Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome back Mariah. Welcome to HATS Lucie.

Yesterday Luckner and I made a fast trip to Port-au-Prince to pick up Mariah who has returned for another four months, Yeah! and her friend, Lucie, who is here for one week. I had just managed to talk my way into the airport to look for them, and try to help, when I heard Mariah call me. They had their luggage and were heading out. We headed quickly to the truck where Luckner was waiting, loaded the luggage, and headed off.

The young ladies are in Haiti

It was nice to be able to take a second photo of the girls - this time in the truck and excited about heading home.

Driving home from the airport # 1

Enroute we encountered an area with extremely high winds, so much so that the truck was not driving properly. We had to drive slower and put windows down so the wind could go through instead of pushing the truck. I could not resist another photo of the girls heading home, this time with a very 'wind blown' look .

Driving home from the airport # 2

The kids were, of course, thrilled to have Mariah back and to meet Lucie. Lucie made friends with the children very quickly, and soon they were all over her just as they were with Mariah. Mariah was amazed to see the changes in Jonathan and Sandra - Jonathan has grown a lot, and crawls all over the compound. Sandra was not walking when Mariah left. It was amusing to see Mariah put Sandra down and tell her she would be right back for her. Before Mariah would take four or five steps Sandra was right behind her, holding unto her, and wanting her attention again. Two months made a big difference in the lives of the two littlest ones.

Mariah and Lucie just arrived

They were on the compound only a short time yesterday before they had the bikes out and were helping the children with bike riding. Some of the children no longer need help but 5 or 6 of them still need support.

Bike riding with the kids

This morning, in very high temperatures, Mariah and Lucie were playing soccer with the children. I impressed upon Lucie the need to take it slower in the heat, drink lots of water, and spend more time in the shade than the sun. I think she had already seen the need to do so.

Soccer with the kids in morning heat

A good job for the girls today, out of the sun, was to outfit the children with 'sandal dlo' i.e. crocs that they brought with them. Little Jonathan even got a tiny pair yellow ones. He has not had shoes before and he did his best to get those things off his feet.

Jonathan, Karena and Jofky in new Crocs

We were at the school this morning watching the pouring of cement floors in the classrooms. Upon returning I see little Sandra standing outside the door to Mariah's place, saying "Riah, Riah". Just too cute.

Sandra outside Mariah's door saynig - Riah, Riah

I was glad today to once again be able to say to someone "Mariah will help with that." "Mariah could you please take care of so and so, or such and such" knowing she could and would do so. I am very thankful to have help again.

It has been a long, tiring, but good day. Goodnight folks. Stay tuned for more of the fun week of Lucie here with Mariah, helping with the children.

Always remember: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac caused a lot of problems in Haiti.

There was loss of life, loss of a phenomenal amount of crops, plus loss of a lot of animals that people had to sell - to feed their children and to pay for their children's schooling. A lot of people in this area lost crops and animals but by far the greater damage was done outside the Artibonite Valley where we live. I took an early morning walk along the canal the day after Isaac had pounded Haiti. Even in this area I saw a lot of water where there used to be crops. I was sad to see dead cows and goats. One thing that helped keep the flooding down in this area was the fact that the canal that runs outside HATS had been almost empty for a few days. The water had been turned off at the dam due to repair work being done. If it had been full it would most likely have flooded its banks. (Whenever I see flooding, or think about it. my thoughts and prayers turn to the Phillipines where the people are suffering greatly from the flood waters.)

Almost empty canal meant it could not flood and make things a lot worse
Under this water lies gardens of crops planted by people in the area

On returning from my walk in the mud and water I saw something that touched me greatly. Two boys were sitting just outside our school compound with sticks for fishing in the yucky water of the ditch, that is between us and the road, hoping to catch something to take home to eat.

Two little boys early morning after the storm fishing in the ditch outside our school.

On Friday, here at HATS I spent a lot of time running around both compounds making sure that everything that could be blown around was moved into a building. That was no small feat on the school compound. There were mounds of school desks outside as the workers were doing the finishing cement work in classrooms, as well as lots of other things being used by the workers. It, however, was all safely put away before Isaac hit.

