Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BE GONE 2008!!!


I won't go into boring long drawn out details about the ailments, the who and the what, or any of the current drama - I will just humbly ask for prayers for our family to be healthy and ready to travel to the wedding of our oldest daughter by "go time" later this week. We need a miraculous healing to come over the home. Like soon. Four are currently not well.

Today Troy and I were driving home from a lab appointment with Lydie and we were both tired and emotional and started reviewing the year. Between kids, houses, Haiti, deadly illness, letting go, changing missions, letting go some more ... we realized there is a reason we're looking forward to a NEW year. Let it be known that 2008 will not be missed by either Troy or Tara. We say good riddance to bad rubbish. It was a year of change, challenge, and letting go. I would not care to live it over again.

2009 will kick the backside of 2008. Mark my word.

We are super busy the next few days and then we jet off to give away the bride. To close out this year we would like to ask each of you to describe YOUR 2008 in five words or less.

Our short description is - "Change, challenge, letting go." So we did it in four words.

Anyone who wraps up 2008 with a five word or less description will be entered into a drawing
for Troy's Haiti photo book, Rocks in the Sun. We'll draw a winner on January 4th. If you don't want the book - we will have Hope draw you a picture.

This video below was produced by the famous one, Luke Renner. The Renner Family is Haiti bound in 2009. He did this as a favor for us when we needed a tool to speak in churches in 2007. We love the front half of it where he draws attention to the beauty of Haiti. We want to continue to see beauty and feel hopeful.


We wish you all a very Happy New Year ... may *He* be your provision, your peace, your protector and friend. May you grow in the deep, wide, amazing truth of His love for you.

See you next year!

Livesays Out

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Babies avek Puppies

Late Edit - MK Dance Party on a Sat. night.


(Song going out to the Radar Men)



The easiest things to blog about are happy fun things. Like these two little girls.

So lets do that.

We've been without any helpers since Wednesday. With great fear and trepidation we watched Paige, Jeronne and Tipap all leave us. But ... it has been good.

Troy and I are pretty much walking around singing, "We are the champions".

But only because - we ARE.

It is six little kids, two puppies, one giant dog vs. two somewhat capable & patient adults until Monday -- We are totally handing these kids/dogs their butts!

(oh, okay ... I mean - we are totally wiping a lot of butts - and cleaning up a lot of puppy poop.)
Our zone defense is nothing short of amazing.

We will - we will - rock you. (Maybe even to sleep.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Restavek


In the truest definition of the word it means "one who stays with".

As Paige shared there are a number of these children living in our neighborhood. We are in an area that would be considered middle class - or as close to it as you'll find.

Most folks in our neighborhood did not inherit a bunch of money, nor are they descendants of the upper class French "bourgeois". Most own a small business and work hard to have a larger home in a more secure neighborhood. All of these working class have relatives, acquaintances and friends in the poorer mountain villages and out in the provinces.

The poor send their children in to work for the less poor. They figure their kids might get to eat more, possibly go to school. They often send them out of desperation. Sometimes they just cannot deal with their own children, so they send them away.

These children are easy to pick out. Usually when we see them they are working. Most of them do not appear to be as well taken care of as the other children living in their home. The girls will often have very short hair and be plain looking, giving them less self esteem. They speak quietly and keep their heads down.

Paige shared with you that she was thrilled that one little girl who is a restavek has been coming to her Kids Club and has even been allowed to come for some tutoring. We've felt at a loss when we think about her and are feeling a burden for her. She does not make eye contact when we talk to her. The people she lives with openly call her stupid and dull. She washes dishes and sweeps for them. They say that they "tried to send her to school, but she was too afraid and just cried". We are uncertain of how true that story is, but we do know that a child who believes they are stupid would not do well in school. The people she lives with offered her to us. Literally they said, "She is a hard worker, you can have her if you want."

You. can. have. her.

My God.

My stomach turns when I think about a valuable human being, created in the image of God, being treated this way. I want to scream, I want to lay down and cry, I want to fix it.

I am a foreigner learning about a new culture. Three years here has not taught me enough to confidently say much. I try very hard not to jump to conclusions about things or judge harshly. I cannot possibly understand everything that happens in this culture, it is not my own.

