Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lots has happened in the later part of December.

On December 21st we had a busy day at our school. The students and parents came to pick up the report cards, for a concert put on by elementary students, and to eat, drink and be merry.    All our kids here onsite made a passing mark, but some need to pull up their socks starting in January, or their bike riding and/or rollerblading will be limited.

Kids are ready for report, program, party day at school

The program put on by the younger students was well done and enjoyed by students and parents.

Full room waiting for things to start

Preschool 1 class - Karena far right front

Then on to the best part for most of those in attendance - food and drinks.   We had enough food prepared for 260  and ran out by the time we reached grade four level.  Wow.  We started cooking the same amount again and eventually all in attendance were well fed.

Many hands make light work - director's hands especially

A lot of meals and drinks were passed out today at the school

Thank you to those who sent some Christmas funds which enabled us to do this for the community.

On Sunday, 23rd, everyone who attended our church service were happy to leave with a gift and a cold drink.  Our HATS kids sang a special number while a black baby doll, depicting baby Jesus,  lay on the floor in front of them.  Simple but effective.  There were also a number of solo specials.

HATS kids singing with baby Jesus on the floor

Anne standing on pulpitand singing in church

Little Berlens singing for us in church

Monday, 24th, saw us celebrating Djemima's 10th birthday with a party at 2:00 p.m.  Then at 5:30 pm we celebrated Jesus' birthday with a special meal and gifts.  My kids were off the wall and over the hills with excitement that day.  The only way we adults could get things ready for both parties was to let them watch videos (which is a royal treat) with Vladimy there to supervise.

Sandra wishing Djemima 'Bon Fet'

When Liette and Yvette came in November a lovely gift for all the children came with them, thanks to the generosity of people in the Calgary area.   A huge thank you to all of you for the fantastic gifts the children received.

Christmas dinner on 24th

Sandra very happy to have her own 'baby' to feed

Thanks from Jonathan

I had not had any time whatsoever for myself for a very long time and I was feeling completely drained after the Christmas party.  I requested a couple of hours for myself Christmas Day to unwind and to read.  Not to be!

Christmas morning around 4:30 I was awakened by one of the house mothers who felt she needed to let me know 'then' that one of the showers was leaking.  Oh my.  Not the best start to the day that I had hoped would be a little less stressful and tiring for me.  Awake very early when unnecessary so I thought I would make the best of it.  I decided to take an early morning walk along the canal.  Took JJ, Moise, Djemima and Leica with me.   We enjoyed our time together talking and enjoying the beauty.  On the way back to the mission my phone rang and from then on Christmas day was painful and stressful.

I was informed that a young man, David, with whom I have had a close and special relationship for 17 years had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  David was the one person in Haiti who called and texted me regularly to check on me, to say he loved me, and to tell me that I was very special to him and always would be.  I have often said 'I know there is one person in Haiti who cares for me for who I am and not for what I can do for them'.   That was David.


I met David, through my daughter, Liette, my first year in Haiti.  I became involved in the lives of David, Josue (his younger brother and Liette's godson),  his mother who was mentally unstable, and his blind grandmother, and stayed close to David from then on.  My relationship with David, over the years, strengthened greatly.  I was with him through the death of his grandmother, spent time with him after the death of his mother, helped him with everything possible so he could keep going and take care of Josue.   We had a special mother/son bond.

I blogged about David as one of the HATS success stories as a sponsored student a couple of years ago.  I told David last month that I was planning on doing another blog about him in January or February, which would bring people up-to-date with his life. He said he would come see me in January so I could do new photos.

David graduated from school, thanks to his sponsorship under Education Haiti.  For the past few years David has been teaching school and teaching English in a couple of other schools.  He was very involved in his church, where he was a leader of a group of young people, and where he regularly played his guitar and sang. Too, David had a regular program on a radio station that he used to try and lead young people in the right direction - to stay in school and be good leaders for the future of Haiti.  He was a young man with a calling and a mission to do everything he could to help his people.  He was well liked and well respected.

