Monday, July 31
We have been forcing clothing onto Jack-Jack as often as possible. By the time he goes to MN he should be ready to wear clothing for 6 hours straight. On the way home from church he needed to get free. He'd reached his daily limit.
Please don't send me hate mail, I recognize that he is not in a car seat. The entire country is car-seat free, and while we usually use one, we needed room in the truck for Lisa. The lecture would be wasted because I know this is a bad idea, you'd be preaching to the choir.
In front of us you can see the Haitian police on a motorcycle, the cop on back was carrying a honkin shot-gun but it does not show up in this photo.
Lisa teaching English at the McHoul's English camp today.
The big excitement of the day, this donated play set is being assembled as I type. There are some very loud and hyper kids out there waiting in great anticipation for it to be complete.
Britt is working her buns off to finish her last few days of school work. She is close to totally recovered from her denga-phoid, she still tires a bit easier than she did before she was sick. She is anxious to mail in all her final tests and call herself a Junior. Next year she has been accepted into a post-secondary program at Northwestern College that will allow her to earn HighSchool and College credits simultaneously. Woot woot to free college. She will be able to do that from Haiti. Such a cool thing.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way." -C.S. Lewis
You might remember we asked you to pray for Sophia a while back. She was the tiny 11 month old baby that weighed less than 9 lbs when we met her. (Paige and Britt both weighed that at one week old.) To read more about her and her family, click here. She spent three and a half weeks with us and a few nights at the Cazale Resucue Center. Her blood work showed that she had become severely anemic, to the point that she was refusing food and needed to be force-fed.
After her time here she went back to her grandmother. We followed up a bit by bringing her food with vitamins crushed in it each morning.
Last Sunday Sophia's grandma brought her to see us. She looks great! Thanks to all who prayed for this little peanut girl.
God is good. Bondye Kapab
She is delayed developmentally (most kids are here) but she is no longer anemic. The first two pictures are how she looked the day after she came to Lifeline. You can get an idea how tiny she was in the photo with Noah. The last ones are at her home down the road from us and how she looks now. She lost her Don King hair, replacing it with some chubbier cheeks.
Sophia and her grandma now...at the house where Sophie lives with her aunt, grandma and cousins...
Sunday, July 30
The first place we tried to go to for lunch was open ... technically. But the employees had not shown up so they did not let us order our pizza. It hit us at about 15 minutes that we really have accepted that part of the culture. No one was mad, or impatient really. We just sat waiting, as if it is normal to have a restaurant be open but then be unwilling to take the order of the hungry and expectant customer. Totally normal. Troy went up to ask after a while-
Troy-When will you take our order?
Owner- My workers are not here.
Troy-Right, I heard that but when will you take our order.
Owner-When my workers get here.
Troy-When will that be?
Owner-I don't know. They are not here.
Troy-Okay. So, no way to estimate when?
Owner- Yes, when they get here.
At that point we moved on to choice number two of two. The owner seemed surprised we were not willing to hang out and wait for the mystery employees to show up at the mystery time. He said "OH! You're going?!?" Uh, yes sir. We are going.
Not a problem, not even close to being worth getting your dander up.
When we got back to LaDigue the kids & Troy gave me my gifts. I got two soap-stone statues, both of a mom and her children. Then Troy handed me an envelope that my dad had given me to bring to Troy after my grandma's funeral.
Apparently I smuggled in my own birthday gift after the funeral earlier this month. Troy was thinking about birthday gifts for me in early July while I was not here, when he was dealing with kids and generators and all sorts of things, I told you he's a keeper.
Oh, he got me Happy (perfume Clinique.) Perfume is vital here, it's perfume or eau de staaaankie pits.
I just finished reading all my fun email. Thank you!
Much love from our house to yours.
After our date where Troy tried to get us roughed up, he took Lisa to the market in Archaie, it is something worth seeing if you ever come visit us, we will take you. (Shameless guilt trip.)
