Sunday, October 28, 2012

More devastation for the country of Haiti.

Hurricane Sandy hit Haiti hard and once more these people have to try to cope with the loss of a community, loss of lives, loss of a major portion of crops in the country and loss of homes and belongings.  The amount of damage and the number of lives lost will be much higher than reported.  Word is slowly trickling down about loss of everything, including lives, in the mountain areas.  The south of Haiti was hardest hit but a tremendous amount of damage has been done throughout. The Haitians are a resilient people but they have been hit hard over and over during the past few years.   Help is needed to see them survive this latest disaster.

There has been a serious 'hunger' problem in Haiti for the past few months.  The cost of what has been available in our area has more than tripled.  The huge increase in costs has affected the running of the mission orphanage and school.  If we are affected like this how much worse is it for the people in the communities around us. There have been several manifestations against the government for the lack of help with the serious hunger problem.  Now this damage from hurricane Sandy is turning a bad situation into a grave situation.

HATS has done all it could to help with the problem of hunger around us.   We have taken two  donations to HATS and used it for our 'mercy' ministry.  We purchased food - rice, beans, cornmeal, and oil which was distributed into the community. We want to say thank you for these funds.  In light of the gravity of the present situation we want to do more.  The HATS mission is seen by many as  a light in the darkness to the people in our area of the Artibonite Valley.   
Many around us have lost their homes, belongings, their crops and their animals.  They are starting to look to HATS for help.

I am asking for prayer support for the people in Haiti.  Too, we would welcome any possible financial support for us to help meet some of the needs, especially that of hunger.  Most children in North America can eat three times a day.  Most children in Haiti consider themselves blessed if they can eat something once a day.  If you are able to help with food funds you can donate through the HATS address in Yarmouth, NS.  You can earmark the donation as 'mercy'. 
By cheque:  Hands Across The Sea Association, Box 101, Yarmouth, NS  B5A 4B1.

Matthew 25:35:   "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.

Matthew 40:  "Whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me."         


Due to hurricane Sandy Radio Creole has been extremely busy.  It has been very helpful with the many problems throughout our area especially but also in many other areas of Haiti.  Schools were closed during the hurricane and Luckner spent three days and nights on the radio.  He kept people informed about the situation and danger in many areas.  He asked people in all areas who had a cellphone and something to report to text him their numbers.  He would then call them and get updates on these areas and report it.  Often it was about rivers flooded, mud slides, areas to stay away from, roads that were impassable and dangerous.  People in our area were concerned about loved ones in other areas of Haiti, and likewise people elsewhere needed information about their family members in our area.  Luckner had people calling the radio from all over Haiti needing help.  He was able to connect many people and/or reassure many.  Also,  he had to break sad news about some family members being lost in the south of Haiti.  There has been a tremendous amount of thankfulness phoned in to Radio  Creole for this work.  A ministry like this has been needed in this area for a very long time, and all of us at HATS are thankful for it. 

God bless you all.  Karen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

School School School

These days I seem to eat, sleep, and dream school, school, school.  I was overworked and overtired before school reopened.  Yikes.  Now I am like a chicken whose head has just been removed on the chopping block.  I keep going, going, going, a lot of time in circles.   Am I getting something done at the school?  For the school?   With the school?   I certainly hope so. 

This is the second week since school reopened.  The cement work we had done this summer on the elementary section and the new, almost finished, kitchen, has improved things greatly.  Students are hungry but we have not yet been able to feed them.  Hopefully by Monday we will be serving them a meal.

Getting cement basin in place in school kitchen
Amazing that Luckner talked that driver into coming to the school and spreading the gravel for us

The school classrooms and facilities are very important to the running of the school, but the most important thing about the school IMKH is the student population.  We have several new students - first time students in our preschool 1 program, of course, and several new students in various grades.  Parents have registered a number of new students with us because the word on the street is 'the HATS school - IMKH - is a good school with rules that must be followed and where students and teachers must arrive on time. '  One other thing they see as important about our school is that we are here to help all students receive an education and not just those that some schools call 'the cream'.   Too often other students are left behind - fall through the cracks so to speak.

