Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Greetings from hot and humid, Haiti,

- that these days has become too horrendous to handle. Honestly!
By 6:00 a.m. it is hot. By 8:00 I am very much in need of the second shower of the day. By 9:00 it does not matter if I showered or not because I sure don't look like it or feel like it, but neither does anyone else. So who cares.

I do. And in two days I get to leave this horrible heat for a short time. Thank you, God, I say. I am going to the most wonderful area of the world - Nova Scotia and then Newfoundland. Does not get much better than than in my book!! I will visit with family and friends but I will also be working for HATS. I will be sharing my heart on Haiti and the HATS mission on many occasions.

I will not be blogging as often but I do plan to do the promised blog on my girls while away. And I just might blog on some other interesting things. So stay tuned folks. You just never know!

I recently took photos of the outside of the HATS Mission for Mr Wonderful Dickie so decided I should share one with you folks. Actually I think it looks quite nice.

HATS Mission - Both Compounds

I knew we were going to get the foundation for the new Kid's Home, Kay Timbrmart, started early on Monday so Sunday after church I had Vladimy, JJ and Moise start moving some of the rebar pillars already prepared to another area of the compound. They were quite willing to do so in anticipation of the new house getting underway.

Willing helpers

The digging for the foundation did get started Monday morning and today Tuesday they were already mixing and pouring cement to hold some of the rebar.

Foundation for Kid's Home is started

Digging out for the foundation

Cement mixing for rebar in foundation

Rebar being cemented in already

School.

It is almost that time again and I am so very thankful to God that I am getting away to eastern Canada before school reopens, in October, this year. Due to all the schools lost in the earthquake, etc the government has announced that schools will reopen in October. Without getting away I might not be able to face the opening of our school again. School opening means tons of preparation work. For the past two years I have said that I cannot face another reopening of school without having support missionaries here with me. Well, guess what. That is not yet a reality but I have the preparation work well underway. I have pulled in Martha, Antoinette and Vladimy to help me. It is 10:30 p.m. as I write this and Antoinette and Vladimy are still here helping cut, fold and sort the three different kinds of fabric to give parents of sponsored students tomorrow morning. I am not looking forward to tomorrow at all, but God will see me through it once again.

Huge task - Uniforms for sponsored students

I will be set up at the school to receive all parents. All textbooks from last year must be returned tomorrow before I give fabric and sewing funds for the uniforms for this year. Recording all names and grades and keeping it straight and organized is a huge job and especially for me with the spelling of the names, etc. Besides, some of the students go by a couple of different names. O fun and games tomorrow. Anyone want to come and give me a hand?

Great news today about our HATS School. The results came out today on the government exams for grades six and nine. All schools, including HATS, were prepared for other than stellar results due to the earthquake and how that affected all teachers and students. I am thrilled to report that our school did extremely well again this year. We had only one student in grade six who did not pass and five in our grade nine class. Our results again are better than other schools in our area. We are pleased and we are very thankful.

Thank you to all who have sent in your sponsorship funds. The fees are being put to use for your students. We have already spent a lot of money on uniform fabric and are preparing to purchase textbooks.

All the HATS children continue to do well. I had told you that our littlest one was to be named Tayanna Mariah. We have decided to change her name to Karena Mariah. Luckner will be working on a birth certificate for her while I am away. On Sunday I spent some time with the kids and took some photos of them to share with you. In the photo of the girls there are two missing - Ti Fi and Ismyis. In the photo of the boys there is one missing - Vladimy. Hopefully next time I do groups I will have them all with me. They decided to have me sit down with Karena while they took photos of the two of us. I told them the best photo of Karena and I would go on the blog and here it is. It was taken by JJ.

Five of my six handsome boys

Five of my seven beautiful girls

Mama Karena & Karena Mariah

Too, we have a new girl added to our family. Karma is five and another student for our prescolaire class. This year I have six in prescolaire. Almost enough for our own class. Anyone interested in sponsoring Karma please let me know.

Our newest one - Karma

Again, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for all the love and support that comes to HATS. Thank you to those who have come and are returning, and to all who plan to come for the first time. Thank you for your encouraging words that keep me going. I can't do any of this without you. HATS would not be HATS without all of you. Together we are a great team! Jesus is our leader and our defender and we all play equally as team members. Haiti needs our team. Let's keep playing together to help as many children as possible. Let's help make a change where needed.

"Remember one person's life being changed is more important than all the material things the world has to offer."

God's richest blessings to you all.
Karen

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hello from all of us at HATS once again.

Time for a short blog again so you know we are okay here.

The children are doing fine. We had a short, two day, visit from a young woman from my home town in Newfoundland, Rana Saunders. The children had been missing Mariah and Beate's attention so they were glad to have Rana play with them. Rana has been coming to the DR to help the needy every summer for years after university finished. While there she has also come to Haiti for awhile every year. This year we were finally able to connect here at the HATS mission site.