While they were gone Lifeline's 5th grade teacher, Henold, showed up with about 60 kids from another village, where he runs a Saturday Bible school. Lifeline has been providing food for the Saturday school and this helps his numbers and attendance a lot. As a thank-you Henold wanted to bring them to sing for us and to show what they had learned in Bible school. Troy misunderstood when he spoke with him earlier this week and did not understand that they were all coming here.
Henold seems to run a tight ship. The kids were so sweet and sang "God is so goooood, God is so gooood, God is so gooooood, He's so goooood to me." They were such a neat bunch of kids it seemed like a pefect opportunity to hand out Love Bundles. They lined up and waited their turn and were all smiles at the nice surprise.
These pictures are of the school these children attend. It is nothing more than a few sticks with a tin roof and banana leaf walls. They sat patiently until their name was called and then got to come forward and get their gift.
Before hand Troy and Rony talked. Troy asked Pastor Rony to tell the kids that these gifts were not from white people but from Jesus who loves them and cares for them very much. Pastor Rony did a nice job relaying that to the eager kids. Our favorite part was when Rony told them that these gifts are nice, but our Heavenly Father has already given them a much better gift: The chance of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.
Saturday, July 29
Troy kept his date with me this morning, and it was indeed a hot date. In more ways than one.
An interesting thing has happened with the people on the road who shout out "Blan blan blan." (Blanc is French, Blan is Creole and they both just mean white outsider to the people saying it.)
I think I told you that I tested out replying with, "Ayisyen." (Haitian) Now it has gotten to the point that once they call me Blan, they are very much wanting and even expecting me to respond with "Ayisyen." Then they laugh hysterically as if it was the first time I had ever said it. If I don't say it, then they will say it for me. So, we played that game again today on the run. Troy said "Just give the people what they want." ;-)
The one little bump in the road (other than the eight million REAL bumps in the road) was when two motorbike decided to mess with us. They basically purposefully drove in towards us even though there was all sorts of road on either side to go around us. It appeared that one guy was going to hit Troy on his bike and the other was trying to intimidate me. Troy stuck his arm out to protect himself and ended up brushing or hitting the guys shoulder.
So, he of course turns around to come back and argue over why Troy did that and why it happened and blah blah blah. When he stuck his arm out I was thinking "WHAT are you doing? This is not our country, PLEASE, just let them jerk us around."
And now, my chance to use the very weirdest idiom of all time. Troy bearded the lion in his own den by gosh. For real. That is something people say??? Oh, sure sure ... we have all said that thousands of times. Rolls right off the tounge. The next time he tries to beard the lion in his own den, I hope I am not there to witness it, I'd rather not experience that level of nervousness too often. He's kind of a "tough guy". That must be where Isaac gets it. Heh heh.
(Disclaimer-My blog today has little to do with Haiti. (Although Haiti puts me in introspective places quite often.) It is one of those- middle of the night can't sleep sort of posts from a week ago --just edited for today.)
Age has been a weird thing for me for many years. Having a baby when you're 17 skews things a bit and from that day forward you are busy playing with the numbers.
I am turning 34 this Sunday. Somewhere between 30 and now I got over not wanting to be older. Bring it on. The further I am from 24 the better. I have come to a place of understanding that age (if you are doing it right) means wisdom and growth. I cannot have enough of that.
I fully recognize that I don't know it all, far from it, but there is the certainty that I'm finally better able to accept that which I cannot change. I accept it much more readily than I could at 24 and even 29.
34 has brought stability. I am past chasing down contentment, instead I am finding it in the places that God plops me. I am finding it in unexpected places. I see that most of what I spazzed out about five years ago, was stupid - inconsequential, and totally beyond my control. 34 has brought me to a place where I can savor my children and each day. When I was 24 and single, I spent a bunch of time wishing the two I had were easier. Now, I want to freeze them all in time and never let these moments pass me by. How can I make Noah stay eternally two? It is going too fast.
