Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keith. Tuesday January 27, 2015

ELECTRICITY” – the HATS soap opera – The Sequel.

Yes. We are back with the sequel and a whole new season.
In our last episode of the season on November 3, 2014:

“Electricity” – the HATS soap opera – update.

Our installer arrived this morning! Yes he did.
The old Delco is disconnected and the new Wilson is all hooked up.
Nice and quiet and efficient.
Flick the switch. Life is good.

Oops, we may have spoken too soon. For new readers you can go to this link to read about the history of the problem:


Anyway the electricity in the front part of the compound worked well but at the office and big house there remained a problem. Luckner finally tracked down, at least some of the problem, to an electrical short in one of the connecting wires from the generator. So yesterday he arrived (still dressed in his school teaching clothes) with a helper, Palto, to begin the replacing of the wires. He discovered that some of the outlets in the house were 220 volts instead of the standard 120V.

Stay tuned.

Luckner and Palto with ladder holders Moise and JJ

Karen was busy so Magdela was supervising Luckner

Where do you start?????

Last week while on a trip to St. Marc, Joan and Karen decided to go twacking.

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English defines the word:
Twack (Verb) To look at goods, inquire about prices, but buy nothing.

Well the ladies said they were twacking but they bought a table anyway. Karen said now that the riff-raft have gone home it would be nice to have a new table in the sun-room to replace the plastic patio table. It was an IKEA knockoff and none of the holes lined up but Jofky and I managed to put it together anyway.

Jofky and Keith figure out the new table

While the Maritimes dealt with a major winter storm, Joan and Karen enjoyed afternoon tea.

Sandra, they even saved you a seat.

Gotta go. A hockey game just broke out without me.

Stay tuned!!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keith – Saturday, January 24th – 2015

Last Saturday I was home in Montreal and snow-shoeing,
This Saturday I was playing soccer in Haiti with Moise and JJ.

Last Saturday it was -15C
This Saturday it is +34C

I’m not sure yet where I feel more comfortable.

Stay tuned!

Yup. Joan and I are back at HATS Haiti for an extended stay. Actually our last 2 projects were for 5 weeks which I think IS an extended period. Anyway, this trip is for 10 weeks which must be an extended-extended term. AND, Karen is already talking about having us stay longer.
What’s up with that?

Stay tuned!

We arrived last Monday and overlapped Karen’s family team by 3 days. Karen’s favorite sister, Sandra and bother-in-law were here from Yarmouth as well as Jim, a cousin, from Lytton, BC. It was great to get to know them and hear their stories and experiences from their earlier visits, including their earthquake memories. They are good people who have been supporters of Karen and HATS from the beginning. They are already looking at dates for a return tour next year.

Stay tuned!

I got some great advice from Dickie. He said Karen will swamp me with requests and ideas for jobs to do. Dickie says to only take her seriously after she mentions a job 3 times.
I’m gonna see how that works out.

Stay tuned!

We have had a busy week with full days, lots of kid time visits and some jobs started but not much completed yet. Most days start with Karen tearing around the compounds giving everyone including me orders on what needs to be done.

Karen telling me her wish list. I am just trying to keep up, take notes and not fall down.

Oops. That’s the third time today Karen has asked me to check the water tanks quantity.
She must be serious.
Gotta go.

Stay tuned!


Sponsorship needs

Hands Across the Sea currently has over 300 children in our educational sponsorship program from preschool to senior high.  Our sponsors are essential partners in the process of helping children get a quality education that will open doors to a better, brighter future for the country of Haiti.  The heartbeat of our school, the sponsorship program is a huge help to families who would otherwise not be able to educate their children.

Running the sponsorship program takes many dedicated volunteers as well as our staff in Haiti.  The process begins in late summer when I email all of last year's sponsors inviting them to sponsor again for the upcoming school year and reminding them to send in their annual donation.  In early September, our school in Haiti begins the registration process where hundreds of parents line up to register or re-register their children for the upcoming school year.  The staff in Haiti completes the painstaking task of verifying name spelling and confirming hand-written birth certificates.  As Haiti has two official languages, most people have both a French and Creole spelling of their name which can make record-keeping very challenging.  In addition, children usually have a nickname that they go by and the young ones don't even know their own legal name which makes things exciting in the first two weeks in the preschool classes!  For example,  child's legal name might be Ovilmar, Ricardo but the Haitian spelling he normally uses is Ovilma, Rikado and at home his parents have always called him Kado.

