if it's not what God wants me to do, too.

I know I had more to say - including all the neat stuff I've done with my dad. (We went to the look-out and the beach!) However, I am absolutely exhausted and in great need of a shower. Therefore, I'm signing off. I hope you're all well, though. Please send me an update on your life if you have time. I'd love to hear from all of you!

<3 Beth

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Good-er

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

These past few days I've been a bit down. I just got into a bad mood and found myself feeling super cranky. It felt like much had gone wrong, and I had two super stressful days - one after another. Beyond that, I didn't really get a "day off" yesterday which added to my bad mood. I needed some fun time. Some down time. However, there was work to get done so that didn't happen.

However, in the midst of my frustration today, I was supremely blessed.

We found out that Robenson does NOT have TB (and we literally did a "Mesi bon dieu!" (Thank you, good God!) cheer with his mother yesterday over it.) However, he did have the UTI, anemia, and a severe respiratory infection. Therefore, he still needs to take antibiotics. We gave him some more money for medicine today.

But it is still quite obvious, in looking back at the situation, that if I had not stepped in and said that I would pay the initial $100 to get him the medical attention he so desperately needed that instead of celebrating his recovery I would be mourning his death. I am also thankful that Mike decided that we could take over the rest of his medical expenses through our Mission Fund. That also means that thanks to many of you, Robenson lives today.

In fact, today, in the midst of my frustration, we saw Robenson. Seeing him instantly made me smile and he came over and handed Mike and I letters. Oge translated mine for me. It was a thank you letter thanking me for helping him with all of his medical expenses and for stepping in when his mother did not have money. At one point the letter literally says, "It is because of you that I have life."

Wow. Not many people work in places where they get the opportunity to literally save a life... but I am so blessed to have that opportunity. I know that I am still not totally aware of all the reasons why God sent me here and kept me here... but every so often I get little glimpses and it's... amazing. How blessed am I to be called in such an awesome, extreme way?

Beyond that, this afternoon Mike sent me an e-mail to make me feel better with the quote at the top of this blog with a simple "Blessings and thanks for all that you do," underneath it. I definitely needed to hear that and it was another excellent reminder of my call. I was able to take a deep breath and recognize, once again the abundant good that I have been able to accomplish.

Which, speaking of abundant good - I realized today that we have given out money from the Mission Fund 40 times - 19 of which were scholarships. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who have donated to our Mission Fund. Your dollars are making a real and tangible difference in the lives of many Haitian families. There are quite a few folks resting a bit easier in their tents tonight thanks to your generosity and love.

Also, I wanted to say thank you for your continued prayers and words of encouragement for me. I feel your prayers surround me all the time and I am so grateful to know so many amazing, supportive brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for being the awesome blessings that you are.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


These past couple of days have been mostly good. The best part is that they've been a bit slower pace allowing me to have time for me and time for God.

Two weeks ago my UMCOR friend, Lauren, invited me to go with her to the Ibo Lele hotel in Petionville to eat dinner and go swimming. It sounded divine. The one thing I really miss about being in the States is going out for coffee and a good chat with friends. Therefore, I was really excited about a makeshift coffee date.

However, as I believe I wrote in here a few days ago, Lauren is still in the States recovering for a severe kidney infection. (Please continue prayers for her healing!) I thought about forgetting the plans and trying to schedule some other time to go once Lauren returned, but that idea kind of sucked. I already knew that day/time would work, and I REALLY needed time away from work and hang out time with a friend. So I asked Oge to come with me - it killed two birds with one stone as it gave me a friend and a driver!

We went to the Ibo Lele, ate lunch, and had great conversation. It was a good choice bringing Oge along - he's good people. It was also just so relaxing. Beautiful day with a nice breeze and an absolutely gorgeous view of the city from their dining deck. I had some friends hand me "self care" money before heading back to Haiti and this is the first time that I used it. Thinking about it now, I am in tears over how grateful I am for that fund. I don't think I can fully express how much I really needed that "coffee date"... but I did and I am so grateful that I didn't have to worry about the expense. I know some good people.

Beyond that it's just been a little of this and a little of that. However, I do have an update on Robenson.