Having said that, this "system" might be one of the most frustrating ones of all for me to accept. The fact that children are used for labor and for the benefit of adults is beyond incomprehensible. There are occasions wherein the child benefits from this arrangement. But that seems to be more the exception than the rule.

[As an aside for adoptive parents. In general adoption is misunderstood. In this culture, if you take someone's child, it is so they can work for you. A lot of people will assume that is also why you are adopting. Jeronne recently told us that once everyone in LaDigue saw how kind we were to our Haitian children, they wanted to know if we would help with their children. We hope that our love and equal treatment of our kids will be evident when we're out and about in Port. Troy noticed a lady at a store observing his shopping with Hope. She later said to him, "You really love her, don't you!?!?!" She was surprised by it and pleased.]

This is a very well done piece about the system, I encourage you to read it.
I quote the author:

"I want to acknowledge that there are families in Haiti that do welcome children into their homes with the primary purpose being to care for the children and promote their well-being. However, in the case of the restav├Ęk system, the main reason the child is in the home is to work. It is not for the sake of the child; it is for the sake of the child’s masters. Today in Haiti, at least one in ten children does everything for free – getting up long before dawn, going to bed (on the floor) long after dark, doing all of the work of the house in the hours in between."

Here is another opinion piece.

And from others living here, read this.

In a recent comment, someone asked us what a restavek is.

I wish we did not know.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Break


On all ministry fronts things are going well. Thank you for praying for our neighbors, that means a lot to us and to them. We appreciate it.

Britt and Chris are busy getting ready for their wedding in Florida. Britt just called and said Chris cut part of his finger off surfing. We are waiting to hear more and hoping it was not his left hand ring finger! Isaac is very excited to get to Florida and be able to call Chris his "big brother."

We celebrated the gift of Hope with some friends the other night. She is 7 today! Last weekend we started a fun Christmas tradition with our kids and enjoyed one night and one day at a beautiful spot in the hills of Port au Prince.

Our Christmas season has been filled with beauty and has been remarkably peaceful ... we're hopeful that you're experiencing the same.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6


Monday, December 22, 2008

By: Rick Porter

*Our blogging break continues, the silence is wonderful!
As promised - a guest writer...
Please welcome our Uncle Rick ...
(We affectionately call him our Funky Unky.)
Read previous Christmas post here.

(Listen) A few words for Christmas

We all know someone who speaks rarely and powerfully. Often older, it is as if they’ve learned that a few precise words cut through the thick fog of verbal overkill. The verbose among us envy them.

The ability to restrain talk while initiating thought is not my gift. I launch, then aim. This results in collateral damage to me, and sadly, sometimes to others.

Over-supply devalues. Print too much money and you have inflation, even hyper-inflation. Too much product on hand forces price cuts. If the same is true of words, then verbal value is at an all-time low.
Whole television networks exist for the primary purpose of filling hours with opinion, observation, and reaction, some of it informed. AM radio is all talk.

The internet has made us all authors if not movie-stars. From updating our Facebook status to blogging endlessly, we produce cheap words tasking others to sift through the wordpile for value.

Not only are we filling every page, screen, and airwave with words, we are told to keep the updates and information coming. There you have it. The literary equivalent of an all you can eat buffet! “We are out of opinions over here!” Get more.

One must ask. In a world of nearly 7 billion people, is one more opinion really what we need? Like my college speech teacher used to say tongue firmly in cheek: “Shout more, your argument is weak.”

But, I continue to pile syllables on sentences on paragraphs, adding to the clutter at the insistence of people dear to me, the Livesay tribe.
[LIVE-SAY...a name which in one word captures the balance of living and speaking in proper order after the manner of St. Francis: Preach the Gospel at all times – if necessary use words.”].

The Bible is clear that God works with words. According to Genesis, He spoke all that is into being. But He was amazingly economical. “Let there be” a few times over pretty much did it. Unlike today, when we haggle over the meaning of meaning and what “is” - is. It was a simpler time.

Non-being was non-existence. “Let there be” from an all-powerful Creator brought existence out of non-existence. God, both ancient and big, could speak words that changed everything.