Once the children are registered, the handwritten class lists are scanned and sent to Canada where they are typed up in Excel and cross-referenced with our database.  At this time, we also try to double check name spellings and confirm if the child has advanced to the next grade level.  In October of this year, visiting missionaries Keith and Joan White took photos of the preschool children, the hardest group to organize and work with.  Did you know we have over 130 preschool students aged 3-5 years in our school?  Many of them are frightened of foreigners and have never smiled for a camera before.  The photo below is of a little guy who just would not smile!  When we told him to show his teeth in the photo, this is what we got.

In November of each year, I take time off work to travel to Haiti for a week to complete the photos of each child in the program as well as having each student write a letter or draw a picture for their sponsor in Canada or the US.  The children are very happy to write to their sponsors and take great pride in their drawings and letters.  Each of these letters is translated into English, then scanned into the computer and labeled.  The photos are also labeled then combined with the letter or drawing.

During my Christmas break, I send out hundreds of emails with photos and letters of the sponsor students after spending hours verifying the names of sponsors who have chosen to continue their sponsorship and have sent in their donation.  It's a long, multi-step process, but it ensures that our sponsors can 'meet' the children they sponsor and allows our children to express their appreciation for the financial help they are receiving.

We currently have 25 students who need sponsors, including this young girl.  If you've ever considered sponsorship, now is the time to do it.  Your donation truly does make a difference.  Help us continue to provide a better future for children in Haiti.

Thank you to all of our sponsors for your generosity!

Liette Wilson
Hands Across the Sea

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A very big thank you to Dickie, Sandra, and Jim.

You three are missed so very much.  I have wished several times Thursday, Friday and already today Saturday, that you were still here. Ti Luc really misses you too. I have never before heard Ti Luc cry like he did when the van pulled out with the three of you.  I had to hustle him inside and cover his mouth to keep all the other children from waking up too early.

Evening devotions and goodbye Dickie, Sandra and Jim

Ti Luc up too early to say Bye to our family members

4 15 a.m. Ti Luc is up to try and keep them from leaving us

Sandra, Dickie and Jim with security Daniel at 4 30 a.m. going to head to airport

Thank you for coming to help, for doing, for doing, for doing-  but not for going.

You are definite examples of  -    IT   IS  ALL  ABOUT  THE CHILDREN

Karen, Ti Luc and all the children

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blog for Tuesday and Wednesday


The kids were all pretty excited last evening as Keith, Joan, Daniel (security) and the bus driver pulled into the yard.  The kids were not the only ones excited...Karen was beaming too!   There were greetings, hugs and kisses for and by everyone. We had a lovely evening sitting in the galley having supper and talking.

I used 3 blankets last night!  I needed nothing until 3 AM then had all 3 on by 4:30 AM!  I am sad that I only have 2 more nights there looking at the stars as I fall asleep.

Everyone on deck early, as usual.  I am always the last one up and I am never later than 6:00.  We ate together for breakfast and then everyone went in different directions, as usual.  We will gather for lunch again.  I made bread this morning and am on for hummus this afternoon.  My work is soooo hard!

Physician Assistant staying in touch with Dr.Bob

Have had lots of people coming for food today.  They are very happy and thankful.

3 students taking food home to their families

Preschool 1 student going home with food gift that is bigger than she is.

Joan and Keith are off on an adventure today to Saint Marc to get groceries for themselves and a list of other stuff for the Mission.  They are going with Richard (security).  Hope they have stories to tell when they get back.

Keith is a BAD influence on Jim and Dickie...he has been here less than a day and already he has them lying down on the job!

Lying down on the job

Children's Home washing machine being fixed by Mr. Fixit Dickie.

A chilly night again and a scorcher of a day today.


We went to devotions at the school again today and then everyone went in different directions to get their chores done.

