Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's All About The Children

We do not have a workteam at the mission at the moment, but the Texas team will arrive next week. We are looking forward to having David, Shane and Nolan back, along with others who are arriving March 3rd. Also looking forward to the arrival of Seth and Jessie Huber who will be travelling with the team. Seth and Jessie will be helping out here at HATS for a year.

Work onsite is continuing but it is slowing down. This week there are only four men working preparing to put up the wire fence so the children's homes will be in their own yard. The fence will run parallel to the driveway which will mean protection for the little children who like to run and play on the driveway. We will be putting a swing set in the yard for the children and a place to play basketball. The excitement of the children about the girls moving into the new home and the coming playground is running high.

This blog is going to be mostly photos of my children. Some may be similar to ones you've seen recently, and some may have been taken a year or two ago. I do enjoy looking at photos of the children taken awhile ago. I appreciated the comments and e-mails letting me know you enjoy photos of my children and would like to see more. Here they are.

The children are all well and growing up quickly. They are becoming closer as a family every day. I so look forward to the day, with the help of Seth and Jessie, that I can have a lot more time with them. That will be a win/win situation - good for the children and for me. They all have very different personalities and are all at different stages in their growth and development, but all are extremely precious.

For me it always has been and always will be "ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN".

Dieunel when age 3

Judel when age 2

Karena and Jofky

Karena helping out

Leica, not too long after joining us

Mirlande age 8

Moise (Moses) when age 7

 My seven gorgeous girls

Josie when serious at age 3

Ti Luckner Huxter before he could walk

 My Ti Fi after learning to stand and walk

Vladimy, when 14, with Judel

Beautiful Josie

Gorgeous Dieunel with mischief in his eyes

Gorgeous Karma

Ismyis acting shy

Judel enjoying being a big brother now

Moise growing up

My big boy JJ

My happy smiling Leica

My precious family

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thank you Brian, Aimee, Corey, Cherie and Jon.

It is amazing how much can be done in a week. You guys did a fantastic amount of work while with us and still had bonding and fun time with the children. It was good to see you come and difficult to see you leave. Thank you for all your hard work in the heat and humidity. Sorry Jon that you picked up the cold germs from my kids just as Jim and Dickie did while here.

You arrived to find Kay Timbrmart construction nicely finished but inside and out still a grey cement. You left with the inside of that house all painted with beautiful colours, which makes it a joy to walk into. Thank you for a job well done. However a slight disappointment Aimee and Cherie as neither of you took over Cheryl's job of providing entertainment by running across the compound in shorts and bra with your head and body covered in paint. Maybe next time.

Timbrmart House

Living room of Timbrmart House in blue

Jon doing Magalie's room in green

Brian painting Mirlande & TiFi's room pink

Cherie doing the room for Josie & Ismyis in pink too

Aimee, Jon and Cherie doing ceilings

 As well you, as a group, took care of several other things for us - plumbing, repairs, preparing pay envelopes, giving cholera vaccine, assembling furniture, helping Haitian govt employees administer medication to our school students, etc.

Assembling furniture

Moving furniture to missionary house

Batteries for inverter

Cherie - doing payroll envelopes

Govt health workers getting help from workteam with meds to students

Cholera vaccine

I finish with a photo of the Timbrmart team and children. HATS is 'All About The Children' and you shared your love and affection with all of them. Thank you.

Team and kids

A huge Thank You from all of us at the mission to all Timbrmart businesses who so very kindly donated funds for the new Children's Home which very soon will house our girls. May God bless you all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The last post, with the most photos, some VIP's and a letter for Elton John.

If I knew where to post it, I might write a letter to Elton John asking him to reconsider 'Goodbye' to be the hardest word, not 'Sorry'. And on Valentine’s Day too.
This will be a different blog. Yes, once more there was activity around HATS, which I’ll tell you about first, but since this will be our last post, it would be best if you heard from each of us individually.

- With the replacement of the switch and outlet plates, our part with Kay TIM-BR MART is officially done. It's SO heartwarming to know that soon seven little girls will sleep soundly in a lovingly painted, solidly built home.

Kay Tim-Br Mart

Thank you Tim-Br Mart for the house behind us

- School recess with the ‘Blans’ caused a bit of a stir. As usual, a hug to one HATS child leads to a crush of children you’ve never seen before all looking for the same thing. We were happy to oblige.

Brian with school students


- The workers saw the new cement saw put to work. It was an impressive sight to see and you could tell each was wondering when they’d get their turn. Demolition of concrete likely hasn’t been this easy at HATS...or around most parts of Haiti for that matter.

Cement saw demonstration about to start

Sawing one of the pillars

- Brian met the HATS student a friend of his (Leonard Cottreau) in Yarmouth, NS, sponsors. With Karen as an interpreter, Brian delivered a handwritten card, a gift and picture of Leonard and his wife. The sponsor of a child at HATS is one of the few opportunities to see--almost first hand--the difference you can make.

