Warm greetings from all of us at the HATS mission in Deschapelles, Haiti.
We trust you all enjoyed Christmas and New Years with family and friends and that this first month of 2008 has been good for you.
This update will be shorter than most because Karen is once again having great difficulty doing any reading or computer work. For awhile now she has been losing vision in her left eye. This means another trip back to Canada for eye surgery soon. She is not looking forward to being there this time of year, but it is absolutely essential that it be taken care of. For any errors you may find on this update, please forgive.
Karen's brother Don, from Newfoundland, is here with us now and he is helping Karen get this done, including some photos even. Luckner and Don are Karen's eyes now, so to speak.
Thank you for the special support in December for Christmas. Due to your loving kindness the children thoroughly enjoyed the 'fets', the Christmas gifts, the special meals, their new outfits, and all the fun and laughter. Leaving the mission compound for the Christmas Eve fet and the New Year's Eve fet was the highlight of the season's festivities for our children.
Karen, Luckner and kids opening gifts
9 of the children in their new clothes
Having Caleb, Karen's nephew, with us for three weeks, made it a very special holiday time for everyone. Christmas was very different for him this year, but he really enjoyed experiencing Christmas and New Year celebrations Haitian style. He fit in everywhere with everyone. He was one very well liked and respected young man, who many people want to see return as soon as possible. Here's Caleb helping to serve the Christmas eve meal.
We believe there was one glitch only in Caleb's time with us and that was him getting Dengue Fever on January 1st. Karen, too, ended up with it and neither of them could help the other. Luckner, and then Cecile, took care of Caleb and Karen for a couple of days and then Caleb headed back to Canada while still quite ill. The good news is that both are now back to doing too much again.
While Caleb was here we were blessed by two visits from a couple of Canadians who are stationed in Haiti with the UN. Carl, from Quebec, presented the mission with school supplies and soccer balls from Ecole aux Quatre-Vents in Gatineau. We were blessed by both visits to our mission and by the donated items for our school.
Mid December saw our school students and staff enjoying a special Christmas meal (rice & beans, chicken, vegetables, salad, and cold drinks) thanks to friends of HATS-Haiti in Nova Scotia.
Hungry Grade 6 children enjoying their meal
School Director, Luckner, helping to serve the meal
During December and early January the generator was broken down for some time. "No generator, no electricity." "No electricity, no e-mail communication."
We had no vehicle running. "No vehicle, no go." Then we ended up with no internet service for two weeks. Life is never dull and always challenging, which Caleb certainly can attest to.
A few of you have not yet received the photo of your sponsored students as they were not in school on photo day, and a couple of you are awaiting name and grade. Please be patient while Karen gets the necessary medical help and can return to work.
Having Don with us is a tremendous blessing. He is involved here, there, and everywhere - helping the laundry lady wash clothes by hand, helping the ladies who prepare the meals for the school students wash all the dishes, temporarily fixing the clothesline poles so laundry can dry, teaching English in the grade seven class in place of Luckner, scrapping and painting the huge entrance gate, and helping Karen with the office work. Too, he is a great help with Alexandre, who we don't think was actually lacking in attention and love, but Uncle Don is great fun to be with.
Don and the ladies washing dishes
Thank you to those who sent funds to help purchase an inverter and batteries so we can have electricity when there is no Haitian electricity and the generator is not running. The installation of this system was done by Luckner, with the help of a couple of others. To have this system up and running is a tremendous blessing. Dickie, come on down as now you will be able to have fans running whenever you need them
Recently Karen was informed she is being blessed with the gift of an air conditioner through a cousin. It is perhaps in Haiti already, most likely in customs in PaP. A decision will be made later as to where it will be installed. If it is in the bedroom, Karen will not want to leave that room, and that would not be too condusive to the work of HATS getting done. If we put it in the office, Karen will put a mattress on the floor there and sleep there instead. But will that see Karen working more hours again, than she really should??
We are believing that good things will happen this year. But no matter what might be ahead, the children will always be our highest priority.
REMEMBER FOR HATS IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN !!