Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is Anybody Listening?

How many times has that been said or thought? I’m sure the Preacher thinks that almost every Sunday as he preaches his heart out and looks that the crowd that is sleeping or staring off into space. The school teacher look at her class and wonders are any of these kids getting the things that I’m teaching? The Doctor sees the revolving door of patients and thinks has anyone listened to my instructions, is anyone getting better? The parent looks at their sleeping child, whispers a prayer that their child will listen to instruction and become a man or woman of character. The boss often sits in their office and wonders is anyone listening to me? This thought consumes me at times. After I send out a news letter or post a blog I think is anyone reading this? But mostly I wonder is anyone in Haiti hearing what I’m teaching them? Is my time here really worth making a difference in the vast expanse of need?
Let me tell you a story about trip I took last week. A team was here that has an interest in agricultural development so I took them up the mountain to Fontina, the typical trip in the back a pickup bouncing around for 60 min. I showed them around the church and school and we met a few of the people. Then we went looking for the nearest water well. I love off road driving as much as the next guy so this was great. Of course we were not really off roading but on La Gonave’s substitute for a road, aka off roading. We found the well and had a good conversation with the locals about how the well was being managed. On the way back, we climbed over one of the many rock piles that we call a road, the crew in the back banged on the roof of the cab for me to stop. We all pilled out and climbed up the little hill to a house. I forgot to tell you that Madalyn, my three year old, had come along to help Daddy drive the truck. She has a great time riding shotgun. Maddie and I were the last up the hill and we met by a little Haitian boy. Maddie told me not to look at him because he did not have on any panties. She soon got over that and was off playing with the boy and his tiny little kitten. We all went around the house because they had something to show us. There on their rain water cistern were six clear bottles filled with water and sitting in the sun and beside the cook house was a dish drying rack. You may say what is so great about that? Now the exciting part: 4 months ago these people did not know about these life saving methods. By placing water in clear bottles in the sun for six hours the sun works as God’s perfect UV filter to purify the water and make it safe to drink which prevents such things as Cholera, typhoid and other bacteria intestinal problems. Drying your dishes in the sun after washing them kills bacteria that may grow them because of the water they were washed in. It was encouraging to me to have proof that people are listening. It does not take much to change your outlook just a little proof that people are reading what we write or are listening to what we say. Thank you each one for your prayers, letters of encouragement, comments on our posts and gifts to help our ministry. Please continue to pray with us as we plan more training and hope to expand into new villages. In the next month we have plans to teach a class on personal evangelism which will confront both our teachers (who are not required to be Christians because the community selects their own leaders) and then each family in Fantina with the decision of “What will you do with Jesus?”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The New Normal

1. Heating water in the microwave for Maddie’s baths
2. Brushing my teeth in the kitchen sink
3. Always wearing shoes outside
4. Worming my dog each month… and my child because she won’t remember shoes
5. Feeling the need to take stock in a company that makes
Bug spray and sunscreen
6. Eating homemade bread or rolls everyday
7. Cold showers because it’s the only option
8. Not having to cook very often
9. Having people repeat themselves just to find a few words I understand
10. Being cold when it gets down to 80 degrees

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Life

So my wife keeps telling me I need to blog. But I have not figured out how to express the feelings and thought that rush through my head. Such as, as I type a funeral processional is passing by our gate. The band is playing and then it stops and you hear the wails of the grieving. I don't know who died but this in much louder than the normal. Was the person young? Was it a wayward son or daughter? Was it the mother of a young family? How do you express the feelings and thought of living in such a place as La Gonave? To see the beauty of the sea and mountains but yet live among the pain and poverty that belongs to this island. Some days I truly feel like I'm in paradise and the next, the slip of the tongue "Hades",is not far off. The people are beautiful and full of life but also seem to suck every last drop of energy from you. Its crazy that at 80 degrees we start looking for blankets for the bed. This is my world. We drive for an hour to go 6 miles. We pray that our truck that is 15 years old does not fall apart. We pray that soon we will have money to buy a new one. But here is a place of peace and contentment for me. It is not so much a physical place as it is an place of action because for the last month every Wednesday, myself and 2-4 of my CHE helpers climb the mountain for our gruelling 60 min. of "off road" road travel. A friend Justin Dowds took the trip with me a week ago and the question that kept coming up is 'Where is the road?' The answer is 'where there is no grass'. Over rocks and boulders and mud pits filled with rock known as the "Bobble Head" road. Just talking about it make me feel tired and sore. But then we get to our meeting for the Fontina Community Health Project. It last from one to three hour and the meeting is not all that great but the enthusiasm that is seen and felt is invigorating. We teach simple things like digging a trash pit or building a dish drying rack that set in the sun and kills bacteria in pots and dishes. My pockets are always empty meaning I'm not coming with money or new gadgets but simple ideas and concepts that save lives and transform and develop communities. The best part is that when we come back several will say "I built that dish rack or I started my compost pile". This week we sent out a survey with the agents to find out how many homes have trash pits, latrines, vegetable gardens,and how many have been sick in the last month and what were they sick with. We have so much work to do and this is only one zone on this Island of 175,000 people, but these days... are the high light of my life here in Haiti.

