Tuesday, September 30, 2008

kid vid

random kid vid from early sept.

Video Promised to the Grandparents

Delivering on the birthday interview - promised video. (two other takes are too long to upload with our upload speed)

I find myself wishing that my main focus was just on being the age I am and getting to the next year. I really think it would simplify things quite a bit.

"What are you doing this year Troy?"

"Well, I am working hard on 33. But only because I finished up 32 a while back."

The Neighbors

2:36 am - The neighbors start making noise.
4:00 am- We get a little sick and stinkin' tired of the neighbors and start thinking about chicken nuggets and various creative ways to destroy them and all of their friends and relatives.
5:00 am- The neighbors are making even MORE noise. Pillow over head won't drown them out.
6:00 am- Call city, lodge noise pollution complaint. Demand action. Threaten to withhold tax dollars. Contact representative with duplicate complaint.
9:00 am- Finally neighbors begin to quiet down. Assume the city must have taken action. Pump fist in air - bask in sweet victory.

Following morning ...
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Musical Beds - but without the music (not nearly as much fun as musical chairs)

One day we'll have this whole EDH/Inverter/Battery/Generator thing figured out. Right now, we are not even close. (Prior to this EDH was a non-factor - so we are relearning as big-city dwellers). The EDH pooped out early yesterday, so being the wise ones that we are we ran the generator right up until the time the neighbors get mad. We shut it down at 9pm on the dot. We figured we would make it till EDH came on -- and even if EDH did not come on we should have been able to make it until 4 or 5 am.

At about 11:15, Troy and I were finishing up chatting with Jamie and Aaron Ivey and Luke Renner - just before shutting everything down to head to bed, the house went pitch black. The collective groan could be heard around the house. Paige came out and said, "What? It is not even midnight yet!"

The neighbors would absolutely pop a clog if we started the generator at midnight. So we hoped for the best and thought maybe we would just have to wait 45 minutes and EDH would save us from the babies and the bugs. Troy jumped in the baptismal. Paige and I stood and talked to him. At midnight nothing happened. We all started staking out our alternate sleeping locations.

I decided to try to sleep in the back seat of the truck. (No bugs there!) Paige went and got a blanket to sleep on the driveway. I found that an odd choice, but that is where she decided to set up camp. Troy headed up to our 104 degree room.

At 2:30 I woke up in the truck drenched in sweat to see Paige asleep in the driveway with a candle next to her (drawing bugs?). I came upstairs and found Troy and Lydie out on the patio under a mosquito net. Troy woke up and went to our bed. I laid near Lydie but the bugs were eating me alive.

At 3:00 Lydie woke up again. We laid on the patio hugging and talking for about an hour and a half. The Roosters were crowing and Lydie was mimicking the pattern by saying, "ha ha ha ha haaaa" (she is not even one yet, maybe by then she will be able to do the full cock-a-doodle-do). At first I did not know she was trying to mimick them, when I realized what she was doing I started laughing so hard.

At 4:15 Lydie went back to sleep under the net and I went in to check everyone else out. Isaac had come to bed with Troy at some point. Paige was still in the driveway. Phoebe and Hope remained in their original spots. Noah was missing. I found a flashlight to start searching for him. I looked everywhere upstairs (where three out of four bedrooms are located.) I was just starting to panic and wondering if I needed to check the stinking swimming pool. (You know that sick feeling you get when the search does not turn up the result fast enough.) It took me a long time to find him downstairs curled up in Paige's bed.

I went back to the patio to be near Lydie. I think I slept for six minutes.

At 5am I carried Isaac back to his bed, brought Lydie in from the patio, tried to talk Paige into moving into the house, and begged Troy to tick off the neighbors and go start the generator. (Choice A - tick off neighbors - Choice B - tick off wife) He went to start it.

From 5am to 7am I think we all sort of slept. Yee-haw.

This morning Noah woke up and said, "I tried to find you guys all night. You were not in your bed, you were not downstairs. My fan was not wuh-king and I was vewy wuh-weed!"

As near as we can tell he was looking for us when I was in the truck and Troy was on the patio. When Paige finally got up today, she said Noah had laid with her for awhile on the driveway but got tired of the bugs and left.

