Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another photo blog from Karen.

The photos will show that HATS-Haiti truly is    ALL   ABOUT   THE CHILDREN.   Everything is done with them and for them.

Karen

All kids happy for Papa hugs

The 'Man' of HATS who wears many hats

Low water in canal so kids could climb down this morning

Sandra

Anne

Jofky

Karena

Ti Fi and Josie

Four monkey doodles

JJ, Leica & Djemima - going higher

Actually meant to keep animals from going in - obviously not the two legged kind

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

School exams are over once again.

A good many of us are glad about this, which certainly includes me.  Not sure how glad I will be though when the report cards are given out. 

Secondary students writing exams

Guess who I saw struggling with his exam

Every day I had been putting pressure on the children to study, study, study.  One afternoon they requested the ball for 'a little soccer time'.  I responded with ' no, a little study time'.   I sent them off to get a textbook and study.

Shortly afterwards I was on the way to the school and saw them all sitting on the steps of Kay TimbrMart, laughing and talking.  They saw me coming.  They all grabbed a textbook and started reading out loud at the same time.  Some of the books were upside down and what they were saying did not make sense but they were showing me they were obediently studying.  It was just too funny.

Monkey doodle kids - supposed to be studying

Vladimy, too, is glad exams are over.   It made no sense for him to return to school shortly before or during exams.  Instead he has been tutored by one of our own secondary teachers to bring him to a level to hopefully fit back into his class.  This mama was very happy today to see her big boy return to school.  The other children were pleased for Vladimy too.  Thank you for your concern and prayers for him.

Big brother Vladimy is returning to school. Yeah!

The church construction has kept moving along.

Work on church foundation

There were ups and downs, supply problems, problems with some workers, etc, etc.  We had a problem with the boss mason who started the project.  Things were on hold for a short time, but then a new boss and some other new workers agreed to finish the project. Off we went again.  Luckner has been stretched as he was keeping an eye on the work, and the workers, along with everything else on his plate.  He wanted to see it finished without any wastage of funds.  Not an easy task in this country. 

Work on the church is progressing.

Checking it out after church on Sunday.

The building is a good size for which I am thankful.  It will be full for our school morning devotions and on many special occasions, and have some space for growth in the church. 

Standing on roof of my place and watching the final preparations for roof of the church

The cement roof was put on the building yesterday. 
What a horribly long, hot and tiring day for Luckner and the workers.  Luckner along with other workers was on the roof of the building from 7:00 a.m. yesterday until 10:00 p.m. last night.  He was determined to get it finished despite the atrocious heat, and intense fatigue they felt.  Some men were standing on the ladder all day passing bucket after bucket of cement up to the roof.  

Mid day, very hot temps, passing buckets of cement up the ladder

6 p.m. and no sign of pouring cement for roof slowing down

From 7:30 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. last night we had three vehicles in front of the building with our lights on high beam.  A friend of Luckner's had brought a small generator and he used lamps and flashlights as well.  He saw that the roof was done before quitting.

The basic structure of the church is now finished. The roof needs to dry for two weeks before anything else can be done.  Next will be two doors and windows.  We had planned on using cement block windows and did the estimate with that in mind.  We, however, decided to go with rebar windows, which is more costly, but will allow much better air flow and light. 

The next step in the church construction is the smooth cement work on the walls of the building.  We have not yet raised funds for this part of the construction.  This takes a lot of cement.  It makes the building attractive with a nice finished look.  More importantly, however, it makes it more solid.  We can certainly use the building, when the doors and  windows are in, without the walls being finished and we may be doing so.  We used the school like that until we found funds to finish it.  I, however, want to bring you up-to-date and let you know of the needs to see it completely finished.  When the funds were raised for the basic construction, a couple of people asked me to let them know when that part was done, and we would move on to the next step.  This is my way of letting them know, and other friends and supporters of HATS who may be interested in helping us get it finished. 

Too, we will be putting a raised platform at one end of the church - perhaps in wood.  I wonder if there is any chance of getting our Bob The Builder back here for this!!  I don't have an estimate for this cement and platform work from Luckner yet, but knowing it will take a huge amount of cement besides the wood, etc I am thinking perhaps around $5000.

An important part of being able to worship in the building is the need for benches (as they are called here.)  We would like to have them done with metal legs.  We are thinking 30 - 40 benches - perhaps 30 to start.  We have no idea for cost of these yet.  When the roof is dry and we are able to get inside and measure the length of benches we will need, then we can do an estimation.  If there is anyone interested in trying to find some funds and/or in coming down to help with construction of these, let us know please.