I can get older, I just don't want them to.
My friends who are 45 know a lot. 55 makes you wicked smart ... from there it's all gravy.
I want to be old and wise. Wise people are calm, inviting and spiritually deep. They take it all in stride gracefully. They say things that make you stop and think. Today I'm older and a little tiny bit wiser and I'm glad for it.
My gifts ...
- A cute husband whom I can honestly say is the greatest friend I have ever had and with whom I am madly in-love and more than mildly impressed. His tenderness towards me amazes me. Plus, he is so good at loving our babes and makes fatherhood look easy. And he is cute. And romantic. Did I mention he is cute?
- A 16 year old that constantly knocks my socks off and makes me giggle daily.
- An 11 year old that blesses me with her wisdom and compassion & spiritual depth.
- A 4 year old that tells me at least once a week "Ma, you're gorgeous" (That's what good dads can teach their boys.)
- A quiet, thinking 4 year old that when she speaks almost always has something wonderful and sweet to say. The gifts of the 4 year olds is multiplied by the rich experience of adopting them, another gift all together!
- AND a hilarious two year old that reduces me to tears for GOOD reasons ten times more often than bad.
- How full is my life? My cup overflows.
- The other gifts are my incredible & silly family, to whom I have never felt closer to or more loved ... yet geographically I have never been further from them. Tina, I miss you and our hours on the phone more than you can possibly know.
- My friends. My oldest friend (who really loves idioms) who I met in fifth grade at Park Brook Elementary school, all the way to my newest friend(and now geographically closest)who I met on-line first and then in Haiti last September. The group of girlfriends that I met through adoption, along with my cousins who are also my friends. They are gifts. They are scattered all over the place, as far west as Washington and as far east as North Carolina. Geography cannot separate true friends. And of course...
- A Father in Heaven who knows where I am and where I've been and loves me anyway.
How is that for a list of Birthday gifts? Who needs PF Chang's for dinner, and silly birthday presents when you have the real gifts of life? . (Mom and Dad ... please don't misinterpret. I still want to go to PF Chang's when I come to MN in August.) ;-)My Prayer for the coming year is best found in this song...
Help Me Be New Sara Groves lyrics
Sara Groves Help Me Be New
God is doing a work in me ~He's walking through my rooms and halls~ Checking every corner~ Tearing down the unsafe walls ~And letting in the light~ I am working hard~To clean my house and set it straight ~To not let pride get in the way~ To catch an eternal vision of~ What I am to become~ Will you help me be new~ Will you hold me to the promises~ That I have made~ Will you let me be new ~Forgive my old self and my old mistakes~ It seems easier~ Living out my life in Christ~ For those who do not know me~ To hide the thorns stuck in my side ~And all my secret faults ~But you know me well ~And it's you I want the most to see~ And recognize the changes~ A word from you empowers me~ To press on for my goal~ When I feel condemned to live my old life ~Remind me I've been given a new life in Christ~Help me be new
Click Here for a link to Sara Groves albums and audio clips.
Friday, July 28
The second photo is Lisa, our guest this week. When our teams and guests come, it is important for us to remember that taking Haiti in is an emotional process. We are still new but once you see the poverty for weeks and months you are not quite as devastated by it as the first time you see it. I remember my mom was incredibly quiet on the ride to the airport when we brought them back to Port to leave at the end of their visit.
Each person handles it in their own personal way, it is one of those things that takes time to process. Sometimes flying out of Haiti is the most emotional of all ... just the realization that you are able to get on a plane and fly away - while 8 million others will never ever leave.
I need to get to bed at decent time, I have a hot date with my sweetie to run/bike in the morning. Mid-day Saturday we are delivering Love Bundles to kids in Petit Bwa.
Oh, and after my first computer addicts anonymous meeting in LaDigue last night, (where I was the only one in attendance) I realized that I am way past admitting I have a problem and am powerless over it (step one) ... and have moved all the way to step seven.