If you would like to give to this particular ministry please look for the Community Health Evangelism link.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Day

You know the saying 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life?' Well today is the first day of a new way of life for the community of Fantina. Today we did our first training of Fantina community health Agents. We identified 414 families in this 5 village zone. So we are training 40 Agents to each teach 10 families. We intend to train every family in life changing skills such as water purification, sanitation, first aid, composting, personal evangelism, kitchen gardens, prevention of diarrhea, typhoid, malaria, HIV and the list goes on. This I believe will be the most thorough education project to date on this Island. We purpose to transform this community one family at a time. Of course we know there will be bumps in the road. All you have to do is take the one hour ride up the mountain to know about bump. But I have a sense that this is something much bigger than me. God is at work. We have the opportunity to influence and transform over 2000 people through God's word and the work he has laid out before us. Pray that we will not be swayed by the evil one and that our focus will remain on Him who has brought us here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

returning to La Gonave

We drove out of the city, leaving the masses behind and the beauty of the landscape began to clean my senses. Tents still dotted the hillsides and there were definitely more of them then six weeks ago when we had drove through that area. I couldn’t help wondering where they got water and food and did they get any medical care, so I prayed... The hills roll on the right side and the beaches fold out on the left like a blue and white ribbon giving the allusion that everything is peaceful and healthy. Then one blink and there are great mountains behind the hills which seem to get more beautiful with every mile. The very tops are hidden behind misty white clouds and once again God takes my breath away. I never get over the awe and grandeur of these great green giants.
Today the bay is almost glasslike and our things are loaded onto the boat quickly. Deep breaths of salty air and I am convinced that heaven will be a lot like this. My heart is filled with Gods vastness and loveliness. As we move across the water, I watch for them. They just make me happy, the silly little flying fish. I first thought that they were birds diving but they never came back up. They defy the laws of fish nature, fish swim. Nobody told these guys and they make me happy. Skimming across the top of the water…escaping reality. The reality of something wanting to eat them for lunch, of doing what normal fish do, swim. They get to see the sun and experience more than the surroundings they were born into.
I come full circle now, I think of the people in Port, in tent cities, and wonder how they escape a predator named reality. I might be stretching too hard here by making a connection between a fish and a desperate people. The fish do what they were created to do, take a big breath of underwater air and jump and glide through the air for a few minutes in the sun away from what could harm them. It’s a little more complicated for people because we don’t naturally do what we were created to do but I know my God is good. So once again, I pray. That they will have enough: enough bravery to trust God when it doesn’t make sense, enough knowledge of God to know he is always good even when life doesn’t feel good, enough wisdom to call on God because he always answers. I pray that they will jump into our Father and feel the hope the Son can bring and as they face their overwhelming reality and that they would know how to truly believe God understands. I know…I know… I have never had the reality of being homeless and of not knowing how I was going to feed my family or of seeing masses of my friends and family buried alive. I also know that none of these prayers are too big for my Father.