We're all covered in a fresh set of bites and tonight we will be shutting every computer, light, toy, toaster, and washing machine off much earlier to try to get our fans to take us a lot further into the night. Being on line too late did us in last night. (We blame you Aaron Ivey.) ;)

Tonight we hope to delay the game of musical beds until at least 3am. This too shall become normal. :(

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Full Circle

Two years ago - Sept 2006 I said this (excerpt below)

Tonight we were reading a couple of blogs written by young, visionary Pastors. One of the posts we read struck a chord with us. He was talking about a few things ... but this paragraph below is what jumped out at us:

There are divided agendas/visions because we won't submit to or honor Biblical leadership. There's division because we compete instead of cooperate for the sake of the Kingdom. There's division because we don't look after each other a
nd just busy ourselves in our own little kingdoms, (contrary to Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.") Not to mention how this type of 'living' ignores Jesus' prayer for His people. (John 17)

So this got us thinking. About a lot of things. We were somewhat surprised to learn that the 'competing thing' applies not just to churches and ministries in America, but to ministries abroad as well.

There is a place for competition, like on a football field.

Everybody (ok, not everybody -- but the majority) is focused on making sure the next dollar is going to come in to keep the ministry floating... so this competition thing gets going. It is almost as if we have forgotten that we are all (at least in theory) trying to do the same thing. It is also as if we don't really believe that God will provide for us.

Then about six weeks ago I said this- (excerpt below)

One of the really maddening things for us these last couple of years is the realization that many ministries are not networking and helping one another ... there is some sort of competition to be the best, the biggest, the lone ranger. There is a real , "I'm kind of a big deal" feel to a lot of it.

Apart from God - none of us are a big deal.

We have always enjoyed seeing what other people are doing and introducing their work. We don't believe that telling you about countless other projects and good ministries will cut into our own bottom line. God is bigger than that. He operates above the bottom line. We've seen that with our own eyes.

Our vision is to bring people together and work in cooperation (hear the kumbaya in the background?) with many ministries.

Why would we not want to help someone out if our talents, time and resources allow it? We all have a common goal.

Yes, we are different and we serve varying needs, and use multiple approaches - and yes, we all have our opinions about what approach is best -- but ultimately the goal is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone we meet.

We should help each other at every turn.The trouble starts when ministries begin to build their own kingdoms, not focusing on the people they are here to serve but rather the people they can impress in the USA or the numbers and fund raising opportunities. At that point ministry becomes business and it is a competition to have the nicest place and claim the biggest numbers.

Jesus (a rather cool guy - and TRULY a big deal) stopped to help the ONE in a crowd of many. He was never impressed by numbers or showiness. Every ministry focusing on one or one thousand people can benefit from supporting other people in ministry and trying to set aside the differences and just help each other.

We have some plans and partnerships in the works to tangibly bring this idea of working together for the common good to reality. It will take time and effort and prayers. But we believe that we would all be better examples of Christ if we worked together rather than competing against one another. That is easier said than done. We're human. We're fallen. We tend to be kind of sucky. Setting aside our suckiness, our
pride ... who knows, we might just show people who Jesus is!?!?!!!

Tonight, fully two years after my first frustrated post about this topic, I am thrilled that the plans and partnerships are beginning to unfold.

It is early - but a networking group created exclusively for humanitarian support personnel presently serving in Haiti, either in part-time or full-time capacity has launched. The goal is to reach out to one another, to work together and to set aside pride, judgment, denomination, things that divide - etc, etc and just SUPPORT each other.

The effort is called "HANDS Across Haiti" (Humanitarian Alliance and Network Development Strategy). Our friend Luke shared his thoughts on it when we first met him in August of 2007 and we've been behind the idea since the first time we heard about it. The networking site is the beginning of what could become a big thing ... God willing.

There is no reason for us (well, other than human nature, ego and pride - but those are small things) not to connect and work together. There are tons of folks who have been in Haiti for many years that have great wisdom to share with the younger crop - (and I for one want to hear from them) - there are people with unused resources that could be put to use -- there are ways in which we can encourage each other just by saying "Hey - I hear you -- that is a tough situation and I GET IT! I got your back, I'll pray." We are excited about this new endeavor and are anxious to see what God might do with us when we gather in His name.

hanging in the baptismal

Lydie prefers nude swimming.
Ike and Tipap

Friday, September 26, 2008

Party night photos and observations

Paige and her good friend V.
Happy Birthday Beth!
John the horrible idea planter on the death-machine and Ted, Troy, and Dan.
Troy and two of his many ladies. (Phoebe and Annie)
We are so blessed to be surrounded by some really cool friends. They make living here feel kind of "normal" -- not that *they* are normal - (I would never say that) or that Haiti is normal -- just having friends and hanging out on a Friday night is SO normal! We missed out on this kind of community when we lived out in the village; being in town has its benefits.