Too, I had the children's dressers, all clothes on hangers, and all children's mattresses moved into the living rooms of both childrens' homes. The rooms all have screens, and bars on the windows for protection, but nothing to keep the rain out if the wind should blow in their direction.

Saturday morning after extremely high winds and heavy rain the whole night I went to see the children. The kids were all bundled up in the warmest clothing they could find - a sweater or jacket they have on hand in case temps drop to 25 or 26 in Dec or Jan. Ti Luc went down with me and he too was in the warmest clothing he had. (Clothing that friends in Yarmouth had sent that I thought he would need only for Canada.) He needed it Saturday, and greatly appreciated it.

Ti Luc nice & warm tks to Sheila and Bruce

The kids were thrilled to see Ti Luc and I all bundled up. Me in a rain coat and Ti Luc in a garbage bag, over his warm pants and shirt.

Ti Luc with a garbage bag raincoat during Isaac

When there, however, I could not see Jonathan. One of the house mothers told me to go look in her room. She had her bed pulled into the middle of her room. She had placed her closet and other things behind it, in front of a window, to block the heavy rain. I found Jonathan under her bed in warm clothing, sleeping soundly, snug as a bug in a rug. Too cute.

Jonathan dry and snug as a bug under house mother's bed during Storm Isaac

Work continues at the school. The classrooms are now finished inside and they are doing the outside. We are anxious to see it finished and the workers gone. Even then there will be a lot of work for us to do before school can open.

School - Cement work continuing

Despite the results of Isaac outside and the rain that was continuing Sunday morning we held our service - but on this compound instead of the school. I received a pleasant surprise by a duet from Moise and Ti Luc and another by Dieunel and Judel.

Our Sunday service - duet Moise and Ti Luc
Another Sunday morning duet - Dieunel & Judel
Another aspect of our Sunday service

Now for the sad news about Antoinette. She delivered a baby boy Saturday morning but the baby died Saturday evening. There is now a lot of sadness in that family replacing the joy of early Saturday. All her HATS family feel sad for their loss too. Thank you to those of you who already know the news and have sent messages for Antoinette. She was very touched when I passed them on by telephone.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you one and all for your love and support.

Remember: One child's life being changed is more important than all the material things this world has to offer.

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The work on our school is actually progressing now,

after a frustrating holdup due to lack of cement in the country. We were eventually able to purchase some in small amounts at a very high price so we could at least get something done.

Work progressing on elem section of our school

(I must start by saying please ignore any dates you see stamped on these blog photos. My camera started dating photos, and with the month of March 2011 no less. I don't know how it got turned on and have not had time to figure out how to turn it off. These photos were all taken quite recently.)

Finally cement, that Luckner had ordered a long time earlier, was delivered. Price did not really drop but it is again available.

Cement arrived finally.  No one happier than Luckner

Work has been happening on this compound as well - by the children. They have been removing a lot of the rocks we had placed around the compound to prevent mud. Grass, which is what we wanted, is actually growing up through the rocks. Thus we decided to remove the rocks and keep them for construction. We are looking for decent earth and grass seed instead.

Four hard working kids - JJ, Moise, Djemima, Leica
Yard work by children.  Ti Luc supervising

Our birthday party this month was for Vladimy and Judel. Vladimy turned 17 and Judel 5. Next month Jonathan will turn one so we will have a party for him and Ismyis who will be six.

August birthday boys - Vladimy 17 & Judel 5

Speaking of Jonathan he continues to like bike riding just as the others do. He still loves to sit in the basket on Ti Luc's bike. Each afternoon when the bikes come out Jonathan excitedly crawls across the compound and sits by Ti Luc so he does not get left behind.

Ti Luc and Jonathan enjoying riding together

The bikes that have been donated for the children continue to be a real blessing to them. Funds for an additional bike, which will help tremendously, has just been donated. Thank you very much. I will make the purchase as soon as I get to St. Marc again.

Our little Sandra has decided she is too big for riding in the basket anymore and so she fights with Anne and Jofky over the little bike to ride by herself. She is very cute. Yesterday when we were all sitting in morning devotions I said "who would like to lead us this morning?" Immediately Sandra started singing " Pa'm pa'm pa'm mwen konnen Kris se pa'm" and clapping her little hands with the perfect beat. Everybody cheered her on and she continued singing.

