Thursday, September 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

It was wonderful to get back home again. As anyone who has been here can attest to hugs are always awaiting your arrival. When I got home I was mobbed by my gorgeous kids ranging from 1-15 all wanting a piece of me. Later that evening they entered the living room singing "I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Mama is home, Mama is home."

I thoroughly enjoyed the three weeks in eastern Canada, NS and NL, with family and friends. While there I did a lot of sharing my heart about Haiti and about the HATS-Haiti Mission in churches and with groups. I was able to get to St. John's and to publicly thank the St. John's City Council (that was televised) for their generous donation towards repair and reconstruction of the HATS Mission after the earthquake. I was interviewed on radio four times and for newspapers in both NS and NL. I am thankful for all those opportunities that arose as Haiti needs more people to stand up and be a voice for those who are still living the horrible results of the earthquake. The media moved on to other disasters and not a lot is being heard about how bad people have it here.

I knew work was ongoing by Luckner and his crew while I was away. We discussed work in several phone calls as he likes to check things out with me and and let me know if anything unforeseen comes up. I must say, however, that I was more than pleased about all that had been in done. Very pleased, but also very surprised about one thing that he had done. You will see it below.

My first morning back saw my kids and I touring both compounds of the mission. I was checking things over and admiring what was accomplished. They were holding my hands, my legs, my clothes and anything they could touch. They were happy to be with their mama and enjoying my delight in seeing the changes that had taken place. We started with the main administration/orphanage compound. The foundation for the new Children's Home, Kay Timbrmart, is done. We are ready for the walls to start going up. It will be good to see that finished. Then we will separate boys and girls and will be able to add to our family with other desperately needy children.

Foundation New Kid's Home

The house foundation being finished enabled Luckner to go ahead and bring in many more truck loads of fill and raise the other half of the yard in the main compound. Another job done.

The footpath between the two HATS compounds had one small culvert with dirt over it to enable those who live behind our school to cross the ditch (ti canal) to reach their homes. The culvert was supposed to allow the water to run through it underneath the path, but it was too small and water did not pass properly. Luckner had the culvert removed and then had the construction workers build a cement bridge for them to cross. This should be done by the government but we knew that would only happen in our dreams.

New bridge to footpath
Ti Kay Sekirite

The children and I then proceeded to the school compound. They were quite excited, giggling and talking, and the older ones were telling the younger ones to be quiet and let Mama see for herself. Well I did see and I was very surprised. A lot of work had been done and then I saw a sign painted on the school. I stood in the middle of the school yard with my hand over my mouth saying "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh. I certainly did not sound like a lady with a command of language. The kids kept wanting me to say something and I continued to say "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh. " Ti Luc was jumping up and down with glee and saying "Sipriz pou Mama." (Surprise for Mama.) Luckner changed the name of the school from 'Institution Mixte Emmanuel Deschapelles' - IMED, to 'Institution Mixte Karen Huxter' - IMKH.

Karen's huge surprise

I knew he was having some work done on the school foundation - covering it in cement - as extra protection from the water. It was painted too. The toilet had been painted and new doors added. The urinal for boys and girls not completely finished inside yet and they had run out of paint before getting to that. The level of the school compound had been raised just like the main compound, with drainage. New water lines had been added. The school kitchen (inside room) now has a big cement sink with a tap for washing dishes and the huge pots. I will include other photos of school.

Secondary school
School office for censor
The special room for school & urinal
My kids then pulled me outside the school compound to see the school sign. That had been changed to reflect the name change. They were so excited about showing me the changes on that too. Luckner decided the school name should be changed and with the approval of children, employees, and many in the area he did so.

New school sign - My surprise
The young man, Eden, who does a great job with wood (a young Dickie) had been diligently working on the desk project. Our teachers need a decent desk with an area that can lock. They are now ready to be painted.

Desks being made for teachers
I brought the kids back a blow up gift (easy to transport) and they are never seen outside without them in their hands. Karena Mariah is still a little fearful of hers so I will wait until she is ready. Speaking of Karena she has come a long way since we took her in July. She loves it here and has blossomed beautifully.