I only make one meal when I have company. Tacos, always tacos. We splurged on ice cream and Troy commented that setting the ice cream out was like watching vultures come in for their prey. You see, most of us make choices to cut out a lot of the most expensive groceries. One gallon of "Shur Fine" Ice Cream is $11.15 and is a true treat. We love our friends (the vultures) and we were thinking they were well worth the $11. Ice cream is rare enough that the kids are all arguing and positioning themselves to be sure to get what is left in the next day or two. I expect to find Isaac sitting in the kitchen having it for breakfast tomorrow morning - unless Paige eats it at 2am.

I think because this is "the third world" it is assumed that things are cheaper here. When people write me to ask about what to budget for if they move here -- I tell them to plan to spend twice what they spend in the USA. It is insane what things cost here, but when you factor in all it takes to get the food here it is no wonder the price doubles (and then some) along the way. It is fine though, because $11 run-of-the-mill generic ice cream in Haiti - tastes 40 times better than Haagen-dazs does anywhere else in the entire universe.

Tomorrow we are so excited that we finally have a day to be together at home. No running to do. We plan to play in the baptismal with the kids for hours on end. Because it is wrong for people doing missions work to have a pool or to have any fun leisure time - our pool is not a pool - it is a baptismal. Just so we are all clear on that.

Maps are Hilarious

I need to hit the road. Beth and I are running Delmas 33 hills today. I would never choose that route if it were not for the hardcore trainer (Beth) that I have. The kids only have a half day of school today and we're having a birthday party for Beth tonight. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Big Day

Yesterday was a big day for a few of our very best friends. We're super excited for them and wishing we could squeeze them for just a quick minute ... Because that is not possible, we're doing the next best thing --- which is telling anyone who will listen - all about them.
These two had a baby boy - and we are the proud godparents :) ... Congratulations Lisa and Declan - WELCOME baby Grady!
(Lisa and I have been friends since 5th grade - 26 years!)
These three were reunited after a long seperation while Jamie served as an ER Doc with the Air Force. (Troy and Jamie have been friends for almost 20 years.) Welcome home Jamie!
A little less important but still exciting
These two got Internet ...

Today we're off to update photos and information on all the kids in the Maranatha Children's Home. Have a great day.

More TIH

  • 30 days after promised date of Internet installation - the installation took place. Now you won't be able to constantly read our whiny and highly dramatic complaints. I know you'll really miss that.

  • EDH is on at least 15 hours a day right now. Nice. Very nice.

  • The Haitian medical system continues to confuse, baffle, and totally slay us. It is no wonder that most people never know what is wrong with them. Even with our persistence we don't really get yet what the deal is with Pierre. He does not have TB, we know that much. Right now we are needing to get fas-a-fas avek Dokte to figure out what happens next. Sadly, doctors sort of disappear for hours and days on end leaving patients to languish without answers and without another source to gather information about their own stinkin' health. It totally bugs.

  • At the Women's program I've learned that often women have no idea why they had to have a c-section. Their Doctors don't tell them and they don't have enough power to realize it is a question they are allowed to ask and deserve to have answered.

  • We had dinner with Kathy Kangas tonight. The ministry she and her husband operate carries donations down to bless ministries on the ground here. They are headed to Three Angels Orphanage this trip. It was a fun night out. Her daughter and Hope and Isaac are all adopted from the same Orphanage.

  • On the route to school we pass a long cement wall with 100's of paintings. We have seen lots of Haitian art and this happens to be some of the least attractive art on the market. Yes, yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... but in this case the beholder recognizes they are looking at total crud art. Isaac, always one to be positive says - "Oooooh, these paintings are SO SO BEAUTIFUL ..." as we pass by the one horribly nasty naked lady one he says, "Ooooh that one! I don't wanna think about that one." If you need disproportionate naked lady paintings let us know. We can point you in the right direction.

  • Today on the way home from Kindergarten I muttered "No one knows how to drive in this country." Hope informed me with enthusiasm "Mom, this is an island - I don't know why you keep calling it a country!??!"

  • We have found four possible options for Hope after Kindergarten if we cannot get to her. This officially puts the motorcyle argument to rest. We can make-do with one vehicle. Thank you Clay - White - Hersey - and Gray families!

  • Jeronne likes going to literacy class. She gets all gussied up and heads out early, she is not the typical Haiti-late -- she must be one of the first ones there most days.

  • We got some rain last night, but none tonight. That storm looks like it is going North.

  • Our weird, deep, spooky swimming pool rocks. The kids are way less insane with that here to help burn some spunk out of them. Lydia LOVES water. She has since day one. It does not matter how cold the water is, she just wants to be wet. It is so much easier to get my housework done when she is out of my hair and outside in the pool.

