Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Rats! Oh rats.

Rats, why did I do that?  Rats, why did things go that way?

This blog is not about the expression about rats.  This is about the real thing.

Rats!!  Yikes, rats!!  Rats are here - the real rats.  Rats have been wrecking havoc in both of our storage depots.  Food and other supplies have been ruined and wasted.  Oh rats indeed!!!!  (Thinking of Marilyn who serves  in the Phillipines as I write this one.)

Yesterday, and today, New Year's Eve, has been spent chasing rats in both depots behind my house.  I had seen signs of them in both depots - in the depot that holds many, many boxes of food for our school students, plus a ton of other supplies, and in the other depot that holds supplies specifically for the orphanage and our school.  Yesterday morning, however, I saw much more than signs.  I found we had as many empty pop bottles as we did full ones, several partially drained pop bottles, many empty water bottles, including one five gallon one, along with water for our batteries, tranmission fluid, etc, etc, etc.  on the floor.

Rats like pop and juice

Many boxes of special rice food for our school that been chewed open and far too much of it ruined.

Rats like the rice for the school

Lots of food and drink wasted

They had wrecked a lot of havock through out the depot even chewing diapers for Magdala, cans of powered milk, laundry soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and a whole lot more.

Not much they did not chew

With a crew of three employees and five of the older children we started emptying the depot.

Moving everything out of one depot.

Everything has to be taken outside

Lets get the job done

Yesterday we could hear sounds of rats but they managed to stay hidden until we were taking out the very last of what was stored.  Then we saw four big ones running like mad trying to escape.  We had felt sure they could not pass from one depot to another due to the work that had been done in November by the team who had come to help.  We, however, could not find the four we had seen and knew they had not escaped outside.  Where did they go?

The puzzle was solved this morning when we realized that one window between the two depots still had screen, and not wire mesh as I had thought, and they had chewed a hole for passing back and forth between the two storage rooms. The depot we spent all day yesterday on, and had left clean, had more things chewed and spilled this morning. Today we found a lot of damage in the second depot as well.  Everything was moved out of that one today and at the very end we saw the missing rats, again going nuts when depot almost empty trying to escape.  I was bravely inside with a camera but when one came near me the camera was held in the air and I ran outside almost hitting Leica who was running and yelling too.  End result is one rat escaped by running over Roselene's feet, one is dead, and two are still missing.  Sad to say they are still inside the depots.  We have no idea where.  We have blocked their hole to pass between the depots but by tomorrow morning perhaps they will have chewed another one.

I had considered leaving things as they were until Keith and Joan returned, and keeping the rat chasing for them, but decided we could not wait another three weeks to stem the havoc being done.  The next time that job is yours guys.

I have decided I am not going to check the storage depots tomorrow as I am taking New Year's Day for myself and the children.  I want, I need, I deserve, a rat free day.

Now it is 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve and the children just enjoyed a special New Year's Dinner.  I am going to take all the kids up to the roof top with me for awhile, little Magdala included.  Even Jonathan is coming despite the fact that he is ill with a high fever.

New Year's Eve dinner

Happy New Year everyone.

Happy New Year from Karen and kids at HATS-Haiti

May the Lord bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you His peace throughout 2015.

Karen and crew

Friday, December 26, 2014

Blessings at Christmas everyone.

Sorry this is late but I have been having internet problems.

Life has been extremely busy for us here in Haiti just as it usually is for our friends in North America at Christmas time.  HATS -Haiti has just experienced three parties, three days in a row.

On Tuesday, 23rd, we had a very busy day at the school.  We had a Christmas concert by the children, scheduled to be followed by the report cards being presented to the parents, to be topped off with a party which included a special Christmas meal for the students and the teachers.

The students did a great job on their 'parts' for the concert.  Our teacher, Claudy, had organized it well.

Christmas concert

The youngest one in the concert

Then report cards were being presented by teachers with assistance from Luckner and David. Reports were given out for Preschool 1,  2,  3, Grade 1 and a start made on Grade 2 when Luckner called a halt to the whole thing.  The presenting of report cards was over.  They were put back into the school office for January.  I was so very proud of Luckner in the way he handled it.  I would have done the same thing but I might have had too much to say as well.  The parents were extremely noisy and disrespectful.  They did not listen to a thing said - only to their own voices and that of their friends.  They were not listening to Luckner or the teachers, or allowing anyone else to hear what was going on.  So he called it.  Yay Luckner.  When it was too late many saw how they had behaved, but there was no going back.  Now they need to wait to know how their children did in the December exams.

Luckner & Claudy at front, about to start giving report cards with other teachers

Report cards being given before halt called

The church building was then emptied and locked.  Everyone moved to the school part of the compound where they listened to Christmas Carols on the sound system and milled around waiting for their Christmas dinner.  Luckner spent many hours in the hot, sweaty kitchen with the grade 9 and 10 students helping with the preparation and serving of the Christmas meal.

Although disappointed they did not have their children's reports cards, most people who had come for the day seemed to enjoy themselves.