Robenson came by the Guest House today and asked for more money for medicine. He told me that he ran out of his medicine and needed more. I tried to explain to him that if he ran out of the medicine that means he's done and doesn't need to take any more. Once the amount the doctor prescribes runs out... then you're good! However, he was very persistent so I finally took him to Doug and Barry (our new UMCOR health guy who will be living at the Guest House for the next three months so I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about him) who both speak French to get the full scoop.

First of all, we found out what Robenson's diagnosis is. He said that the doctor told him he had anemia and a respiratory infection. Yikes. When we asked him about the medicine, though, he told us that he had only bought enough medicine for 23 days but that the doctor had prescribed antibiotics for 3 months. We all thought that sounded strange until a light bulb went off in Doug's head - Robenson probably has TB.

Now, we don't know this for sure, but we're hoping Robenson brings the prescription to us tomorrow so we can see what it says. If he does have TB, though, I am even happier to have spent the $100 to get him the medical care he needed. When I told Oge that update his eyes bugged out and he said, "TB!?!? TB makes you die... you don't play around with that." Yeah. Exactly. I hope that it is just a generic respiratory infection, but the symptoms and the prescription add up. Once I get confirmation one way or another, I'll let you know.

Beyond that I've just been taking some time to breathe, to pray, to contemplate. Sometimes in the busy-ness of this place it's hard to remember to take the time to listen to God. It's been good to reconnect and slow down a bit. I needed to slow down a bit.

As for now, though, I'm off to bed. Goodnight world!

P.S. Most recent photos can be found here. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010


So I should begin this entry by telling you that yes, I have showered and changed clothes. This will be important information as you read further. :)

Today was a busy day! However, lets back up a bit.

Mike visited Bainet, Haiti to drop off a team on Friday. The team was from his own Haiti Partnership organization and Bainet is the community of which Mike has volunteered in for the past 6 years. Therefore, he really wanted to travel with the team to make sure everything was good to go once they arrived. He brought Carlos, a 16 year old boy from the village, back to the Guest House to hang out with us for two days.

Carlos is a TON of fun. He doesn't speak any English (basically) and I don't speak enough Kreyol to communicate many full thoughts, but we still had a blast together mostly because he's so funny. He's just this funny, nerdy, goofy kid who does the most random stuff at the most random times. This is all to say that we got along great and I'd really love for him to come visit again.

Because Carlos was here we went to the beach again on Sunday. This time we went to Obama beach named (of course) after the President of the United States. Too funny. It was a nice, cozy beach, though and it was very cheap. Excellent time.

Also, we found out yesterday that approximately half of my boys were moving out of the tent city today. As a special "goodbye" Mike and I went to the Epid'or and bought a cake to share with them. It was so wonderful to give them each a big slice of cake and be showered with hugs and shouts of "mesi!" We even took some photos that I hope to upload soon, but my favorite shot is now my new Facebook profile picture. I'm very hopeful that even after the kids move they'll still come to visit fairly regularly, though.

Now. Today.

Well, as Mike is usually on a Haiti Partnership team to Bainet at some point during the year, he really wanted to spend some time in Bainet if possible. Therefore, we delivered him today and he'll stay through Friday when the team comes back to the Guest House.

I tagged along for the ridiculous journey as Mike and I had work to do (so we did it on the road) and I wanted to see the Bainet I had heard Mike and Bryan talk about so much. This is my documentation of what happened today. Enjoy.

So we were supposed to leave at 6:30 (which is when I usually wake up) so I got up at 5:45. Just enough time to roll out of bed, get dressed, and eat a quick breakfast. Although that all happened, we didn't end up leaving until 7:30. This was mostly due to various things on our checklist that needed to be completed as well as questions to answer. Also, there were approximately 5 people who requested to have our one empty seat to Bainet. Mike had finally given it to Boss Weche, the site boss for Bainet (as well as the majority of our other work sites.) However, one person who had talked to Mike about it a week ago but never checked in to be sure that it would still work just showed up this morning, ready to go. That was also interesting to deal with and we had to find alternate transportation for them.

We finally got on the road (Oge, Mike, Carlos and I) at 7:30 and picked up Weche in Carrefour around 8:30. We had been working in the car up to that point, and continued working after Weche got in the vehicle. So much to do before Mike went to Bainet and became much less reachable!