;) (Yes I was standing right there in the water. No hate mail.)

  • The other night we were out in search of Internet - it was after dark, Troy was driving. Right at that round-about at the airport there were cones that forced you off the round about and into the airport. Once in you did a U turn to talk to the cops. They waved a few on then we were the only ones there for a moment. The cop aske for papers and a license. Troy handed him the license and I had the papers ready. The cop asked Troy what he had for him. Troy said, "I don't know - what do you need?" The cop said he was a little hungry. Troy told him he was out of luck, we did not have food. The cop put his hand inside the car and said "I remember you - you are the guy who just made jokes last time and had nothing for me then. We could buy some food if we had a little money." The cop never looked at the papers. Troy gave him some money and we were on our way again. I was up in arms, Troy just shrugged and said, "that is the way it is." Three observations- 1. Troy's tactic of joking with cops to get around paying bribes only works ONCE with each cop. 2. Giving cops money just because you don't want to find out what happens if you don't - is really lame. 3. This takes place more at night because with almost no power/light it can happen without anyone seeing it happen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

rain rain go away

This is a giant system without a name (as far as I know). We need rain like the desert needs sand - for those not paying attention ... trying to say, no rain needed right now. Sigh.

We hosted four hip Texans last night. For those following Jamie I's blog, she and her crew are en route to Cazale right now. Troy ran them around today and enjoyed getting to know some guys from Jamie's church in Austin. We hope they'll be an encouragement to the two L's out in Cazale.

Women's Program went really well. It was a full house, everyone learned how to prevent UTIs from happening.

I need to get walking toward home now - today was the day internet was supposed to have been installed at our house - hahahaaaaahahahahahahhahahaaaa. Funny stuff.

Tuesday Update

Above Music Video Produced by the Renner Family - Our girls, Hope and Phoebe were born in Cite Soleil - their family has since left there and are living in a safer area. Those who live and minister in this area can always use your prayers!

-The baby I wrote about in the previous post is doing better.

-Pierre may have TB and we are working on finding some things out before we can move forward with his surgery.

-Lydie is sick, we're watching her and hoping it is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill virus.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heartline Women's Program

Pierre has been in the hospital this weekend. He will have surgery to remove the growth on his leg. It needs to be removed in order to be fitted for his prosthetic leg. We visited with him briefly today and brought some food (no food in most hospitals here) and he seems in good spirits. We think surgery will be Tuesday, but as you know ... TIH.

Troy and I are enjoying learning our roles with the two ministries we are partnering with. We have been busy but excited about the important and fufilling work we're blessed to be a part of  at Heartline Ministries.

On Tuesdays the mothers who have already had their babies come in and on Thursdays there is a class for those ladies who have not yet delivered. Beth (and others) teach on many topics including labor and delivery, breastfeeding, family planning, STD's, nutrition, public health issues, parenting, anemia, child development ... and other important topics that deeply affect those residing in the developing world.
I have been learning how the program works and have been amazed each week at the heaviness I feel as I talk to these ladies and get a chance to hear a little of their stories. It is an intense ministry doing work on a grass roots level that meets a huge need in this society.
On Tuesday the lady above brought in her one day old baby. I was amazed that she got on a tap tap and walked in order to come to the program just 24 hours after giving birth. Her baby was not doing very well. After listening to her and looking her over Beth suggested to the Mom that she get her baby girl to a clinic right away. There were a few things that stuck out to us as we looked at her, but my medical lingo won't do it justice - so I won't attempt to explain. We're all anxious for Tuesday to see the Mom again and try to find out if her baby is doing okay.
I am always struck by the precarious balance in these ladies' lives. They teeter on the edge most of the time. It seems they are one mishap, one illness, or rain storm away from disaster. As we pray for each of them we meet with individually I often find myself on the verge of a meltdown.
To enter in to lives that are this different from my own is so humbling. Whether or not we can solve their every problem, it is always an opportunity to show love, be loving, and offer warmth and caring to them. At times there is the overwhelming sense of "I cannot even begin to address or understand this woman's problems" - and then the tendency to pull away emotinally because of feeling inadequate or unable to help. When you believe that because you cannot understand someones hardship you should not enter in - you're buying a lie that sells you short and keeps you from the blessing that love brings.
"Love is still a worthy cause."
-Sara Groves

Friday, September 19, 2008

Morning Run

I have always admired Beth McHoul's willingness to run in this crazy city. Now that we live close I am able to run with her a couple times a week and it is such a great way to start a day. I love Beth! I love running! Along the route we encounter thousands of people who find us strange and stare at us. The run is more like a zig-zag dance as we go up the curb down the curb around the garbage past the merchants through the intersections and heavy traffic. We must be constantly aware of our surroundings. It can be challenging at times just planning where to land your next step.