He played and sang in a concert at his church Saturday night. Actually Josue, his brother, did some singing with him Saturday too.  Afterwards he, Josue, and a young woman went looking for something to eat.  On their way home on a moto the accident happened.  David and two others were killed.

Josue is in the hospital here in Deschapelles in serious condition. Please pray for Josue.  He does not yet know David died in the accident.  If Josue survives, he has a long and rough road ahead - physically and emotionally as it was David that cared for Josue.  I went to see Josue at the hospital but he had no idea I was there.


The only family David and Josue had left in Haiti are an aunt and two cousins.  David would visit them sometimes when he would come to see me, as they too live in this area.  These family members are now asking for me to take on the full responsibility and expense of the funeral for David.  Oh my.  I can't do it all.   Please pray for me to have wisdom in decisions, a loving spirit as I deal with the family,  and for strength to deal with it all.  Thank you.

God bless you.    Karen

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


A sincere thank you from myself and my assistant, Luckner, on behalf of many people throughout this area of Haiti for all the help, in many forms, that has come to HATS during the past year.

The hunger problem in Haiti is very real.  There was a serious problem with hunger in the valley before Hurricane Sandy hit, which then became a lot more serious.  Thank you for your response in wanting to help.  There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing hungry children or mothers crying out for help so they can feed their children.  We have children coming to school hungry every day.  Often they end up in the office crying because of the hunger pains in their tummies.  Thank you.  Because of your generosity, over the past three to four month period, we have distributed food (rice, beans, cornmeal and oil) to more than 250 - 300 families.

Food comes in, gets separated, and goes out

Thank you very much for the food!!!!

Food recipients

Mesi anpil

People continued to come for food on Christmas eve, Christmas day and again today, 26th.  With happy and grateful hearts they left here knowing something would be cooked for their families for Christmas and in the following week or so.  When people  expressed their thanks we told them the thanks should go to God and to the generous people who sent the funds for it to be purchased for them.

Thank you very much

A senior we help on a monthly basis thankful for the food gift

Thank you

Besides the food we are distributing on the behalf of you the donors, we are also giving many people a gift of a young coconut tree to plant in their yards.  This will be a help for many years to come.

There is an entrepreneur in this area who has planted hundreds of coconut trees to be sold.  Thus far we have purchased 200 coconut trees.  This same man has a small scale fish farm where he is allowing fish to grow so he can sell fish to people that is not coming from contaminated water.

On Christmas eve I took the older children to see the young coconut trees that HATS has purchased and to see the fish growing there. They were fascinated and delighted with it all.  We are giving people notes to take and pick up the trees directly from the owner.

Owner of the business and our kids standing with the coconut trees

Children are fascinated by the fish jumping

Thank you, too, for your generosity in donating to the Christmas program of chickens, Bibles and Hymn books.  We will be purchasing those things and distributing a little later.

To win a game of soccer, or some other team sport, it takes a team who will pull together.  To make a difference in the lives of the people around us it takes a team, you the donors and us here on the frontlines, who will pull together.  Together we can make a difference.  Together we are making a difference.  Together we will continue to make a difference.


    Thank you.  God bless you.   Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Enjoy reading.

Ismyis, Anne & Sandra



Jofky told me he was reading his Bible




Karen with Sandra and Jonathan

Karena, Jofky, Dieunel, Anne


Karma and Sandra

Leica, Mirlande & Djemima


Moise and Ti Luc with Jonathan

Sandra, Jonathan & Anne


Vladimy & Judel

Merry Christmas everyone from HATS-Haiti

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone who has everything?

Would you like to give your loved ones a gift that will help change lives in Haiti?

Hands Across the Sea is offering a few wonderful gift options this Christmas.