Sandra riding bike too

I made a return visit to Magalie and family so the little ones could see Magalie too, and realize there is a real baby there. I took Karena, Jofky, Anne, Sandra, and Jonathan, along with Vladimy so he could give me needed assistance. The little kids were thrilled to see Magalie again. They were fascinated with her baby girl. They even got to hold the baby.
(Still no news to report on Antoinette. Her baby is still in the womb.)

Magalie with Jonathan, Sandra & Karena
Karena holding Magalie's baby.  Jofky hiding but has his hand on the baby.

As I am typing this an email arrived from the Canadian Embassy In PAP telling us to prepare for the possibility of being hit by Isaac (at this time a tropical storm - could change to hurricane). What the email basically said put in good Newfie language was - "take time to batten down the hatches in preparation".

Thank you one and all. Thank you for all the love, encouragement, and support of prayer and finances that makes it possible for us to continue to help the children of the Artibonite Valley. May God bless you all.

I T IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN
Karen

Saturday, August 18, 2012

HATS missionary family

Recently I posted a blog talking about my need for help here at HATS-Haiti. I mentioned Mariah returning until December and then the Reimer family who would be moving here sometime after she leaves. Now I have a photo of the Reimer family - Brad, Lois, Kaeli, and Peter - to share with you. This is the family who are moving here to share the work load with me.

HATS additional missionaries - Brad, Lois, Kaeli, Peter Reimer

I printed the photo and it has made the rounds of all the children and employees here at HATS. They are all looking forward to having them move here, but no one is looking forward to it more than I am. The employees have started praying regularly in morning devotions for things to work out for this family as they prepare to join us.

My girls asked me to tell Kaeli they are looking forward to her arrival. My boys, not to be out done, asked me to tell Peter that they are anxious for him to come.

My Moise, who is the same age as Peter, and who looks a lot like Peter, asked me to take his photo and send it to Peter. I am posting his photo here too. He wants Peter to know he is ready to be his twin brother as well as his friend. (Many people who saw the photo of the Reimer family actually thought that Peter was Moise.)

Moise

Thank you again. I can never say thank you enough for all that you do as a part of the HATS family and the work that HATS does here in Haiti. Let's keep working together for the betterment of the children in need.

IT IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN

Love and blessings to you all,
Karen and gang

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hey Everyone, It’s Seth and Jessie again!

Right now we’re sitting in the Port au Prince airport waiting for our flight to Miami and then home. It’s 11am, and we won’t be home til after midnight tonight, so we figured we had ample time to write a blog.

We left HATS and Haiti last March but HATS has been with us since we’ve been gone. We can’t fully describe what a year with a specific set of people does to your heart except that the relationships we’ve formed weren’t just for a year, they’re for an eternity. We came home last March not really knowing what God had in store for us next or when we would be back to Haiti, but hoping we would be able to return often enough. The first month home we spent a lot of time in prayer and searching. Since then, Jess got a 4th grade teaching job and we bought and fixed up our first home together! It has been a very busy summer for us, but we realized that because of Jessie’s job we wouldn’t be able to return until next summer and we also hoped Karen might get a bit of rest. So we gave Karen the dates we could come and she was able to fit us in. Jess starts teaching this Monday.

It’s been awesome being back at HATS for 8 days! Anyone that’s been to HATS knows the wonderful welcome the kids give you- you almost think you’re a celebrity! It was so good to see all their smiling faces and hear their happy voices again. And none of them, other than Sandra and Jonathan had forgotten us (Sandra was saying Jessie’s name within the first few days though!). I picked up Anne to give her a hug and the first thing she said after patting my head was, “Seth, you’re beautiful; Where’s Jessie?” Haha, thanks Anne!

