Friday, April 30, 2010

Another week...

Another week gone.  Is it really a week since I blogged??  Yikes.    As the days and weeks pass the temperatures and humidity levels rise, and energy levels drop.   A shower makes one feel good for a few minutes.

Still no roof poured on the water tower.  This is Haiti.  Still no size 10 blocks that are needed to pour the roof, despite Luckner's finally asking for them to be specially made which would cost more.  Promises were given.  But . . . . .

No roof blocks.  No gas.  Extreme shortages on lots of other things we need.  It does not make things easy.  It, however, does test a person to see how much patience and understanding one has.  Things not available.   A continuing rise in prices.  The old supply and demand is very obvious.

While waiting for supplies to finish the water tower building work is progressing on the changes to the present Children's Home.  Walls are coming down and walls are going up.  What used to be the gallery has been closed in to be used as a bedroom.  What was the girls' room is opened up and is becoming the gallery. The entrance to the house now opens into the centre of the yard, towards this house.   The living room on that house has always been dark and hot.  We are giving it two very large windows for light and air flow. We plan chnages, too, to the little room they use for a kitchen.  Hopefully when we are finished it will be much more comfortable for the children and the workers.  When these changes near completion we will be starting the foundation for the boys home.
Taking Down Walls

Putting up New Walls

Ti Luc has been ill since Monday - very high fever and diarrhea.  Tuesday night around midnight saw us going to the hospital with him as his fever spiked to 41.8.  He was very ill.  Sure enough they had meds that helped bring it down to a tolerable level quickly.  Back home after a couple of hours and back to almost constant bathing.  Today, Friday, our wonderful boy is doing much better.  No meds have been needed today.  He is looking and acting normally.  Thank you, God.    Yesterday, Gwo Luckner, as Ti Luckner tells people his name is, spent some time with him.  When he was leaving Ti Luc draped himself over his shoulder and said  "Okay, Papa, let's go.  Take me with you."
Take me Papa

We thank God that all the other kids are well too.  They are quite excited about the changes to their house.  This morning I found little Judel standing inside the house by himself, with eyes like saucers,  watching the men work.  When they started breaking a wall to the boys room he let out a wail (that only Judel can do).  He was quite upset because they were breaking his room.  After being held by Mama Karen, and having it explained, he was quite okay.  Then he started running back and forth watching it all even more.

I am going to add a few photos of my kids and will endeavour to do so each time I blog.   After all, it is  ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
Josie - deep in thought



Teary-Eyed Ismyis

Thank you to all the followers of this blog.  May God richly bless each and every one of you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend is here

Weekend is here again.  That does not mean much here as one day runs into the next with the same routine, up early and go, go, go.  Same old, same old.

The plan to pour the cement roof on the water tower building on Wednesday was delayed again due to no blocks of the right size in the area.  Blocks needed for a roof are smaller than the ones used in the walls.  Businesses who sell blocks have explained that since the earthquake there is a large demand for the bigger blocks as construction is underway, but no demand whatsoever for the smaller blocks as people are putting on tin roofs instead of cement.  Why tin?   They have the idea another quake might hit and they want to wait and change to a cement roof later.

I want to see it finished and the tanks removed from this roof but at the same time, I have been thankful for the reprieve of many workers running around the compound.  I have been able to accomplish quite a few things since returning from PaP after seeing Sonia off on Tuesday. Too, I have had more time with my children.  For these things I am very thankful.
Thanks for helping Leica

Holding juice (freezie) myself

We returned to the store in Port on Tuesday with the receipt for the stove and the photos of what it looked like after the glass cover exploded.  To say they were surprised is putting it lightly.  They were shocked and saw no way it should have happened.  Well, join the club folks.  It is still totally amazing to me.  The good news is they are willing to take it back and replace it.  We will return to Port with it when we are able.