We manage to hold conversations in spite of all that stimulus. Sometimes we might start to say something and then need to hold our thought for 30 seconds or so while we avert an accident or try not to trip over trash or rocks ... but we're fairly skilled at this odd way of communicating in short bursts. :)

This morning we did about 6 miles. The two highlights today were
1. Being called "Masisi" (gay) by someone across the street - HA. Apparently two women running together has more meaning than we previously understood.
2. Having a UN Cop get on his loudspeaker and say "Keep it up ladies" in a Darth Vador type voice. We loved that!

Running is a mental and physical challenge - but it is one that leaves me feeling more prepared to be a mom, a wife, and a "missionary" and I am thankful for the two legs and the ability God gave me ... I hope when I am 53 like my friend Beth that I am still putting on the miles - wherever I might be then. ~tara

The Under Two Crew

I feel the need to document this crazy time of life with three little ladies under one roof. They feel the need to makes sure I never document a single moment of three smiling/happy girls. I have tried and tried - to no avail. Here are four attempts from yesterday. They play together well for brief periods, then they all want the same dangerous toy (such as the plastic bag in Phoebe's hand or maybe a pencil or similarily sharp item) and that ends the fun. Fighting over pencils never turns out well.

Noah takes on a BIG brother role during the day when he is the oldest in the house. He is a great helper.
Mr. Seven

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birthday Today

Mr. Seven
Isaac continues to age well. He turned Seven at midnight. We’ll party with him after school today. Pizza and Cake are on the menu. Gifts procured in Michigan will be handed out. Jealousy of siblings will abound. We will do our annual birthday interview and let you know what he has to say about the coming year. Photos to come. We talked this morning about the one birthday of his that we missed. He said, "Yeah I remember that." We asked him what he remembered and he said, "Uh. Uh. Hhmmmm. Nothing really." We're SO SO SO thankful that God saw fit to place this joyful and wonderful little boy in our family. We're the lucky ones!

Pierre Update
Troy has Pierre at Healing Hands today. We need to bring him back at a certain time to have someone else read the X-ray we had done. Hopefully it is not something serious. They were supposed to be able to make his mold. Now we’re hearing they still don’t have the materials for making his mold. This would not be quite so frustrating if the poor one-legged guy did not just come from a mountain top and travel over three hours to get into town. Haiti requires three P’s

Being Real
In my former role I would get into a lot of trouble for using the word “crap” when I wrote on my blog. Some found it to be highly crude and offensive that I did not constantly blow sunshine and rainbows at the readers. They wanted only happy happy joy joy to be reported. They preferred we not say that Haiti can be frustrating, that things get stolen, that we feel SO unequal to the work a lot of the time. We're bad at faking ... so that did not work out so well for us.
Well … I laughed at the way things have changed when John McHoul introduced me to the Heartline Board Treasurer by saying, “This is Tara – she is the one who says crap all the time.” Some people desire fake and perfect – others prefer to know the truth and keep things real. I think we’re in the right spot!

Morale is a bit low due to:
72+ hours without EDH … equaling no power at 3am and no sleep for anyone. Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Well, we say “Fatigue makes crabby jerks of us all.” There is no calling to complain, no asking a service man to come out – this is just the way it is. We learned from others in the neighborhood that it has not been out for this long in five months. Bug. (Hi Marcia!)
  • The Internet is not coming. No promise of it coming. We paid for installation five days before we ever moved to town. That would be about 30 days ago. Installation was to take place in late August. How stupid are we to think that a promise made is a promise kept? Stupid. Very stupid. Double Bug.
  • The rain. Every night the rain. And then the whole cause and effect thing … rain causes Mosquitoes. Bug - literally.
  • Schedule

    In spite of the lower morale we’re starting to have a real pattern and schedule to our days. A typical weekday looks like this:

    Put feet on floor, wake up three school kids get them going on breakfast and getting dressed/ready.
    All three babies wake up. Attempt to appear terribly busy with older kids in order to escape at least one or two poopy diapers.
    Depart for school (Troy does the morning run to school then heads to the office or to do whatever needs to be done that day.)
    Run with Beth or run on treadmill or sit on couch and think about running
    8:30 Sleepy Noah wakes up and begins his daily whine about "missing his daddy"
    Start laundry (if there is EDH) Fold laundry and move laundry
    Take the four non-school kids and play with them so Jeronne can get some cleaning done w/out worrying about any of them
    lunch and three baby girls go down for nap - Engage Noah in some productive activity
    Noon On Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon Jeronne escapes the house for school while I take kids and Tuesday and Thursday afternoon I (Tara) escapes the house for Women’s Program at Heartline ~ It is good to escape – for both of us. (Troy is gone doing his thing most of the time.)