Listening to Christmas Carols and Waiting for a meal

On Wednesday, December 24th we had another party.  This time it was a birthday party for our Djemima who turned 12 on Christmas Eve.

Birthday girl - age 12

Yesterday, Christmas Day, we celebrated Jesus' birthday.  This was another long, busy, but fun day for the children.  The older children and I started our day with a walk at 6:00 a.m. The children decorated our 'Devotions Room' themselves, after we returned home, by taking down some of the lights in the yard and putting them inside. They had their special Christmas meal at noon.

Early Christmas morning walk

Beauty on our Christmas morning walk

Christmas dinner

This was followed by them receiving their gifts.  This is our first time together of celebrating Jesus' birthday on December 25th.  All other years our celebration has been done Haitian style on Dec. 24th.  The children were thrilled about their gifts and we all want to say THANK YOU for all the tremendous help that came from Canada.  May God bless each and every one of you who remembered us in any way.  We love you!  We appreciate you!

Thank you Canada for our Christmas gifts

Littlest goes first. Which one of these is for me Mama

Jonathan

Anne

I finish my blogs with this -   IT IS  ALL  ABOUT  THE  CHILDREN.

As far as the work of the mission goes it is thus and I hope it stays this way.

The children and employees, however, and most of you who are involved with this mission, know that -

IT  IS  ALL  ABOUT  JESUS  FIRST  - FOLLOWED  BY  ALL  ABOUT  THE  CHILDREN.

Without Jesus' birthday to celebrate again right now we would not be here with the children.  Thank you God and thank you Jesus.  Thank you, too, to all our awesome supporters.   God bless you all.

Karen

Friday, December 19, 2014

Is this really December 19th?

It does not seem like it.  It does not feel like it.  It does not look like it.  But wait - there are a bunch of lights in our yard so perhaps that means something.

Girl's Home and Boy's Home

Administration

Christmas really must be around the corner. The children are getting more excited every day about their Christmas break from school and our celebration of the birth of Jesus.  School exams finished Wednesday for most of our children, and for JJ and Djemima yesterday, Thursday.

The children will return to school on Tuesday, Dec 23rd, to pick up their report cards and to attend a special Christmas party/dinner.  Thanks this year go to an Engineering class from Corner Brook and Steady Brook, Newfoundland.  A Christmas meal for our students and teachers was started by Bob and Linda Comeau, from Yarmouth, NS, a few years ago.  Each year we hope, and pray that enough funds will go to our HATS office in Canada to provide a special Christmas meal for our school students.  I well remember the words of one student the first year we were able to do this.  She said "Heaven came down at our school today".   Photos of this party will come on the next blog.

Yesterday in our morning devotions my heart, and that of many others, was filled by our sweet little Karena.  I walked in to find employees and children present - with all employees waiting for someone else to start leading the devotion.  Before I could appoint someone Karena opened her mouth and started singing beautifully and clearly. She led the thirty minute devotion time and did a very annointed job, with worship, Bible reading, and prayer.  What joy that gave this mama. Karena joined our HATS family at age one, five years ago just after the earthquake, as she had lost all her family members.

Karena leading worship in our morning devotions

Encouraging Karen after devotions

Our church is looking good.  It is almost ready for painting both inside and out. Hopefully the painting will be done by the March and April teams.  Luckner is presently preparing a cost estimate for a church in Calgary who are interested in helping bring electricity from our main compound to the church itself.  After Luckner can finish the electrical work we will be able to have a sound system and ceiling fans.  Wow!  What a tremendous blessings. Thank you, God.  Thank you to everyone who has helped and who are continuing to help.

Our HATS church

Inside our church

Thank you to those who have been asking about Vladimy and have been praying for him.  He is not attending school this year, at the suggestion of the doctor, but we hope he will return next year.  We have just given Vladimy a job as assistant to Eugene who takes care of the yard work and a lot of other things on site.  This job will carry him to next July or August.  These 6-7 months will be serious training and preparation time for his living elsewhere.  I ask you to continue to pray for Vladimy's health, as well as his fitting into his new role at HATS, and his preparations to move out on his own.  Thank you.

HATS-Haiti is and always will be  ALL  ABOUT  THE  CHILDREN.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time to blog a little about the HATS church and school.

Since we use our new church Monday to Friday for morning devotions with students and teachers, for parent /teacher meetings, and special functions, as well as for our Sunday morning services, I will not separate what I write or the photos I attach, into church or school.

I must start by saying how very thankful I am for the church construction that has been done recently and how this building compliments our school.

I wish to say a big thank you once again for all the support that has made it possible for HATS to build and to operate both the school and the church.

We have been having Sunday services in the church building since June.  Our floor was very rough cement, which was the actual church foundation, and could not be swept or mopped.  We had no windows or doors.  We, however, were thrilled to have the space and met with God there every week.

In November Luckner held a meeting with parents of our students.  When the meeting finished our school office was filled with parents requesting help - hoping their child could enter our sponsoring program.