The kids are all doing well.  Josie was going through something for awhile but she is doing very well again now.  JJ continues to be JJ and continues to be in trouble regularly, but hopefully we will get somewhere as we continue to pray for him, and with him, and not accept the bad behaviour.  He does not really like sitting off in a corner, supposedly thinking about his behaviour, while the other children have a fun time with myself and Antoinette.
Giddiup Josie

Three beautiful girls

Three handsome boys

Josie & Ti Luc

I was tired of waiting for someone to help with some of the office work.  Thus I accepted someone here as my new office assistant. Well, perhaps not totally new as he might have been seen in photos in the office in the past.  His typing skills are not quite on a par with mine, but despite the fact that he types with his feet, he enjoys doing so and helping out his mama.
My office Assistant

Have yourselves a good weekend everyone!
Love from all of us here at HATS.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

People come. People go.

Sonia leaves to return to Calgary tomorrow.  We leave the compound at 3:30 a.m. to drive her to the airport in PaP.   We would like to be able to return home by mid afternoon.  That will still make for a long day.  While in Port we must return to the store where we bought the new stove with the exploding cover and explain and show photos and see what they have to say about it.   Likely nothing!

Sonia wanted projects to do so I gave her two, which she completed extremely well.  She cleaned all the tents, and I mean cleaned, and put them away.   They look like new, other than for the little holes in the bottom of some of them.  Mine and Ti Luc's have been in constant use for almost 3 1/2 months so it might take awhile to clean those when we again start sleeping inside.

Too, she removed, cleaned and organized everything in the messy supply cupboard in our office.  Wow, it has not looked like that since the first time I set it all up.  Now to keep it that way.  Yeah, right!

The plan now is to pour the roof on the water tower on Wednesday, since we are off to PaP tomorrow.  While waiting for the correct size blocks for the roof the floors in the new house were done.  I purchased some red, blue and yellow cement dye to add to the cement.  That makes the house look nicer than if it had plain grey cement floors.

Don Wilson (Dr. Don) of Comox, BC (& Calgary) is presently volunteering at the hospital nearby for a month.  Don is an OB/Gyn and his training and expertise is being put to good use there.  He has joined us twice to enjoy Martha's cooking and to see the children.   Don was surprised and seemed to be pleased to see the changes and improvements at HATS since he was last here in December 2004.   He visited Saturday morning with two ladies, Michelle and Tina, (OR nurses who were volunteering there from the US).  We had a short but enjoyable visit and they appeared to enjoy their time with the children and seeing what we do here.  I would not be surprised to see Michelle visit us here at the mission at some point.  I regret that I did not get a photo of Michelle and Tina.

I can't blog without bragging about Ti Luc.  Ti Luc continues to amaze us.  Yesterday he walked the whole distance from the clothes line behind the Kid's home to our place without falling.  Totally awesome.  Friday night he decided he was going to sit at the big table and eat like Sonia and I.  He proceeded to pull one of those heavy chairs out from the table using his hands - that's right folks, his hands - and then used one of his little chairs to climb on so he could put his little bum up on the big chair.  He turned and grinned at us like the cat that swallowed the canary.  Now he has claimed that chair and that spot at the table as his.  I have been teaching him that he needs to speak politely all the time - to say 'No, thank you, Mama'  and not just 'No'.  Well, on the weekend I told him he needed to go and brush his teeth.  He responded with 'No, thank you, Mama.'   I tried not to laugh.  I then told him, yes, he needed to do so and get ready for bed.  Again, I got the sweet gentle response of  'No,. thank you, Mama.'  Now what was I supposed to do with that.  First I laughed.

Time to stop working.  It is 9:30 p.m. I leave for PaP at 3:30 a.m. and am not yet ready to go.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Important - Email address

To reach Karen at the HATS-Haiti Mission via e-mail please use the following address:

Nothing sent to the Starband address has been received for a few weeks and, at this point, nothing can be downloaded from Starband.  The gmail address, however, is working fine.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Juice Business

Some of you have been asking me where is the blog.  Sorry.  I am too busy during the days and too tired in the evenings.

