Monday, December 28, 2015

Greetings everyone.

Our HATS children really enjoyed their Christmas festivities.  They chose to do things according to their culture with the special Christmas meal and their gift on the 24th.
On Christmas eve before doing anything we had the Christmas story and sang Happy Birthday Jesus in three languages.  Mama Karen had planned on a birthday cake too but due to some serious time restraints and energy level the cake did not get done.  Perhaps another year if there is help available.

Three of our boys received soccer balls in their gift bags.  While waiting to be called in for their Christmas dinner Ti Luc kicked his new ball which struck the plumbing pipe outside the kitchen in girl's home.  Oops, water everywhere.  Papa Luckner came to the rescue and did repairs with help from JJ.  The dinner then went ahead on schedule.

Christmas Eve - Gifts are ready.

Waiting for Christmas festivities to begin

This beauty is happy with her gift

Yummy Christmas Dinner at Kay Timbermart

Our plumber, Papa Luckner, called out in the dark Christmas eve to repair a pipe due to a soccer ball hitting it

This was followed for the first time this year with them all receiving a Christmas stocking on the morning of the 25th.  They were delighted with this addition and already asked if it could be continued each year.

Stockings ready for excited kids

Sandra and Anne

Markenson and Jonathan

A big thank you to the people in my awesome home town of Springdale, Newfoundland for the stockings themselves and for gifts and treats to put in them.  The kids loved receiving a stocking.

After stockings Christmas morning we piled into the truck and went to Borel to sing 'We wish you a Merry Christmas' to friends, Bim and Tim.  That was good for Mama Karen as well as the children. While at Project Help our kids decided we really need a dog again.

Our kids are asking for another dog

Magdala and Sonson unsure of something

Saturday the 26th, all the older ones (Judel and up) spent all day playing outside this admin building. They have all been doing construction with blocks, doing lots of talking and laughing, and having a wonderful time.  It does my heart good to see and hear them having a great time together, and making their own fun.

Playtime with blocks and dolls

Small town construction

Sunday afternoon we had a visit from friend, Bim from Project Help, along with a large team from the US who had arrived Saturday. They brought two guitars with them and we had a singsong, which was followed by a walk along the canal.  The afternoon was so thoroughly enjoyed by our kids that they requested a repeat.

Project Help team with guitars for a singsong

Sonson with his new friend

Climbs trees even better than JJ and Moise

Today, Monday, the employees have returned to work and things are running normally once more - well until Thursday, 31st, when they work half a day again.  They are off on January 1st and 2nd to celebrate Independence Day in Haiti.

January 4th the holidays are over and all employees return to work.  January 5th is an even more important day as our family team, plus, two arrive.  Karen is very eagerly awaiting their arrival - for company and for a LOT of help.  She is happy to admit she needs a lot of help and that HATS absolutely cannot run well at all with only one person on site - not good for HATS and not good for that one person.  Thank you God help is on the way.

Thank you to all who have blessed this mission and made it possible for our children here onsite and at the school to enjoy Christmas festivities.  May you all be richly blessed in return.

H A T S - H A I T I    I S    A L L    A B O U T    T H E    C H I L D R E N

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas from Hands Across The Sea-Haiti.

2015 Christmas photo HATS kids

Our Christmas party at the school on the 18th was a success.  One of our teachers organized and ran a Christmas program with many students taking part.  The teachers did a good job on decorating out church this year.

Anxious for the door to open for Christmas pageant

Church full for Christmas program and to receive report cards

The students enjoyed a delicious meal which was a gift from a group in Yarmouth, NS.  A huge thank you to this group from Luckner and Karen on behalf of our students.

School kitchen distributing the meals while people wait patiently

Hunger pains now gone

Handsome little guy enjoying his meal

Hungry and waiting for their meals

On the same day the students received their report cards and the Christmas vacation began.  Karen and Luckner need this break from that part of our work load as much or more as the teachers and students.

Ti Luc with our grade one teacher

On Sunday at our little church service our HATS kids were thrilled to take part in a skit about the birth of Jesus.

Angel bringing the good news

Two shepherds

Three wisemen

Kids in program

Our little Sonson was dubbed the cutest actor as he played Baby Jesus.

Baby Jesus

Tomorrow Karen must get busy wrapping the gifts for the children that were donated by many loving supporters of HATS and delivered to the compound by Liette in Nov. Thank you so very much everyone.  Thank you too to those who donated funds which is being used for our Christmas dinner and the special dinner again on January 1st.

The children want to continue in the Haitian tradition of receiving their gift and having a big special Christmas meal on the 24th. This we will do.

Too, Mama Karen must think about filling 18 Christmas stockings for them to enjoy on the morning of the 25th.  That should be a fun and very welcome addition for the children for Christmas. A new experience coming up.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the the birth of our Lord.

Our HATS children are singing Merry Christmas for you.


God bless you all and thank you for all you do for the children of Haiti.