B w L Cottreau sponsor child

- We had a guest join us, Justin Brake, a freelance journalist from St. John's, NL who's doing a piece on HATS and traveling around to learn more about the country. This is the first time, he told me, he packed stuff in a backpack and off he went. A brave, good soul for doing so in Haiti.

From the team:
Well! Has it been a week all ready? We have experienced just about every emotion known in the past few days. H.A.T.S is a beautiful jewel amongst a troubled land. The love and appreciation for the things we sometimes take for granted is amazing. The TBM Team has done a great job this week painting, plumbing, teaching, learning and most of all playing. We have been accepted as family and it will be hard to leave our friends. Maybe I will have opportunity to return but until that time comes we will keep Karen and her family in our prayers. Her strength and determination with God’s help will continue the growth of H.A.T.S. to reach more people and help build leaders for tomorrow.

Jon feeling better

I knew this day would come fast, our last day here. When I jumped on the chance to come with the TBM Team I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t read the blog or Googled anything on what or who I would meet. I leave here with an overwhelmed heart and find myself holding back my own tears. Karen is amazing. What she has done here is mind boggling. For myself, there is no more complaining about 12 hour days, this lady does not quit. She’s a work horse and does this all for the kids. In my own self- awareness, this is what I have been blessed with to meet and have a chance to open my heart to these kids. Each day I was greeted with open arms with a hug here and a hug there. I would take each spare moment to play soccer, build tables out of scrap pieces of wood or just sit down with one or two kids on my lap. For me putting down this experience in a blog is hard, but the best I could do is just say “Thanks”. This has forever changed my life.

Wow, hard to believe our time here is over. As I sit here in tears after having said our last goodnight to the children. This week, being in Haiti, giving of myself, has been a dream come true for me. Something I have always wished and prayed I could do someday. I never knew it would be Haiti exactly, but I couldn’t have asked for a better more meaningful experience. The people I am with, the Tim-Br Mart Team, (Brian, Aimee, Corey &Jon) have made the time here with Karen & her children all the more special. So here I am completely out of my “box”! Right down to eating goat!! The thing I couldn’t have dreamed or imagined is, the way that Karen, the children & even the staff have touched my heart and impacted my life in such a huge way. I am so very proud to have been part of this work project, the painting of the Kay Tim-Br Mart House. The overall work being done here at HATS with many hands and Gods help is just so wonderful. These people and the children will remain in my heart forever. I don’t think I will ever hold another child in my arms without thinking of these little ones that have fallen asleep in my arms time after time this week. On a lighter note, I am hoping that my bladder will return to where it belongs and get from behind my eyes where it has been lodged all week.
God Bless, love & hugs, Cherie

The last day .......How do I say goodbye to everyone at HATS .....I guess I don’t , I say so long and see you later because I can’t help but come back . This place grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. What an amazing trip this has been! This is my 3rd trip here and it was a little over a year ago when I was here with another team and the earthquake hit changed all of our lives forever....but little did I know at that time how much we “Timbrmart” would change the lives of those here on the compound .When I returned from Haiti after the earthquake I was asked to give a two minute audio blurb of what had happened during that time and while the annual Timbrmart convention was going on in Miami, they played this audio and had a slideshow of images I saw on the screen for Dealers and Vendors alike .....what happened after was what shows me how amazing our group really is .....they raised over $45,000 in two hours that night . So approximately $65,000 later, here we are putting the finishing touches on “The Timbrmart House” or as they say in Creole “Kay Timbrmart”! What a blessing it has been to play a small part in that ! To the Timbrmart team that came with me: Jon, Corey, Cherie and Aimee.....You have made me proud to work beside of all of you .....You all worked hard and even more importantly you played hard too with children that will never forget any of you are part of their lives now just as they are part of yours
God Bless
~Brian De

Foolishly, I thought it would get easier the second time around. It simply doesn’t. I struggled for words like “miss you” and “you’re not far from my thoughts” in French, knowing for SURE I was mangling every verb tense. But in the end, they understood what I was saying; t-shirts were used to wipe away tears, both mine and theirs.
I’m hesitant to type more, feeling I won’t do the last week any justice, let alone the bigger picture of HATS, the work being done here, or how we’ve impacted the lives of children and the community of Deschapelles, Haiti. It’d be much like calling the Bible “a nice book”. Even as a team, we ‘shifted gears’ as I call it; relationships becoming more significant, discoveries made and small things learned and shared. The next time we gather together, the hugs will linger a little longer I’m sure. To those who donated money to help me bring Cholera vaccine: "Thank you" is hardly enough.

saying goodbye

This is what I’ll say: I am, once more, leaving HATS and taking in my heart far more than I could possibly give. Thank you. I’m a different person for having been here, twice.