By ten my bladder was "bursting with hurtness" so we attempted to make a pit stop at a gas station with a bathroom. We stopped at a place that Mike said, "Oh yeah, this is my favorite place to stop with a toilet." However, he had not visited the toilet since the earthquake. It used to have this big wall around it and a door. Now, the wall is falling partially apart and there is no door. Also, the bathroom is actually an outhouse with just a concrete circle jutting from the floor. Mike went first while I kept guard and then we switched.

It was, by far, the nastiest toilet I had ever seen. It was wet and goopy all around the edges and it smelled LOVELY. Also, Mike had warned me that there was no toilet paper so that made it even more pleasant. I attempted to squat over it without having to touch anything to it but then... I lost my balance and fell... sitting on the wet, goopy, concrete circle. It was disgusting. (See, aren't you glad to know that I've showered and changed clothes, now?) The worst part was that I didn't even have toilet paper to wipe off with so I just had to walk around like that and go sit in the car... still feeling the goopiness on my tush.

What I found out from Oge and Mike was that I needed to "Haitian squat." Haitian squatting is when you stand on both sides of the concrete slab and squat down to do your business. When I found out that people did that a few of my fears were put to rest... I'm guessing that the goopiness came from mud on people's shoes at the ground outside the outhouse was quite muddy. At least, that's what I'm going to keep on telling myself.

After that fun little escapade we found out that the Haiti Partnership team did not have access to clean water as their usual water supplier closed up shop for a while. Therefore, they had almost fully depleted their 10 jugs of water that we had sent out with them. This meant that we needed to stop in Jacmel to purchase water for the team as well as hire a tap-tap to deliver it to them as there was no space in our truck for 10 more water jugs.

That was another interesting excursion because we ended up searching all over Jacmel for water jugs. We found lots of places that had water, but none of them had any empty water jugs to sell us. It was crazy. Finally, after about 20-30 minutes of driving all over the city, we found some water jugs. After that, though, it still took us another 20 minutes - half hour to purchase the jugs and arrange everything for them to be transported to Bainet.

Finally, we started the final leg to Bainet (after grabbing some street food for lunch which, thank God, did not make me sick.) The road to Bainet from Jacmel is a long one and it's totally unpaved. It's very rocky and, therefore, very bouncy. Not for the faint of stomach.

After you drive on it for two hours you finally arrive in Bainet. It's a beautiful little town in the country and had the same sort of energy that a campsite does in the States. Low key, relaxed, outdoorsy. Very nice area. I can see why Mike likes it so much.

However, after we arrived we did discover that some items had been stolen from our truck bed including all of Mike's work shoes which in total cost over $100. Big bummer to the beginning of his stay in Haiti. Luckily, though, none of the money that was in the back was included in the bags stolen. That is a huge thing to be thankful for.

The trip home was uneventful and much faster. Oge was very concerned about us getting back before dark so he drove as fast as he possibly could while still being safe. We ended up arriving back at the Guest House around 6:30. Long day.

Now I am exhausted and more than ready for bed. I hope you're all well and I'm going to try to post some pictures to Facebook soon!


Friday, September 10, 2010



I'm really hoping and praying for some down time this weekend because I am going to NEED IT. That's why I haven't updated in a week! So much going on.

Anyway, the biggest announcement is that Robenson is almost completely healed! He's been around these past two days and he's back to his normal self which is SO GOOD to see. I have missed seeing his smiling face immensely. Thanks be to God!

As for other things, last Sunday we went to the beach with Oge and his family. It was so much fun to spend more time with little Laura again and get to know his wife, Josianne, better. We found a fun little beach called "Ocean View" and had a blast. It was small, but quite relaxing and laid-back. Great visit, and much needed. However, driving there and driving back we passed this HUGE tent city. It has always been there but it seems to be growing. Our tent city should disband in 5 days, but I'm guessing a lot of other tent cities are being forced to disband and many families are moving to this area as there's quite a bit of space. However, it was quite sad. I took some photos but it does not even truly begin to describe the scene there. PLEASE continue to pray for the people of Haiti living in tent cities - they are still here and still struggling.

Also, Davidson's last day with us was yesterday. Donette and Ablamy came back from vacation so we met them at the airport to drop off Davidson and transfer his stuff to their vehicle. I think he was very sad to go, but also very happy to see Donette and Ablamy at the same time. I'm sure he'll be happy once he gets to Les Cayes. I'm still so thrilled that he's not going to an orphanage.

