Monday, December 27, 2010

The Work Onsite Continues

Christmas Day and Magalie's wedding have come and gone but the work onsite continues. The men returned on Dec. 23rd to remove the wood and metal supports for the cement roof that was poured a couple of weeks earlier. Luckner, was ill for a couple of weeks, but is once again hard at work, with a couple of helpers, on the electrical wiring of Kay Timbrmart. Actually he has three helpers - JJ has been a great help. JJ loves to assist and likes to learn. A good combination.

Men back at work - 23rd. Removing the wood
 
Luckner working on electric in Kay Timbrmart
 
JJ helping the workers

Yesterday, 26th, Magalie was married. I must admit I did not want to go, due to the long time that weddings normally take here and and to the fact they usually start one to three hours after the time scheduled. I think my teasing Magalie about it had an effect as she arrived at church only 30 minutes late and that was because the vehicle that was supposed to drive them to the church did not turn up. And the service was 1 3/4 hour in length instead of 3 or more. Magalie was gorgeous. The kids not being used to seeing her like she was yesterday, did not recognize her at first. My kids did two songs at the wedding ceremony - one in English and one in Creole. Now she is Mme Appollon, but will always be Magalie or Maga (as the kids call her) to us.

Magalie arriving

Magalie's wedding
 
Kids singing at Magalie's wedding

All the kids were beautifully attired yesterday. Just before leaving for the church Ti Luc asked me to take a photo of him to send to Liette and kids. Here is the handsome boy!!

My handsome boy

Today, 27th, our teachers were back at the school preparing report cards to be given out Wednesday morning, 29th. Then school will be closed until January 10th.

Teachers preparing report cards

We all know that HATS-Haiti is ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN so I leave you with this photo of Karena and Jofky, my two youngest, playing with my swing sofa, giggling and having a great time. It blesses this mother to see them, no longer hungry and sad as they were when they arrived, but getting chubby, laughing, running around and getting into mischief. Life for them is no longer painful and lonely, but filled with noise and laughter of several children. I thank God daily for sending them both here.

Karena and Jofky

God bless you. Karen and gang

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas at HATS-Haiti

Haitians celebrate Christmas the evening of 24th. This year I pushed for the 25th but I was out voted again.

Christmas eve morning Ti Luc received a special Christmas gift of a goat. He was one happy little boy to have his own goat. He, however, was sad when he found out it could not come and live on our compound. This year HATS has been purchasing goats and blessing families in Haiti for people who wanted to give them as Christmas gifts to family and friends. Twenty families have been blessed here with a goat or chickens. People in Canada have been blessed with a photo of the people here with their gift. They know their Christmas gift is making a big difference in the lives of people here. A win/win Christmas gift giving. My sister and brother-in-law wanted to give me a Christmas gift of a goat which thrilled me. They asked me to chose someone that meant a lot to me and I did just that. I chose my special little boy who has been involved in all the goat giving and photo taking and who wanted one too. Luckner is keeping it for Ti Luc, with his own goats, and Ti Luc can go see it whenever he wishes.

Ti Luc & his goat (Gift S&D to Mama K)

Yesterday before Christmas dinner at the Kid's Home JJ decided they needed a Christmas tree for the occasion. He found a branch, put it in a can of sand, put it in the home, decorated it and placed toys under it as gifts. Good thinking on his part. The kids enjoyed a special meal with the meat of their choice - goat - with treats and goodies after. At 4:00 we moved up and had the gift opening by the big tree. Wow, my kids were blown out of the water by their two gifts - one came with Mandy and her daughter, from their family in the US, and the other came with the workteam with Liette. Thank you to everyone who helped with these fabulous gifts for the children.

Christmas tree by JJ at Kid's Home

Mirlande is seen here proudly holding her lovely clothes received from Mandy's family. Today all the children are dressed up in their new duds.

Mirlande. with gift from Mandy's family

JJ, Moise and Ti Luc were thrilled with their gifts of tools 'real' tools. Now they are awaiting to assist the January team with the work they will be doing while here.