To our families and friends, we’re coming home. We miss you too. You've not been far from our thoughts either.

To all who've read our blog, thank you for following our journey.

And if you want to know any more about our experience or how you can help, just ask.
We'll be happy to share. But make sure you tell us how much time you have first.

~Aimee (blogger of the HATS Feb/11 team)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How do you say 'finished' in Creole?

Today was a very good day: Kay TIM-BR MART is painted; white, pink, blue and one green room for the house mother. Once a little bit of plumbing is done, the girls (not the boys, a slight change in plans) will be moving into their new house. The boys will stay put.

Tim-Br Team and kids in front ofTim-Br Mart House

To be sure, there was a surge of pride and a wave of relief at not having to hold another paint brush. Then Karen walked in, looked around, thrilled and said sweetly: "Can you paint the doors?" Of course we can. Tomorrow.

They donate. They come and work

As usual, there was all sorts of things going on:
- Sunday means Church with all the HATS children and many from the community. Joyful singing and clapping filled the air as did wishes of 'Happy Birthday' for one of the teachers--in English, French and Creole. Falling asleep to the sounds of singing in the distance (mustn't forget the cows, frogs, crickets and constantly crowing roosters) has been a shared experience for us each night. Plus the community wanted to hear from the 'Visitors'. So we told them our thoughts about our visit here.

Sweet time after church

- More Cholera vaccine was dispensed.

Cholera vaccine

Vaccine time

- Corey kindly donated a soccer ball to the family next door--throwing it over the fence--and they were very, very grateful, this was after about 20 minutes of 'Crefranglish'. We think they had a book at hand to try to speak to us in English.

- Jon, not feeling well at all, was a good sport and held his own in a game of football and catch. Fingers crossed he feels better in the morning.

- Brian presented probably the best gift you could give any Haitian man working with concrete: a Makita GAS-powered concrete saw. This will come in mighty handy when they begin to dismantle the earthquake damaged third floor of Karen's home.

Ti Luc and Papa with their new cement saw

Cherie still works her 'granma magic' and puts the youngest ones to sleep mere moments after she picks them up. Corey is spending copious amounts of time with the kids and surprising himself at how easy the connection is to make with them (they don't give you the choice, really). Brian continues to be the jack-of-all-things HATS, wending his way through a myriad of repairs of this, that and the next thing. Jon will likely hopefully be up for football in a big way tomorrow. Guaranteed Vladimy, JJ and Moise will come looking for him.

And me? Well, I just keep listening for things to type on the blog, painting, spending time with the kids hoping to make my mark somehow with them.

Last day is tomorrow. :( "Can someone hand me some kleenex, please..."

Good night.
Thanks for following our journey.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oodles of photos and yes, more painting.

Not a hint of a breeze came through Kay TIM-BR MART today.
Whether you were edging the ceilings (Brian), the floors (Aimee), smack in the middle painting walls (Corey, Jon) or evening painting window trim (Cherie)....nothing. But, we'll not complain too loudy or for long. The HATS workers were slugging cement for the new pathways and it was 30 plus C outside.
Of course, plenty of other things happened too (it's like a beehive, this place):

Pretty in pink

Cherie painting with pink too

Jon doing a room in green

Brian and Jon fixed a crucial plumbing problem at the school: the yard tap where students get their water. Then there were laundry plumbing issues repaired, wooden classroom dividers repaired... Little things that sometimes pile up (particularly the plumbing problems) and cause headaches. Makes you realize how vulnerable HATS can be.

Arrival of inverter and batteries

Jon and Corey Twa moving furniture

We also administered Cholera vaccine into the community and learned that Cholera will be in this country for a while. Sadly, goats and other animals are the 'canaries in the Haitian coal mine': they're found near the canal/rivers they drank from. Once more, upon entering the compound, a little shot of Chlorox to rinse your hands.

Time to buy water again

Two things caused a flurry of good activity with the kids: beach and soccer balls, courtesy of Corey: "I didn’t know they [beachballs] were going to be such a hit. The 16 soccer balls were donated by Sarah, a 14-year-old from Fort St. John who has taken it upon herself to collect and donate jerseys and soccer balls to third world countries. Sarah, thank you. Your efforts brought plenty of joy today.”
Yay! Dried cement allowed evening football with Corey and Jon. Jon gave the kids a run for their money and scored four goals.

Getting ready to play soccer with donated ball

So as another day comes to a close, I believe what's slowly creeping in is our departure. What I can say for sure is that somehow, in some way, we'll leave here different than when we arrived. And speaking for myself, I'm already missing the children and preparing for a small part of my heart to break when the truck drives away.

Bonding time

More bonding

TiFi likes her helmet

Today, Cherie commented: "It's my hope that I manage to touch their hearts in some small way, the way that they have touched mine--in a major way." ~Cherie MacDonald

Well said.

Good night and thanks for following our journey.