Friday, August 13, 2010

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Camping is one of my favorite "reality escapes" but I am always glad to get back home with all the ease my house offers. I saw the tent cities again. Reality is they have been living there for months now and when I saw the tens 6 weeks ago they still looked new but now the rains have come and pounded them day after day. The tents were made to be used a few weeks a year, by now some of the tents look like rags flapping in the wind. Reality is here. As we drove out of the city, I saw things being rebuilt and was so excited and grateful to God for the help that has come. Then I saw something that will replay in my mind over and over. We saw a tent village of two room pole houses covered with tarps. One was just over half way constructed and as the adults worked on finishing the last of the tarps the children danced around and clapped like they were getting a mansion built for them. Reality… again I am humbled by all that I have…

Seeing Haiti Again

We arrived in Port a Prince Monday afternoon and my brain recognized random verbs… lots of going, coming, needing, wanting, agreeing…and again I pray that God will touch my brain and help it absorb more of the language and not let it drift through to Robin's equivalent of cyber space (forever there but not able to be used) The thing with Haiti is the extreme emotions that I feel, they change so fast that I struggle to keep myself on level ground. Many buildings still left the way they fell after the earth quake begging me to remember the people who died there. Then the buildings in various stages of "rebuild", some are just being broken into pieces by men with hand tools so they can be loaded onto a truck and hauled away, others lots are leveled and signs of new structures can be seen. Next there are people...lots of people. I found myself praying first for the individuals that I saw and then my imagination started thinking of every other group of street kids begging, everyother young girl with no one to protect them and I prayed more, I saw a group young men cleaning their motorcycles, one man scooped water from the ditch with a cut off soda bottle and when finished launched the bottle and popped a friend on the head. The group broke into laugher and words were exchanged and I'm just guessing that one friend threatened the other because more laughter erupted. I prayed that they would know Jesus as Lord. People… People with emotions and thoughts and dreams and plans just like my neighbors at home. I saw street venders selling everything imaginable under umbrellas along the side walk, next to beautifully painted business', next to a charcoal cooker with roasted corn or some kind of meat for sale. There was garbage and animals and city taxis and UN trucks and donkeys all sharing the road. As I read back through what I just wrote and reflect the emotions, I asked myself what do I want people to do with all this information. I just want you to see Haiti through my eyes and remember it is not a "country" destroyed by an earthquake some 6 months ago but People who still need help and prayer and for us to do what we wanted to do when we first heard on Jan 12, 2010.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

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More CHE trainers

We finished a new training team this week. We now have 8 young men trained to help develop Community Health Evangelism. Friday was the first test for the new guysand they passed with flying colors. We went down to the Saline to the church there were we have done clinics the last two medical teams. We gave them a vision/awareness seminar. We talk about the difference between relief and development and the talked about health. Health has 4 parts physical, mental, social, spiritual. It also involves being in harmony with God, harmony with ones self, harmony with others and harmony with nature/the environment. We then read a story about a CHE project in Uganda and the success that they had in changing there lives and community. One of the Trainers named Max got up at the end and made a very clear point that the community in Uganda that did so well was successful because they did this work themselves and did not wait on the outsides to make life good for them. I then taught a lesson on world view/ beliefs and how they effect our lives and the success that we have in development. The best part was that the new trainers really did well. They understand the concepts and are able to teach the principles from their hearts. We are praising God for this answer to prayer. I have given them permission to hold these vision seminars while I back in the states. The goal is to give them the lead in all projects. When we do trainings they do most of the teaching. The goal altimate goal is that the trainers will do all of the training and I will give direction. I ask that you pray for these young men that God will give them courage and wisdom and a passion to reach the communities around us with this new method to deliver the Message the transformes lives.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Saline