First day of school assembly. (Less than half students there)

Thank you to all the continuing sponsors and to all of our new sponsors this year.  We are still in need of sponsors for twelve students for this school year.  They are in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and preschool 1.  Anyone else willing to pay for a student to receive an education - $275/year for an elementary and $375 for a secondary student - please get in touch with Dickie or Sandra MacDonald - or with me. 

Preschool One students returning from a short walk
Our kids are all doing well.  The older ones are settling back into the routine of school, homework and study - well some are settling into it more easily than others.  Jofky misses Karena in the mornings.  The first week he cried when Karena left without him.  Karena in turn cried to return to Jofky on day one and day two of school. She wanted to quit school.  This week, however, Karena is settling down with the other little students and Jofky and Anne are playing well together.

Preschool 1 with Karena at the blackboard
Grade 2 with Ti Luc and Leica
Ti Luc turned 7 on Sunday and so we had a 'ti fet' for him.  He wants everyone to know he is a big boy now.  Speaking of Ti Luc the adoption, since it has been in someone else's hands, is progressing nicely.  I hope for a passport soon and then will be looking for a visa for him.

Ti Luc's birthday
Ti Luc's birthday
The team returned to Canada last Saturday.  They were a great group and have been missed this week.   The evening before they left Mariah returned to her house to find some mischief makers had gotten there.  Her doorknobs were wet and slippery.  Inside it looked like it had been ransacked by thieves.  Most likely a couple of the guys on the team had some fun.  I am totally innocent this time.  My fun mischief making ended a few months ago.  It is difficult for me but I am staying on the straight and narrow these days.  Staid and serious is not the real me, but I am working at it.   

Mariah's place after a couple of team members sneaked inside
Morning arrival at airport to return to Canada
Again, a huge thank you to all of you.  Thank you for standing with us and for us.   We love you, we need you, and we appreciate you.  

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


Karen and kids

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday October 5th 2012

Hello once again!

This is our last day here at the orphanage. We had our regular devotion this morning and at this time we basically said our goodbyes, even though we have all day. We will not see many of the staff and children tomorrow. It was very emotional for us because we shared with the Haitians our thoughts about the week. Some of them even shared their thoughts with us also. Tears were shed by many adults and children alike.

Buddies Sam and Dieunel
Today is a slow day for us as we are winding down on our time here. We will be spending most the afternoon with the children.

Moise, JJ & Djemima

The ladies will be putting up the photos of the children with Amanda Muise from her last trip.

Kids saying thank you, Amanda, for the photos

We took the time to ask our team members about their experience here this week in Haiti.

Gerry Rhyno, Yarmouth Nova Scotia: Gerry is our team leader and a member of the HATS board. Gerry said the team spirit and work ethic were very strong on this trip. The team was cooperative and worked very well together. That thing that touches him the most is to see the children worshiping the Lord. He says it warms his heart every time.
Gerry with Mirlande

Evan Mullen, Weymouth Nova Scotia: Evan said he finds that everyone here puts 100% in their worship. He noticed that, for the Haitians, work is survival. They work 7 days a week and very long days, just to feed their families and many times that’s not even enough.
Evan with Ti Luc and Moise

Nicole Boudreau, Little Brook Nova Scotia: Nicole said that the children are very loving. She finds the people work very hard to get by and they still have very little. The staff here is always very happy and appreciated us being here. We also worked hard as a team and had a very successful week.
Nicole with Karena

Marcia Muise, Church Point Nova Scotia: The biggest thing that Marcia noticed was how the children are, also Karen’s sacrifice of leaving a comfortable home in Canada and her family to come live here and serve. She, too, noticed how hard the Haitians work, long hours, with no breaks for very little money but they do whatever they can to feed their families.