We had government officials here for lunch and for a meeting of all the employees at 12:30 and as I write this they are still in the meeting (2:05).  The kids are happy because they get to watch a video while all employees are in the meeting,  Keith is standing guard at the gate and the children's home.........meeting ended at 3:00pm and everyone seemed happy.

Afternoon walk

Sisters and brothers on our walk

Two of HATS brothers and a friend

Evening devotions and goodbye Dickie, Sandra and Jim.

Evening devotions.  Not much light in the house.

We are off at 4:30 am tomorrow and are hoping for great trip home. We go to Fort Lauderdale then Jim heads to Los Angeles and Vancouver and we head to Philadelphia and Halifax.  It has been a wonderful time here with Karen and the children and we will all be sad as we pull away.

Goodbye from Haiti

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 11

Another beautiful Sunday service with wonderful singing and a good message from Jim translated by Karen, to believe, repent and obey!

Ready for church

A favorite singing group

Karena with Sandra

We came home to take some group photos and what fun trying to get everyone looking at the same time.  After a while you just give up and take what you can get.  They are all beautiful whether they are looking or day dreaming or sleeping or rubbing eyes or pouting!

At least some are looking in the same direction

Back to more/different/same electrical problems today!  Never a dull moment!

Karen and I had great plans to accomplish lots this afternoon and we got off to a good start then the little generator boss came to fix it and she was needed, next we got all the stuff down to the children's home and started sorting when the barber came for haircuts for all the boys, then a group from the US who were at the Albert Switzer hospital came to visit and stayed a long time so not much was accomplished.  It is almost our regular bedtime and poor Ti Luc can't get in his bed yet, there is so much stuff piled all over it.  He will be tired tomorrow.

Jonathan and Jofky showing their new clothes

Modeling new clothes

Haircut time

The crew from HAS with their donations

Adriana from HAS with Jonathan

After a short visit and play time, saying good-bye

Dickie never stopped today from lunch time until a few minutes when he went to shower.  Jim tried to tell him it was a day of rest but Dickie can't rest when here there is always so much he wants to get done.

I made some "round and round chocolate balls" last night but they were round as we ran out of coconut and we sat in the galley and looked at some old photos of here and the children when they were just babies and reminisced and talked and laughed.

Cold again last night!  Hot again today!

We are anxious for Keith (Keif) and Joan to arrive.  We have been busy getting their house ready for them, getting the last of the students photos and letters done, kids we need for gifts, laundry and whatever else needs doing!

Preparing Keith and Joan's place for their arrival home

Dickie has been up to no good again! He (stuck with tape) a plastic cockroach to the wall in the kitchen and had both Karen and Germaine going after it with roach spray!

We had Haitian chicken today, we usually eat American chicken but we saw these chicken come home from market, get cleaned and de feathered and cooked.  They were little compared to ours but then the diet is not like ours but mostly cock roaches...yummy!


Our Haitian chicken

Jim, Karen and I spent time in the depot today and made a little headway there.  We found a dress up suitcase and then we quit working and took the suitcase to the devotion room and had all the kids big and little dress up and then march/dance around the compound visiting all the mommies and all the houses and the security.  Jonathan was not interested in anything more than a necklace and he decided to wear me instead and he is like a little hot water bottle. It was a lot of fun!

Checking the bins and organizing the depot


Playing Dressup

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Keith and Joan whose flight was turned back to Miami after 20 minutes in the air.  They are enroute now.

Kieth and Joan arrive at last

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 10

Ti Luc had a sleep over at the boys home last night and Karen had one with us on the roof!  It was cold during the night, I was cold and had 2 blankets on me and thought Karen would freeze because she only had one blanket although she was dressed like she was going to bed in an igloo instead of a mesh tent.

sleepover in boys home

We had an early morning walk along the canal and I had goose bumps on my arms at 6:30 AM and had sweat drops there upon our return home at 7:20 AM.  Once the sun is up the temperature rises quickly.  It is going to be a scorcher today.

Saturday morning walk

Almost back home

The dog house was enlarged today to include Dickie, maybe we should make it even bigger since Keith will arrive Monday and I am sure he will be in it too.

New larger design, sleeps 3

Jim, Dickie and Richard (security) have gone on an adventure today.  Dickie and Jim have a grocery list, 5 propane tanks tied in the back of the truck and a wad of Haitian goudes in their pockets.  They have gone to Saint Marc to get needed supplies.  Today is market day so it will be even more hectic than usual.

It has been an interesting morning here with Karen, we had hoped for a little quieter day so we could get some stuff done here in the house and in the depot after she finished an interview with the Nor'Wester of Springdale, NL.  Well, it is after lunch time and the interview is NOT finished and it feels like we have been in a tailspin since 8:00 AM with one problem after another.  I truly do not know how she handles it all, well yes I do...she isn't operating on her strength BUT on the Lord's.  It truly is amazing to see His hand at work here.  Just the other week when things were hard and busy and she felt like she was losing ground and all alone, this slip of paper slipped out of her Bible at her feet .  She picked it up and read it and sat and let the tears flow as she felt so blessed. Here is what it said : Karen, we have got your back.  We will cover you in prayer-your back is not left open, vulnerable and dangerous.  We have got your back!  It was dated September 21st, 2014 from 135 Main in Springdale.  She is so thankful for the support!

Afternoon was spent with Karen holed up in her office trying to get some important work done and I was running interference for her.  It was a full time job as a million requests came for her.  It was good for JJ because he is reluctant to speak English to us this trip BUT when he couldn't get to mama he had to speak to me so I kept him talking as long as I could.  He has good English and understands everything you say to him or anyone else.

Karen, Jim and I sat outside this afternoon and ate a mango.  I am wearing a lot of it!  Jim is wearing some and Karen has more practice than we do and she is still clean.

The five oldest cleaned the church for tomorrow.  It is used every school morning for devotions so needs to be cleaned every Saturday.  Then came a game of train with the 4 kids who were wound up and giddy today. I am heading to the shower!  Can't wait!

Kids cleaning church

Dickie here.
Jim, Security and I went to St. Marc to pick up some supplies for HATS this morning. Our first stop was on the PaP side of St. Marc to refill propane bottles. We had six good bottles and two with damaged valves. They had no new valves so the worker took his bike and my money and went into St.Marc to buy two valves. He came back in an hour with two valves and me owing him 40$ more.
He then proceeded to change the two valves. All he had was an adjustable wrench and a persuader to take a valve out of a propane bottle made in 1988. To his credit and before my patience wore out he got the job done and we were on our way.

Securing the propane

Next stop was a short distance away where we had to pick up a replacement Inverter, the one we returned two days ago.

We then went to the Grocery Store to fill an order with three lines of the order being something chocolate. (Wonder who wrote that grocery list.) We did pretty good and got most things but could not find flour. Turns out the flour was in bags marked sugar. We also did get the chocolate.
We were also to pick up a case of frozen chicken in Liancourt but the place seems closed more than open.

The trip to St. Marc keeps one on their toes. Everyone passes everyone else, on a blind corner, with oncoming traffic, on a crest of a hill or where there is not much possibility of a good outcome. Having said that, I find Haitian drivers to be courteous and polite. They will stop to let you out of a side street, they will warn you not to pass, and move over so you can get by when five vehicles occupy a space for three.

Karen here.
Dickie left out something important about the trip to St. Marc.  Several phone calls were necessary between Richard, the security who went with them and Dickie and I, or Jim and I.  At one point Richard spoke to me and said he was going to pass his phone to Dickie as  Dickie needed me. I said Hello a few times but no response. I could hear Dickie talking but not clearly so asked him to speak up. I was saying "Dickie, I am here.  Speak to me". I heard him say "I don't speak English'. Excuse me.  What did you just say? You don't speak English! I told him I do speak English so talk to me. I thought he was pulling my leg like Dickie likes to do.  Eventually he spoke clearly - to me - and imagine that - in English. He informed me that a policeman was talking to him and he was responding to him when I was trying to get his attention.  The policeman was trying to talk to Dickie and he responded to him in English "I don't speak English." Too funny! Dickie is not going to live that one down for awhile folks.

Keith and Joan are soon to return home and the nuttiness is going to get worse, I mean going to get better.  A couple of days of the six of us silly blan yo together will be great.  Now if I could keep the other three longer as well it would be really good.

Blessings everyone.