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CHE class in Fontina

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Trip to Fontina

Posted by PicasaWe planned a trip to Fontina for continued teaching. It was cancelled two times... first a conflict of timing for our translator/trainer and then Lowell came down with the stomach "yuck" as we have started calling it. So we prayed lots and tried again. Saturday morning all was moving along as planned and we left almost on time to head to the mountains. After about a half hour of driving we heard tapping on the window which means someone needs help in the back of the truck, so we stopped to find out what was needed. The news wasn't good. We had a flat tire, it was the same tire that has gone flat multitudes of times and is rebellious to being fixed. So we just stayed there in the middle of the "road" (it was more like a rock pile with a drop off on one side) We all climbed out and 2 men started working on taking off the tire. The jack wouldn't go high enough and so they searched for rocks to help get the truck up higher. Finally success or so we thought. The tire was off and the other one brought from the back of the truck only to find out that the rim would not fit. Now there was 6 men trying to figure out how to make the tire fit!! By now, we had a line of people sitting along the side of the road watching and two motorcycles stopped. One of the bikes had a flat tire also, so there we were on the side of the mountain fixing trying to fix 2 flat tires. I watched as the men all helped each other and fell in love with this people a little more as I watched them give to each other. Since our truck could not be fixed at the time they all focused on the other tire. On the back of the bike was a piece of an inter tube that I thought was just a strap to hold the belongings of the passenger; I was wrong. It had a duel purpose. They cut a strip off the side of the tube, pinched the hole in the tube and tired it off with the strap of rubber. After putting it all back together our friend and translator Jean Bena along with the 2 adults and infant that were on the motorcycle before headed off down the mountain. The plan was that Jean Bena would ride with them into town, get a new spare and bring the other truck up to Fontina where we would go after pumping up the tire. Well things never go as planned.... the tire would not pump up, the air was going out almost as fast as they were putting it in. Over 2 hours later we learned that the "taxi bike" wasn't going into town and Jean Bena had to walk most of the way back. When he got there he found that the other spare had two holes that had to be fixed before he could start back up the mountain. And so we waited... Lowell pulled the truck off the road under a tree near two small huts. The family joined us as we waited, I am sure it was something new to do so why not. Most of our observers walked on their journey carrying water and bundles. We saw several donkeys go by and I started to think we should look into the possibility of this primitive type of travel. Several of us took naps, some read books, Maddie played with the children, we took 2 trips in the woods to find a isolated spot, Lowell took lots of walks down the road looking for cell to call and find out were the other truck was and time stood still... or so it seemed. But just as bodies where steaming and spirits where dropping, Jean Bena came around the corner and before we knew it we were on our way again.
Then we arrived! It was so incredible, the people are so excited about what this Community Health Education program can do for them. They had met all the requirements and invited 5 people from each of 4 surrounding villages to come hear what was being taught. The next couple of hours were spent teaching, questioning, discussing and planning. They have their next assignment of choosing a leadership committee to oversee the training and have decided that lack of good water and health issues are the first needs that should be addressed. Lowell plans on making one more trip there before we go to do the next step of teaching. God is so great!! He knows why the delays. He makes it so easy to trust him because he works everything out for the good of those who trust him and call on his name.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

La Saline, which means the salt, is a hot dusty place. The land is free to use, because part of the time it is under water. So the poorest of the poor build there. A couple of weeks ago we held a clinic for the school at the church in this town. About 100 children and a few adults were seen and treated. This church also does a feeding program for the children of the Saline, so we gave them vitamins to distribute as a supplement to their diet of beans and rice. We returned with a new team, and this weekend the land was dry, as it had not rained in 4-5 days. This was a blessing, because when it rains, mud and garbage wash into the flats, making it unpleasant to walk through. A medical team from South Florida and Martin Memorial Hospital came to help with a two-day clinic for the general public. As you looked out the window of the church, across the dry, hot, dusty salt flats, you could see the ocean only 200 yards away. This gave us a nice breeze to help keep us going in the extreme heat. Advertisement was word of mouth, so we started out slow but by mid-morning, we were quite busy. We had one doctor who was a Pediatrician and another who was Internal medicine; there was also a PA, who saw mostly adults. We split the patients into two groups—children and adults—and there were three stations set up for physicals and treatment, with a fourth station set as a pharmacy. My job was crowd control and the triage of patients. No one was life or death sick, but many people came with colds, headaches, back pain, ear aches and coughing. Malnutrition, worms, high blood pressure and asthma were also common problems. We saw and treated over 450 people in the two days that we were there. If we would be charging for our care, we would have gotten a big bonus from our employer; but we are not here for the money, rather to help those in need. The needs here are real, and many times, desperate. People need jobs. In the States, we complain that our unemployment rate is 8-9%; in Haiti, unemployment is 70%. We complain that our employer doesn’t offer eye and dental coverage; but on La Gonave, two-thirds of the Island does not even have a clinic or hospital close enough to reach if their life was at risk. Many do not have clean water, or soil suitable to grow food. We have started a project fund through Global Partners to help with these basic needs, and provide training so that they can solve these life-threatening problems themselves. We have called this project, La Gonave Community Health Evangelism. How can you help these people? You can come to give of your time and your skills. We need many different skills taught to help train the Haitians to help themselves. We also need financial help to be able to do this work in Haiti. We would like to introduce to you the new project number, WM06-1337. This is the project fund to help pay the expenses of our emerging community health and development mission. This is the venture that we have started in Fantina, and hope to develop across the Island. It is a training program that teaches community leaders to identify the local needs, and to identify local resources to solve those needs. It then teaches local Community Health Agents the needed skills to teach and help the community to put the identified solution to the local needs into practice.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A visting friend tells highlights from his Haiti experience

