Saturday, May 21, 2016

Parties and More Parties!

By Mike and Nicki

Who doesn’t love a good party? Well, we have had lots to celebrate this week here at HATS! Each month all the birthdays for that month are celebrated altogether in one celebration. On Sunday we celebrated birthdays for TiFi, Jofky, Anne and Dieunel.

The birthday kids checking out their gifts – Dieunel, Anne, Jofky and TiFi

TiFi loves her doll!

Their traditions here are wonderful! The birthday kids sit on special chairs and are sung to in three languages! Then each of the other children get up and give them a birthday hug followed by each of them opening their gifts. Then there is cake of course!

Magdela and Markenson think the cake tastes really good!

After the party we had some races. The kids love it when we do this!

The races with Anne in the lead!

Just a few days later it was Flag Day on May 18. It was quite an event! The students gathered at the school which was all decorated with the Haitian flag, and along with a band marched along the main street for several kilometers waving flags. We followed along enjoying the music and the excitement of the students and teachers. Parents and neighbors were all out watching the event. It was great! Good thing the parade started around 9am though, as by the time we got back to the school a couple of hours later it was REALLY hot! It was so nice to see the kids so excited. Back at the school a meal was prepared for the students and the band continued to play while students danced around the school yard. I’m so glad our time at HATS included this very special holiday!

Students getting their flags and preparing for the parade

Leaving the school they first marched over the bridge

The younger grades marching

Some of the older kids really got in to the music!

Back at the school the band continued to play

The school was decorated with flags!

I love to walk early mornings.

It is very therapeutic and gets my day off to a good start.

Karen's early morning walk

Scene from morning walk

Life is very busy and hectic here.  It is not easy to keep up with the work load needed to keep things running properly. Thus morning walks are very important to start my day in thankfulness and appreciation.

man cutting and pulling strings from a sack so he can make a rope to tie his animals

Men about to enter the fields to work

Some of the time the older children and/or fellow missionaries to HATS are with me but mostly I do so by myself.  I love the cooler temperatures, the quietness before it all becomes noisy and busy.

Moto transport

Too, I love to see and photograph the beautiful and industrious Haitian people as they go about the start of their days.

Scenes of Haiti

Scenes of Haiti

Scenes of Haiti

I like getting off the beaten paths and seeing the people I have come to love.

Scenes of Haiti

Scenes of Haiti

Scenes of Haiti

I thank God for the honour and privilege of serving him in Haiti for the past 21 years and for allowing me the health and strength to continue doing so.

Scenes of Haiti

Women in Haiti

I thank him for all of you, our HATS friends and supporters, who make it possible for us to help educate the students and to take care of the children.


God bless you all.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Web site revision

Good morning Hands Across the Sea supporters,

We will be making some changes to our website in the next few days and our site may be unavailable for a day or so this week.  Please don't panic - we'll be back up and running soon.  We'll be sending out an update when our fantastic new site is up and running.  A big thank you to Lynn McKee who is getting our new site created!

If you are wanting to make your sponsorship donation please use the Donate button on the blog or the Donate button on Facebook. Both of those allow you to specify the amount you want to give.

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16th Gotta Love Those Teenagers!

By Mike and Nicki

We spend most of our time at the HATS orphanage, but HATS impact extends beyond the walls of this compound into the community as well. Sundays are a good example…we go next door to the school compound, which also houses the church. Lots of community children and some adults call this their church. There is a pretty impressive group of teens who have really taken on some leadership roles in the church. There is a rotation made up mainly of teens who take turns leading worship, reading scripture and singing specials.

Carrying Mama's Bible to church

teens singing a special in church

teens leading worship

some of the teen boys drumming

Some of the teens even came up with the idea to offer Sunday School lessons prior to church on Sunday mornings.

Sunday School on the porch of the school

what a crowd of kids!

Moving from Sunday school to church

One section of Sunday morning service

On a recent Sunday afternoon the teens got together for a fun game of soccer in between the church and the school. They were really good! Notice that the “soccer field” is a little rocky – that didn’t stop a few of them from playing in their bare feet. They kindly offered to let us play with them, but I’m afraid our skills weren’t up to their level.

Flora, one of the goalies makes a great save!

A great game of soccer!

I love it that the teens are providing a great example of leadership to the smaller kids. I’m sure they are watching and learning, because
it’s all about the children!

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 13 - It’s Raining! It’s Pouring!

