Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016

By Nicki

I got to do something that I have been hoping to do since I arrived in Haiti several weeks ago - Luckner got me into a high school classroom. I thought I was going as a guest to observe and maybe help a little (it was his grade 10 English class), but instead I was handed a piece of chalk, introduced to the students, and then Luckner left for the hour. It was a little different from my grade 10 classes at home, to say the least. I thought I had a teacher voice that I use in my own classroom, but here the classrooms have concrete walls and windows are just openings to the outside. I had to talk over some pretty crazy noise of students all around outside the classroom. I asked them questions and they asked me questions. Some of the students knew lots of English and were really curious about my Canadian life and school. Others gave me the same blank look that I give Haitians who extend their conversation in Creole with me beyond the obvious pleasantries.

high school students on a break between classes

jr and sr high school wing

kids at the water fountain

school entrance

I had a great hour with them! They asked me about my school and they explained to me about their planned but cancelled presidential election. We discussed tap-taps and motos (very cool forms of transportation here), and I explained city buses and taxis at home.

Grade 10 with Nicki

There are a lot of differences between school here and school at home. We have air conditioning in our Halifax school but not here (that does NOT make sense!). Here they lack the technology we have at home (although a few kids had their cell phones out), they had no cool posters on their walls, and the list could go on.

Grade 10 with Nicki

It was interesting to see education from the perspective of a minority. It is difficult trying to figure out the language. It’s difficult not fully understanding context or the culture from which someone speaks. I found myself not knowing what questions to ask them…do I ask where they live (what if they don’t have a house)? Do I ask what their parents do for work (what if they are orphans or their parents are unemployed)? Do I ask what they want to do for work when they are done school (what if their options are limited by their circumstances)? But then we found some common ground…what sports do you like to play? Do you like to swim? What kind of cell phone do you have? Have you been to Port au Prince?

Trying to get conversation started

I can’t wait to spend more time at the IMKH – Institution Mixte Karen Huxter next door. I am going to “help out” in a few more classes. For those of you who are sponsoring children so that they can attend school, I want to thank you for them. Some of them talked about their future plans…plans that would not be possible if they couldn’t come to school. The kids were awesome! I learned a lot from them today…I hope I also helped them with their English lessons!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

This blog is a poem...

...(one of several poems) that was written last summer by a man, Max Osmond, from my home town in Springdale, Newfoundland.  He knew a little about the story of Ti Luc and how I was told to throw him away as he would never walk, never talk, never learn anything etc, etc.

I have been rereading them and want to share this one with you.

He was just a babe
Born crippled and lame
No one wanted him
Then a lady came

Baby could only sleep if tightly wrapped and head was supported

And the lady said
Don't throw him away
I'll take him home
With me he can stay

Baby Ti Luc with Dickie

But he is no good
Like this he'll always be
Give that baby to me please
About that God will see

Being looked after by HATS security so Mama Karen could shower
The physician said
The boy will never talk
He will be paralyzed
He will never walk. 

My baby boy

Don't ever say that
Never again please
She took that little boy
Fell before God upon her knees

My little Aunt Jemima boy

She said
God, I believe
That he will do fine
When I receive

I believe
He will talk
I believe
He will walk

Loves his  play chair

I believe
That some day
He will be a leader
About this I pray

He will die they said
If left alone
Lord, I take him
Now for my own

Today I take
This little child I receive
To be my son
Lord, in you I believe.

Mama Karen's happy little guy

There were struggles
Along the way
Couldn't get through
If did not pray

Ti Luc being treated for asthma at hospital

Born crippled
A boy so small
But God would get him
Through it all

Could not suck
With an eye dropper fed
By adopted mom
And Jesus led

Thank you Jesus
For this life you give
I promise you
This boy will live

Ti Luc with friend Lynn

It would be a struggle
This lady knew
But with Jesus' help
They would get through

Loved sitting in basin seeing himself

Wants to drive Papa Luckner's motorcycle

TiLuc is now 10. He has CP but he is very active. He is bright, does his school work with his feet, using blackboard, ipad and laptop. He is funny and loves to play pranks, enjoys playing soccer, is a sensitive, caring and helpful boy, does well in school, loves Canada and is now a Canadian citizen.  He is indeed a special child and I am blessed and proud to call him 'son'.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26

By Mike and Nicki

Our weekend usually starts with a 6 am Saturday walk along the canal with the older children.  Just the older kids come as we walk much further than little legs could go.

a local on horseback passing us on our walk

We reserve our short walks to the mango trees for just before supper (and after the day has cooled off a little) with all of the children. This past Saturday we chose to go “anba” – down the canal to the little bridge and then back up the other side. As usual we saw locals doing their laundry in the canal and an assortment of animals grazing.