As for work this week, Karen didn’t have a lot for us to do. I fixed as many pipes and water problems that I could. I also like to multi-task, so I tried mixed pipe fixing with shower taking- trust me, it’s not effective, but it does feel good in the 100 degree weather. I also got to help Jess a bit with cutting cloth for the school uniforms- which she did a lot of this week. She even got the kids involved a few of the days; she set up an assembly line and the kids got creative and made it into a mini-market where they bought cloth from each other. Other than that, we had a lot of time to spend with the kids and everyone at HATS- and I believe we made the most of it! We played a lot of soccer, drew a lot with sidewalk chalk, chased a lot of lizards, caught a lot of crickets, danced and sang a lot, swung on the swings a lot, and told a lot of stories- the older kids asked a lot of questions about what we had been doing the past few months. One of the things the kids loved doing while we were here previously was -ti lekol (or little school or in other words- crafts). They would have done a craft everyday if we had given them the opportunity and we probably only missed a few days! Another thing the kids loved to do was rollerblade. I must admit, this was not Jess and I’s favorite activity- it was a vigorous workout for us because for the most part we carried the kids up and down the driveway. But the kids loved it so much we couldn’t turn them down, even when they asked to do it again! And after eating Marguerites great food all week we probably needed the extra workout anyway! One of the times, I helped Ti Luc to the front gate (running the last 1/4 of the way), and I sat him down and said, “oh man, that’s tiring, we need to take a break before we go back.” He sat for probably 2 seconds and looked up at me, with no sweat whatsoever on his face or body, and said, “I’m ready, I'm not tired, let’s go.” I just had to laugh! Some of the kids started to get pretty good at rollerblading- By the last day Djemima and JJ didn’t need our help anymore and Leica was pretty close. Also, the little ones like Anne, Dieunel and Karena were doing quite well- they couldn’t do it by themselves but they were getting the form down!

On Saturday and Sunday we had a visitor, Joan, who is relative of Karen. She was spending time in St. Marc with Youth for Christ and decided to come visit for a few days. It was a blessing for Karen and us to have her. Fortunately, she got to experience a HATS carwash! A HATS carwash typically ends with everyone on the compound being 100 percent wet and Saturday was no exception. This time I sacrificed myself with endless drenchings from the kids so that Karen, Joan and Jess could fill up water balloons and surprise attack the kids from the roof! Karen was even daring enough to throw a balloon at Luckner when he pulled up on his moto!

Two of the housemoms, Antwa and Maga, were not there when we got there because of pregnancies. Maga had her baby and Antwa is still waiting to have hers. We were really hoping that we would be able to see them while we were here. Antwa came on Sunday for a short visit and Karen brought us and the older kids to see Maga and her baby on Tuesday. It was so great to be able to see them while we were here.

Jofky. Jess was telling him goodnight and that we would be leaving the next day and he grabbed her face with both of his hands and kissed her 3 times on the lips; he only kissed me once. He didn’t say anything, but I think he made his point! We will miss them all so much and HATS will be in our prayers this next year until we’re able to return again!

We end our blog with this prayer for our family in Haiti.... “Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.....May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11+14

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bicycles - Tricycles

Yesterday was bicycle day here at the HATS Mission. The children were thrilled when Luckner and I surprised them with bicycles to share and enjoy. Two bikes are not for all to share. The special trike for 'special' children which was purchased by TIM-BR Mart in Canada for Ti Luc and an adult bike for Vladimy. The special trike is already a tremendous blessing for Ti Luc. Yesterday when the bikes were given, Ti Luc did not have to sit and watch the other children. O Happy Day!!! He, too, had one and he was one excited boy. Once he had his runners on and we had his feet attached to the pedals he was off and running. His 'special' trike can be steered by someone from behind, as well as in the normal fashion, which is exactly what we need by Ti Luc. We did not have to do a lot of steering for him but it is extremely helpful that we are able to do so.

A bunch of happy children
Learning to bike ride

We have a total of seven now (including the two little ones for Sandra, Anne, Jofky and Karena). I am already seeing that perhaps we need one more, a little smaller than adult size, but little bigger than what we purchased. We purchase them secondhand in St. Marc. All the children were anxious to 'try' and were yelling for a chance and for help so they could get going. Lots of excitement and happy faces.

Sandra riding bike too

Thank you to Brian Bowers and TIM-BR Mart for the wonderful gift of the 'special trike' for Ti Luc. It is well suited to this 'special' boy. It is what he needs.

Add caption
Ti Luc says -Thank you very much for my bike

Thank you to the group in Yarmouth who donated funds for us to purchase bikes for the other children. May God bless each and every one of you.

Ti Luc on his new bike.  Getting a feel for it.