Work on the water tower has been held up due to not being able to find cement blocks in the size needed to pour the roof.  None in the area at all.  Luckner could not find any so he ordered and paid in advance for some to be made and delivered last weekend. Promised for no later than Sunday morning.  Yes, well tomorrow is Friday and they are still not here.  Visits to the business site in Liancourt and phone calls have not helped any. We are not the only ones waiting for blocks.

In the meantime work is continuing in the new house.  The floors are going down, cement of course, with some coloured powder to brighten it somewhat.  Hopefully next week we will be able to find and purchase a basin for the bathroom and get windows ordered.

Too, the country is once again out of gas.  We have only half a drum for the generator so I am using it even more sparingly than usual.  Businesses who need gas to operate are not doing anything right now.

The cost of rebar, cement, and truck loads of sand, gravel and rocks has risen dramatically.  There is a big demand for construction supplies and a shortage in the countlry, thus it is a sellers market.

Sonia, from Calgary, is here at HATS for one week.  She is making herself useful doing everything she sees that could help.  One problem with Sonia is that she is quiet.  I tend to forget she is here and have forgotten to show and explain some things to her.  Hope she doesn't leave feeling she has been overlooked.

Sonia sewing for Karen

Sonia with kids

Luckner is even busier than usual.  He has started a frozen juice business at his house.  It is called juice here and is similar to what we would call a freezie.  He has quite a set-up.  He makes it, bags it, and freezes it at his place and the sellers come to his house in the mornings to purchase to resell in their own little businesses.  He works at it every evening, and has people who are helping as well.  Ti Luc and the other children are on the receiving end of one quite often.  I have to watch that they don't eat his profits.
Juice ready to be frozen

Luckner's business -Juice going into the bags

The kids have been enjoying sleeping in the tent with Ti Luc often.  They obviously enjoy it as they keep asking to do so again and argue over whose turn it is.  They decided it would be nice to sleep in Mom's tent with her too.  I quickly put the kibosh on that idea as I don't get enough sleep as it is.
Mirlande sleeping with Ti Luc in tent

Ti Luc decided last weekend that he could now go pee pee, big boy style, all by himself, thank you very much.  He, of course, needs help with his clothes and he likes to get them all off, as he can keep his balance better that way.  After that he forcefully say, "Let go" or "Lage m".  He is quite proud of himself and so is his mama.  Another milestone noted.

Holding juice (freezie) myself

Nothing to report on the stove with the exploded top as of yet.  No answer at any of the phone numbers we have for the business in PaP.  One good thing about that explosion was that it proved I do not have a weak heart.  Good thing!!!

Blessings everyone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

Another 'Never a dull moment' day at HATS.

It started with an early morning call from the orphanage house mother, Antoinette, about a problem.  All I heard was JJ and I told her I would be right down.  No point wasting time and money on the phone when JJ is involved.  This time he decided to dump lots of sand in the sink where they wash dishes and wash it down the drain, knowing full well it would block the water draining system here again.   Thus, a boy named JJ was in trouble with his mama this morning.   Help, Lord.  Please pray for Antoinette and for me as we work with JJ and try to help him see that his behaviour must change.   A big problem is that the former housemother allowed him to do anything and everything.

Now picture this.  Walking nonchanlantly through your living room and glass exploding with a very loud noise all over the room and over you.  And the explosion sounding like a gunshot.  Maybe in Canada it would not sound like a gunshot but in Haiti, well . . . .

I purchased a new stove 12 days ago in Port au Prince, after dropping Bob and the group off at the airport.  It has not yet been used.  Actually it has been sitting in the living room since then because something that was needed to hook it up did not come home with us.  It still has tape on it. The stove came with an attached glass cover that can be lifted up for use and put back down when the stove is  not in use.  There was nothing on it or near it.  As I walked past it the explosion happened.  To say I was startled would be putting it mildly.  I was scared half to death.  The shattered glass covered me and the floor - from the front door to the kitchen door.  What a mess.  Luckner came right away as he was with me when it was purchased and I needed him to witness it before anything was touched.  We took photos to show the store where I bought it.  Couldn't get them on the phone today but hopefully we will on Monday.  Now this is Haiti.  Will they do anything about it??   We certainly hope so.
New Stove after glass top exploded

Glass top exploded everywhere

The last of the rebar work was finished this morning for the pouring of the roof on the water tower.  The plan is to pour the cement roof on Monday.  Luckner has been trying to book the cement mixer.  While that is drying the work will move back down to the new house to do the floors.   Lots more to get done but we need to get these two projects finished first.