Well, as most of you know, missions trips have been part of my life for about 6 years now; but one thing that I haven’t done much of, is write day-by-day journals. Now that I’ve looked back and regretted not writing things down, it makes me want to record every special moment on every one of my trips.
Another awesome part about this trip is that Lexi, the second child in my family, is along with me to make a difference in the lives of the people here. We set off from home around noontime on June 1, 2010, to the Newark International Airport. Our flight was scheduled for 4:45pm on American Airlines, but it got cancelled because of the nasty storms that were brewing up. AA set us up on another flight on the same route on Continental Airlines; so we said our good-byes and got into the security line.
We figured since we had 12 hours of layover in Miami, we might as well get to know the airport a little bit and try to have some fun.About 5:30 we were able to get our luggage and headed off to check in at our gate. After a safe flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, we stepped out into the blistering heat and boarded the shuttle bus to get to the immigration stations. . After finally getting our bags, we held hands to stay together, and headed out into the black wilderness. It was a different experience for Lexi, knowing that every person around you was eyeing you head-to-toe; but after a few minutes, we saw some familiar white faces and rushed over in glee to Robin and Cassie Adams…..

…..As we jumped into the “Contair” (big pick-up truck with caged-in bed), we found out that Robin and Cassie came with a Haitian driver, named Judain; and that they had been there since the day before getting groceries. Driving through Port-au-Prince, we saw a little bit of what the earthquake had done, and how much there is yet to pick up and rebuild. We saw a “tent city”, where thousands of people are living in simple tents because their homes were destroyed. Also on the way, we stopped at a plant to pick up some boxes of frozen chicken to take over to the island to eat. Some other sites along the 2 hour drive to the boat port were: massive grave sites where the whole family is buried in the same little grave house; little towns with very little infrastructure; wide-open fields with tents and animals scattered throughout the land; beautiful beaches along the coast; and high, majestic mountains all around us. The roads outside of the city got a lot better, but the driving didn’t…We were constantly yelling over horns beeping and trucks and school buses flying by. It was an amazing contrast between the hectic, crowded city, and the beautiful, tranquil countryside. There were Haitians everywhere, and as soon as they figured out that there were white people in back of the truck, all eyes were directed towards us. We arrived at the dock after a while, and for the first time, we got some relief from the heat by wading into the bath-water-temperature bay....

... After about 6 miles into the boat voyage, we had the awesome opportunity to watch a school of dolphins play around near the boat. Everyone else came up to the roof in the front to watch the show. They said that it was the biggest gathering that they had ever seen of dolphins on the way over, so it was pretty amazing. They jumped for us and even scooted along the top of the water on their tails like they do in the Sea World shows. :-) Also on our way over, we had the privilege to get acquainted with the famous flying fish…They are pretty cool to watch as they jump up and skim across the top of the water. As blue as it was, the ocean water was contaminated with garbage all along the current that traveled through the channel. We learned that the trash comes out of Port-au-Prince as the rain comes down at night and washes it around. Anyway, we arrived to the island dock around the middle of the day and were greeted by Lowell and Maddie Adams, along with some other Haitian guys. We loaded up the truck and jumped in to head up to their house on the missionary compound. We asked lots of questions and found out that the island is around 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide. It has 40 to 50 different communities living on it and the population drastically rose after the earthquake damaged so much of Port-au-Prince.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