    By 3:30 Jeronne/Tara comes back home and whoever is picking up the school kids heads to get the school kids.
    School kids get home – we do homework and start making dinner
    Clean up and baths for everyone - Read a book or watch a DVD
    Lights out for all children 7 and under (6 of 7 accounted for and down for the count in one fell swoop) 7:46 - Party and celebrate the quiet. Speak to one another and HEAR one another.
    9:00 -Troy, Tara, Paige, Jeronne and Tipap all go to bed too

    We're very blessed to have your support and love. Please know that even when we get into a bit of a "Debbie Downer" rut -- we still feel so loved and cared for. We appreciate the way you encourage us with your time, words, friendship and by just reading about life here.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    The Garbage Truck

    We were not sure what to expect when we moved into town. Some of what has changed has been easier, and some more difficult. In the past we burned all our own garbage (very green of us - I know) and we had a large pit to do the burning in. We learned that at our new house the Garbage man would come once a week and at the end of the month he would want $100 Haitian dollars (what amounts to about $12 or $13 U.S.) for the month. We were surprised when he showed up the first time. He comes on foot, with only a wheelbarrow and his work ethic. He walks the garbage about two miles away and returns to do the next house. Amazing, isn't it?
    Troy and Paige doing Math homework.
    It rains so hard Noah wears a life-jacket to play in the rain.
    Lydie B, Annie G, and Phoebe Joy last night ...

    Jeronne did well in her first class, Sheila snapped this photo of her when she stood to answer a question.

    We lost power in the night. When that happens there are instantly two children awake (Noah and Lydie) and within a half hour the whole house wakes. Our sleep is very dependent upon the fans. The fans also help keep mosquitoes off of us (at least a little). It was 3:55 and we laid debating if we should tick off the neighbors and start the generator or deal with a house full of awake kids. Noah and Lydie woke up instantly as expected. We decided to tick off the neighbors and start the generator. We're hoping to find a way to get along with them on this issue but they think our generator is too loud and we should not run it after 7pm. We think we paid a lot for a generator and the point is to use it when you need it. We'll need to figure out a compromise if they stay annoyed with us.

    Today Troy is off doing adoption paperwork for Heartline and we have womens program at noon. Tonight Lori and Charles (from Real Hope for Haiti) --- (as opposed to the FAKE Hope for Haiti option) ;) get in and we'll pick them up and try to get them to Cazale in the morning.

    Tess (super nanny of yesterday) asked about our pool. It is a very TIH pool. You literally cannot sit poolside - they put a fence around it so close that a chair won't fit. It is in the front of the house and is covered by an awning. It is odd looking and incredibly deep ... but it holds water and cools off hot children.

    Thanks to all the voters in the poll ... your voice has been heard. :)

    Gotta go - no time for proof reading or spell check. Have a great Tuesday!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Pierre Eugene of Petit Bwa, Haiti

    We met Pierre on August 17th. Our home church from MN was visiting and we stopped by his home. As is often the case in Haiti, we got the wrong story the first day we met.

    After spending last Thursday with Pierre we now think we have a little better handle on the story. It is important to remain open to an evolving story, culturally we are on the outside and may not get the whole picture for a time. We do know that God placed Pierre on our hearts so we’re moving forward to see what we can do and why that is the case.

    Pierre is 24 years old. He is 1 of 9 children in his family. He is the seventh born child. His family had four boys and five girls. He is a very soft spoken and mellow young man. His brother in law attends the appointments and is helping navigate things for Pierre.

    In July of 2007 Pierre was in Arcahaie, Haiti – a larger town almost half way between Port au Prince and St. Marc – when a Tap-Tap (the public transportation system) backed up and crushed his left leg. Pierre had a lot of pain and swelling but was able to walk on it. He did not think it was bad enough to see a Doctor and he went about life and dealt with the pain. The pain lessened and he even says that he did not have trouble with it at all for a time. In January of 2008 the pain became very bad. By April of 2008 Pierre could not bear weight on the leg therefore he quit walking at that point. His family took him to Hinche to a hospital there. That hospital referred him to the Partners in Health facility in Cange. They sent him back to Hinche where by May ‘08 a Doctor determined the leg should be amputated. The reason given was “cancer”. The leg was amputated and Pierre spent 13 days in the hospital healing. He said the pain was incredible after the surgery.

