Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday October 29th – 2015

Keith

Notice to the HATS Board of Directors:
October’s report will be late because all the papers and receipts are in boxes and Karen and Joan won’t be able to find anything for a few days.

Yup…. I finally got the office cleared out and prepped for painting.
I know I know ….. I was supposed to start on Monday, but on Monday the school was closed and I got busy with the kids……

·         Then there was a leak in the girls’ home sink

·         Then I had to tidy the depot to find the parts for the sink repair

·         Then there was a toilet to unblock

·         Then before the plumbing supplies were put away there was a kitchen sink leak

·         Then the kids wanted their bikes out

·         Then I had to fix a bicycle seat

·         Then the house mothers need the propane changed

·         Then Karen wanted a program loaded unto Joan’s computer

·         Then I had to show Joan how to use the program

·         Then a hockey game broke out

·         Then I needed a nap

·         Then I had to do the blog

·         Then I had to check the water tanks

·         Then the spring on the boys’ home door need to ne reattached

·         Then a quick trip to Luckner’s store for orphanage supplies

·         Then the house mothers need a sack of Fab from the depot

·         Then I started emptying out the office.

It’s all good stuff though, just the day to day workings here at HATS.
Joan and I are enjoying our vacation and having fun with the children.

I’ll start the wall painting tomorrow unless…….

I should be able to make the job last a week or so ……..

Joan in her new office with all the papers.

Joan deciding on the new color.

Keith starting on the office trim – Joan’s birthday ladder in still in good shape

Keith

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27th - 2015

Tuesday Tidbits ...... in pictures.

Keith

Where would we be without the HATS cook Germaine

Markenson

Magdala

The 3 laddios playing nicely together - separately

Jonathan with the Hotwheels

Judel with the animals

Jofky with the puzzle

Luckner and Ti Luc hanging out

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday, October 25th – 2015

Church For the Kids By the Kids!

Joan

Hi everyone, this is our first Sunday back at HATS. I thought I would share with you what church looks like here at HATS. Now church at HATS is always interesting. Always the same with lots of variations so you are not always sure what is coming next.

Everything that is needed for the church service has to be taken over to the church.

The table that the young ladies use to lead us in singing, thanks to Vladimy who carries is over and back on his head. The books that we use to sing together...those of us that need them of course. The kids themselves know all the songs by heart. And they love to sing.



The water that is needed half way through because it is so hot and some of the children walk a long way to get to church. They are happy to share the 6 or 7 glasses amongst themselves...it is the Haitian way.

It’s the drums and tambourines that liven up the singing. Did you know you can make a drum out of 4 pieces of wood nailed together to make a square and then wrapped with clear packing tape? Makes a great bass sound to sing along with. Judel was having a whale of a time beside me today keeping the beat.


During the service there were a few groups that sang.  One was a group of the older kids who decided last year to get together a couple of times a week to sing together. You can see JJ playing the bongos with a great deal of skill. The HATS kids themselves, including the little ones, Magdala and SonSon, were one of the groups. A few of the older boys got up to sing and all of sudden Jofky, who is 5, ran up and joined in, and was welcomed just like that. To hear the children singing and knowing that the words they sing can bring them hope and joy in life is a blessing.




Although I did not understand much of the message given by one of the young men in the church, Josue, I did come away with the thought that Jesus is always with us. He is with each of the children that was there this morning, helping and guiding them in their lives.

Joan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday October 22nd – 2015

Keith

And we are back – yup!  After 5 months at home it was time to return to our other home at HATS in Haiti. We arrived on Tuesday to a wonderful warm welcome by the staff and kids.  They were all surprised and pleased as Karen had not told anyone we were on our way. There were lots of hugs and broken Creole conversations and genuine glee from them and us that we are here.

A couple of times in the afternoon Joan and I were not sure we would see either home again! The main road to St. Marc was closed due to demonstrations related to this weekend’s Presidential elections. We had to take the back roads over the mountains which were narrow and some places unpaved and many hair-pin turns with no guard rails. Our driver thought he was James Bond or Jacques Villeneuve in a race car and not some dude in an old pickup truck. The scenery was fantastic (at least what I saw when my eyes were open) but I didn’t take any pictures because I was hanging on for dear life.

The kids thought we were glad to be here, but we were also glad to arrive at all.

We had a lot of baggage thanks to the generosity or friends and family. Five checked bags (275 pounds) and 2 carry-on bags. Basically no personal stuff as we left most of our things here in the spring. We brought clothes, shoes, sandals, diapers, food, hockey sticks, batteries, computer mice (or is that mouses?), books, school supplies, tools, painting supplies, toys, hardware, tape, screws etc. etc. Thank you one and all for your generosity.

Our dining room collection area

The five bags packed and the overflow stored for January.

We are taking our time getting used to the heat, unpacking and catching up on all the news from the summer. We also have 2 new little boys to get to know. We made a quick trip to St. Marc for groceries and get Joan’s phone activated. No road blockages today.

Joan, Magdala, Jonathan and Sandra at devotions

The kids have grown so much over the summer but it is still neat to see that personalities have not changed too much.

Jonathan leads the pre-schoolers (Magdala, Sandra and Sonson) in lessons.

Karen and Luckner are certainly pleased that we are back as well Luckner can now concentrate on the running of the school with nearly 500 students this year! Karen has a long list of jobs for Joan and I and we will start on Monday working through those in earnest. Job #1 is painting the HATS office. I think a bright red would be nice!! Suggestions?