Two happy boys

Have tools - want to help


Most of the girls got dolls and they quickly became great little mothers (ti mamas) .

Happy Ti Mama Leica

Ti Mama Karma

Today, 25th, I took six of the children for an enjoyable and chilly (for Haiti) early morning walk along the canal. The sky as the sun was rising was beautiful.

Christmas Day Early Morning Walk

Christmas Day Back from our walk

This morning we had a lot of people on our compound with guns, but it certainly was a friendly group. We had a visit from the UN stationed in St. Marc, led by Canadian Martin Gauthier. My kids were excited to see the big trucks pull in filled with men in uniforms with big guns.

Christmas Day UN visit

While here Martin presented all the children with a quilt made by retired teachers in Quebec. O Happy Day. The quilts are beautiful and will keep the children warm at night for this period when it does actually get chilly when sleeping.

Martin giving kids their own quilts

It was good for me to have a Canadian onsite for a short time today, the 25th, to be able to speak with an adult, and in English to boot, and to feel a little part of Canada was here.

Karen & Martin - Canadians in Haiti Christmas Day

Christmas here with my children is special but I must admit to having some longing in my heart to be in Canada right now. I am missing my family, west and east, a great deal.

Today there is another big special meal for the children complete with lots of fruit and chocolate. Now I am going to watch HATS videos with my kids that were done in 2004 and 2006 so Vladimy, Mirlande, JJ, Moise, Ti Luc and Josie can see what they were like four and six years ago. Should be fun.

Thank you so very much to all who provided Christmas funds and gifts to make things so special for my children. January 1st and 2nd are big holidays in Haiti, when they celebrate Independence Day, so your gifts of money will provide food and goodies again on those days.

May God bless all of you as you too celebrate Jesus' birth.

Karen and kids

Monday, December 20, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US AT "HANDS ACROSS THE SEA - HAITI"

Merry Christmas

May the love of Christ surround you as you celebrate his birth with those around you. Jesus truly is the reason for this season. As you share your time, your love, your food, and gifts with others this month, I hope you will also share Him - the one and only reason we are celebrating CHRISTmas.

My children are quite excited about our Christmas celebration coming up. They want it on the 24th but Mama has been hoping for once to do it on th 25th. This, however, is Haiti, not Canada, so perhaps my children will win out. Thank you to all who have sent gifts for the children, and money so I could purchase extra food and treats, etc. I plan on spending the whole day with them, fun, gifts, food, and enjoying being together.

Merry Christmas from my two youngest

Thank you so very much to all our supporters for your loving kindness to us in Haiti during this past year. From the bottom of our hearts we say T H A N K Y O U !! Without you - all of your love, your encouragement, your prayer support, your financial support, your giving of yourselves in many ways, we would not be where we are today.

Ismyis Mervilus

Thank you to the HATS Board of Directors in Canada. You have worked tirelessly and given of yourselves generously to make this mission what it is. I appreciate each and every one of you so very much. I could not do what I do here without all of you!!!

Josie Ysemenord

This has been quite the year - Earthquake, Hurricane, Cholera, and Very Corrupt Election. Many have not survived it, many have but . . . . Many are still barely surviving - day to day - hour to hour existance. Haiti needs help!

Dieunel Mercius

Here at HATS-Haiti we are doing okay - but that is thanks to your support. Most of the damage from the earthquake has been repaired, but not all. The administration building/my living quarters still needs work. When, after five months of sleeping in a small tent outside, Ti Luc and I could again sleep inside, the rest of the repairs needed on this building were not a high priority for me. Much more important to me to get the support Missionary House and the new Children's Home done. Hopefully both will be finished soon.

Judel
I have often spoken of the need of good support workers here. HATS has been advertising for a couple. Well, Praise God, as of this afternoon, I have a commitment from a couple to come for a week in January. Hopefully they will then return to their home to pack up and join me in the work here. Hopefully my 18 hour days/7 days a week will soon be a lot less.

Ti Luc

Proverbs 14:31 "Whoever is kind to the needy honours God."