It is    A L L    A B O U T    T H E    C H I L D R E N

Friday, December 18, 2015

Machetes are very valuable.....

....and useful in Haiti as a tool for many things.

In our developed culture we have a lot of tools and instruments plus saws (even chain saws), axes, and all sorts and sizes of knives. Here the choice of tool/instrument is a machete.  It is used when planting, harvesting, killing animals (goats, pigs, chickens, cows, etc) for meat.  I have seen it used often to cut vegetables and fruit. I have seen it also seen it used by children as a toy with some rags tied into a ball on the tip of it.

It is used a lot for cutting down branches and even large trees. This morning a very large tree on the property next door that had encroached over our property was cut down by the neighbours, who had hired someone to do the job.  He nimbly shimmied up the tree and started hacking at it with a machete.  Sounded like a hammer was being used on  wood instead of a tree being cut down.  No chain saw sounds, no hand saw even.  It is amazing what they can do with the very basic of tools. When a job needs to be done Haitians know how to handle it.

Big tree about to come down with a machete

Limbs all need to go, then the tree itself

Need to go higher to cut

On our own property this morning two HATS employees were also working on trees and branches with machetes as well.  A tree from the property to the right of ours had grown over unto the girl's home causing danger from the electrical lines running there.  Too, it provided an unsafe place for anyone wishing to come unto the property without being seen.  That had to be cleaned up too. Euguene and Merise worked with machetes on that problem.

Merise doing the splits but not on the ground

Chopping down other branches and cleaning it up.

Luckner has been working all week at school with teachers on report cards.  Tomorrow is the day they receive their report cards, enjoy a 'fet Noel' which will include a Christmas program by the students in the church and a special Christmas meal. It will be a full and enjoyable day for the children.  I am sure Luckner and the teachers will be glad to see it all finished tomorrow.  A break is definitely in store for them.

Our children are enjoying their school break.  They are daily helping with various chores (albeit some of them need to be forced), riding bikes, using the swing set a lot, and enjoying a video most days. Some of these things may change when the report cards are given tomorrow.  Did they work this semester?  Did they not?  The results will be known tomorrow.

Two helpers. Wheelbarrow full.

Morning chores when school is out

Pause in playtime

Jofky reading to Sonson

Sonson holding on tightly

The next blog will have photos of the school Christmas party and our church service on Sunday along with a photo of all our kids by the Christmas tree.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for notes, greetings, gifts for the kids, and funds to enable me to provide a nice Christmas for them.  It will be done on behalf of our HATS friends and supporters.

God bless you all.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Update time again.

Today all HATS elementary kids enjoyed being home.  They were wound up and being quite goofy this morning whenever they saw me with the camera.

Is this really funny Mama?

Girls not to be outdone by boys.

Their school exams finished yesterday so today started with devotions with employees and mama, followed by play time, movie, soccer, and afternoon walk and fun outside the compound.  It was a good day for us all. Our three secondary students will get their break starting next Wednesday.

Morning devotions. School break started for young ones.

Cute armful for JJ

Sonson makes a cute little Santa.

Morning chores time. Ti Luc washing garbage can.

Yesterday when the last exam was written there was a rehearsal for a Christmas pageant on the 18th which will be coupled with a special Christmas dinner (thanks to the generosity of the group from Yarmouth).  Party time at the school.  Our Josie, Dieunel and Judel were proudly saying their parts in the Christmas program rehearsal and watching mama from the corner of their eyes at the same time.

Practice for Christmas skit on 18th at our Christmas party. Our own Josie in centre saying her part.

Three preschoolers wanted their photo taken

Our Christmas tree is up, in the administration building gallery, and looks beautiful.  The children did most of it this year.  Too, all extra lights have been put up in the gallery and outside all three houses.  The children eagerly await 5:00 pm daily for the generator to start to enjoy the lights.

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the administration building at HATS

Kids are very excited about the tree and lots of lights in gallery of administration building.

I am glad school will be finished for a couple of weeks on Wednesday.  Yay, yay and YAY!!   That means more time to work on what is behind on this compound, and more importantly - more time with the children.

Thanking God for these children - each and every one of them.

HATS-Haiti is   A L L    A B O U T    T H E    C H I L D R E N


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Internet problems again.

HATS has been without internet access for two weeks now.  This is a tad frustrating as contact with the outside world is important in the running of the mission as well as to help keep some of us semi sane.  Keith and Joan had purchased a USB Sim from Digicel to give us a little internet access. The idea was good but it is actually of very little use.  I can do just as much by kicking my wastebasket as trying to get internet access with this thing. Actually I most likely can do more by kicking it as it might relieve some frustration.  Keith and Joan, before they left this week, spoke with head office of Natcom (our internet provider) in PAP and Luckner called them twice about our problem.  I have spoken with them five times since Wednesday.  Hopefully something will change for the better early this week.