Cory Melanson, Church Point Nova Scotia: Cory’s greatest experience was to see how very happy the kids are to see us. He was also impressed by the Haitian’s lifestyle because they work very hard. Cory feels the team has accomplished a lot this trip.
Cory 2 and Ismyis

Sam Muise, Church Point Nova Scotia: Sam was impacted with the children how they are so happy friendly and content with what they have. He said the food was good, the climate was hot and the country was beautiful. He was also impressed by how hard the people work. The people are different they do what they can to help others. He was also impacted by the church service and how energetic their worship is.
Sam and Jonathan

Cory Muise, Church Point Nova Scotia: The love of the children impacted me and just the way they give hugs and kisses all the time. Also, all the hard work the workers put into the orphanage.
Cory 1 with Ti Luc

On behalf of all our team, all of us will leave a small piece of our hearts here and everyone has said they would love to return one day.

Donna with Leica

We would like to also thank Karen and Mariah for everything they have done for us this past week as for all the staff. All of you have made our experience an unforgettable one. 

Mary Ann with Judel

N.B. Karen here. I want to say a huge thank you to the team. To those who made comments above and to the other two team members Donna and Mary Ann. May God bless all of you.

Love from all of the HATS family who live onsite.

Thursday October 4, 2012

This week our team leader Gerry Rhyno and his wife Heather celebrated their 20 wedding anniversary. Our team would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them. Gerry has a real heart and dedication for HATS Haiti. This has been his 18th mission’s trip to Haiti so far.

  This morning, we had the chance to go observe a typical opening at the school complete with a national flag rising and anthem. Mary Anne had the opportunity to help Karen hand out school books to the children. Nicole and Marcia went over to the school to observe what recess is like. The children were all very happy, running and laughing. They were completely content even without any recreational equipment as you would find in a typical Canadian school yard.

The men completed their project of building a roof over Karen’s patio and also had to go to the school to fix a leak in one of the taps.

Nicole was able to get her hair braided by Antoinette, one of the house mothers at the orphanage.

After lunch Donna and the ladies were able to hand out more food to the staff members here at the orphanage. They were all very grateful and appreciative. We were told by Karen that many families even the staff have higher expenses every October when school starts as they prepare their children for school.

The ladies were also able to pick out two dresses for each little girl, which will be handed out tomorrow.

Shortly after, the women were able to enjoy some sugar cane with the children. A big treat for all!

Before supper the whole team, Karen and Mariah headed out to visit Antoinette’s church. Her husband is a pastor at the church.

Shortly after supper, we headed out to Luchner’s radio station. We sang some songs, Evan sang a solo, and 4 team members shared their experiences in Haiti. It was a good experience that we will never forget.

That completes our 6th day here in Deschappelles! Join us for our last blog tomorrow night.

Until then!

October 3 2012

Good evening HATS followers!

Today was a very eventful day! We started off our day early, like every other day with a good breakfast followed by our morning devotion at 7h30. After that, the women went to the market with two other women, Mariah and Antoinette on a Tap-Tap from the compound. What an experience that was! There was everything you could imagine! There was meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, sugar canes c and even toothpaste. One of our gracious hosts, Mariah, bought a round of sugar cane for everyone so we will be able to try it as a group tomorrow.

People just sit there on the street or in booth covered in tin with their products. People go very early in the morning with their supplies and set up their very little space. The women we went with were there to buy food for the orphanage. They had a hard time getting good deals on food since three white women were there with them. They would ask over double the usual selling price, so the two women had to return later on and finish getting the supplies. There are always a lot of people out at the market.
Early afternoon, Donna went to help Mme Sainte a Dieu with the laudry. Donna is now very aware of all the hard work she does hand washing all the clothes for the orphanage.

All day, the men continued to work on the space out back for Karen. They got a lot of work done today but the project is not quite done yet.

Evan had a little boo-boo on his figure with the handsaw. Nothing serious! Marcia and Nicole were bringing long boards for the men to use on their project. So they thought they would try the Haitian style or carrying and they rocked

One of our team members is Donna Wheeler from Carter’s Cove, NFL and one thing that has impacted her on this trip so far is seeing the children and all the dedication in this orphanage. There is so much going on behind the scenes to keep the HATS orphanage and school running. Donna wants to be able to do some fundraising when she returns to Carter’s Cove in order to sponsor children whose parents don’t have enough money to pay for tuition. She would also like to return to Deschappelles someday. Donna says God has been doing the work in her life over the past several months that have allowed her to be able to join our team here in Haiti.

