Another lovely day in the same magical place.
Today was so much fun. Relaxing. Wonderful.
It began by seeing more friends of mine as they came and went - Johnny (one of our beloved drivers), Caz (a great interpreter), and Jammes (the accountant), for example. However, as you could probably guess, the best part was seeing Oge and all of my boys.
I saw Oge this morning and gave him one of the biggest hugs ever. (Almost cried, but was able to hold it in this time. :) ) Oge and I have kept in touch over the phone every now and then... but seeing him in person is... awesome. I've really, really missed him.
We spent the morning chatting and sharing stories. I showed him some photos from Europe and of the new apartment in Texas. I also introduced him to Flat Oge (his "mini me" that went around Europe with me.) That was hilariously awesome. Several members of the Guest House staff cracked up when they saw Flat Oge. I also set Oge up with Skype so I'm excited to use that with him once I leave Haiti.
Then, at noon, the bracelet kids came for pay day. For the most part, word had spread that I was back... but not to everyone. The surprised faces were way too much fun. During Pay Day, I was able to take some great pictures and the kids are coming back again on Tuesday so that I can take some pictures and video of them actually making the bracelets. I am beyond excited for that - it is going to be wonderful to finally have shots of that process in action... as well as maybe getting some interviews from the families about how the program is impacting their lives.
Especially wonderful today, though, was seeing Michellet, Robenson, Robenson's Mother, and Schnyder. Seeing every kid was wonderful... but throughout my time here I built special relationships with those four. So great to be reunited again.
However, I do have to put out a plea.
Due to a lower volume of teams (and therefore, fewer donations), the staff here has not been able to provide any assistance to the bracelet kids and their families for school this year. It's not that they don't want to help out, it's just that there isn't enough for everyone to get an amount that would be helpful so the money that they are able to give is just going towards things like food or clothes. In Haiti, It costs around $200 - $500 for a child to go to school for an entire year. For some it is more, and for others it is less. $200 is probably the average amount that they would need to pay the inscription fee and for the first quarter or trimester.
If you or your congregation feels led to give, PLEASE DO. I know that some already are (big shout out to Don, for example, for his continuous giving) but unfortunately, with such few people donating... there just isn't enough for the money to go far. (And in Haiti, you can't really give to one and not the other... so that adds a whole other dimension in terms of what is and is not possible.)
If you are able to give and need information about who to send money to... please contact me this week at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get you all the information you need.
Seriously, I asked the boys how school was going... and too many told me that they were not in school at all this year because they could not afford it. It is heartbreaking to me that such intelligent, driven, wonderful kids would not be able to get an education. I am hopeful that their situation will change soon... but at this point, the future (at least the immediate future of the next few months or year) looks pretty bleak.
There are 24 kids in the bracelet program now. If we can raise at least $4800... then that could/should be enough to at least get the kids in school, with the hope that with bracelet income they'd be able to pay the rest of the money for the year.
Anyway... beyond the sadness of that reality... it really was a great day. I even got to go to my favorite coffeehouse for lunch (Rebo!) with Oge and that was wonderful. I also got some studying in for Christian Theology and had a brief opportunity to chat with Tom for a while.
Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be back? Because it's really, really awesome. M renmen Ayiti ANPIL! (I love Haiti a lot!)