"7.) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." I still don't have a sponsor though. What gives?
We keep forgetting to let you know, the Minnesota phone number (the VOIP phone) that we had got sizzled in a power surge about a month ago.
So, that is why you just get voicemail when you call. We are gonna try and switch it for a new one in August, hoping to have our 763 phone number back by September 1. :)
Troy's mom, Karen, had a virus attack her ear and has total permanent hearing loss in her left ear. There are other scary symptoms that will pass as she heals but we just ask that you pray for her as she recovers and gets used to her new one-ear hearing situation. Thanks! Happy Friday.
Thursday, July 27
These are the people that visited us just for a few hours today. Dr. Mark and his wife Kathy. What a blessing that was, they were so neat. He is a dentist by training but then he added EMT and other medical training because he loves Haiti and wanted to do more. His wife is to the left as you look at the picture, she has a role in their work here and helps with accounting and record keeping and all the details. She was so cute. They were hip. To the left of her is a young woman who hopes to move here next August to run the orphanage that is associated with the medical clinic that Mark & Kathy run. They live in the states but travel here four times each year with medical teams. We are hoping that once Lifeline has its clinic in operation we can work together and help each other out. It is always encouraging to meet new friends.
Lisa (our one-woman team) got the tour of the village and then went over to another feeding center to check that out. She is working towards teaching English abroad so we are going to help her use her skills before she goes home. I don't have a photo of her yet. Coming soon... she is hip too. We're surrounded by hipness this week.
One lady that introduced herself to me today by email, asked about our adoptions and how we ended up here. Condensed version: I can share that we wanted to adopt from Columbia first. But God had other plans and Columbia told us to kiss off. We ended up in Haiti. Our kids came home to us in six months, a very fast adoption. After that there was a big nightmare scandal with our orphanage. That story could be told over and over by many who have adopted here ... but once our kids were home there was this seed planted ... a seed of love for the country and the people. We figured some day we would come back and do short term stuff or something like that. We had no idea God would work on us the way He did in 2005 but here we are. The Lord made about 20 major details and roadblocks fall into place in the span of 5 months. God does what He wants. Sometimes it is weird and makes no sense to our little earthly brains. I'm glad though. Because He seems to know what He's doing.
Blog Thoughts- I will keep it real here. Sometimes that means I am really up, other times it means discouragement. One of my biggest pet-peeves is fake Christians who always have everything looking all wrapped up and nice. I am just a jerk sinner that Jesus died for and forgives. Nothing more nothing less. I don't think of myself as a complainer (I was shocked to know someone did) but I did just have a hard month that included three cases of Dengue fever for three people in a span of 33 days. So maybe I took on a negative tone?
The fact is, I am here to be taught something (lots of things) by my Heavenly Father. As are the other members of my family. Our being here is as much (and maybe MORE) about God changing us as it is about us making any tiny dent of a difference to Haiti and her people. (Click here for previous thoughts on that.) Change me God. Let me be new. That is my prayer. Goodnight. ~Tara
written by Britt:
This is a sad little guy who came this morning. He is 7 and I've seen him before ... he is the little brother of the lady from a while back with the large machete cut on her arm. Troubles run in the family. He was up in the mountains with his dad when a rock fell and hit him. That was on Tuesday. The dad put a combination of dirt and toothpaste on it so that when I came to look, it was just a bunch of black, crusty lumps on his head. Can't put a bandaid on that! So I began to pick off the crustified junk. There was a lot of it. This is pretty common here, they use toothpaste to dry up scrapes & cuts and this one probably bled like crazy so maybe the dirt was to stop the bleeding.
Once I cleaned it all off, it looked like this. Wow. I so wish he would have been able to come two days ago and had it stitched. He also has a problem with his eye, if any opthamologists are headed down here -- let me know! He seems so sad, I hope that by lovin' on him this week when he comes for bandage changes that I can try to get him to smile and feel a little better.