Springdale girl Rana with kids

Last week Luckner had two men digging so we could put in another septic tank. They quickly hit water which made the digging process very difficult. What a dirty and difficult job they had. The rented pump did not work so Luckner brought his own smaller one which he hooked up. It would take out water but the hole by then had become mostly mud. We ended up covering the hole for safety of the children until Luckner returns.

Digging through the water.

Shovel won't do it , hands will
Little pump good for water not for mud.

Before Luckner took a week's vacation to Canada, we went to PAP in search of parts for the generator and the man who had repaired and serviced it last year. We had no idea whether or not he had survived the earthquake. We were thrilled to find parts we needed and the repair man. He came and spent two days working on the generator. This is a much better way to go than having to take the generator to PAP to be fixed. Once doing that was enough for us.

Serving hungry, thirsty generator workers
Generator repairs

Luckner recently brought Ti Luc a large amount of the small sweet bananas that he had grown in his garden. Ti Luc was determined to take some for himself before sharing with the Kid's Home. As we watched he did actually remove some from the stem and then tried to figure out to place one in his mouth by himself. It was fun to watch him.

I want one of those bananas now
Got it. How do I eat it

Yesterday Sunday, the children were playing in the sand box. They decided to make a special cake for Sunday dinner and called me to come take a photo to share with people. So I am doing just that.

Sandbox birthday cake
advanced version of the cake

I told you last time about Ti Fi falling and getting her chin stitched at the hospital close by. It was a never ending battle to keep her hands from ribbing out the stitches. Dirty hands I might add and I was very concerned about infection. Thus I started putting diapers and socks on her hands and using duct tape to secure it. She worked hard at removing it with her teeth. Anyway, yesterday morning our dear Ti Fi fell on her chin again. Ouch. I heard the screams and did not get out the door before I saw Antoinette coming with Ti Fi covered in blood. I was able to stop the flow and re-bandage it again, but I told Antoinette I thought stitches had broken and could be infected. Ti Fi was on antibiotics I might add. She returned to Kid's Home with Antoinette and sat in kitchen next to Magalie as breakfast was being prepared before Sunday School. Can you imagine this - Ti Fi fell again while sitting on a little chair and hit her chin on the cement floor once more. It happened too quickly for Magalie to catch her. Up here again and this time it took longer to get things under control and bandaged again. I knew that going to the hospital on Sunday would be useless so I did what I could. She was watched carefully all day. This morning she had an appointment at the hospital and Antoinette took her. The doctor said the stitches had released and it was infected. They re-bandaged her chin and she just arrived back home. I am to change the bandage daily. I have decided to put Germaine in charge of watching Ti Fi until the wound heals so Antoinette and Magalie can look after the other children and still get a day off. Never a dull moment for sure. Ti Fi's seizures are happening more often these days. Her medication has been increased but I am wondering if perhaps it should be changed. The good news about Ti Fi, however, is that she is slowly and steadily developing. She is saying more words all the time and she is showing us a slow and steady improvement in comprehension. We give God thanks for this.

Ti Fi taped up for healing and safety
 
Thank you and blessings everyone. Karen

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thank you Mariah and Beate.

Saying thank you does not seem enough but what else can I say!! Well, I can say "Come again", and I know you will. I can say you are both missed a great deal today, and you are. I can say you were a big help and you certainlywere.

Mariah, I am very proud of you. You worked two jobs along with going to school, and saved your money to buy a plane ticket to Haiti, to come and help. You have a big heart to help others in need and it shows. You are sensitive - well not the cry easy sensitive type like Beate and myself - but you are sensitive to the needs of others.

Mariah with Ti Luc & Tayanna

You were a big help in many areas but especially with Ti Luc, and with our newest one - your namesake Tayanna Mariah. Ti Luc knew you had left yesterday but this morning he was asking for you and for Beate. Wishful thinking!! He was quite excited today when he saw the photo on the computer of you lying on sofa with both him and Tayanna.

Beate, I cannot believe that we have not known each other for years. Wow. How awesome it is when two people click like we did. You were a great help with Ti Luc too, and with the other children. The tasks you accomplished have made things a lot easier for me. Thank you for all the encouragement and support as a friend. I know I truly have another 'friend'.

Beate & Karen

Saying "Never a dull moment at HATS" truly is an understatement. What would I do with a calm and quiet day?? Actually, I know what. I would take my Bible, my journal, and another book up to the roof and enjoy time alone. It is in my dreams!! This morning 6:30 I heard crying from the Kid's Home that sounded serious so off I ran. Almost bumped into JJ who was running to get me. Ti Fi had taken another fall (happening a lot again lately) and had split her chin badly. One look and I decided it was not a job for Dr. Mom but for a real doctor. Antoinette, Ti Fi and I were quickly off to the hospital. Thank you, God, for the very dependable vehicle outside the door. Back home at 2:00 p.m with the chin stitched up and bandaged. Problem. Ti Fi does not want tthe bandage there and rips it off then proceeds to pick at it with dirty fingers. Yikes. I rebandaged several times since the hospital did it. This last time I also gently tied her hands together with a roll of bandage gauze. How long will it help? My guess is - not long enough.