Joan ignored the memo on not starting major jobs until Monday. She emptied out Carol’s wonderfully organized school supply cupboard and has a first coat of paint on already. I hope she puts everything back properly.

Joan and school supplies cupboard.

 Joan and the teacher’s pet, TiLuc doing homework.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bonswa!

Seth (and Jessie) here!

It’s was so good to be back in Haiti at HATS! I use the past tense because we’re on our way home now. It’s been over 2 years since we were last at HATS and the kids have all grown so much. Our original plan after leaving was to visit every year, but we didn’t make it last year. And since Jess is pregnant(!!!) we knew we wouldn’t be coming back next year, so we had to come now.



Looking back on this week is such a blessing, especially remembering how our trip began! First off, we were too busy leading up to our trip. There are a few things that shouldn’t escape your mind when you’re preparing for a trip out of country...one of them being your passport. Well, as we got in our beds last week to get a few hours of sleep before leaving, we thought about checking our passports, and lo and behold, mine had expired! First we sat a few minutes in shock, fearing we may not be able to come at all. Then we researched a bit and decided that instead of going to St. Louis for our flight, we would drive 5 hours to Chicago to the passport offices and hope that we could get expedited service. Thanks to God’s favor, I had a new passport by 1pm that day and had a new flight scheduled for the next morning. American even waived our change fees! So we made it to Haiti and only lost one day!

We arrived on the HATS compound to no cheers, but that’s because Karen had brought them to her house in order that we could surprise them....they had no idea we were coming! It was a great reunion! It was also great meeting the two new members to the HATS family- Markenson and Sonson. Oh my are they cuties! Sonson is a cuddler, and Markenson is deceiving, because he looks like he’s 2, but when he opens his mouth he’s a little fireball! They were such a joy this week!




Karen didn’t have any big projects for us to do- our main project was to spend time with the kids. And we thank Karen for that! While the kids were at school, I did various small projects, mostly plumbing, and Jess helped in the office. Jess also spent some time each day tutoring Ti Luc. After the kids came home from school and had finished their homework, Jess had crafts and little projects to do with the kids. One afternoon, Jess was doing bubbles with the kids and she had to be constantly reminding the little ones not to drink the bubbles. Josie said they had seen a movie where a child drank bubbles and blew up like a balloon. Jessie said that that can’t happen and was trying to explain that it would make your stomach sick, but before she could get to the word sick, Jofky’s eyes got really big and he asked, “will it make you have a baby in your stomach like you?”



After the younger kids went to bed Jess and I played Uno with the older kids almost every evening. It was special to get to spend that extra quality time with them. I was able to play soccer with the older boys and their friends from school (twice!). And we can’t forget the famous walks down the canal, and a trip to Luckners for a snack!





Yesterday, we celebrated Ti Luc’s birthday! He got a remote control moto for his birthday- it took him no time figuring out how to drive it all over the compound. I think the little kids had as much fun as Ti Luc running around chasing the moto.


There were a few things we had forgotten since being in the U.S. so long. 1. How hot Haiti actually is! I forgot what is was like to be constantly sweating even after taking a cold shower! Back in America, we thought highly of ourselves because we held out until late May to turn our A/C on thinking, “Oh, we used to live in Haiti.” 2. I forgot how much I love doing plumbing in Haiti! The plumbing projects Karen had for me probably could have been done in half a day, but that’s too easy. I’d rather fix something, break it, fix it again, break it again, fix it again and hope that it works. I fixed the valve under Karen’s sink one day, turned the water on and checked it for leaks. There wasn’t a leak so I went to fix something else. I came back in a half an hour to check it again(a good habit when working with plumbing in Haiti), and there was a bucket under it and water spewing everywhere! Hopefully I didn’t create more problems for Keith when he returns!


It was such a great week! It was a blessing getting to spend quality time with each of the children, and on the last day we got to pray individually over each child and employee. We didn’t give Karen a sufficient thank you because she wasn’t feeling well when we left this morning, so be praying for her, as well as for Ti Luc and Markenson. Karen, thank you! You were so hospitable to us. Thanks for sharing your life, home and children! Our next trip won’t be soon enough, and hopefully next time we’ll be able to bring our own children so they can experience this too!


God bless!
Seth (and Jessie)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ride for Refuge Fundraiser Success!

This past Saturday, October 3rd, we participated in Ride for Refuge to raise funds for Hands Across the Sea.  Participants had the option of a 5km walk/run, or a 10/25/50 km bike ride.  Tim had a fantastic team in Halifax, a mother and her son formed a team in Toronto, and Liette and her friends formed a team in Calgary. 

Tim is very proud of his awesome bike crew!  They biked 25km through the cold, damp rain to raise funds for Haiti.  Tim survived another year's ride on a bike in desperate need of an overhaul.

Tim and the Halifax crew

Liette, Yvette and Rob walked through freezing ice pellets in Calgary to make a difference for kids and families in Haiti.  We made up for the cold weather with laughter and warm conversation.

Yvette and Liette

Rob

We raised more than $3500 for the wonderful work we're doing in Haiti!

A big thank you to everyone who donated and supported us.  Next year we're hoping for a few more teams to join us.  Maybe you can lead a team in your city.  We're also hoping for better weather!

Liette Wilson
Hands Across the Sea
http://www.hatshaiti.org