Advice received & taken-
Troy & Tara,
A friend sent us your blog site. Excellent! WE have been in Haiti for 20 years. I am not too good at this blogging stuff because I have learned not to care too much what people think. My suggestion to you though, if you want to continue to blog your honest thoughts and feelings, realize that your site is going across cultural context lines. People who do not live here full time have no clue just as your Haitian friends have no clue what your life was like in the United States. If you want to be honest then let people vent but dont take it personal and don't justify or defend what you do, that's a dangerous and self damaging road to go down. Everyone has to make decisions based on many factors and its different for everyone. Hope we can meet you guys some time. Keep the faith and keep moving forward.
So, this guy has been her 20 years. He knows what he is talking about. I am new and wet behind the ears - I read his post and knew it was a word for me today. So I deleted the whole original post of defending saying No and defending what a mom does. Done defending. I need smart people like this to set me straight sometimes. Woot woot to you sir!
PS-I am entering a 12 step program for computer addicts down the road here in LaDigue. I am already past step 1 ... I have admitted I have a problem. We meet tonight, I'll let you know how it goes. Anyone want to be my sponsor?
Our guest, Lisa, arrived safely and is getting ready for Paige to give her the full tour. She is really nice and the kids are so excited to have a guest. It should be a fun week.
We are also anxious that a Doctor who is interested in our future medical clinic will be here later today to tour the mission and talk more about it.
Have a great Thursday.
Hugs and thanks for allowing & helping us be here ... and loving us where we are. :)
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wednesday, July 26
"You know I am just curious on what YOU do down there?" (she means me/Tara)
I agree with you, I have extra time on my hands. Especially now that it is summer and we have not had a team in a long time. I cannot really leave and go off property like Troy and Britt can, mainly because I am a mom to three kids under 5 plus one 11 year old who we homeschool.
So, yes, I have lots of access to computer time and without the normal USA distractions of running to swim lessons or Target or watching TV or talking on the telephone, it leaves me with computer time. BUT, here is what your comment has pointed out to me: I should not be on the computer so much. I need to cut back. My posts are usually very short in the morning, at naptime and after bedtime and are five minutes here and there but still, I think I should be on here less. Thanks for pointing that out.
I am sorry that it angers you (it must based on the personal attacks) that I am not doing what Troy and Britt do. Sometimes I get in on some ministry action, and that is so fun, but not usually. Even with stopping by the computer too often, I manage to cook (or something close to it) and clean and do laundry and take care of kids and run. But that is all I do.
Carrie went on to tell me that it is really irritating when I write about what I have to go without ... she said who cares if you have to go without a generator or soda.
I think she was referring to the tongue-in-cheek diet soda posts. I think she does not understand that this blog is filled with sarcasm and she thinks I really do find no diet pop to be a problem.
I am sorry that some people who read the blog don't know me and don't understand my sense of humor. She thinks I complained about the generator. From this post (click here) I have no idea where she gets the idea that I don't know how incredibly blessed I am. No idea.
For petes sake you have someone clean YOUR house,I mean come on that is a little much for a missionary.
I cannot name one missionary in Haiti that does not in some form, employ a domestic helper. It is a little concept called creating jobs. This country has a very high unemployment rate. The lady who comes to our house for an hour each day (five days a week) would be so sad to not have this work. She can have pride in earning her own money and the satisfaction of being self-sufficient.
You know why you don't feel you should have to give these people things, because you have everything even in a third world country, so quit your whining, you chose to live there deal with what the lord has givin you instead of always complaining.
Uh, I have no idea what she is talking about. I think she misunderstands us. As we posted last week, we give what we can as the Lord leads. We know we have everything. We are happy and excited to be here. Other than the struggles with illness I don't know why she thinks we are doing a bad job of dealing gracefully with living here.
Ok so I figure if you can vent,then I can vent also.Carrie
We have been watching all the turmoil in the middle east with concern & interest.