    He has been using crutches and is very good at getting around on them. His home is on top of a mountain. He gets up and down the mountain on a donkey.

    On Thursday we took him to Healing Hands for Haiti. This ministry specializes in rehabilitation, physical therapy, and prosthetics. We were so happy to run into a guy working in the rehab room who had a full prosthetic leg. He took time to talk to Pierre about it and said that his leg was fairly new but he was happy with his own progress. The visiting Doc from Utah at Healing Hands last week had a concern about a calcium deposit at the site of the amputation and sent us for X-Rays. We will return the x Rays on Thursday. We’re hoping that the x ray shows that it is nothing serious. They will take measurements and a mold to fit Pierre with a new leg.
    We’ll keep you updated as we move through the process with
    Pierre at Healing Hands.

    Weekend Report written Sunday Night

    After the fun Saturday at school we came home and started working on the pool. Thank you to Rusty and Cheryl from the Bercy Orphanage for bringing down the pump and parts we needed to start getting things figured out. We really hope this will help our boys (and girls) burn some energy. We’ve missed our wide open spaces but this might be our ticket to using excess spazziness up in a healthy and fun way. We’ve never been pool people so we have no stinkin idea what we’re doing … but as long as we avoid chemical burns we figure it can be called a success. Hopefully by a week from now the pool will be open for business. Paige and Isaac and Noah insisted upon jumping in today sans chemical treatment – here are a few photos of the inaugural swim.

    We had the pleasure of meeting two cool ladies headed to Les Cayes. We picked them up from the big airport, brought them to church, had lunch, then deposited them for their flight south to Les Cayes. They work with a ministry called HUT Outreach. They were headed down to check out storm damage. I neglected to mention that the south portion of the island has also suffered damage and loss. Heidi and Amy are pictured below. It was fun meeting them! We kidded them that we would put up some super holy sounding report about our time together … try to out-missionary other missionary bloggers … but we just cannot make ourselves do it. We're bad at missionary language.

    This afternoon we (by we I mean I) painted the area where snotty nosed kids rub their hands on the walls and make them look horrid on their way upstairs. It looks super funky and we like it.

    Jeronne is nervous for literacy class and says that she “hopes God will help her” because she has “a hard head”. We assured her that her head is no harder than the rest of us. She will attend class M – W – F for two hours for the next three months. We’re anxious for her to have some confidence and we know that reading and writing are the first step. (As I am posting this she is down in her first class now!)

    Isaac and Annie’s birth family is going through a tough time and called for help. If you have been reading for long you will recall that we adopted from Haiti to avoid being involved with a birth family. Isn’t God hilarious? We have been convicted otherwise on this issue and personally believe that if we have the ability to help them, we should. We’ve been blessed to know them – in spite of some difficult things it has turned out to be a very good thing for Isaac, for us, and for them. For those of you adopting, we strongly urge you to consider meeting your birth family – and if you are uncomfortable with that please be gracious and allow them photos of their children. Sorry to editorialize about this fairly “personal” decision - but I have seen so much hurt - and feel strongly that a birth-mother deserves to know what her child looks like and be assured they are well! I know if we all put ourselves in their shoes we might find more compassion for their difficult lives and the very hard decisions they had to make.

    John McHoul is a bad influence and is rallying his people to vote yes on the motorcycle. When I got to church late today I leaned over and told him that I was sorry to be late but I had killed a motorcycle driver on the way to church. That is a sick kind of funny, but it made John snort – so I guess he likes that kind of funny. Say “No!” to young fathers and motorcycles – right!?!?!? Yes, thank you. To get serious for a moment -- I fear losing my husband. I love him. I want him around. I like NOT raising kids alone. I fear motorcycles. I do not want him to ever ride one as a regular form of transportation -- especially not here and especially not now. :(

    We don’t want to get all big headed and cocky – but let us just go out on a limb and say that THIS is the week we will get Internet.More when the Internet guy shows up! Have a great week.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    A friend of ours is trying to get his huge vision off the ground. He shares his vision better than I ever could so please go to his sites. The short version is that he is planning a media school in Haiti -- he is a talented story teller and a media wizard and he wants to help in Haiti. He filmed some of this trailer in our area and if you look closely you'll see a flash of Tipap B. and Hope Livesay too! His name is Luke Renner and you can check him out in two places:


    Random & Unrelated

    Once again, pressed for time ... so will keep it short.