The children are doing well.  Ti Fi is like a different child with Antoinette as housemother.  She is enjoying life and doing everything the other kids do.  She knows she is accepted and loved.   The need of  every child!!!  She is saying a few more words than just Mama now and has actually indicated she needs the bathroom.  Those who have been to HATS will know what an awesome thing this is.
Ti Fi & Antoinette

Ti Luc continues to do very well.  He is on his feet all the time, never sitting anymore, which makes things more difficult for me, but I would never have it any other way.   He sat for far too long and now is making up for lost time.  He stands and playfights with the kids and with me.  He kicks the ball easily and keeps his balance.  He knows if he is going to lose his balance and he tries to reach a wall or furniture that can support him while he regains it.  When he falls he laughs and says Oopsy.  I had the kids playing musical chairs in the yard this week and Ti Luc and Ti Fi played too.  What joy it was for me to watch these two walking around to the music, giggling and trying to find a chair.   Falling on the grass meant nothing to Ti Luc.  But joining in the game meant the world.  It was a first for him.
Ti Luc & Leica

The kids are doing a little studying this weekend as exams start at our school on Monday.  Wonder what their report cards will show this time.

Thanks again for everything to all of you, from all of us.   Until next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Weekend and Birthdays

Hello again from Karen and gang at HATS,

I wrote a short blog to go up on Monday but obviously my computer did not send it properly.  Another attempt here.

Saturday of Easter weekend saw me rushing to the hospital with Mirlande.  Most of you know that Mirlande has vision in only one eye.  On Saturday, JJ, who was supposed to be washing a pot decided to rub Mirlande's one good eye with dirty wet steel wool.  Her eye felt like there were still bits in it for a few days and the light caused it to hurt. It was covered for two days.  Not easy to get around with no vision in one eye and the other one covered.  Thank God now the eye has recovered.  Going to the hospital means a long wait always, but going on Easter Saturday meant a longer wait.  Not fun.  Please pray for JJ.  He is always in trouble and likes to hurt people, especially Mirlande.  Even if you see him do something he will stand before you and swear that he did not do it.  When a confession eventually comes he has no remorse.  It seems to mean nothing to him.  He just does something else shortly after.

Mirlande with her good eye covered

Easter Sunday saw us have a short service in our room at the school.  All who attended left with a sandwich and bag of goodies.  Sunday afternoon I introduced my kids to the idea of an Easter Egg hunt but due to the heat, no chocolate in the yard. That had to be kept in the fridge until after.  I hid candy of many various types around the compound - between the children's home and mine.  The kids had a blast.  Vladimy took Ti Luc around to find some and at the same time Vladimy found some for Judel who was sleeping.  If Judel had been awake Mama Karen would have needed to help Ti Luc hunt, because Judel would not have been willing to share Vladimy, who he adores, with Ti Luc.  Vladimy is great with Judel which is a big help to Antoinette, the house mother.
Holding the results of the candy hunt

Enjoying the Easter candy

Yesterday we celebrated birthdays for Mirlande and Leica.  We had a fun party that started in the yard but moved into the house at dark.  I am including a photo of the birthday girls with TiFi. Those of you who know TiFi take a look at her.  She is doing very well since Antoinette took over as housemother.  She has gained a lot of necessary weight.  She is moving around much easier.  She is starting to say a few words.  She is starting to let us know when she needs the toilet.  And best of all she is happy all the time.  She is relaxed because she knows she is loved, accepted and treated well all the time.  Thank you, Lord, for what is happening there.
Gift opening

Two birthday girls with TiFi

Ti Luc continues to move around on his feet quite well.  Yesterday I saw him walking around and kicking the soccer ball four times without falling.  Too, I am happy to report he is starting to use his hands a lot.  His newest thing is taking his clean clothes, one item at a time, carrying them into the laundry room, lifting his hand and throwing the clothing into the washing machine.  Seeing this is thrilling to this mama.