Christmastime is the celebration of God’s ultimate Word. All creation, which, according to Psalm 19, now “pours forth speech” "day and night” is trumped by re-creation. Taking verbal economy to new levels, God speaks His loudest, most lasting Word through a non-speaker. Gurgles, coos, and cries made infantile declaration of a new era. Hebrews 1:1-2, in the quaint rhythms of the King James says: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son...”

Indeed He has.

And before they could say “Is not this the carpenter’s son?”, that Son was speaking from a wooden cross: “It is finished.” And it was - but it wasn’t. He still speaks to our Father on our behalf and makes a declaration (that is currently being fulfilled) from the throne of God, “I am making everything new.”

I really do not need to know the up-to-the-minute price of crude, the ups and downs of the Dow, or the wind chill temperature in some place great distances from my own wind chill. These are transitory.

But I do need a better word.

I do want to know His name: “...JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” And I long for His invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We all need His hope: “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”


Perhaps there is a reason that “Silent Night” is the best loved of the Christmas carols. Out in the world there arises such a clatter.


Listen. Do you hear what I hear?


Do not lose this Christmas Word in the reporting, relating, retailing, and retelling.


Turn everything off and let the Child’s whimper whisper as in the phrase from Gloria Gaither:
“The word of the Father became Mary’s little child, and His love reached all the way to where I was.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Journey to Bethlehem




(If you would like to see it on a larger screen, double click on the screen to go to the YouTube site and watch it there instead of here on the blog.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love,

Troy & Tara
Britt, Chris, Paige, Isaac, Hope,
Noah, Phoebe, Lydia, Annie, Peanut

Paige loves ...

(Paige working with a little girl in our neighborhood. After spending more time with her we are so concerned for her. We're sorting through it and praying about it ... not at all sure what to do.)

Wrap



  • Lydie finally starting taking multiple steps - we are hesitant to call it walking, but she is certainly headed that direction. She is all the way with whatever mood she is in. If she is not happy -- holy cow, she is mean and mad. If she is happy ... whoa, she is silly and odd. No happy medium for this one.
  • Hope lost a front tooth ... the other one will be gone soon...And just in time to sing the "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" song.
  • Today we get to meet the adoptive mom of Hope and Phoebe's older sister Gracie. We are VERY pumped. We have been writing to each other for years and now we'll get to hug and become REAL to one another.
  • Annie and Phoebe seem to be mentioned very little in recent weeks. Here is the latest on these two clowns -
  1. Annie is so tiny for her age, she looks weird walking ... but she does it and she does it fast. For the first time, we started talking about her leaving. That will be one crazy emotional day. Happy and sad and wonderful and ... sad. Like half the universe, she waits in the office called "IBESR" for a stamp of approval. Her family would love for her to be in MN. We want that for them in spite of really loving having her here. We rely fully on God, the only "government official" that will ever get this deal done. And we wait.
  2. Phoebe has taken to calling her Daddy, "Troy" she pretty much refuses to call him anything else. At night, he tucks her in, she says, "Thanks Troy." He gets her juice, it's "thanks Troy"! I think it is funny. Troy, not so much. We tried potty training with her. Fail. Fail. Fail. Too soon. Bad idea.
  • Isaac asked tonight "How much did you have to pay to get me?" I said, "Who said I had to pay for you?" He said, "Well, I just figured it might have cost money to get me." I assured him that the money spent was to process paper work but that there is not enough money in the world to pay for him ... he is worth billions upon billions.
  • Paige had a great turnout for Kids Club week three, she is also working with Leme on Mondays and Thursdays for 90 minutes each day. Gorge tried to *give* Leme to us. Truly, he did. Gulp. PLEASE pray that we are able to be light and love to her and that we can come to see and discern her situation as it actually is.
  • Troy and Noah made a quick trip with the Iveys to Boutiliers last week. (See Photos) He'd never been there before.
  • Tuesday we're hosting a shindig. It is for the ladies of Port au Prince Fellowship - a Christmas party! Very fun, very excited. (And no, I don't have to cook - therefore I am truly excited to host.)
  • QCS Christmas break starts Thursday! Our kids are pretty pumped. Merry Christmas to all of the teachers and staff that love and teach and shepherd our kids, we thank you!
  • I've realized that while the sometimes over-the-top materialism-driven portion of Christmas and the pressures of running and shopping for gifts is not something I want to be a large part of our traditions, there are traditions that I want to create for my children. We are starting new traditions this year, figuring that Haiti will be where we spend many future Decembers. The things I remember about Christmas as a kid have nothing to do with the gifts I got. The memories center on the family time and the music and the food and the special things we did together year after year.
  • Zoe comes to live with us this Wednesday morning. For two weeks we will have Zoe and Harley, her brother. Because, what we need around here is a little more activity, a little chaos ... a stinkin' challenge or something. ;-) On Dec 31 Harley will go back home when his family gets back from Christmas in the States ... and soon after that Zoe will visit the crabby Vet to get her papers and pack her duffle bag and fly to Florida to meet her new parental unit.
  • Our friend Luke Renner is coming to crash here next Sunday. We're excited to enjoy his stories and irreverent ways of telling them.
  • Next week Paige will travel the world solo and go to MN for Christmas with her other family. Prayers for traveling mercies are VERY appreciated. It has been two years since she last winged it alone. She is much wiser and experienced now, and pretty much owns the airports. I no longer feel like I will vomit when I think of her traveling without me.
  • The wedding is less than three weeks away. That is just crazy talk.
  • Jeronne will be taking a test to pass and finish literacy class on December 22. Prayers for her are appreciated. Assuming she passes we will attend her graduation in January!
  • We will be taking a two week break from blogging ... we have a couple of phenomenal guest bloggers planned to fill in the gaps. Besides our normal ministry duties and routines - we're spending a little extra time meeting up with friends, reflecting, praying, and hearing this Christmas season. While we hear from Him, you'll hear less from us. It'll be a good thing all around. We will be back the last day of 2008.
  • The second annual Christmas video production is about to wrap! Things got a bit complicated with video coming in via email to production headquarters (sideways) from Texas ... And Prima Donna cast members needing to be coddled and pampered and pulled along ... But, it will debut very soon. Stand by.
May you stay rooted by the stream of water that gives you life and causes you to produce fruit in its season.

And may you walk boldly towards what needs preserving in this world - bringing great value to it - knowing that it is God who declares that you can do it.

And may you live the radical life of a revolutionary - prompting the world to ask of you, "What are we going to do with you?"

Amen.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Coming Soon ... to a blog near you


This is the post where we build anticipation and create hype.



The bigger and better
2
008
edition of the
(Livesay) Christmas Production ...


Stay Tuned!

To see the 2007 Edition Click Here.

The cast and crew are rehearsing, the costume design team is working through the night, the writers/producers and directors are on a serious caffeine high as they tweak the script and work with the actors on the final scenes ... the buzz surrounding this production is enormous.

Don't miss it.

Sewing School




The machines are treadle machines, no electricity required. :)

Women's program was encouraging today ... a lady that we were super worried about gained four pounds in one week. Little victories are all it takes to bring us up.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The view from these parts


Last week Marilyn wrote with some questions to help free us from our writers block. She asked, "If you don't cook, what do you eat?" I guess I need to clarify. I can cook a few things. I don't enjoy it, but I can.
`
We eat noodles at least two or three nights a week. We have rice and beans at least once, maybe twice a week. Once a week we rally and do some sort of real meal. On that night Troy might make enchiladas or we might grill chicken or make tacos.
`
Food is low priority around here. We like good food, but we do fine without it. Some of the things we ate the most in the USA are double the cost here, suddenly they don't taste so great. ;)
Thankfully, we moved directly across the street from a bakery. As you can see in the photos, right outside our gate we can buy hot fresh bread. (We can also get our hair done or shop at a gift shop that sells the gifts of liquor and cigarettes.)
`
The bakery/salon/giftshop has saved us many times. No, not the rum, the bread.
`
Hot bread with peanut butter is an excellent breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is our go-to meal when we have no plan.
`
I sense that many women just cannot comprehend my disdain for cooking, I don't know how to explain it to you other than to say, if Emeril offered to come to Haiti for two weeks to teach me how to cook - at no cost ... I'd turn him down.... tell him to get lost. It holds no interest for me. I would eat cereal for dinner for the next 30 years before I would take up cooking. Talking about recipes is torture to me. Please never invite me to a recipe exchange party.
`
The other question was about electricity/internet/television. We do not have television, but obviously we have internet. When the city is offering us power we charge batteries ... once city power goes off we run off of batteries. The batteries do give us enough juice for computers and internet. We need to be careful not to use the microwave or turn on many lights ... if you over use, then the batteries die and you sit in the dark.
`
If we had nicer neighbors we would run our generator, but as it stands now we cannot run it at night -- which is the only time we ever lose power. Our internet is provided by a Haitian company. The upload is slow, the download is slower. We are not complaining, we love that we have Internet. After we get out kids to bed we read news, blogs, listen to podcasts, and instant message with friends. We don't miss TV at all. I would say we are online too often - especially at night. We probably need to cut back, do a self-intervention, get help, knock it off.
`
If there are things you're curious about - ask. We don't know what is interesting and what is likely to totally bring you to tears with boredom.
`

