Monday, August 19, 2013

Heat and Humidity. Heat and Humidity.

That about covers anything that needs to be said about Haiti these days.  We are living in the heat and humidity and suffering it.  We are always hot and very wet.  We have greatly decreased energy.  If one hugs a child one sticks to that child.  When one bathes one feels fresh and smells fresh for 5 - 10 minutes.   My fingers are sliding all over the keys as I type so I will blame any errors on this fact.  We are surviving - well sort of anyway.

When I returned from Canada I did so with two drums for the children to use in church.  They have been enjoying using these along with the two that Beate made while here.  My first couple of days back saw Dieunel and Ti Luc practicing with the drums in my house before taking them to church. 

Practicing for Sunday morning
JJ and Moise playing drums in church

As well upon my return each of the children received new duds, the three littlest girls getting 'princess' dresses.  I do believe they felt like little princesses too.

Three princesses in princess dresses

One evening recently little Sandra, age 2, decided she wanted to lead devotions.  That little girl is smart, funny and mischevious with the cutest smile and a ton of headstrong determination.   She was the only one at devotions who had a songbook and with the book upside down she sang the words to every song and did so with gusto.  When she asked someone to pray she was peeking to see that it was done right.  She is a joy a lot of the time but boy when she decides she does not like something, or does not want to do something, watch out.  

Sandra, age 2, only one with songbook
During prayer in devotions

A friend who works at the hospital came on her horse recently for a short visit.  The kids loved being close to the horse, even getting a short ride in our yard.  It was good for the children to see a horse so healthy and well cared for.  Now they would like one - of course for Mama to take care of in all her spare time.

Peter on Dawn's horse

We have ongoing generator/inverter/battery problems which amounts to electricity problems.  Recently our generator quit running on one phase out of two which meant for a couple of days there were many areas of the compound in 'blackout'.  Again Luckner, with the help, pulled us through the crisis and for now the generator is up and running again.

Generator problems

This year Luckner decided to hold a party to celebrate Radio Creole being on the air.  Many people encouraged it and many, many people came.  He encouraged children to come late afternoon while we still had daylight and enjoy the meal before the adults arrived.  Our HATS kids, as well as many other children in the area, attended.  He gave the kids the opportunity to sing and to share on the air.  Adults from near and far attended and many of them shared, up until 6:00 a.m. the following morning, their thankfulness for the radio station.  It truly has made a difference in this area.

Radio Creole studio
HATS kids singing on the air for Radio Creole
Gwo Luckner and Ti Luckner at Fet Radio Creole

JJ has been quite involved in our little church services during the summer time as our worship leader, Yolene, needed surgery.  He has done a good job of leading worship.  Perhaps an up and coming leader for HATS and Haiti.

JJ leading worship

Preparations for school opening continues nonstop.  Eden has started work on badly needed new desks for our lower grades.  Brad will soon be putting shelves in the room next to our school office where I will be able to organize school supplies and all the books. Luckner and I are still in the uniform fabric stage, but soon we will move into textbook purchasing and organizing stage.

School desks underway

We do need new sponsors for this school year so anyone willing to help a student attend school please let us know.  Forms are available through our website at www.hatshaiti.org or through Dickie MacDonald at hatsa.yarmouth@gmail.com.  Thank you!!

Once again I say a huge thank you to all who are a part of HATS in any and every way.  Thank you.  God bless you.

Together we are making a difference.  Let's keep it  "ALWAYS  ABOUT  THE  CHILDREN".
Karen

Saturday, August 10, 2013

School opening is almost upon us again.

Actually for Luckner and I and Lois and Brad, who have been helping us with the reopening of our school, the work of the school has never stopped.  Luckner had three weeks of registering students and buying fabric for uniforms, while Lois and Brad have been cutting it all up in preparation of us getting it into the hands of the students.  The next big job is to start purchasing all the textbooks.

The three weeks I was away Luckner did the registering of students for the 2013-2014 school year.  All students, returning, and new, must register to attend in September.   He registered more than 40 new students for preschool and several in our grade 7 class.

Our school, IMKH, fared very well in the government exams for grade six and for grade nine again this year.  Thank you for those results go to Luckner who pushed both teachers and students.  The last couple of months of school Luckner had the grade six teacher give extra classes, while he taught the grade nine students on Saturdays and Sundays to prepare them for the big exams.  Our grade six class had 18 out of 20 and our grade nine had 18 out of 21 pass.

Thank you to you, our present sponsors, who are continuing to pay for your students.  If any of you have not yet paid for the school year 2013/2014 we ask you to please do so through Dickie MacDonald in Yarmouth.  If you are willing to start sponsoring a student this year you can download a form from our website or get in touch with Dickie or Sandra MacDonald or Liette Wilson:-
Dickie - hatsa.yarmouth@gmail.com
Sandra - sandra.hatshaiti@gmail.com
Liette - liette.hatshaiti@gmail.com

We are now in need of more sponsors especially for our newly registered little ones and for some grade seven students who passed the government exams and who have chosen to continue their education at our school.

