Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Liette and Yvette - Thank you and Bye

We were up before 4:00 a.m. and off early to head to the airport.

Early morning leaving for airport

Safe arrival at the airport

Heading into the airport to leave us

Liette and Yvette worked, worked, and worked some more - every day - morning, afternoon, and evenings on the school sponsoring program.

They squeezed in some fun times with the children which was important for the kids as well as for them.  They managed to get off the compound a couple of times but all the rest of the time indeed was spent working.   Now, all sponsoring lists for the school are on exel and are so organized I am almost afraid to use them.  Liette, however, assures me that if anything gets mixed up she will be able to help me fix it.  Hopefully I can follow her well set up lists without screwing it up too badly.  Next year should be a little easier due to all the work they did and changes made this year.

One of the reasons they had to work all the time was that my computer did not co-operate very well at all.  It almost drove Liette nuts, and to be honest, I am glad it did as she now knows what I have been putting up with far too long.  Besides, now she sees that I have a reason to be 'nuts' - more so than normal even. I can now blame it on putting up with, and wasting valuable time on my computer, that refuses to be the help it should be.  Did I say wasting valuable time?   It is extremely difficult to waste time when you already do not have enough time to get things done.  I offered to help Liette with the computer, by shooting it and putting it, and her, out of misery.  A decision was made to not shoot it before Jim comes in January.  I, however, am not sure I can wait that long, as I returned from PAP today, after dropping Liette and Yvette off, to find the computer did not want to cooperate with me and allow me to check and respond to emails.    Hopefully I will be able to get this short blog done and off at least.

Shoot it and put it, and us, out of misery

Liette - Thank You.  Yvette - Thank You.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!

Blessings everyone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yvette here again.

It's already 10:48pm on our last day at HATS. It was a pretty typical day. We were up at 5:30, walking by the canal, stretching, eating breakfast, cleaning up and getting to devotions by 7:30. 

After that, of course we had to work on sponsor letters and photos. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel last night but as this is Haiti and nothing seems to go as planned we were unable to finish because there was no internet for most of the day.

Writing sponsor letters with Shelbens and Starbens

There is always lots to do so we went on to the next thing. We sorted through some bags of clothes and picked out 1 outfit for all the kids. The kids sure get a kick out of that.

Beautiful girls with their new dresses

Sandra was determined to put her new dress on

Liette, Karen, Mariah and I drove to a local adult literacy school in the afternoon. There were 3 classes going on. There was even a lady with pure white hair. Go mama go!

Chatting with the adult literacy students

Later on we gave the kids some sugar cane to eat. They all know they must sit on the cement and spit the chewed up part into a bowl. Of course I had to have some as well. Tonight I sat in the gallery with JJ and Moise while they drew and played with spyrograph.

Enjoying the sugar cane

Well, we have reached the end of Yvette and Liette's excellent Haiti adventure #2. Once again the time has flown by and by 5a.m tomorrow we will be heading out of HATS. It will be a long day as we fly to Miami, then to Dallas and finally on to Calgary. We should be able to get to bed by midnight if we are lucky! We had another eventful and blessed time with Karen, the kids, the workers and the local people. Thank you all!

Liette here.  It's now 11:50 pm and we just finished sending out the last sponsor photos and emails.   It has been a very busy week with very little rest.  But we've managed to get 99% of the letters/photos sent out (some kids have been absent) and all of the lists are now up to date in Excel (big thanks to Rosana for starting this process for us).  It's late and we're tired but it's good to get such a big, important job done.  Yvette thinks there is no point in even going to bed, but that's only because she's an insomniac who never really sleeps anyways.  I'm going to try and get a couple of hours of rest before we're on the road early tomorrow. 

The highlight for me today was visiting the adult literacy class.  Tiny little classrooms with people aged 20-60+ in the classrooms learning basic literacy skills - alphabet, numbers, sounds.  They were SO proud to be there and it's obvious they were thrilled we had come to visit.  Two of the classes sang us a little song.   Adult literacy is my passion and I'm itching to get involved in something like this in the future in Haiti. 

Teacher in adult literacy class sharing with us

We've had lots of hugs and fun with the kids and with the staff here at Hands Across the Sea.  We're doing what little bit we can to help the people of Haiti.  And we are so blessed in return as our hearts are encouraged their joyful praise and prayers of thanksgiving. 

To everyone who sponsors a child or who supports our school or programs financially, thank you!  To those of you who pray faithfully, thank you!  To those of you who share what Hands Across the Sea is doing, thank you!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday is usually a day of rest,

...but wasn't so much for us today.   We worked before church and after church on more photos and letters and amalgamating, updating and crosschecking all of the various lists of sponsors and the sponsored children.  We only have one more day so the push is definitely on to get all of the work done before we head home.

JJ modeling his bday gift
Church was energetic and fun, except for Jonathan and Karena who both took a nap. 

Karena modeling her bday gift

After church, Yvette and I took photos with our godsons, Moise and JJ.  Check out the funny photo of Moise as a blond.  That's Yvette's hair you see in the photo.