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Brief report to update CHE

The last week of April, I completed training with 3 men that will help me do community awareness and training. Our first assignment was to visit a community call Fontina. There is a church, from Canada, that wants to partner with that community in doing school clinic and primary health care. We have taken two visits to Fontina to do community assessment. There is good potential there for development and community health training. The church is the center of community. Population is about 3000 people and covers over 5 square miles. The area school is run by the local Wesleyan church partnering with Compassion International and has 257 students. There is no clinic in the area and the hospital it over an hour away so preventative medicine is greatly needed. They already have a community counsel, this coupled with the fact that they seem to be a motivated farming community, causes us to believe that we could have good success starting our program here. One of the first problems is that they have two wells that have good water but both hand pumps are broken. Deep Water Wesleyan church is interested in fixing them but we must first establish local ownership of the wells and develop a way to collect funds for future repair. The soil is good in this valley and there is real potential for Ag business /micro-enterprise.

We also have traveled west down the coast via speed boat to find access to the village docks. We are looking for easy and affordable ways to get medical teams to coastal villages to the west. We plan to go east to look for access to docks and do some community assessments within the next week.

Tuesday we are going to a community meeting for the Saline Church to explore CHE on the Saline. One possible project is "back yard" raised gardens. One of the problems on the Saline is that you get high tides and standing water after rains that is brackish or salty. So by creating raised beds on a base of rocks we can keep the salty water out. There are lots of plastic bottles around that we will collect and cut in half and lay out flat on the rocks. Then we will overlap them creating a semi permeable barrier to hold soil and moisture. Topsoil will then be put on top and seeds or plants planted. We will the cover with a palm branch shelter for those plants that need shade. There is also need for health education and micro enterprise. Of course all of the projects are to be community lead.

Pray for us this week as we present to the Saline community and also to Fontina the vision of Community Health Evangelism. We need them to see this as a community lead project and not some rich outsider who is going to feed everyone and make everyone happy. This is the first requirement for us to begin work in these areas. Also, on Saturday we have 30-40 people coming to a CHE training on Soil and Composting. I’m not an export on this but I’m the teacher so pray that I will have wisdom and the ability to present this information in a way that will make it easy to understand and embrace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day

It was probably the most unusual Mother's day that I have had. We started out by going to church and then came home and packed to go out on the boat. With plans to leave by 11:00 we were on our way around noon. First we went south to the next village down the coast. We were greeted by several teens and children. We learned that the village has a school building but not teachers. There is a teacher that lives there but travels into the town we live in to teach so that she can help support her family. I don't know if the numbers are right, but the story is there are 200 children in the village and surrounding hill that don't have a school. They have a water system which gets turned on every afternoon for a few hours to make sure there is enough water for the next day. Yet, it was a orderly, clean little community. We met the pastor of the Wesleyan church there and have plans to go there for service sometime in the near future. I was afraid to ask, but found out church is from 6am until 11am.... quite sure sitting that long will be beyond me. Glad I have Maddie as an excuse to have to go outside some.

Then we headed north to see how long it would take to get to the village of La Souse. We drove there a couple of weekends ago and it took nearly 4 hours going under 10mph most of the way over extremely bumpy roads. So we were pleasantly surprised when 45 minuets later we were flying by it.... OK so that is the part that troubled me, the flying by part. This was the plan. Time how long it would take to get to the village by boat for future teams to do a medical clinic and then stop for lunch and some snorkeling. But we didn't stop... Lowell was having way to much fun flying in the speed boat. After several hand motions and confused looks, he stopped and asked our guide how long to get to the end of the Island. With a mixture of laughs and moans we persuaded him to turn around and let us eat!! We explored a new reef and saw several flounder, sea slugs, jelly fish, star fish, sand dollars and a rainbow of beautiful tropical fish. Cassie and I paddled around in circles an inflatable kayak (with plans to get to Cuba but we don't know why) and laughed at our lack of coordination.