You have certainly shown your loving kindness to the needy. You have been honouring God.

As we finish up this year may we all look back without regrets, knowing we have helped others in every way possible. May you all be richly blessed by our loving heavenly Father as you continue to bless those less fortunate.

Ti Fi (Orphena) Pierre

REMEMBER: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN


Thank you again. Merry Christmas. God bless you.

Karen and her Haiti family

PS you can see the rest of the childrens Christmas photo's at our web site.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More troubles in Haiti

I said more trouble lay ahead for Haiti and it has arrived. This year, an earthquake, a hurricane, Cholera, and then the election (that I call a non-election). Now we're in the middle of major upheaval over the preliminary results of the non-election that were announced last night. We were anticipating this, but its arrival is not easy. Nothing much is happening anywhere. Most people are remaining at home while the pot boils and waiting for it to return to simmering.

The pot started to boil shortly after the results were announced and today boiled over in many areas. One of the main objections is that the results announced last night do not match what the National Election Observation Council had reported a couple days ago. They reported voters on election day as saying they had voted - 30% for Mme Mannigat, 25% Mr Martelly (aka, Sweet Micky), and 20% Jude Celestin (the 'dauphin', heir apparent of President Preval) (as my friend Judith so beautifully puts it). Last night's preliminary official results said - Mme Mannigat 31.37%, Jude Celestin 22.48%, and Michel Martelly 21.84%---only 6,845 of the over 1million votes separate Martelly from Celestin.

The question everyone is asking is how much of the vote for Jude Celestin is real vs rigged? The 18 candidates have the right to protest the results within the next 3 days. Final results are due December 20th. Only two of the multitude of legislative seats have decided, so the rest will again be up for vote in the 2nd phase 16 January 2011.

Among the likely decisions the CEP (Haitian Electoral Council overseeing the elections) could make at this point, which one will it be:

1. Place Martelly on the ballot also for January making it three - Mannigat, Celestin, Martelly.
2. Keep it as is and have only Mme Mannigat and Celestin on the docket for January 2011? Haïti will be hot for a long time if they go this route!
3. State that Martelly did indeed receive more votes than Celestin and the revote in January becomes Mannigat vs Martelly instead? That, too, will cause a political furor.
4. Scrap the whole election and start over. Not very likely.

This may be the most crucial of elections here in a long time. Much of what will happen in rebuilding Haiti, hinges on electing of a good leader. Previous elections have been troubled and many corrupt; but the 2005 election stood out as the best run and most fair. If they could get back to how it was done then the January voting would have a much better chance for success.

Here at the mission we are all okay. We are tucked safely inside the walls. The demonstrating in our area today was not violent as it was in many areas of Haiti. Roads were blocked so nothing was moving in either direction, businesses closed, and schools, of course, still closed. Tonight I am hearing lots of gunfire outside and am hoping it is people shooting in the air.

Please remember that Haiti needs your prayers. Blessings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Greetings once again from troubled Haiti.

Haiti certainly is troubled. What a horrible year 2010 has been thus far, and more trouble is on the horizon with the 'non election' results due out today and the cholera numbers rising dramatically.

I say 'non election' because what happened on Sunday November 28th was certainly something that should not be called an election. Whatever results they give today are 'not' the results of an election. It will be the result of a totally corrupt way to put a party in place in Haiti - by using threats, physical abuse, fear tactics, buying votes with money and guns, and placing their own party members inside the polling stations to mark all ballots for their person of choice. Polling stations were supposedly open from 6:00 to 4:00. Many closed at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 because all ballots had been marked by party people and the boxes stuffed full. People who wanted to vote were turned away because all ballots had been used or scared away with threats of injury or death. And this is supposed to be a democratic country now. Yeah, right. Many Haitians will tell you that things were much better when they had dictatorship, because at least then they knew it was dictatorship.