In other current events news:
  • Aaron and Jamie and kids are here - staying here till Friday. Very fun.
  • Troy came dangerously close to hitting a pedestrian today. (Troy says that the pedestrian came close to hitting us) My heart was in my throat. I am pretty sure he would have rotted in jail for life.
  • Paige took Aaron to the market today. She is hilarious at the market. Haitian people literally flip out about her dead-on accent and the buzz it causes is very fun to observe.
  • Sheila and I got to meet up with friends for dinner, they brought in a ton of stuff for the sewing ladies and bought us pizza and diet coke. Anyone who buys a diet coke in the land of limited diet coke is a forever friend.
  • Zach has been supplying my diet coke lately. All of a sudden Jeronne will come running and tell me that our big friend brought a gift. Santa may run into a supply problem soon, I have not seen it in the stores lately.
  • Sheila spoke further about domestic violence on Tuesday (and we will again tomorrow) and a lady came up after class to show us the bite on her neck and the marks on her legs. We're working with her to find options. This is so complicated ... SO complicated. Please pray.
  • Troy and Aaron are slightly totally immature in one anothers presence. I expect to find a whoopie cushion or overhear the telling of fart jokes at any moment.

6 of 8 (of my favorite people on earth)


Kids Club Week Two

Hi everybody-

Sunday went really well. I am soo thankful. Eight kids showed up. Seven of them were from Gorge's house. One was the little boy from last week. We had a ton of fun together and I felt really up-beat about it. They are all planning on coming back next Sunday.

The highlight of it was that there was one restavek girl that was allowed to come. This is what I was originally hoping for. Her name is Leme and she is not going to school because she is too scared. She never got to go, then when she had a chance she was unsure of herself and cried. I was shocked when her boss (if that's what you want to call him) came and asked if I would be willing to do a basic school thing for her like two nights a week, just teaching her to write her name and count. I was soooo excited and will have more info about it soon. I want to try to connect with this these forgotten kids.

Thanks for all your prayers! ~paige~

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Entertainment?

Giovanni's roll out keyboard + Aaron Ivey + Troy Livesay = musical history in the making ...

or not.

(Giovanni's rollout keyboard is a revolution in acoustic micro technology ... and like the infomercial says, you cannot resist writing and making beautiful music once you fire up the Giovanni. )

FINALLY, someone who hates the roosters as bad as us ... Aaron sings about the roosters. We make our own entertainment here - thanks to the Giovanni.

(and, btw, the roosters are crowing at 11:07pm.)

Choosing our words carefully

Lately we've been doing a lot of reading and researching about cross-cultural and transracial adoptions. Our thoughts on the topic have evolved and shifted a bit. We're not so much in the "love is color blind" camp anymore. People see color. People react to it. I love my kids. Deeply. But their white parents and issues of color will and do come up. The blindness does not exist. Not on this side of Heaven. Not in Haiti. Not in the USA.

Troy and I determined that some of the hardest stuff to write is the stuff where you are certain that you'll be misunderstood. Clearly, a blog is a personal journal ... and by definition these are *our* thoughts, take them or leave them.

We have been looking at some of the other side of adoption and have started to wish that more people and agencies would try to keep families together first --- THEN take a child in after exhausting that option. A poor family is not necessarily an unfit family. To go down this road is too emotionally charged, so we won't do that today. We will simply say that after watching the birthparent interview process, our thoughts about the entire thing have changed a bit. Christine wrote a good post with great links if you want to investigate these things more.