Sponsor a child - We have a few children in our school who still need sponsors. Your sponsorship enables children to receive a high quality education, hot meals at school, daily nutritional supplement and most importantly, hope for the future. Elementary sponsorship fees are $275 per year. Secondary sponsorship fees are $375 per year. Email Liette for more information at

Buy a chicken for a needy family - Owning a chicken can truly make a difference for a needy family. A chicken can provide eggs to improve a family's nutrition and chicks to be sold to buy rice or other necessities. A pair of chickens can be bred as a microenterprise project. The cost of a chicken is only $10!

Chicken and girl

Chicken in Haiti

Chickens feeding

Bless a family with a Creole Bible or hymnbook - The gift of a Bible or hymnbook can bring joy and hope to individuals and families. Bibles and hymnbooks cost $15 each.

Creole Bible

Creole hymn book

You can purchase chickens, Bibles and hymnbooks through Paypal on our website at Be sure to indicate what you are donating for. You can also send a cheque to Hands Across the Sea, Box 101, Yarmouth, NS, B5A 1B1.

Karena with Creole Bible

Share God's love this Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bye Mariah. We love you.

Mariah left today and she is missed already. She came late August 2011 for 2-3 months. We kept her and she left today Dec. 14, 2012. Her planned few months stint at this mission turned into a 1 1/2 year stint.

Mariah asking preschooler's name

Mariah's first year here saw her doing a fantastic job as preschool teacher at the HATS school. She returned to Canada at end of June to work for a couple of months but returned here once again late August as she knew I was still without help. This year the school wanted her back as a teacher but I fought to keep her on this compound this time. Since she would be moving back to Canada in December I won. Am I thankful for the help she was to many of us on this compound? You bet I am. So are the employees here and the children.

Djemima singing in church for Mariah's farewell

Mariah has been extremely helpful, not only in the school, and with employees and children here, but also every Sunday in church. Last Sunday we had a special farewell service for Mariah with special music - solos, duets, and groups - some written just for her.

Judel & Karena praying in church at Mariah's farewell

Wednesday, was the last day of exams and thus last day of regular school for our elementary students (they return on 21st for report cards and a party), and it was also a farewell for Mariah from students and teachers. At one point in the get-together Mariah was mobbed by students, many of them students she had taught last year. She was hugged by so many that she could not be seen in the group for a photo.

Students PS to Grade 6 saying farewell to Mariah

Mariah with a student she had last year

Yesterday, Thursday, we had a farewell and thank you Mariah on this compound with employees and children. (Two of our children were missing from the photo.) Tears flowed freely, employees and children. Mariah tried diligently to control the tears but when precious little Karena Mariah (her kid as we all see it) went to hug her and talk to her Mariah could no longer hold back the water.

HATS employees and children with Mariah

A sad Mariah as her special Karena Mariah went to say she would miss her a lot

Trying to leave the tears for later

Mariah will be missed a lot

Early this morning we headed to the airport in Port au Prince so she could head back to her other home. It was very difficult for me to see her walk though Immigration and out of sight but such is life. Our loss, after 1 1/2 years, is once more the gain of her family and friends in Canada. When seeing her walk away from me at the airport today I was remembering my arrival at the airport in 2005 to meet Mariah. I came to meet my first grandchild and at age two, the first time she saw me, she ran to me with hugs. We have grown very close over the years and today she left me with hugs. Hugs and tears. She knew I was crying so she did a Mariah thing as she moved through immigration and in the security line, which she knew would make me smile. It did. Tears and smiles often go together.

Sandra packed in the carry-on and ready to leave with Mariah

We all know that Mariah will be back to see us. We do not know when but we will all be waiting for her visit. Haiti is her second home. Mariah is a wonderful young woman, and not because she is my grand-daughter, and not because I am prejudiced, but because she is who she is. She is already a woman of God and proudly lets it be known. Mariah is Haitian. She is Canadian. She loves her people in both countries. She easily fits in both worlds and is loved and appreciated by people in both.

At airport ready to leave Haiti for Canada

Bye for now Mariah. Thank you for all your help and support. It feels empty here tonight. Ti Luc had tears for you when I put him to bed. I am missing you. God bless you precious one.