Thank you to everybody who has been a part of this church project in any and every way.  Thank you.  We are thankful for every bag of cement, for every block, every truck load of rocks, gravel, sand, for the wood of various kinds, nails, and especially for the encouragement and prayer support as we moved along in the project.

This building is going to be used regularly by many children - in worshiping every morning before school and on Sunday mornings.   We will continue to work towards helping the children to become good citizens of their country.

IT     IS     ALL     ABOUT     THE     CHILDREN

God bless you all.
Karen

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recent Visits

Recently we had visits from two interesting groups - One was a workteam from the US to Project Help in Borel.  We enjoyed a walk together along the canal.  On late afternoon walks one always sees a few of our kids become very tired on the way home.  The group members were fun and very supportive.  We want to say thank you for coming to spend a little time with us.

A visit from a team to Borel from the US

Ti Luc showed the youngest team member the church construction

Late afternoon walk - our kids were tired on the way home

Ti Luc was tired and found help back home

Anne and Pastor Scott

The other visit was from a UN group stationed in Gonaives.  They apparently have a section there that will work directly with orphanages - especially if an emergency should arise.  They looked around this compound and the school compound.  They seemed to like what they saw here and enjoyed time with the children.  They told me they would definitely like to return.

Visit from the UN group

Enjoying time with our kids

Anne is now friendly quickly - not hiding away.

Bye for now.  We want to return.

On their way

I am including a photo of our two youngest children.  Sandra and Jonathan are inseparable.  Like all children they get upset with each other on occasion but they sure do love each other.

Mama Karen's two youngest

All our children are precious.  All need love and affection.  We hope and we pray that these two littlest ones, and the older children, will grow up to become good citizens and leaders of their country.  On the wall outside the mission it says,  "Orphans today, leaders tomorrow."   Let's continue to work together towards that end.

IT   IS    ALL   ABOUT   THE   CHILDREN

Karen

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hello everybody,

I am tired and not sure I can write much that would make sense.  Photos can do a better job and so tonight I will let the photos do the talking.

Church construction

Work on the church is progressing

Lots of workers on site. Getting it ready to pour the cement roof


Leica's 10th birthday

Happy Birthday Leica

Red tongue delight caused by red chocolate cupcake

Scenes from a peaceful early morning walk by myself.  Can't get away with that very often.  I usually have from 4 - 14 children with me.










This mission      IS   ALL   ABOUT   THE   CHILDREN       but occasionally this busy mother, nurse, director, administrator, teacher, counsellor, listener/encourager, church message giver,  repairman (degaje style), and lover of Haiti and those in need, has a need of her own - to be able to walk along the canal by herself.   Oh yes!!!

Now she is going to say goodnight and God bless you. 
Karen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tuesday, March 4th.

Hi folks.  I wrote this blog a week ago.  My internet is operating again as of this afternoon.  Oh happy day!!  I had 86 emails waiting for me.  This blog is news to you, but I will endeavour to do another soon.  K 

 Carnival in Haiti is over, now people are recuperating. Hopefully things will start opening and getting back to normal again.  I hope that by Monday, 10th, I will be able to make contact with someone in Port au Prince.  I have been without television for 3 1/2 weeks (like to use it for news); and air conditioner for 3 weeks (like to use it to cool my room down from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. as no electricity to run it after generator goes off); and internet since last Monday, 8 days ago.  Have no idea how long I will be without internet.  I made contact with businesses in PAP about two of these things and was told  "nothing will be looked at until after carnival".  That was nine days before carnival was to start.  I contacted those in charge of my internet service on Tuesday knowing nothing would be done at that time but wanted them to know.  I was told it would be looked into.  I will be on the phone big time next Monday looking for help.  I sometimes feel like I have been let adrift on an island.  I have no idea what has been going on anywhere else in the world.  I lived like this for my first twelve years here but did not really want to go back to it.  I am greatly missing contact via internet with my family and friends. 

During carnival the country shuts down.  Everything is closed - schools, banks, stores, all businesses, etc.  The Friday prior to Carnival schools have a ti fet carnival.  Schools are 'supposed' to close for three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  In reality, however, almost all schools are closed for the week.  Some businesses also close for the week due to employees not turning up on Thursday and Friday.  Most parents do not send students to school for one or two days.  Today, Thursday, our HATS school, IMKH, opened as per the schedule set by the government.  We were, apparently, the only school in the area that operated, and we had a turnout of 128 students out of 286.  Luckner literally ran from grade 7 to grade 8 to grade 9 as three secondary teachers did not turn up.  Knowing Friday would most likely be the same or worse we decided to allow students to stay home tomorrow.  Things will get quickly back to normal on Monday.   One more week of teaching and then the students have exams again.  Mama Karen is cracking the whip and sending the children to do a lot more studying and a lot less playing.  Will it help?  Hopefully but . . . . . .   I will be anxiously waiting the exam results.