Happy Kids - Mama is home
School opens in Haiti Monday, October 4th. We think we are busy now. Yikes. Luckner and I have a tremendous amount of work to do before school opens and after that things will be even busier. It will, however, be great to see the children all coming to school in their various uniforms again. My kids are ready for school to reopen. Am I ready??

Thank you to all our school sponsors - those who have been with us for some time and to those of you who are new. Before the end of the first month of school you will receive the name of your student, grade and a photo. Please be patient. One person can only do sooooooooo much!!! I want you all to know that you are making a big difference in the lives of the students and their families. God bless each and every one of you.

We have so much to say thank you for. Without all of you - the team members here would not be doing well. We can only care for the children, educate the students, and help the hungry and ill, when all of us on the team work together.

Matthew 25
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me."

Together we will continue to do all that we can to help. Helping 'one of the least of these' is more important than all the world has to offer.

Thank you again and God bless you.
Karen and gang

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My girls.

Finally here is the promised blog with photos of my girls.

I presently have seven girls, ages ranging from 1 to 10. This number will increase when we get the new Kid's home finished later on. I will start with TiFi who is the oldest and go down to the youngest, Karena Mariah, who is one. I will give a little info on each of them.

Ti Fi means little girl. She is ten. We do not know from which area she came. Ti Fi was abandoned at our school on opening day three years ago. Someone put her into one of our school uniforms, took her to the school and left her there. We did not know her name so we called her Ti Fi. We did choose a name, Orphena, and a birthdate for her later, but the name Ti Fi has stuck. Ti Fi is a 'special' child. Ti Fi does not attend school. She is, however, continuing to develop slowly and is steadily learning to say new words.

TiFi

Mirlande is nine. She was born in the mountains but spent a great deal of time in the hospital in Deschapelles from age four to seven months. Mirlande came to me through the hospital when she was seven months and weighed only 7 1/2 lbs. Mirlande is in grade four this year and is a very bright girl. She loves to read and has been doing it quite well for two years. Mirlande is blind in one eye. We are hoping to be able to find a medical team coming to Haiti who might be able to do eye surgery and give her a crystal eye.

Mirlande
 
Leica is five. She came to me from a town called LaChapelle, when she was four. Leica has a sweet disposition. She loves to laugh and play. She is understanding and helpful with the younger children. She adores Ti Luc and he feels the same about her so they spend a lot of time together. Leica is in Prescolaire 3 this year.

Leica
 
Karma is five. She came from the town where we are located, Deschapelles. She is our newest addition to the family. Karma quickly fit into the family and enjoys being part of a big family. She too has a lovely disposition and thoroughly enjoys spending time with Leica and Ti Luc. She too is in Prescolaire 3 this year.

Karma
 
Josie is four. She came from the town of Ti Riviere. Josie became a part of our family when less than two months old. Her father, in desperation and tears, brought her to the compound to ask me to take her and give her a chance to have a life. He had three other children. His wife had died 18 days after giving birth to Josie. He had no one to help him, no extended family, and wanted his baby girl to be taken care of. Josie is in Prescolaire 2 this year. She loves having Ismyis as her playmate and mischief maker friend.

Josie
 
Ismyis joined our family in February. She is almost four. She too is from Deschapelles. She is a lovable and energetic little girl who enjoys getting into mischief with Josie. Ismyis is in Prescolaire 2 this year too.

Ismyis
 
Karena Mariah is one. She is indeed a cutie pitutie. She quickly became a part of the family, thanks to my precious granddaughter, Mariah, who was in Haiti helping me when she came to join us. Mariah put a lot of love and time into helping Karena Mariah adjust to her new family. Karena enjoys trying to do whatever the others do. Hopefully I can keep her from following my two mischief makers, Josie and Ismyis, too closely.

Karena Mariah
 
It is indeed a pleasure to share my girls with you on this blog. I will include a couple of other photos of them that I think you may enjoy seeing: Karma & Leica and Mirlande & Karena.

Karma & Leica
 
Mirlande & Karena
 
Thank you one and all for your continued support. My children know that I am their "mama". They also know that mama could not do anything for them without the rest of the HATS team in Canada and the US. They know that without your help they would be living a very different life on the outside of the mission compound.

God bless you all.
Love from Karen and family.