We returned home tired and sore and happy. What make it a strange Mothers Day? It wasn't until we were getting ready for bed and Cassie hopped on to Facebook and saw all the mothers day posts that we realized it was mothers day... She said the traditional "Happy Mother's Day" but what made it happy was just being with her and laughing and exploring and living my life. The cherry on top was when just as Maddie fell asleep she looked at me and said, "Your my Mommy and I love you"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

La Source Adventure

getting passed by a horse

Picnic by the beach

Back seat of the truck

Wild life

Coconut juice

Village well


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Sunday morning as I got out of bed everything
seemed to ache. I went into the bathroom and sat down and had pain where I’ve never felt pain before. No I was not sick with some jungle illness. In fact it was self inflicted. You see Saturday we went on a great adventure and 8 of us climbed into a pickup truck and headed off across the Island. We were on the only road on Google Maps found on La Gonave. This is the best road on the Island. Well as most of you know 8 people don’t fit in the front of a pickup truck. So Robin and Maddie sat up front with the driver in the air conditioning. The rest of us sat on benches in the back of the truck. What a great time we had seeing the different parts of the island. We had a picnic by the beach and drank coconut juice and the kids swam in the “Caribbean ocean”. We traveled all the way to La Source which is three quarter of the way to the end of the Island. So that is about 20 miles. It took us 3 hours to get there. At one point a horse passed us. I’ve been on several farms and have driven on many tractor paths, they are like I 95 compared to parts of this road. I have a friend here who went into the mountains he said it took them 5 hours to go 20 miles and they got passed by a man walking. How we take for granted the roads we have even if they do have pot holes. So this was my reason for my pain. 6 hour of bouncing in the back of a truck with 90 degree heat.
So here we are, with it taking us 3 hours to drive 20 mile on “good” road and my friend Caleb 5 hours to drive 20 mile is it any wonder that our Hospital is only accessible to one third of the Island. Caleb got a quote from a civil engineer on building a nice two lane paved road going 60 km across the Island. One million dollars per kilometer of road, times 60 km equals Sixty million dollars. Anybody want to pay for this project? So our emphasis is going into the unreached areas with healthcare and community development. We soon will need to buy a vehicle to help transport medical teams and get training teams to these areas. A good strong 4x4 will cost forty to fifty thousand dollar. That is much better than sixty million.
If you like remote areas and love to help people La Gonave is a great place to come and let God use your skills to bless and bring hope to the poorest of the poor in Haiti.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I have heard a statistic that 7 creatures a day go extinct. That's a lot of "things" to never be seen again. So we have bumper sticker that "save the whales" and buttons for "save the elephants" Since we are continually fund raising I have been trying to think of a way to market a bumper sticker promoting... "make small rodents extinct" or "don't save large bugs". These are the 2 things in all of creation that I really hate and they both want to live with me. Please notice that I am NOT posting a picture that has anything to do with this promotion!!

Friday evening we decide to make pizza pockets to take on our picnic on Saturday. I opened that cupboard door to find ingredients and from behind was buzzed by a VERY large flying roach like thingy. It landed in the cupboard and as I screamed Lowell came running to my rescue. He started pulling out items to search for it. His plan was to chase it out of the kitchen and spray it with bug spray, so he opened the door below the sink to get spray and informed me I might want to leave the room. My mighty hunter found a long stick and "speared" a mouse. It was a very traumatic evening. We did get our food made and finally made it to bed. Sometime in the middle of the night I had to take care of one of my kids and then walked into the bathroom. Something ran across my foot!!! Now I am standing on the toilet yelling for Lowell, who says it is gone by now. I respond that I am not leaving the toilet perch until he turns on the light!!! Now Lance comes running to see what I am screaming about and as Lowell turns on the light a balloon goes rolling by..... I have never seen 2 grown men laugh so hard. I made Lance take my balloon mouse to his room and meekly returned to bed.... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Haiti Experiences

Madame Wobenson is a lovely Haitian lady that comes to our home and cleans several days a week. She is a widow with 3 children and this is a way that we can help her take care of her family. She speaks no English and I know very few words in Creole, which makes life difficult but amusing... We laugh a lot, at least that is a common language. Yesterday she cooked a wonderful meal of rice, beans, chicken and fried banana's. Today she cleaned my windows which included the window sills in my bedroom that still had quite a bit of construction dust on them. I was so happy that she did this without me trying to ask, I don't know the Creole word for window :) I walked through my room to take Maddie to the bathroom and saw her "sweeping out" the window sills with my basting brush.... it made perfect sense. It has a nice angle to it for reaching back inside the old challis windows and efficiently cleaned off all the dirt. I just had to laugh, I love the way we get to look at things differently then we ever have seen them. My windows look awesome and fingers or spoons will work wonderfully for basting. I love my life.