Archive for 05-2012Progress in Kenscoff, Haiti
Posted by Kathi on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 3
Some weeks go by and I feel like we have made little progress. But this week was an exception if I were still in my business world; I would list the accomplishments in a matter of fact fashion. But what we do here in Haiti is far from a business. In fact sometimes when you look at it from a business perspective you just end up wondering – WHY? But this week I was reminded of the why? One example is that from a business perspective, it makes no economic sense to accept sick children into our care who are brought to us from IBESR (social welfare in Haiti). They don’t provide any financial support, or food or medicine – they don’t even provide the proper paperwork for the children. But when you look at the children you realize it is about God’s love and our role to help orphaned children in the world. Today, I was reminded of the why, when one of the new boys who was brought to us, slipped into unconsciousness. If he wasn’t under our care, I am not sure he would have made it. Both our Haitian nurse and a visiting U.S nurse attended to him and brought him to the hospital. We are waiting on test results but it appears he is suffering from severe malnutrition. So rather than list our accomplishments (*admitted 5 children) it is important to understand that each of these children have a story and their lives will be touched and improved through our programs in Haiti.
There were other major accomplishments this last week. After a few false starts, the van is up and running!! We still need to replace some parts, but for now we are back to 2 vehicles, which makes my life (as the logistics coordinator) much easier. The tile work at the Children’s Home is progressing really nicely. The downstairs is 80% complete and we have started on the upstairs. It looks beautiful. Having Pastor Maxime back from NY has accelerated the work. The youth group at the church organized a revival last week and it culminated with a choir performance after Sunday church. Choirs from 4 different churches performed – it was an amazing evening and hard to describe the joy, praise and worship that filled the church. We helped them by providing the funds to feed all the participants.
And speaking of MAJORACCOMPLISHMENTS the community center building is almost complete. Rome and her team from Lake Union have done an amazing job. They will have 99% of the exterior completed before they leave this week. They also managed to build the chicken coop, outdoor toilets, water tower and playground. The place is simply amazing. We all celebrated with a BIG fête (party) to honor Rome and her team. Thank goodness Nicole Newman, our sponsorship manager and party planner extraordinaire, was in Haiti to help me. It was a huge success and over 100 people attended. We had music and a combination of Haitian and American foods.
There was a tragic loss last week, Bethanie Legare, from our Empowering Women program passed away suddenly. She was a gifted artisan, who was using her jewelry sales to support her 4 children. It made for very heavy hearts for us all. And on a personal and superficial note, my face healed just in time for the party. Thanks to some amazing cream and prayers from friends all over the place – I am back to normal. Well, I doubt normal, would be the best word choice, but I am back to me and no longer have to wear a bandanna to cover my face! Please continue to pray and support our efforts in Haiti.
Posted by Kathi on Monday, May 14, 2012 | 2
Many days in Haiti I feel like we take 1 step forward while also taking 3 steps backwards. There are always a few positive things that happen each day and of course the children’s smile and the love we share keep me moving forward. Because I know that this is God’s plan and his love for these kids is the reason He keeps me here. But honestly, there are a few weeks where I begin to doubt if I am strong enough for this – but I pray and reflect and realize that I can only withstand it through the support and prayers of my friends and God’s strength.
This week has been personally very challenging and it feels like I am under attack. Not only was it difficult to be away from my family for Mother’s Day, but I was also barraged with a series of personal challenges. One day at the construction site I dropped a bucket of cement which then flew into my eye. If you have ever had a bucket of cement lodged in your eye – you know it isn’t too pleasant. That very same day I was carrying a tub of boiling water (for a hot shower to wash the cement out of my hair) and I tripped and the boiling water drenched my face. In some ways, I was fortunate that nothing worse happened, but it was very painful (not to mention that now both my eyes are almost swollen shut). But I was blessed to have 2 of my dearest friends staying at the Guesthouse with me and they along with a nurse from Rome’s team, made sure that I was taken care of. Putting ice on my burns was actually humorous, because since we don’t have consistent power, ice cubes are a rare commodity. So at one point my face was covered with frozen bread, frozen chicken and a frozen vodka bottle!! I am healing, but it will be a few weeks before my face gets back to normal.