horses grazing by the canal

This is a great time for Mike and me to learn new Creole words and to help the kids learn some more English. I must admit, these kids know a LOT more English than we know Creole! Why do we walk so early, you ask? It is just the right temperature for a walk at 6am…maybe around 25 degrees (Celsius) and by the time we get back around 7 or 7:30, it is starting to get HOT. This past Saturday we learned that the name for a tarantula is “araigne”. (Thank goodness the kids just say tarantula, though. We don’t want that word lost in translation!) Yes, we have somehow found ourselves in Haiti during the season that new tarantulas are born.

baby tarantula – yes, it’s a blurry photo, but wouldn’t you be shaking this close to one?

But it is also the time that most other animals are being born. We enjoy seeing the baby chickens “ti poul”, as well as little goats, cows, horses and donkeys. We were playfully chased by a herd of goats (do goats form herds??) the other morning on our walk.

The morning walks give us time to reflect on our time in Haiti at HATS. We are so blessed by the local people we have met who have welcomed us to their country and their culture and especially by the children at HATS.

Being silly with Anne and Sandra

Mike with his friends, Dickieson (Sonson) and Magdela

Saturday, April 23, 2016


There are two lots of construction going on at HATS.   One is by bosses and labourers, supervised by Luckner.  One is by three of our children, supervised by Nicki and Karen.  I must admit the construction by our children is the only construction supervision I feel qualified for.

I recently did a blog admitting the financial state of HATS was not a good one - it was difficult for me to write that truth.  I have a huge problem looking for funds but I did mention it as it was for the children.  HATS is all about the children. I want to say 'Thank You' to anyone who has responded.

Some of you may be wondering why - if we have a financial problem - not enough general funds to run the mission properly - we are starting new construction on site.  The question would be a valid one.

I see a need for an apartment as I am trying to look at the longevity of the HATS mission.  This includes needing missionary workers - long term and shorter term.  To encourage people to join us in this work,  being able to offer housing is 'very important'.  At the moment we have one apartment.  It is a good place for a couple on their own, with children, or who may wish to start a family.

We, however, also need another smaller apt for a couple (or single person perhaps at times) who will come for a period of three to four months or so.  Both are needed to have the mission run as it should.

I speak of the need of workers from my own experience!!  I have done far too much for far too long and it has taken a toll on my health and continues to do so.  Help is needed.  I really do not wish to subject other missionaries - long term or shorter term - to non stop work and daily stress here in Haiti.  To see HATS continue to run, and the children taken care of as needed, two apartments are required and the missionaries to fill both apartments.  There is a huge need to have someone living here onsite ALL the time.  The children need this.  Children may rebel against boundaries but they need them and they also really want them.  They have shown me that and have also told me that.  They do not like it when I have to leave without someone living here to do some of what I do daily.  One of my boys recently told me someone is needed here onsite to help keep them 'in line'.

Whether missionaries are long term or shorter term they need to be able to take a break - visiting family and friends in North America - or just running away to a hotel or somewhere for a few days.  They need to be able to do what is necessary for their well being knowing there are people here seeing that the mission continues to function as needed.

One person living on site can't do it all.  One couple living on site can't do it all.  On a short term basis one couple can cover but to see that everything necessary is done, it requires more people to share the work load.

In light of this I asked work teams for 2016 to fundraise towards the apartment instead of towards doing a specific project when here.  We have had a good response from some groups - especially so from the hard working Springdale, NL group - for this cause.  Work has been started on the apt as seen from these photos of the stairs to where the apt will be going.  First step is the stairs.  Soon the walls will start to rise.  We will go as far as the present funds will take us.  All funds being used for this apt have been donated specifically for the construction of the apt.

All donated funds to HATS-Haiti are used for the purpose donated.  General funds for the running of the mission are used for this purpose.  Food funds to feed hungry people in our community are always used to purchase food to distribute to families.  School funds donated are used for the students and needs of the school.  I would like to remind donors to please designate the use of the money you donate if you wish it used specifically.  Otherwise it will be used for the general running of the mission and the needs of the children.
                                                     - - - -

The second construction by the three boys has gone up quite quickly. No stairs required. Ti Luc passed the blocks with his feet.  Judel helped build.  Dieunel planned the design.  I wonder do we have an up and coming architect in our family - Dieunel perhaps.

Construction by Judel, Dieunel and Ti Luc

House has finished bedroom for each of the boys . .

This coming week we will be purchasing food to once again distribute to some very hungry people in our area.  The hunger problem around us is growing daily.  Every day the radio news talks about the millions of hungry people in Haiti.  We are a small mission with small amount of food funds remaining.  We cannot help a lot of people with food but what we do distribute is always greatly appreciated by those on the receiving end.