Donna received many donations for her mission’s trip and vaccinations she required. She has extra money after all her expenses were paid and she prayed to God to lead her in the direction that he would want her to spend the extra money. God impressed on her heart that she should buy food for the hungry families in the area. So today, a staff member went out and bought cornmeal, rice, black beans and vegetable oil. One cup and a half of each of these doubled in the past year. The people cannot afford to feed their families and some are too weak to even go to school. The ladies spent all afternoon measuring portions which will feed about 50 families for at least 4 to 5 days.

Another one of our team members is Mary Ann Bulger from Summerside, PEI. The biggest thing has impressed upon Mary Ann’s heart was the warm feeling she felt in her heart when she got off the planes. The reason for this was because she knew it was the Lord’s will for her to be here. She says she feels at home here and completely safe.

To complete the evening we participated in an auction for our souvenirs to bring back home and Cory 1 was our auctioneer. We practiced our songs and just sat around as a group and chatted when Donna was in bed by 7h30. Ti Luc practiced his numbers on his chalk board before bed.

Until tomorrow, bonsoir tout le monde!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday October 2, 2012

 Good evening!

Our day started with a devotion again led by Mariah.  After the devotion the men started a new project for Karen.  They drilled holes and put studs in the back of the house in order to add on a roof for Karen to sit and relax and have some privacy in her back yard.

Cory Muise was sporting around his new hair extensions during his construction work.
Beautiful Cory with hairdresser Evan
Nicole went to the school and helped Karen distribute textbooks to the parents and she got to see a typical morning in the classrooms.  There was lots of singing, dancing and reciting.  She will have lots to report to her own students and colleagues when she returns to Nova Scotia.  She was amazed at how happy the children  were in spite of how little they have to work with.

Currently the school has 27 students who do not have sponsors to help fund their education.  That means H.A.T.S.  has to pay for these children out of their working fund.  An amount of $275.00 ( for primary to grade 6) per year will supply a uniform, their textbooks and on e meal a day for the entire school year.   The cost is $375.00 per year  from grade 7 to graduation.  We should all be praying that God will open the hearts of His people in order to help these children.

After school was all finished the entire group headed over the school as Gerry presented the elementary teachers and Luckner with a watch for their wonderful service to the school.
Presentation of gifts to teaching staff
Gerry with Claudy
Marcia and Nicole were asked by Karen to go show  Mme.  Saint Ardieu, how to use her new washing machine.  However she informed us she was content today with washing the children’s clothes by hand as she has always done.

Gerry was able to hand out some balls to the children, given to him by his grand-daughter Erin.  The children had hours of fun playing with the balls.  Thank you Erin!

Marianne, Donna, and Nicole were able to hand to hand out suckers to all the children and staff.

Karen had time to sit and share with us some of her past experiences here in Haiti.  Many of which were very touching and difficult for her.  We really appreciated her for that.  Marcia, on the other hand,  took that opportunity to take a snooze.
Nap Time
We went for a ride in Karen’s tap tap to a local general store.  They kept a little bit of everything in stock from medical supplies, pampers, to hair products, school supplies and food.
The ‘everything’ pharmacy in Verrettes.
Today was our hottest day yet.  The heat and humidity is very tiring on us Canadians.  Tonight it is thundering quite loudly hopefully it will remove some of the humidity and the rain won’t be too bad, considering we are sleeping on the roof.

After we returned, we went for a walk along the canal and saw men working in their rice fields, a young boy washing up in the canal, a beautiful view of the mountains, oxen, horses and mules.
Rice Paddies
Our supper tonight consisted of goat meat and white rice in a bean sauce. It was delicious!
Goat Meat with Rice in Bean Sauce
Goodnight, until tomorrow!