We're also more aware than ever that our words shape our children. Not that we were ever unaware, we're just sensing the importance of helping them feel proud of and connected to their heritage. (And obviously they have an easier time connecting to it because the two oldest moved back here after only 3 years in the USA.)

Living and working here we can sometimes get tired, frustrated and discouraged with the lack of organization and progress and just the way things roll ... and that all happens before noon. ;)

It hit us that we sometimes make general statements to each other about Haiti and Haitians that are a bit unfair. We might have had a horrible day trying to get through traffic or we might have been stuck in some government office for hours ... or teased- or harassed - or any number of frustrating things that frequently happen. We might say, "Oh Haiti, nothing works here ... it is so much trouble! I cannot take this place/these people."

And while that might be true for that day, we're realizing that we need to be aware that any generalization we make about anyone on the street ... is a generalization our kids will soak in. If what we say is aimed at the people group or PERCEIVED to be aimed at the people group ... we might as well be saying, "Isaac, Haitians are ______." (fill in the blank)

It got us wondering what our kids have heard us say and what was sinking in.
So we asked
.

Us- Isaac, what do you think of when you think of Haitian people?

Isaac- Uh. Well. Haitian people are poor. (long pause) But I am not poor because I live with you.

Isaac- And, I think that Haitian people are strong. Are they strong Mom?

Me- Yes Ike, VERY strong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Us- Hope, what do you think of when you think of Haitian people?

Hope- Some are mean? .... and some are nice! (thinking) Do you think that is right?

Us- Well, that is true of all people, some act mean and some act nice.

Hope- Yes. I guess it is all people.

So we are not failing miserably based on those answers. phew We recently heard an adoptive Mom railing on Haitians and calling them all sorts of names. She was frustrated and angry. Meanwhile her Haitian children stood listening.

By the time most kids get to their new adoptive families, their new family has been through the ringer .... they have waited years and the adoption process has kicked their butts again and again. Most of us, being human, feel bitter toward the country by the time it is all finished. It is good to remember that the process is not the people and the people are not the process.

It is important and powerful to speak positive things about the people of the country your child comes from - wherever that is. They have a right to determine their own thoughts and feelings about their homeland, and they need to feel valued for where they came from and for who they are.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Hipsters

The Vibey Iveys are here for the night before they head out to see their kids in Cazale. Troy coined their nickname "Vibey" Ivey ... because even though they are just a few years younger than us, they are incredibly hip. In their presence we become dull and uncool. Aaron is sickly but we're still having fun. We met these guys when they brought a team down last May. We thoroughly enjoy them!
I was home hanging with kids today when there was a loud knock at the gate. (In Haiti many people suround their homes with cement walls and have giant metal gates.) I went out to find a young guy with six cans of evaporated milk asking me if I wanted to buy them. I told him I did not really need evaporated milk right now, so he showed me where he lives if I ever do.

We have lived in this neighborhood for almost 4 months, I don't know why today was the day to sell me canned milk, but at least I know where to go when the need arises. :)
Random.

Super Sleepy


even Super Heroes sleep sometimes

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pregnant , Poor & Unprotected

The last few weeks of Prenatal and Early Childhood Development class have proven to be eye-opening.

Each week there is a lesson. We often try to do role play and get the ladies involved in the lesson in some unique way.

Our topic last week was domestic violence. Beth read a story about a woman who suffered at the hands of an angry, controlling man. At the end of the story the room was very quiet. Beth asked the ladies if that happens in Haiti. The answer given by several of the ladies was, "chak jou" - or every day.

We went on to do the role play in which I played the man and beat up a lady and told her that she took too long at the market and that I did not want her gone so long ... that I deserved better.

After the skit Beth asked what sort of advice the ladies would offer the woman who had just been beat. They all said, "Get up and go to the market earlier so he won't be mad." We questioned them further and learned that they almost all believe that there are things they should try to do to keep from being beat. We asked them if they might consider leaving the abusive man. They all said, No - he has the money, they cannot leave. Sometimes they call the police, but the police don't have gas in their truck and don't necessarily respond. We asked them if they had a job, a way to make money, then would they leave? The entire room raised their hands indicating that if they had the economic ability to feed their kids, they would not put up with beatings.