Today I had a visit from Jane Hogan from Steady Brook, Newfoundland and a gentleman named David from the US.  Jane and David are in Haiti, with some others, to do some assessment work on how they might be able to help with some reconstruction so badly needed here.  Their time in Haiti is short so I did not think Jane would be able to come my way.  But come she did.  She and David actually were driven from Port au Prince to this mission site in a hired TapTap.  It was good to be able to show them around and to share with them what HATS is trying to do in this area, and for them to see the present and proposed construction work.   I had explaineld to Ti Luc that Jane was coming and we would come see him and the other kids at the school.  We walked into the preschool class and I heard a yell of excitement from Ti Luc.  He stood up from his school desk, and walked directly to Jane and hugged her in welcome.   It was precious.  Sorry no cameras were on at that time.  Jane and David enjoyed some time with the kids while here.  Then began the long drive back to Pap.  Thank you, Jane, for working it out to come and see me.  Thank you, David, for coming with her.

Jane, David & kids

Work continues on the water tower.  The construction crew had a couple of needed days off over Easter weekend, but have been diligently at it again since Tuesday.  The days off were good for them and actually also good for me.  Now they are in the painstaking stage of preparation work for pouring the roof.  Luckner wants to see the roof poured this weekend.  We will see.
Jane, David & Water Tower work

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Easter Blessings Everyone.

How time flies when one is having fun! Or so the expression goes.
Time seems to pass quickly no matter what, but in Haiti I never seem to
see in advance that a special event or celebration is coming until it is
upon us. Christmas, Easter and other special events seem to appear
without warning. Being busy non stop, hot sunny weather 100% of the
time, no season change other than wet to dry, and no North American
advertising could account for my often not being aware.

Today is Good Friday. I realized late Wednesday that Easter was this
weekend, when both people who work in my house asked for Thursday off.
That would give them a four day weekend. Yikes. Easter!! Can't be!

Haitians celebrate Good Friday with a special meal prepared with fish.
Today all the kids and I were invited to Luckner and Baby's house to
visit and to eat a Good Friday meal with them. The kids were thrilled
to leave the compound and to play and eat at Poppa Luckner's. Doing
this enabled Antoinette to get a break and to enjoy Good Friday
afternoon with her family at home. As I write this all the children are
watching a video here at my house. Guess now I had better start
thinking about something special to do for Easter Sunday.

Good Friday meal at Luckner's house

Hungry Judel eating his Good Friday meal

Baby and Luckner feeding Ti Luc

Even though it is Good Friday work continued on the compound today.
They wanted to get as much as possible done on the Water Tower so
Michelet could prepare all the rebar in preparation for pouring the
roof. Too, they continued with work on the Urinal project at the
school. One small but important job was done, that of tying the rope of
the tire swing again. It had come undone and so the children could not
use it. Big catastrophe for them. This morning some of the Grade Seven
students arrived to start a clean up job on the empty property behind
the school. They desperately want to see it enclosed so they can enjoy
soccer games there. When the Water Tower and Urinal projects are
finished, water tanks are relocated to the new building, and we are
again sleeping inside, then we will be starting the foundation for the
new children's home.

Work continues on the water tower

Retying the swing for the kids

Judel and Dieunel happy to be swinging again

Grade 7 boys cleaning up the land for soccer

Construction on the urinal on the school property

Never a dull moment at HATS. Never a quiet minute at HATS. But lots
to show for all the work by Haitian and by Blan alike. Both groups work
well together and separately. HATS is reaping the benefits of your
generosity to help get things up and running again. Thank you for all
the support -, financial, prayer, encouragement and for coming personally.

May God bless you all as we celebrate the death and resurection of
Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
- Karen