By Mike and Nicki

May is rainy season in Haiti, or at least it’s supposed to be. That hasn’t meant much in the past few years though as they have been in a drought. In the Artibonite Valley, where we are, rain has eluded us for the most part until the past several days. The farmers are so happy that the rain is helping to save their parched crops. One of the major crops of this area is rice, so water is desperately needed to irrigate the fields. We haven’t minded the rain as it has come down hard in short periods of time and then we go back to the beautiful sunshine again.

Despite the threat of rain, we still like to get the kids off the compound for a walk.

Mama says don’t get in the mud!

Time to hurry home from our walk before we get wet!

Jonathan and Markenson – no worries on their walk

This morning at staff devotions we were reminded that rain isn’t always a blessing. Magalie, one of the house mothers, told us of her waking up this morning to her house being flooded and everything floating in several feet of water. She somehow managed to tell us the story with a smile on her face (and she was on time for work this morning!).

Once the rain starts it is probably a better idea to do an indoor activity, so we had some “library time”. There’s still a language barrier, but we are learning Creole and the kids are picking up some English too. This book has been a great help as it helps us figure out the creole word for things we see in Haiti that we don’t see at home.

page from a creole book

Library hour in admin bldg gallery

Magdala and Dieunel enjoying listening to Mike in library hour

As always in Haiti, the sun came back out. Why not celebrate with a little popcorn?! Because it’s all about the children!

enjoying a yummy treat

Thursday, May 12, 2016

HATS School IMKH Addendum

Yesterday's blog about our school was missing some important information.  Sorry about that folks.

First  -

A reminder that the cost of your sponsorship fees is $300 for elementary and $420 for secondary.  This was decided and mentioned last year but too late for your payments.  The cost of every thing in Haiti has risen dramatically and this is a necessary change.

Second  -

Sponsorship fees may be paid by cheque, email transfer, or paypal. You may make a one time payment, quarterly or monthly payments. Whatever is the best method for you and your family.

Sorry again for the oversight.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

HATS school IMKH.

Warm greetings to all our sponsors of students at IMKH and prospective new sponsors for the next school year.  Thank you so very much for making it possible for your student to get an education in Haiti.  Education is a tremendous blessing in the life of students and their families.  Getting an education gives 'hope' as well as understanding.  Proverbs 13:12 - "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."  Thank you for giving them 'hope'.

I am asking for sponsors to please send your sponsorship funds for the next school year - September 2016 to June 2017-  by the end of June which is fast approaching.  In July we must purchase uniform fabric and get this into the hands of parents so uniforms can be ready by late August.  Every student in Haiti will be getting uniforms made by someone in the community.  Many students do not turn up for various schools in the area each September due to their uniforms not being ready on time.  Our school does not accept students to start late.  Too, your funds are needed for some textbooks.  I ask you to please make a note that the sponsorship funds are due and send them to the HATS Canadian address Box 101,  Yarmouth, NS, B5A 4B1 by the end of next month.  Thank you.

Morning raising of the flag before school.

Recess time at our school

I did a blog awhile back stating HATS was undergoing financial difficulty.  It still is and because of this we do not have the finances to borrow from general funds to cover school expenses for the start up of school while we wait for your funds to arrive.  We need, your sponsorship funds to arrive on time please. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

This school year is quickly coming to a close.  Our school exams are scheduled to start June 8th.   Before exams though we will be celebrating the Haitian Flag on our 'Flag Day' May 18th.  Flag Day is celebrated by individual schools -students marching in uniform with flags, music and some Haitian dancing on the school grounds afterwards, followed by a meal for all students.

Last week we once again gave food into the community - starting with our own students taking it to their families.  Thank you again to all who have donated to this cause.

Food going from one truck to another and into the depot.

Food arrived for the school.  Everyone works

Our Dieunel also does his share

Packing food for our school into HATS depot

Depot looking better now

A mother picking up food

Grade 9 student picking up his

Secondary student carrying food for a Preschool 1 student

Two Grade 11 students taking community food home

450 students can make the painted walls of our school very dirty.  Last Saturday we had three students come join us at HATS to start washing the walls.  We saw a tremendous difference in one hour.  This weekend we will continue the cleaning job.  Hopefully more students will come join us in the work.

Washing the walls of our school

Thank you for all your help with the students in our school, children in the community and those who live with us at HATS.

HATS is      'A L L   A B O U T    T H E   C H I L D R E N '

Blessings everyone.