Yesterday morning I was feeling frustrated and alone because I really needed to be in touch with Canada.  I had no internet access and could not send any messages on my phone.  I made a good decision to do some other things with music and prayer to help lift my frustration attitude.  I asked God to remind me why I was here for 20 1/2 years with my family and friends so far away.  I quickly remembered I was here for the children.  Then I heard our children's voices outside singing loudly and laughing and playing.  I quickly remembered I really am here for the children.

There is no sweeter sound than that of children laughing with joy and singing their little hearts out.  All frustration left immediately.  I thanked God for the many children HATS-Haiti is helping and especially for the ones he has entrusted to our care who live here with us.

I decided to sneak outside with my phone to take some photos without the knowledge of the kids.  i wanted to try and do a little video of their joyful singing while they were swinging on the tire swing that Keith put up for them with chain.  What I watched and listened to was precious and as I took video I was holding back laughter.  They were singing 'We wish you a Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells' but they only knew the words to the first line of Jingle Bells.  What they were singing to fill it in was just too cute.

Children playing and singing 'We wish you a Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells'.

I hope that when we do have internet again I will be able to figure out a way to get the video to Jim in BC so he can put it on our Christmas blog.

Today, Sunday, has been a great day.  No frustration allowed around here today.  I decided yesterday all internet work just has to wait, all contact with people I need to be in touch with for HATS needs to wait, and there is nothing I can do about it. I need to be patient and so does people in Canada who are waiting to hear from me.

We had a great time worshiping the Lord together this morning, then I piled all the children in the truck (big excitement for them) and took them out for a fairly long ride.  We spent a lot of time together this afternoon playing and reading.  The children  have been spending a lot of time studying (well at least with their books in their hands) since Thursday so today they needed a fun light day with Mama.  Tomorrow they start writing the December exams at our school.  Not much play time this week, but the younger children will be finished exams on Friday so we will plan a fun weekend.

Recently I had to make a very short (one week) trip to Calgary with Ti Luc for medical appointments.  We returned last Wednesday the same day that Keith and Joan returned to Montreal.  We passed like ships in the night with no chance to connect. They left Haiti in the morning and we arrived in afternoon. Looks like they did their usual good job for HATS and as Keith has said a couple of times when I have been away they did not lose any of our kids.  in fact they were all in great shape when we returned and even though we were gone such a short time they were glad to see us.

Ti Luc at Liette's in Calgary in wheelchair donated by friends in Ft McMurray.

Ti Luc helping Liette make cookies. Liette did the work and Ti Luc did the tasting.

Our short medical trip went well but we did have some very interesting airport experiences - one in Montreal enroute to Calgary as my alarm did not go off early morning and almost missed the flight and a much worse one in PAP when we returned.  Things were totally insane in arrivals in PAP.  I absolutely cannot use any other description for it.  Ti Luc and I were there 2 1/2 hours looking for one suitcase.

Thank God I had a wheelchair for him and I found a safe place to put him where I could keep an eye on  him from the carousel and he could see me. There were far too many people there in  too little space.  People had carts but could not move them around. They kept hitting people with the carts, yelling for people to move, but they could not, and tempers were rising.  Luggage was falling on people.  Suitcases some people had found that belonged to them, and they removed to the floor, were being put back on the carousel by airport workers who thought they had fallen off.  People were angry - yelling and screaming, swearing (yes I do know what they were saying in Creole), pushing and hitting.  A fight actually broke out but was stopped by workers. It was not a good situation for me with having Ti Luc there with me but there was not much I could do about it. People from the flights were basically fed up with the situation.  2 1/2 hours of that was too much for me  and I know it was for Ti Luc, but I stayed calm and quiet for the most part.  At one point, after two hours there, Germaine called me.  While trying to yell a response into the phone to her someone hit me very hard from behind.  Germaine heard me yell out "Stop hitting me please".  She decided to hang up as it was not the right time for a conversation of any kind.

Ti Luc was a gem.  He sat and watched and took it all in waiting patiently for me to be able to approach him and to help him go to the bathroom.  It was less than an ideal place to be with my son in a wheelchair, with no help, and no way to get through the crowd to the bathroom or anywhere else for hours.  That airport needs to be enlarged or less planes need to arrive.

The very best time to arrive is early morning. Visitors take note.  Coming through Miami or Ft Lauderdale and arriving in the morning is the best time to arrive.  At the present time if I travel with Ti Luc I have no choice.  I have to take Air Canada or Air Transat, until Ti Luc gets a Canadian passport, and both have an absolutely lousy arrival time in Port au Prince.   As the day progresses too many planes have a chance to land too close to each other and is especially difficult if one should arrive late.  It is certainly not ideal to be driving from Port to the mission site in the dark but we had no choice and we made it home okay at almost 8:00 pm.

Sandra feeding Sonson. Sonson always happy when there is food.

Djemima and Leica checking out a lot of Christmas lights Keith did not find because they had been put into opposite depot by error.  Kids very happy when Mama found them.

What is important is - We are here, children are doing well, and most importantly God Is Good All The Time.  The internet will return again at some point and this will go to you.

Blessings everyone.