Haiti is experiencing a little turmoil of its own. It seems that the "gangs" that control some of the Port au Prince slums are angry and up in arms again. They have been making trouble and kidnapping Westerners and Haitians alike, solely to get ransom money and attention. We have been getting security briefings that are sent out to Westerners. Those have been helpful to let us know when protests are planned and sometimes what areas to avoid. We have always been vigilant and cautious, the only thing we have really changed is that we try to go to Port less frequently right now. The village life continues to be peaceful, calm and predictable.
Many times the media gives a false impression of the facts. Some of the stories we have read are true and others are very inflated. It is continuously up and down here. We pray for a permanent end to that. It is a small few making it miserable for many, they all deserve better. The country needs change. Pray for that with us.
It has always been our strong conviction that the best and very safest place to live, is inside of God's will. If God chooses to call any one of us home it could just as well happen on Highway 169 near our MN house as it could here. There is no drama in this statement, it's just that you either DO, or DO NOT believe that all things sift through God's hands. We do. Jesus commands our destiny.
Most of our team chose not to come today as planned, and we understand their decision. It is a personal decision afterall. Instead we have one 25 year old girl who still wanted to come down. She will be with us for a week.
The Frederick Douglass quote below holds true here ... it is accurate to say that justice is denied in Haiti.(The police force is corrupt.) In many ways poverty is enforced and ignorance prevails. Property is not safe, people could certainly be much safer in a better living enviroment.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." -Frederick Douglass
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt
Lisa, are quotes dorky? I like them too. Will you even be my friend anymore?
Photo Credits to a bad photographer.
This is a singing group that gets together to practice here. We love when they practice, we don't know if their voices, the accordian or the silly dancing is our favorite part. It's all good. The boy in the "1" jersey is sporting an 'Elk River Girls Fast Pitch' Jersey. A Kennedy from Paige's Kennedy store.
Tuesday, July 25
According to Blogger, this is the 500th post to be published since the inception of the Haiti WebLog. It seems like I ought to have something important to say. I don't though.
The lizard to the right caused a few seconds of joyful celebration for our boys. They failed to catch him. We had never seen one that green.
We were talking on the way to Port on Sunday, we realized it was one year ago this week that we went to our Pastor to tell him that we had been praying and had this strange feeling God was calling us to Haiti. He was the first one we told, just to check and see if he would tell us we were nuts. Then on the first of August we started talking to Lifeline. A lot has happened in one year -- and fast.
We have just consumed a gourmet meal of instant mashed potatoes and fried eggs. An odd combination? Sure, sure to some maybe. But you've got your carbs and your protein so it really only lacks vegetables.
We know, we know ... you WISH you were here.
The last several nights we watched Band of Brothers, the HBO mini-series from a year or two ago. People of our generation are so clueless about the reality of the sacrifices those men made. It was very good, if you haven't seen it is worth the rental fees.
Beth has now hooked us up with seasons 1 through 4 of Alias. I for one, am skeptical but entertainment is entertainment so we will give it a try. And since my friend Lisa informed me that it sounds horribly dorky that I am researching (and enjoying) idioms, I want to be careful not to become a huger geek.
She said idioms are not a hobby and I "need to get one", she even said: "You can't teach an old dork new tricks." I beg to differ. And in response I say "Lisa, we are at loggerheads over this one and having my best friend from the fifth grade turn on me -- well, it cuts to the core of me... I would even say things with us are as black as Newgate's knocker. ;-)
Is awake and out of bed and has been for like five hours! Woot to that. Every day should get progressively easier now. She needs to keep resting but we are happy to report marked improvement. THANK YOU for praying for her. She is being odd and doing voices and impressions from movies so I think she is BACK.
To quote her "Those tropical diseases kick you when you're down."
Not anymore they don't.
"God, who forsaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain." -C.S. Lewis
"Men go abroad to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering." ~St. Augustine~