Yesterday we also had a scare when we found out our friend working at UMCOR, Lauren, is severely ill. Doug went to the hospital to help out with that yesterday and they eventually decided to evacuate her back to the States. They believe she has malaria and kidney stones, but they weren't for sure. Please keep her in your prayers tonight as well.

As for today - well today was crazy. We've been off of city power for two and a half days now so our inverters completely ran out of power. Therefore, we were out of power for a while until we turned on the generator to juice everything up. That was pretty crazy. Also SUPER CRAZY is that our driver, Espana, got stopped by the police today... for a really stupid reason! While we were stopped in traffic a guy next to us rolled down his window and asked Espana a question, he responded and all the sudden these three police officers get out of their vehicle and demand to see Espana's license. He gives it to them and they take it from him saying he was "holding up traffic" because the vehicles in front of us moved literally seconds before they got out of the car. They told him he had to go wait for them at a gas station down the road if he wanted his license back.

So we went down the road and waited 20 minutes. They still hadn't come so Espana dropped us off at the Epid'or and then went back to the gas station to wait for them. He probably waited an hour total before they finally showed up and then do you know what they said? "You didn't really do anything wrong. We wanted to get the guy who was talking to you, but he drove away so we took yours instead. Here's your license back." Jigga whaaaat? It was just very strange.

I've been living in Haiti long enough to where very few things still surprise me, but that was just weird. I suppose that happens when there's corruption in the government, though. I'm glad that they didn't make Espana pay anything, though, and owned up to the fact that they took his license and yelled at him for no reason.

Also, just a heads up, I will probably be updating more this week. That is because we won't have as many teams come through this week, and Bryan isn't here as he went out with a team to Bainet. Therefore, I'll have very few distractions in the evening and might actually have time to blog and keep you all up to date on everything. Also, on Monday I will be taking the trip to Bainet and I hear it's quite the excursion. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say about it when I return. :)

Sending love, peace, and joy your way,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Various stuffs.

Went to Petit Goave today. It was a long trip (2.5 hours each way) and not really worth it (found out I didn't actually need to do much once I got there) but it was cool to see one thing...

Do you remember when I talked about seeing the tents set up in the median on the way to Mellier? Well, some of those tents... are gone! I was absolutely thrilled when I saw that. That means that some of those families have found other places to stay which are (more than likely) safer, bigger, and have more privacy. That is awesome. Hopefully there won't be a single tent there some day soon.

As for what we've been doing these past few days it's been a little of this and little of that. Robenson has been in and out of here the past couple of days. He got his x-ray done, but I'm not sure what the test results were for that. However, he seems to have quite a bit more energy than he had the day we took him to the clinic and I think his fever has gone down which is also good. I'm still not sure about what his diagnosis is, but the fact that he's feeling better is fantastic.

I also went to our Thomas work site for the first time a couple of days ago. We had to drop off the team, hand off some funds, and check on a few things. It's a neat work site - they're rebuilding a church and a school which is all in one building. The lower level is the school and the upper level is the church. The school is the most rebuilt now, though, so they've been holding church in the school, apparently. It was a very neat work site. I will, as I am with all of our work sites, be excited to see the progress that happens there.

Lastly, Oge and I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt the other day. I've been working on a "tree project" for quite some time now. The idea is to plant a tree at every work site that we're working on and maybe (depending on the work site) even plant one per team on each work site. When thinking about this, we thought it would be best to plant a tree that would also provide some sort of nourishment for the community. We decided that mango trees would be our best bet. However, believe it or not, it's a lot harder to find mango trees to buy than you would think. We went to three different places last week before Oge finally called a friend of his to ask where might be the best place to get them.

His friend suggested a place called "Double Harvest." We found out that Double Harvest is actually a non-profit with headquarters in the U.S. They have a HUGE farm in Croix de Bouquets. Although Croix de Bouquets is at least an hour away, Oge and I drove there to check it out. We found out that mango trees there are 50 gourdes each - approximately $1.25 per tree! Isn't that nuts!?!? Anyway, we were thrilled to hear that and hopefully (once we create an exact plan) we'll start planting trees on our work sites soon! Hooray!

So yep, those are my updates. Good stuff goin on. I hope everything is good back in the States (I hear the weather in KC is incredibly awesome today - I gotta admit that I'm a bit jealous!)


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