Parent-teacher meeting in our church

Parents in office after meeting seeking help to pay for their children's schooling

A couple of weeks ago, the doors and windows finally were installed.  Luckner had been putting pressure on the person with the contract to do them. Last weekend the proper cement floor was poured.  Now we can sweep, mop and keep it clean for both school devotions and church.  The floor could not be poured before the windows and doors were installed or people would have walked on it and ruined it.

Church at HATS

Church windows

Other than finishing the electrical work and painting, the inside of our church is now done.  The outside - back and sides - will receive a layer of cement this week.   The front was finished a few months back.   Then the outside will also be ready for painting.

We are seeing some people from our area and children who are not attending our school IMKH attend our church services. Last May when our Springdale, NL team was at HATS one of the team members took a photo of the little girl next door who had gone out early morning to look for a bun and coffee for the family. When she and the little boys next door used to see this 'blan' going to and from the school, they would run and hide.  I was finally able to assure them I was 'not scary but friendly'.  I invited them to church several times assuring them they did not need 'church' clothes,  but should come in whatever they had to wear.  Eventually one after the other five little ones from next door started to come Sunday mornings.  They are now regulars and they are opening up.  The little girl next door is starting to blossom.  Love and acceptance make a big difference in the lives of children.

Little girl next door having picked up a bread & coffee for family.

Little girl next door leaving church

Little boy next door had run out to see us returning from our walk

During the summer break the three preschool classrooms, where we would open up the dividers to become one room for devotions and church, had permanent plywood walls added.  The teachers love the separate classrooms and the fact that their young students cannot sneak from one classroom to another.

Also during the summer Luckner had a little work done on a room where students used to pick up their daily meal.  It became a classroom for our additional class of 3eme Secondary (Grade 10) in September.  Parents and students are thrilled that the students can stay at the HATS school, IMKH, to finish their education.  In September we will add another class  Seconde (Grade 11), the following year 2016, we will add Rheto (grade 12), and then September 2017 we will add the final year of schooling in Haiti, Philo (Grade 13).  Three additional classrooms will be required over the next three years.  We hope to be placing them on top of the present classrooms for grades, 7, 8, and 9. We firmly believe God will provide the needed funds for these classrooms.

Preschool students in morning devotions

PS 2 cutie

Education, preschool to Rheto, is very important to every student and their family in Haiti.  In our area of the Artibionite Valley we want to continue to offer the good level of education IMKH has been providing.  Our school operates with order and discipline, which the parents greatly appreciate.  Students who transfer to IMKH from other schools quickly discover that - what they might have gotten away with elsewhere - is definitely not going to be tolerated with us.  It is often a rude awakening - change or leave IMKH.  Luckner continues to do a fantastic job as director of the school.  Too, he teaches our secondary classes many hours weekly.

Our church operates without 'a pastor'.  We see no need to rush into that.  When we have visiting groups one of the team members will give a message on Sunday mornings which will be translated into Creole.  Otherwise I have been doing Sunday morning messages.  When Joan is at HATS we share that which I must say pleases me greatly.

Having Joan and Keith working with me this year is absolutely 'what the doctor ordered', not to mention I believe is a part of God's plan.  They are very important to the church, school, children on site, employees, and most importantly those two are a tremendous help to Luckner in his huge amount of work at HATS, and to me in the heavy load I carry.  I was sad when they returned to Montreal in November but at the same time glad they are returning in January.

Joan doing schoolwork with Moise and Judel

Keith is always busy - when HATS has a team and also when we do not.

We are all looking forward to January as three family members, Sandra, Dickie, and Jim, are coming to help for two weeks and just before they return to Canada Joan and Keith will return to HATS.  Thank you God.

This month the children and I plan to spend a lot of time together during the Christmas break from school, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Everything we do at HATS is for the children.

IT  IS  ALL  ABOUT  THE CHILDREN

Merry Christmas everyone.   Jesus truly is the reason for the season.

Thank you again for all your support.  May God bless all of you.

Karen

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blog Dec 02 - 2014

23 days till Christmas and the HATS team is getting ready for the celebration.

The Christmas lights are all up and look great. Thanks to Rick from Liette’s team and AL from the Roma team for putting them up.

It’s different looking at Christmas lights against the palm trees instead of the snow.

 Lights are up.

The kids are getting excited too. A couple more weeks till school ends for the Christmas break.

Then the kids can relax and play board games, soccer, hockey and read the library books.

JJ is excited.

Our Christmas picture is taken. It only took 47 takes to make sure everyone was looking at the camera and no closed eyes and some smiles AND making sure everyone was actually present.

Family picture 2014

Are you all ready for Christmas? If you still have shopping to do here are some suggestions:

•     Sponsor a school child - It costs only $275 per year to sponsor a child from preschool to grade 6,  High school sponsorship costs $375/year. http://www.hatshaiti.org/donate/sponsor/

•     Bring Christmas to Haiti - Your donation will provide rice, cornmeal, beans and oil to a needy family. $25 provides: 5 kg rice, 3 kg beans, 2 kg cornmeal, 2L oil.  http://www.hatshaiti.org/bring-christmas-to-haiti/

Check out the new web page at: http://www.hatshaiti.org/