Me with my godson JJ

Moise as a blonde

Serious shot of Yvette and Moise

Yvette with her godson, Moise

We did take a break this afternoon to take a quick dip in the pool, put tattoos on the kids and play gymnastics with an old mattress.  The kids thought the gymnastics session was particularly hilarious. 
The time has passed so quickly.  We know what we've done this week is important and makes a difference here at Hands Across the Sea.  But it's easy in Haiti to feel that anything we do here is simply a drop in the ocean.   So much need on so many different levels: political, organizational, educational, social, spiritual.....  But we remind ourselves that each individual life is of infinite value so changing the life of one child and one family is worth the effort. 

Beautiful tree by the river

One more blog tomorrow before we head home to the cold, snowy weather of Calgary.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hi all, it's Yvette here.

I wrote this blog last night but we were having connection problems so we were not able to send it.

Saturday, Nov 24th

Today being Saturday we were allowed to sleep in and so Liette and I did our morning walk at 6:15 instead of 5:45. The weather has been a little cooler compared to last year which is nice when you are walking quickly and working up a sweat. Liette usually does a little half hour work out when we get back to the house. Today Liette did some yoga "stretches" if you can call them that.

Liette and Jonathan

We were able to send out the majority of the sponsor letters and photos today. We continue to run into problems though which is frustrating. Good thing there are many things going on each day to lighten the mood and give us much needed breaks.

Yvette with TiFi and Sandra

In the afternoon Liette, Mariah, Stanio (Mariah's friend) and I rented a tap tap and went for a little tour of the countryside. We stopped at the dam and even got to go inside and get a close up look at how the water is channeled into different canals. The countryside is amazingly beautiful. We stopped in  Ti Riviere where there is a place called the Palace of 365 doors.  It was built in the 1800's.  It would be so great to see it restored. We also took a walk around the main square stopping to talk to a tailor using a sewing machine that must have been over a hundred years old. He was ironing with a metal iron which had coals in it to keep it hot. On the way back we had to drive through a huge market. There were so many people and items that they were selling that you can't image the noise and the sights.

heading to Ti Riviere

The guard brought over a goat for the kids to see. Last year when HATS did the goat program Liette bought the goat for Richard (the guard) and Dana presented it to him.  He was so happy that the goat we gave him had a baby and so thankful that his original plan was to bring over the young goat so we could eat it.  We convinced him to take it back so he could continue to use it to bless his family. The kids had quite the time feeding it leaves from the yard.

Feeding the goat

Then there was the nightly soccer game. It was girls (Liette, Mariah and Mirlande) against the boys (Stanio, Moise, Vladamy and JJ). I am not sure who won but it was serious soccer!


Must go and look at stars and dream about what Liette and I are presenting in church tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's late and we've had a very full, busy day

It's Liette here. I'm exhausted and was heading to bed when I remembered we hadn't done a blog last night, nor this evening.  So I dragged my sorry butt down again to send the blog out .

Yesterday began with me having the privilege of presenting a seminar to the teachers at the Hands Across the Sea school.  I taught some key principles of learning:  children learn by observing models; children learn best when they have a sense of belonging and emotional connection to their class and teacher; when they feel free to make mistakes and take risks; when they are in an environment free from fear; and when they believe themselves capable.  The seminar was very well received by the teachers who participated actively and had lots of questions. 

Teaching seminar

The rest of the day was spent continuing to work on photos and letters, playing with the children and having another soccer game with the kids.  Everyone had fun besides JJ who takes his soccer VERY seriously and just could not seem to tone his competitiveness down to the level of the other kids. 

Soccer game

Today was another very full day.  We worked on the sponsor stuff this morning, visited the school for an oral vaccine distribution for all of the kids, followed by a distribution of donated school supplies from some visiting Canadians.  We had another group of visitors this afternoon who brought small gifts for all of the children.

School kids receiving vaccine

Canadian visitors giving school supplies at IMKH

Little gifts from visitors

The highlight of the day was our annual mountain hike.  The children have been talking about the hike since last year, telling tall tales about how high it is and how quickly they managed to scale it!  Dieunel has been making sure to walk quickly at the front of the group on the daily canal walks to show how strong and ready he was for the hike.  So this year, he got to come along for the first time.  The youngest children are not able to hike it as it is a pretty good climb.  The view from the top is wonderful and the children eagerly pointed out all of the landmarks that they recognized. 

Starting off on our hike

Partway up the mountain

Leica & Djemima on the mountain

Moise & Yvette on the mountain

Mother and daughter hikers

Youngest mountain climber, Dieunel

View from the top

Another great day and we're off to stargaze before bed!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hey, it's me, Liette. Lots to share about our past two days in Haiti.

Yesterday was a full day of work and fun.  We completed the photos and letters for all of the elementary children yesterday.  After the letters are written, I spent hours translating them while Yvette downloaded photos and labeled each of them with the children's names.  As many of you know, the names are very different here so it takes time to confirm the spelling of each name.  Yvette doesn't like it when I say the names in French so I have to say them with my best English accent.  Then Yvette and Mariah scanned the completed letters to be sent out.  Below is a photo of them "working hard"! 