To question these findings further, I had Troy ask Jeronne if her ex-boyfriend ever beat her. Without one second of hesitation she said, "Yes, he liked to hit." Troy asked her if she thought it was odd that he does not beat me, she laughed and said "oui!"

We try to avoid making generalizations. But the fact is, on a large scale, not much can be done for a family trapped in a cycle of poverty. Government won't respond. Culturally men hold the power over women and violence is ignored. Women have no power to leave. Children are at the mercy of these realities. Women accept abuse as a normal part of their existence in order to keep their children in homes and fed, even at very minimal levels.

The prayer, the hope, the desire of a program like Heartline Women's Program is to begin to empower a woman. We meet many of them during their pregnancy when they enter our program to receive basic prenatal care, vitamins, and education. Our belief is that if a woman learns to take care of her child better, learns to read, learns to share what she knows with her friends ... she has power - she begins to believe in herself. If she has that power she might consider further education, such as sewing. Should she learn to sew she might be in a position to say NO to an abusive boyfriend. She may be in a position to feed her own children.

Once, a couple of years ago, a man came to Troy and asked him to fire his girlfriend. Troy said, "Why would I do that? She is a great employee." The man went on to say that she no longer respected him because she had her own money. Translation: She no longer put up with being beat. Troy refused and rumors circulated that the man was going to kill her. Eventually his anger faded and she went on with her life without him. But this is no isolated story. This is the reality of many poor women in Haiti.

Skim Milk

Saturday, December 06, 2008

In lieu of words (photos)

At QCS today ...
Today was the Christmas Bazaar at school. We have been hearing about it multiple times each day for a number of weeks. Isaac and Hope kicked it up a notch this week by verbally assaulting and abusing us all week - breaking us down slowly, Guantanamo Bay style. They tried to deprive us of sleep and food ... awful, I tell you. It was clear that someone at school had put them in a dark room and brainwashed them. They were fully indoctrinated Christmas Bazaar Cult Members and we *were* going whether we wanted to or not.
Noah, not being a full cult member - because he does not go to school yet - kept calling it the Christmas PA - Jawr.

Of course, no one corrected him.

Prior to today, I had no idea one of those giant blow-up jumping things could be found in this country. It was very well done. Noah totally lost his mind and freaked out when I took a bite of his hot-dog. Then he kept crying and crying ... because his hot dog did not come with rice and beans. I almost pulled out a Merrilism. (My Grandpa was Merrill.) I was thinking of going with, "I'll give you something to cry about" - But I thought better of it and just gave him my rice and beans. Crisis averted. Lydie did pretty well at the Pa-jawr. She rode around in the back carrier observing the action and grinding food into my hair. A good time was had by all.
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A real post with things of substance might come soon...
peace until then,
t.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Zoe

This is the illegitimate love child of Brittany and Christopher. Four weeks till the wedding; the news cannot stay shrouded under the cover of lies and deceit any longer. The truth shall set us free. Yes, it's true. We are grandparents.

As it turns out, John and Beth McHoul are giving Britt & Chris a dog for their wedding gift. It might seem cruel, but for some insane reason B and C approved and even requested said gift. You might think long-time missionaries like the McHouls would not condone this type of thing, but you'd be wrong.

Below, you see Zoe at the vet today getting her eight week shots. She will go back to the vet a day before we travel to Florida (for the wedding) to get papers and Veterinarian approval to get into the USA. Not exactly like having the Embassy issue an adoption visa ... much less painful.

I am making that odd face because the vet is almost totally humorless and Beth absolutely won't let up on the guy. She fires questions off faster than he can answer them and generally annoys him. My look was one of concern... for her life.
Zoe is Florida bound January 1 and Texas bound come January 8 ... and by that time her parents will have made things legal. Phew! Zoe is a Mastiff. (like Peanut) At 8 weeks she weighed 17 pounds. She will likely end up about a 130+ pound dog. She currently lives with her Mom and brother over at Sheila's house. She moves in with us on December 17. Good Luck to the parents ... we hope they know what they're in for. ;)