TiFi stitched up after another fall

Saturday Mariah, Beate, and I, with four of our kids went to Pont Sonde to visit friends I had not seen for far too long due to my work schedule. Lot of hugs were passed back and forth. While there we saw something we were not willing to hug and did not fit in the friend category. A big spider of the colourful fuzzy variety that I see too often here - tarantula. (This photo is for you, Blair. It was on the wall in the corner of a bedroom.) One hour ago outside my kitchen door I saw another one that I prefered not allowing to come inside. Thus I called my security agent to 'take care of it'. He did not need the 12 gauge and a bullet todo so, but if they keep getting bigger he might some day. If he had not taken care of it I would have myself!! Truly I would. All of you who have known me for years should be proud of how far I have come. I am. Years ago I would run screaming if any kind of insect even touched my clothing. God showed his sense of humour when he sent me here. Too bad Mariah and Beate had left my house before seeing that thing so close to my kitchen. They would have slept tied to the ceiling.

Tarantula on wall at friends' place

Tarantula outside Karen's house

There are no 'ifs' about God! HE IS GOOD ALL THE TIME !! On our way back from taking Mariah and Beate to the airport yesterday I saw a sign on a car windshield and I could not resist a photo. It gave me a good chuckle.

Seen on a car in St. Marc

On Thursday Luckner heads to Canada for a week's visit with friends in Montreal. He is back for one week and then I head east to spend time with loved ones and to share about the work at HATS. O happy, happy day when my feet touch NS and NL soil again.

Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart. I can't do anything here without all of you. We are in this together to make a difference in the lives of needy children. Changing lives - one child at a time!!


 Main compound sign

Sign 2nd compound - school

God bless you all. Karen

Monday, August 9, 2010

My last blog in Haiti

As we walked across the compound this evening to say good-bye to the kids, I turned to Mariah and said "wow, I just can't believe that we are leaving tomorrow." I know that's what we all feel after an adventure of any sort, or even after a week at work. But this time, I really can't put my mind to the fact that I have only spent such a short time here at HATS, yet feel like I have known Karen and Mariah...the kids...the team...forever. Especially Karen. I love her to bits, and feel such a strong bond with her. It is a wonderful thing to meet someone and truly connect in all kinds of ways. We have shared many, many laughs, joys and even some tears this week (that's not news for Beate's friends...but guess what? Karen's the same way....ha ha ha ha...I love it!).
And Mariah's always there to hand out the "Disses." I'm sure we will never look at pancakes the same way again...thanks Mariah for catching my mistake (confusing 6 tablespoons of baking soda with 6 tablespoons of baking powder!). Imagine serving that up to Karen's next team of workers!!!!
I have been so fortunate to have had quite a few unexpected off compound experiences here such as going to the market; going to the bank; visiting neighbours and friends and today we went to the river for a wonderful swim...23 kids and 5 adults plus a huge pot of rice and beans....chicken legs....drinks...plates etc. all piled into two trucks...quite comfortably, I might add :) Karen wanted to thank and reward the kids from the community that always show up to Sunday School...and boy, were they ever excited. Each of the kids received a pair of shorts and top that were donated, and I handed out toothbrushes to them that were donated by my dentist (thanks Dr. Katz...he sent a huge box of toothbrushes with me).

Bank trip to St. Marc

playing musical chairs

visiting another school

loading up rice and beans

filling up the truck

yep it's full

 yeah...tootbrushes

I do have to say that one of my favourite things during my stay here, besides hugging, smooching and playing with the kids,and eating Marta's fabulous cooking, was listening to Karen's stories. This woman really needs to write a book, or have someone write her stories down. What a tremendous life she has had, filled with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (hopefully you all know Clint Eastwood and are whistling the tune right now :) but mostly good. She has devoted her life to helping others, and in doing so has allowed someone like me to come here to learn, and to grow, and to open. For that, I am forever grateful. I know in my heart, that I have started a wonderful friendship and that I have extended my family some more. Karen, you know I won't be able to express to you how much you mean to me....you'll get it with my hugs :) With much love....Beate.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

a picture is worth a thousand words

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are the thousand words in some photos I took.
Beate

Devotion in the Mornings or Church on Sunday

Then we have summer school

Then we have play time...

...Or we get haircuts..right Judel...

Judel...well...has his own stlye of playtime

Market Day is Wednesday

We need to go to get more pipes

Ti Luc thinks these pipes will do just fine

The people dry their rice right on the road

Mariah is buying our water

Sweeping out the new house for the future missionary couple

The pediatric area at Albert Schweitzer Hospital.

We got to see some newborns

Sometimes at night we go for a walk along the canal

 Or we hire taxi's to visit friends

Marta and Beate at her house

Singing songs for bedtime at the children's home

Getting security ready. Hey, only ONE bullet!!!!!