Yvette and Mariah hard at work

As you can see in this second photo, they sure perked up when they knew they were being photographed :)

Now they're really hard at work!

Sponsored students - letters and photos

The youngest students coming to have their photos done

Liette's hired help getting the students' photos

Multitasker Liette.  Working on student's letters and helping Ti Luc with homework

Last night we took a long walk on the canal and Ti-Luc rode his bike beside the walkers and strollers for the babies.  Jonathan loves to ride in the small basket of Ti-Luc's bike but I had to remind Ti-Luc to slow down as Jonathan was getting all shook up.   The kids were thrilled to eat grapes freshly picked from the vineyard next to the main house.

Walking & eating grapes from Mama's yard

Liette invented the two for one stroller

We had a little soccer game last night with the kids and then our daily time to lie out under the stars and enjoy the noisy beauty of Haiti. 

Today we completed all of the high school children, including those going to school in the highest grades in other schools in the area.  Mariah and Yvette went to market this afternoon with a few of the kids to get new shoes.  She really enjoyed being squeezed into the tap tap with a ton of other people on their way to market. 

This evening we had a soccer game with the little kids who were all quite excited about the "uniforms" that they got to wear, which were donated pinnies that we brought with us.  They didn't mind that the pinnies looked an awful lot like yellow dresses!  Yvette was appalled when I stopped one of Ti Luc's shots on net - it was instinct!!  So when he had a penalty shot later, I had to jump out of the way to make sure he scored.  Some of the kids enjoyed biking again and Judel is almost able to bike on his own.  A few more days of practice and he'll have it down pat.  After dark, there was a lot of fun had with glow-in-the-dark bracelets that Yvette brought. 

soccer game with Liette & Yvette

Yvette and I are heading up to the roof to stargaze - such a peaceful time, even if the roosters just won't stop crowing!

Think of me tomorrow morning as I am doing a seminar for the teachers at the school.  Hoping for an openness to new ideas so that we can continue to offer an even better scholastic experience here at Hands Across the Sea.

Fun time on the swings

Sandra loves swinging

Ti Luc's first time with his onw keyboard.  He loves it.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hi ALL, can you believe our time is up ?:(

Let me start by thanking all of you who stood with us in prayer and thought on this incredible journey. We could not have done this without you.
Some of you wrote to us, cheering us on and often it was so timely and needed. There were some challenges, and I am so thankful you shared those moments with us .
I will hug you at home and for those of you I can't hug...Feel hugged :) LOL

Today is a great example again of prayer answered by our God who cares so deeply...not only for us but the whole world. And especially his outpouring and compassion for those in need. God is so good, and we saw it today. We had a great ride up to St Mark...Galilee had called people in advance, and so they all came to pick up whatever we had.
I would be changing the truth if I said it was all beautiful and without greed and hurt feelings...There were tough moments again, but people in great need received a little joy and comfort and hopefully they saw we cared. It is a complicated, wounded country with much room for teaching and learning . Love, compassion and investment could change many things here.

For the rest of the afternoon I got to spend a whole lot more time with all the children. It was so great. You cannot imagine what a blessing it is to watch how the very littlest ones interact with each other, teach each other to ride the bike, help each other up when one falls...It is just so beautiful.Then they sang for me !!! ! I have proof.:)

Barb w kids
Mariah & Karena

I do miss you all..home soon.
all my love, barb

Hi, from Rosie! Thanks to Barb for the good daily updates! Yes, today was another interesting day... Giving out food and leaving seemed like a Bandaid for a problem beyond us, and I think the key is empowering those in relationship with the people in the city to be doing this sort of work. But we helped for the moment... Afterward, Galilee was kind and brought us around a bit. I think it would be so cool if he could experience some more leadership development through YFC, the organization he's with.

I did some homework with Mirlande today. She's one of the mischievous kids, but she's smart. I think it's true that sometimes the brightest kids are the ones that are getting in trouble because they're BORED. A lot of school here is memorization. Mirlande didn't know what many of the words she was memorizing meant, which shows the inefficiency of the approach. But Liette, Karen's daughter, told me they are working on bettering the system. Mirlande also explained the history of Haiti to me, and she was quite expressive and captivating in her explanations.

Tonight we played a dice game, which was fun! I love getting goofy. Goofiness and laughter save all the life-analysis from making us sad. I'm excited to be home and grateful for my time here. Thank you everyone for reading and loving on us.

Sandra playing soccer

Hi, Liette here.  Today saw Yvette and I beginning the process of getting the sponsor letters written and the photos done.  We completed Grades 3, 4, & 5 today.  Tomorrow we hope to complete grade 6, plus all the younger kids.  Then comes the long process of scanning and emailing out all of the photos and letters to the sponsor kids.  The kids are happy and grateful to write their letters and I know the sponsors are happy to receive the updates from the children. 

Sponsor letters
Yvette working

This afternoon we played games, helped the kids ride bikes and then we played the dice game with all of us plus Vladimy.  Karen whipped our butts!  Like they say in Vegas, the house always wins!  We had a lot of fun laughing and enjoying our time together this evening.

Y&L bike

- Liette