Preschool to grade six is $275 per year.  Grade 7 to graduation s $375 per year.

Thank you once again for all the ongoing help in getting the children in our area receive an education.  Attending school gives students and families hope.  Without hope the people perish.

Every aspect of the HATS-Haiti Mission is and always will be  ALL ABOUT   THE   CHILDREN.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Home Sweet Home - Welcome Home Mama Karen

I left the children for three weeks - 2 1/2 weeks in Canada (which I refer to as the Canadian world - where things are easy and comfortable) and four days of travelling to and from. It was needed. It was relaxing. It was enjoyable. It was exactly what the doctor 'would have' ordered.

First I visited in NS with Dickie and Sandra. I arrived feeling exhausted and burned out. I left there feeling renewed and recharged. I rested lots, was well fed and treated like a princess.

Then on to that wonderful island where I grew up that I lovingly refer to as 'the rock'. That beautiful island in the Atlantic ocean does have some rocky areas but it has the most wonderful people in the world that are 'rock' solid. I have not lived there since I was 21 years old. I, however, will always return there when I can. I will always be very thankful for my upbringing and always thankful that "I am a Newfie and will forever be very proud of it."

While in NL most of my time was spent in Springdale, my home town. We did not just stay in Springdale, we stayed in 'our old homestead' where we grew up. Bob and Elaine have done a fantastic job, with a lot of hard work and a lot of money, of preserving the home. How many siblings in their sixties can return to their childhood home and spend precious time together?

Old homestead
Relaxing with Lila

While there my siblings and I, along with sisters and brothers-in-law, several nephews, neices and their children, gathered to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of a very special couple - my brother Don and his wonderful, patient, understanding, accepting, gracious wife, Lila. I wonder how soon there can be another special anniversary or another reason for us to get together there. Before separating, we siblings, once again, had our photo taken in our yard in the same place and in the same order of age as our mama had done when we were children.

Family fun at old homestead for D&L's 50th Ann
Don & Lila's 50th wedding anniversary
Huxter siblings

Most of you know I had planned on taking Ti Luc to Canada with me. Once again it did not happen. Still we are waiting on his passport. I solicit your prayers for this passport to be granted. We need whatever is blocking this being finished to be removed. It was difficult to leave him behind for three weeks but thanks to Germaine he was well looked after.

When I walked off the plane in Port au Prince, on Monday, 5th, I felt like I was walking into a 500 degree oven. Welcome home Karen.

Ti Luc and all the other children were very happy to have their mama return. Luckner drove me into the yard to find Little Sandra and Jonathan (our two youngest) standing holding a sign saying "Welcome Home Mama Karen".

Welcome Home Mama
Welcome Home Mama Karen

My first night back at the mission (in my Haiti world) was much less comfortable than in my Canadian world. In Canada I was often cold even though others were comfortable or too warm. In Canada I had 24 hour electricity. In Canada I had clean rooms and clean beds. In Canada I had no bugs in my bed or my room. Loved the time in my Canada world.

Keeping warm early one morning in NL

I arrived back home to intense heat and extremely high humidity. People here were having great difficulty with it and rightly so.

Germaine had my house nice and clean. I remember thinking this feels good. I did not know that my bedroom had not been unlocked for her to clean. After spending valuable time with the children, I unlock my room so I can shower and do a little unpacking. Yikes. My room is dirty - three weeks of dust, cobwebs, and bugs galore. I decide I will not see it, but will shower and will put my very tired body to bed. I pull back my shower curtain only to see spiders, cobwebs and also hundreds of insects - fair size termites I think - in my bathtub. Okay, so I don't need a shower after all. I see spiders on the walls by my bed but I am too tired to care. I set up a fan and crash on the bed. I need a good night sleep and I will deal with it all in the morning. I do not think to find a flashlight.

The generator goes off at 10:00 p.m. I have no idea my batteries, that should get me through the night with a fan and lights, have very little charge. At midnight I feel like I am in a sauna and about to pass out from the heat and humidity. My batteries and inverter stop working after only two hours. I can not breath properly. This means I have no fan and no lights of any kind in the house, from midnight until 6:00 a.m. Just lovely. Tossing and turning, not sleeping, on the sweat drenched sheets, I feel cobwebs on my hands and face. Oh boy! Welcome Home Mama Karen.

Despite all that it was good to arise in the morning, sweaty, stinky, and more overtired than when I lay down, but knowing I would quickly see the children. For me it truly is "All About The Children". I was not out the door when little legs were running to me and little voices were yelling "Maman. Maman".

My second night home, I had a nice clean room, but from 2:15 a.m. on I again had to toss and turn in extreme heat and humidity due to not enough charge in my batteries. Again I was in 'blackout' for the remainder of the night. Hopefully tonight, Wednesday, I can have battery power until at least 5:00 a.m.