    We want to thank you for asking about Gonaives and Cazale and Cabaret. We hope you'll continue to lift these people up in prayer as they have very little to start with and now need to rebuild their lives. We hope the next group of storms cut a wide path around Haiti.

    We went to a barbeque /family day at the kids' school today; it was a lot of fun. I laughed when Hope handed me the information and said, "I think there will be wine there too!" I have no idea where she got that. It was a morning event and I guess whoever told Hope there would be wine was misinformed. :) When Isaac came home he said, "Mom! Dad! There is Barbancourt at school tomorrow!" (He meant barbeque.) Those of you who have been here know that Barbancourt is the name of both the nationally produced Rum and then the name of a few villages. We found it odd that both our six year olds seem to be focused on alcohol. What is that???? Must be Troy's influence.

    Troy wants to solve the dilemma we are in with Hope/Kindergarten and work/ministry and trouble being two places at once with one vehicle by buying a motorcycle of some variety. I happened to be named after an uncle (Terry) that died on one -- so I am against this idea. I am taking a poll. Should a father of 7 (plus a little Annie girl for now) be risking an accident on a motorcycle? Answer the poll on the left side of the blog. The poll will close if it looks like it is not going my way. ;)

    (ACK. I spelled it wrong on my poll. :( It won't let me edit it because someone voted already.)

    Britt and Chris are entering week four of this semester at Baylor and are securing employment and seem to be doing great. We all had a "we miss Britt" day today so we were excited to see this photo. I have never thought of being in Haiti as a "sacrifice". I struggle with that whole concept because I don't think it is at all -- if you want to be where you feel God has called you, I don't think it can be considered a sacrifice --- but I digress. I do think there are costs ... and one cost is missing out on some normal college stuff with our oldest. We wish we could be there and be involved - sometimes it hurts to know we're missing big things in her life. The people in our family count that cost as they miss us too. We really need internet so we can instant message and reconnect with her and the rest of the fam soon.

    It has been mighty toasty this week. (News flash) I know I sound like a broken record. SORRY! I just gotta gripe once in a while, you know!??! This was shirt one of Thursday -- about an hour into my day. Blech. As soon as a sweat outline of your undergarments is in fashion --- I will be SO set.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Road Trip Report ...

    I am currently sitting outside of Healing Hands for Haiti stealing someones unsecured wireless ... yay for that!

    Yesterday was an adventure. There was some mud, some getting stuck, (see Troy - 40 minutes in mud ...two tries at towing ... and we were on our way again) some climbing steep hills ... but all of that is nothing compared to what Licia and her neighbors are doing.

    The village went under water, everyone has wrecked stuff. I am putting up some photos we took.

    Where I am standing in the last photo is where the road drops off and you need to walk up the hill and back down to get to the next piece of road (you can see where the road restarts behind me.) The road is gone in three places from Cabaret to Cazale.

    In the first spot they have found a new way around, but in this spot (in the photo)that is about 1.25 mile from Cazale it will be very difficult to repair it. Based on the situation here, we're certain it will be a long time before it can be fixed. We felt overwhelmed as we considered the separation the Zacharys (Betor/Moise) will face - to get supplies and get home is now a very difficult thing for them.

    Please consider adding the entire Zachary Family to your daily prayer list. Licia reports that Lori and her husband Charles will return to Haiti next week. They have lost all of their belongings and will need to help their neighbors face loss too. THANK YOU to those of you who contacted Jamie and/or donated. At this very moment it is honestly so overwhelming for Licia that they are trying to determine WHICH needs to tackle first. The water was a big one and they have filters now so they can filter the dirty water and make it safe to drink. The water was so powerful it destroyed roads, moved vehicles and bridges and entire homes.

    Someone asked me to post a video. I don't have the internet connection to allow upload of video. I apologize.

    Pierre (the man we met about three weeks ago in Petit Bwa who lost a leg in July)is inside Healing Hands with Troy having his first consult appointment. We are so excited for him! It will be a long process but when we showed him another man with a prosthetic leg he grinned and said "pi bon" - which means "that is better"!

    We dropped Jeronne and Tipap in LaDigue this morning to visit their families. We will drive back out to LaDigue tonight to get Pierre on his way home and then pick him up again next week to be measured and have the plaster made for his new leg. It could take quite a long time for everything to happen, but it feels great to have at least started the process. We will share his entire story (how he lost his leg, the prognosis, etc.) later this week.

    Thanks for checking in and for responding to the need in Cazale!