Proverbs 22:9-  "A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor."

You continue to share with us here at HATS and we continue to share with the hungry and needy outside the mission.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do as we walk together to help the children in our area.


God bless you all.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

New words

By Mike and Nicki

One of the biggest struggles that we have had since arriving at HATS is trying to overcome the language barrier. Oh, I googled the Creole language before we came; I even watched and studied some you tube videos. I took notes, wrote down key words and phrases, and was comforted by my search results indicating that Creole was a relatively easy language to learn – it was mostly phonetic and loosely based on French. How hard could it be, right? Well, 5 minutes after arriving in the country and having questions rattled off to me in Creole, I decided that my few key phrases like “bonjou”, “mesi”, and “Kijan ou ye?” were slightly inadequate.

The beauty of being at HATS is that kids are the most forgiving of our shortcomings. Mike learned a new word (by sheer necessity) the other day. As I walked to join him and the kids in the devotion/play room I heard him calling out “pataje” again and again. It means “share”. Yes, these kids are sweet and beautiful, but they are kids. With crayons, puzzles and toys and 18 kids we use that new word a LOT.

Dieunel and Karena sharing the blocks

the kids love playing with the animals

Sandra loves to organize the animals

colouring fun

the older kids playing a game of Trouble

The older kids, whose English is pretty good, have been a wonderful help in translating for us to the staff and the younger kids. However, there are times that we are alone with the younger kids and we just talk to them in English/broken Creole. One day I was chatting along to Markenson, who is 5. He looked back at me and rattled something off. Moise, one of the older boys, was close by so I asked him what Markenson had said to me. Moise said that it was just jabber. Well, that makes sense. He thought I was jabbering to him so he jabbered back. And here I thought I was teaching him English!

Sonson actually learned how to take a selfie – not bad for a first attempt for a 2 year old!

We are here to love the children. I don’t think we need effective verbal communication skills to do so, thankfully. Smiles are the same in any language.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Lately I've been rereading some of HATS blogs in archives.  There are a couple we will rerun - our own type of 'Memories from some time ago' .

 It is good to occasionally look back and remember photos and see the growth and development of our children.

Today we are reposting a blog I did in November 2013.  Enjoy your walk down memory lane with us.

It was and still is  

This blog is about a good Saturday spent recently.  My days are certainly not all like this but when we do get this kind of day together it cements our love for each other and helps make precious memories. The photos themselves will do the talking.

Sun is starting to come up

Dieunel and Judel at sunrsie

From the rising of the sun . .

My kids love walking with me early mornings

Flowers always picked for Mama's house upon return

More flowers for Mama

A short break on the walk

Precious Leica not feeling top notch

Peaceful scene on our walk

Our walk

Harvesting what is ready so a meal can be prepared

Late afternoon walk the same day

Loving sister and brother

Almost home from our walk along the canal

The HATS-Haiti Mission is          ALL   ABOUT   THE   CHILDREN

Monday, April 11, 2016

What’s happening today? April 11 2016

By Mike and Nicki

What do we do all day, you ask? Well, with all these kids each day is an adventure, for sure. Mike has kept busy in the bicycle repair shop. Most recently he has been removing training wheels for the adventuresome growing kids.

Mike in the bicycle repair shop

Training wheels are removed and ready for a test run

Jonathan takes off after Judel guides him

Jonathan has even mastered the corners!

Once Jonathan’s training wheels came off, Sandra got inspired to try it too!

Sandra getting some instruction from Anne on how to start without training wheels

Jofky enjoying the ride

Markenson enjoys trying out a new kind of bike

Nicki is Dr. Pluff (as Mike’s Dad used to call himself). There’s always a steady stream of kids needing medicine or first aid treatment. If it’s not a runny nose, it’s a scraped knee, or an eye infection. I’ve even been repairing some clothing and helping the kids learn to sew in the process.

Of course, we have to be “on call” in case something goes wrong. Last week we got a 5am wake-up call (“hello, hello” up the stairs) because propane had run out at the girls’ house and they needed to start making breakfast. This morning we were told “pa dlo”, meaning no water. Mike checked the tanks and they were all empty. He then checked and the water pump was not running. He turned the power off and on and still nothing. He then turned the breakers off and on and the pump came on. This is the water supply not only for the children’s home but for the school kids as well. So, all is well again and we let out a sigh of relief.

The water pump back at work again

We are enjoying our job of helping Karen and the kids and troubleshooting as problems arise. Every day is different and we hope when the next problem arises that we will be able to fix it.