While carnival was in full operation many churches in Haiti put on special events.  This gave people an option as to how to spend their three days.  Here at HATS Mama Karen spent the time with her children - playing, walking, teaching, sleep-overs, and evening devotions with every child having a drum of sorts.  My kids called it Kanaval pou Jezi.  We marched around the compound singing and making a joyful noise with our drums. 

HATS children love to make music with drums

Our marching drumming band

One night the older children had a sleepover upstairs at the 'HATS Hilton' with Mama Karen and Ti Luc, using the tents for workteams.  (Thanks David and team for the sign.)  They really did enjoy doing this and are already asking when we can sleepover again.

Time to enter the tents and hopefully 'sleep'

HATS Hilton not quiet up to par with other Hiltons

Morning has come. Sleepover at HATS Hilton is finished

Another night the little children had a sleep over with Mama and Ti Luc at the HATS Hilton annex - the other missionary house.  The young ones were flying high with excitement.  JJ did a good job as my assistant on both sleepovers.  He is great about getting the other children up to pee during the night hours and getting them settled back in their beds.   In the morning I found JJ sleeping mostly on the floor because Jonathan and Sandra had taken his bed during the night.  Too cute.

Little ones sleepover with Mama at HATS Hilton Annex

Jonathan chose his bed as soon as my helper JJ lay down

Sleepover finished at Hilton Annex

Both mornings after our sleepovers I walked along the canal with all the children.  The older children were a great help with the younger ones.  We had English lessons while we walked.  Sandra did a good job of pronouncing all the English words for everything we saw. 

Morning walk

Heading home for breakfast

During the second sleepover at 2:15 a.m. security chief, Richard, called me.  He and Gesner were both on duty that night for which I, and they, were very thankful.  He told me there was an uninvited guest in the compound that he had found, had wounded, and was about to kill.  He thought I might like to see first.  Since I go nowhere without my camera I grabbed it and ran downstairs and found them up by my house.  There was a big snake - I mean big.  This was no black garden snake.  Yikes.  I, of course, took photos before they got rid of it.  I asked them to keep the info about the snake to themselves as it would serve no point in making my children afraid.  One of our housemothers, who has an intense fear of snakes, happened to be on duty that night and overheard us talking in the yard.  She got up in the morning and told JJ she felt sure there was a huge snake in the yard that night just outside my house.  She was about to pass on her information to the other children when I countered it by telling her and JJ that she was misinformed.  I said there was a snake, but it was not very big at all and Richard put it outside.  JJ immediately calmed down and nothing more was said.  I don't plan on sharing this photo with the children.

Uninvited guest - stopped by security

For someone who used to be scared - no terrified - of every tiny spider and every other thing that crawled or flew I have come a long way.  I thank God for how far I have come as I had asked him to help me with that fear.  I would not have been able to live and work here if I had continued to live my life in fear.  I don't run away from things screaming, instead I run for my camera.  I have seen a lot of tarantulas small, medium, and huge here on this compound, and a 'very big one' when I lived in Borel.  Theresa (who used to assist me at HATS) and I saw a couple of doozie tarantulas here at this house.  It was indeed startling and I think they could have heard Theresa's screams at the hospital or even down in Borel early one morning.  Theresa and I saw garden snakes but never something like this.  There are three things I allow to be killed on this compound - snakes, tarantulas, and cockroaches.  Everything else is allowed to live in peace here.  I have lived here almost 19 years and I still can't handle cockroaches.  I cannot, and will not, live in peace with those things.  I dislike cockroaches a lot more than snakes or tarantulas.  I must admit I do freeze and then move quickly in another direction when I see a cockroach.  I declare no one should have to live with things like that in their house.  No one.

Thank you for your continued support for the children, here on site with me, and all the children in our school and those in our HATS schooling program outside of IMKH.  Thank you for continuing to walk with Luckner and I, with our Canadian board, and especially for walking with all the children whose lives are being touched because of you.  It is due to your loving, caring hearts for these children that HATS can continue to help.  Thank you.

IT   IS   ALL   ABOUT   THE   CHILDREN