Now, once again, I have a photo for my precious sister, Sandra. Just to let her know that we are indeed doing our best to find most of these cute, not so little, critters before she returns. This one was found yesterday morning in Mirlande's bedroom.

One more for my precious sister

Thanks for continuing to support, and work with, those of us here on the front lines. We appreciate you all very much.

Always remember in everything you do where you are, and in everything we do here at the mission, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN

Karen and crew

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hi, Karen here.

First I want to talk about our HATS School - IMKH.

The results of the grade six and grade nine governmental exams are in our hands as of today. Luckner and I are pleased with the results. There are two students who failed in grade nine, and four in grade six. These exams can be very difficult and if sponsored students do not pass we give them a second chance. In other words 'Do not quit school. Redo the grade a second time. '

We are all thrilled that our own Vladimy passed his grade nine. He will be attending another school this year, along with several other students in our sponsoring program. When they pass grade nine, and leave our school, they do not leave the program. We encourage them to go all the way and graduate. We have them transfer to another school in Liancourt. As long as their sponsors continue to support them we will see that their schooling is paid for.

The government had given the date of Sept 3rd for schools to reopen. Last weekend they announced that schools will open on October 1st instead. That announcement has pleased a lot of people - parents especially.

This week has been very busy with parents or students picking up the fabric for their uniforms. When this is completed, then we have the huge job of going through all textbooks on hand. We have to decide what is reusable, and then figure out what is needed for all the students we have sponsored. A lot of textbooks need to be purchased, organized and given to students and/or parents. School is closed but our work for the school is never done.

Parents or students picking up fabric to sew school uniforms

Speaking of sponsors. A huge thank you is going out to all our sponsors. Many students would not be receiving an education if you were not supporting them through HATS. This year we need more sponsors. Thank you to those of you who have already committed yourselves as new sponsors for this year. Information will come to you soon with the name of your student and grade. Are there any others who are willing and able to pay for a child to attend school? If so, please let us know. Information is on our website, or contact Dickie MacDonald. His address is: hatsa.yarmouth@gmail.com. We have students in prescolaire; elementary - 1-6; and secondary 7-9 who need a sponsor.

Seth and Jessie have been here for 8 days for a visit and will be leaving again tomorrow. Jessie's teaching job where they live in the US starts August 13th. They have enjoyed being back and everyone has enjoying having them.

Joan Wight, who is my friend and family, from Montreal, spent two days here on the weekend. It was great having Joan back again. Joan was here, as were Jessie and Seth, for our Sunday morning service. Jessie did a message for the children and Seth blessed us with his singing voice.

Sandra in church.  Hiding,

While Joan, and Jessie and Seth were here at the same time, we had a water fight with the children. Must admit I did not get wet as I had a camera in my hands. The kids loved the water play!!

Water balloon fun
Soak Jessie and Seth
Jofky and Karena with water balloons
Joan consoling Jofky

The children talked Jessie and Seth into helping them rollerblade twice while here. Vladimy, JJ, and Djemima are able to do it without help. Soon some of the other children, especially Leica, Karena, Dieunel and Anne, will be able to rollerblade without needing support to keep from falling. They love this and it is good for them.

Roller blading with the help of Seth and Jessie
Anne getting ready to roller blade too.

Antoinette came to the compound to see Seth and Jessie. She has still not delivered her baby, but is very anxious to deliver. The due date was supposed to be July 22nd. Antoinette took leave early as she thought her baby was going to come before that date.

Antoinette, baby still in womb, and Ti Fi (Aug 5, 2012)

We went to see Magalie and her new baby girl, while Jessie and Seth were here. I took the older children with us as they were anxious to see Magalie and baby too. After seeing Magalie pregnant for so long, they were thrilled to be able to see the baby in Magalie's arms.

Magalie with her two week old baby

We are all looking forward to having Mariah return on August 29th. The children have started asking what date, what day, will Mariah be here. Mariah has a friend, Lucie, coming with her for one week. Then Lucie will return to Calgary and her schooling, while Mariah digs back in and helps us for another few months. It will be good to have her back!

Thank you!! God bless you!!

Karena, Jofky, Dieunel, Anne

Remember: I T I S A L L A B O U T T H E C H I L D R E N