But there has been positive news too. We admitted a new baby into our adoption program and this week we should be able to admit 2 more children who have been living in a long term orphanage with no hope for a future. Now they will have them along with a loving family. That is what makes up for the bad things. In addition, we are making great progress with the Children’s home now that we have the tile. We are hoping to get additional funding in the next month to complete the project and start to get the children moved. We also have had large teams off volunteers working on the community center – one day we had 26 Christian athletes from University of Washington helping us. Another day we had all of the women in the Jewelry program volunteer! Most days we now have at least 15 volunteers (both American and Haitian), so that is allowing Rome to make great progress. And speaking of Rome, each day my respect, admiration and love for her dedication and passion grows. To say she is amazing, would be an understatement. The exterior should be complete before her deadline of May 23rd. In addition we will have the entire water system installed and the water filtration system running by the end of the month. The chicken coop and playground are also on the To Do list for this month. We are winning the battle!
Through all the ups and downs, I try to focus only on the kids. Their smiles through adversity and challenges give me my inspiration. I am grateful to each of you for your support. And I am looking forward to conquering the negative influences!
Joy comes with the morning
Posted by Kathi on Saturday, May 05, 2012 | 5
There is something absolutely intoxicating about mornings here in Haiti. It might be that it is just the start of a new day and the hope of a day without problems stretches out on the horizon. But I think it is more than that. The sun is usually always shining in the morning and the streets are always busy. I love when I get to start my day with a walk through the town of Fermathe (where I live at the C4C Guesthouse). Normally, I am not “allowed” to walk by myself, but since Pastor Maxime is out of town, I arise early and head out. By 6:00 the market in Fermathe is already active and the vendors scurry to position their wares along the street, and eventually end up blocking the road. But at 6 – they are still in set up mode – each vendor purposefully arranging their merchandise with hope and optimism. As I walk past it is a symphony of Bonjous and hearing all the different nuances to Bonjou always makes me smile. My walk winds through a mountain road and the vistas are inspiring. Ocean on one side and tiered farm lands on the other. But the highlight of the walk comes when I am joined by 5 boys walking to school. They giggle at my child like Creole, but every time I walk ahead of them, they run to catch up to me. We part ways as I maneuver my way through the market to return home and begin the work part of my day.
My first meeting is with the women in the artisan craft program. Today is payday! Thanks to the many volunteers who have been working on the community center and the visitors that have been living at the guesthouse, we have had some significant jewelry sales. So today is especially enjoyable and the 16 women (and 1 man) are in high spirits awaiting their American dollars and receipts. These meetings usually last a long time as we inspect their work, give the items to be redone and accept their new work. After 2 hours we finish and there are many smiles that fill the room. These artisans are joyful knowing their work is valued and they take pride in each and every sale.
The rest of the afternoon is spent doing what I do most days – sitting in traffic. Imagine my excitement when the mechanic informed me that I could pick up the van today (after being in his shop for over 2 months). Life was good for about an hour, but as soon as we started up the hill, wouldn’t you know it, it did the very same thing that we took it in for – it overheated. So back to the mechanic and back to 1 car. But I will still remain optimistic that soon we will have a working 2ndvehicle. While we were in town, I saw a tap-tap loaded with bananas fighting the traffic just like us. I am normally very sensitive about taking pictures in town, but the shot was too good to resist and I couldn’t help myself. But I obviously, upset the driver, because 5 minutes later he sideswiped us. Good thing he just knicked the side mirror. Well guess that says more than the 1 finger gesture we see in the U.S. It actually made me laugh.
Today, I love being in Haiti – despite every problem. I miss my kids and my husband but I have made new family here. I have kids here (45 of them in Kenscoff and 16 in Delmas) so there is no shortage of hugs and kisses. I am grateful that as I end my day the joy that came in the morning is still with me at the end of the day. Life is good and God is great (isn’t that a country and western song)?
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