The results were supposed to be released after midnight last night. They have not yet been officially released. Many people think it is because they are afraid to do so fearing the results of the actions of the Haitians who are not going to be willing to accept it. The country is at a standstill in reality and has been since the non election. Schools have been closed along with many businesses. People do not know what to do, where to turn, or where they will be really safe. Demonstrations were plentiful at first - most of them orderly - to say the non election must be accepted as such and another date chosen for a real election that would be done properly. Then warnings came from the government that anyone demonstrating - peacefully or otherwise - would be arrested. Two days ago a number of candidates for President and their followers tried to hold a peaceful demonstration in Port au Prince to show they still do not agree, but they were fired upon, tear gassed and had rocks thrown at them by Haitian Police and UN members.

The government (such as it is at this time) may threaten the people to not demonstrate but when those results come out today I think there will be lots of demonstrating and I fear not all peacefully. The people tried to make themselves heard but now they are feeling desperate. Desperate people often take desperate measures. I am not Haitian. I, however, understand where the people are coming from and why they are feeling the way they are.

While on the topic of Haiti generally I must also again touch on the seriousness of the Cholera epidemic. It has, as feared, swept the country. It keeps getting worse. To date almost 100,000 people have been hospitalized with it. The recorded deaths are approx 2,500 but thousands of others are dead who did not make it to a hospital. Thus their illness and deaths are unrecorded. Medical help continues to come from various countries. I still believe that medical help and vaccine are both needed. Again I say thank you for the vaccine that came to this mission last month, and to all in Canada who donated towards it. Due to the kindness of those people more vaccine will arrive next month when my family members arrive to help.

Now to the mission itself. The construction/reconstruction work on site continues. Most of it, at this time, on Kay Timbrmart - our new Children's Home.

To continue the work on the house we needed another load of cement and when the truck arrived it was too long to enter the compound. All 400 sacks of cement had to be unloaded on the road outside and brought into the storage depot.

Cement being unloaded from truck outside
Too, before the cement roof could be poured the HATS electrician needed to do the wiring up there. He had his apprentice JJ learning and helping. Note in the photo the electrician has a breathing mask pushed up on his head. Why? Because he was doing his electrical job and his plumbing job at the same time.

JJ learning while helping papa with electrical wiring
Luckner was repairing a broken/clogged sewer line from the Kid's Home and running a new sewer line throughout the compound from the Administration Building/Director's quarters, while doing the electrical work as well. Is Luckner - two for the price of one? Not really. He is 5-6 for the price of one. And HATS is extremely thankful to have him on board.

Plumbing work at HATS
HATS plumber laying new lines through compound

Yesterday the cement roof of Kay Timbrmart was poured. There were 31 men on site working and working hard, I might add. Some stood on a ladder for several hours passing buckets of heavy cement to the person higher than they were. Up went the full cement buckets. Now we wait 12 - 15 days for that to be dry before the wood can be removed.

The roof goes on
This week was hair cut week for the boys and so happy they were about it. They love to have very little hair - much easier on the boys and the ladies who take care of them.

hair cuts for 7 boys

Karena and Jofky, my two youngest, decided yesterday morning they were too hungry to wait for the other children to arrive to eat. They are so cute and just love to have time with their mama, often crying if I pick up one and not the other. My arms hurt a lot holding them both but I love it as much as they do.

Jofky & Karena too hungry to wait

Yesterday I had to keep the children confined to their house for some time to allow all the workers involved in the roof pouring to do their jobs. The kids entertained themselves with a game of horsey riding.

Giddiup Horsey
Recently I went outside to see my little Ti Luckner thoroughly enjoying time with his Papa, Gwo Luckner, and could not resist a photo. They not only look good together, they enjoy time together.

The two Luckners - Ti and Gwo
Thank you again for your support of prayer, encouragement and financial help. I am here, but in many ways so are you. It takes a strong team to do a good job. Teamwork is essential to touch the lives of the needy children. On behalf of all the people in Haiti whose lives are being touched by the HATS-Haiti Mission I say a tremendous thank you for being part of this team.

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT WE DID, OR WHAT WE SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW WE MADE THEM FEEL. LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL HOPEFUL, ENCOURAGED, AND LOVED.

God bless you all. Karen