Where To Start
Aug 29, 2010 5:35 PM HT
So much to write and I donít know where to start. It may come as no surprise to some that I am ready to go home, but to others this may be a shocking statement. But it is not because Iím unhappy, or that I hate it here, or because I canít stand the heat. But because as much as I love Haiti, my heart is at home. This realization makes me feel weak. I thought that though I knew I would miss my family and friends that I would be strong enough to live without them; at least for three months. And though I am forced to be strong enough, my choice would be to go home. In fact, I tried to go home early. Reason being, my decision is made. I still truly love Haiti, I still have a heart for Haiti, I still want to help my brothers and sisters here, but I am finding that for me personally, the best way to help is from home.
I love Haiti
I have to say that I have the best family and friends. Without their love and support I donít know what I would do. The few people that I have shared my feelings with have been nothing but supportive and have helped me to realize that though I am a people pleaser, perhaps I should change my way of thinking at times. Meaning that my decision has been hard to make and even harder to voice. My fear is that somehow I will let someone somewhere down. But truth be told, I think the only person that I will let down is myself. And that is simply because I thought without a shadow of a doubt that I would be strong enough. I fear that somehow I misread what I thought God was telling me. But even as I sit here and write this I remind myself that I felt God telling me to come to Haiti and I followed. Even what I wasnít sure where the money was going to come from, I said if it is your will God, I will go.Ē I would be lying if I said I didnít stress or question at times, but He made it possible for me to get here. And I came here knowing that though I knew I was following God, I was not sure exactly what direction He was going to point me. Was He calling me to Haiti to live here long term, or was He calling me here so that I would be more aware of Haiti so that I would be able to help more at home? And if that was the question I came to have answered, didnít I do what I set out to do? So then, how could I be letting anyone downÖincluding myself? And honestly, if there is anyone out there that does feel let down by my decision, toughÖit is between me and God!
I mentioned earlier that I tried to go home early. True statement. I called home this week to try to get my ticket changed so that I could come home a month early. I had my heart set on it actually. Thought process: If I came here to try to figure out what God was calling me to do, and if that decision had been made, then I can go home. It was talked about in house on this end, so I thought it was a done deal. When will I learn that I donít make the plans for my life that God does? Long story short; to change my ticket it was not going to cost $150 as thought, it was going to cost $404. My round trip ticket cost approximately $70 more than that. Though financially I could have probably pulled it off, I just could not wrap my head around any kind of rationality to do so! To say I was crushed would be an understatement.
But as a very good friend pointed out I just had to ďcrawl through the hatchback and unlock the doors.Ē That is to say though the easy thing would be to just go home because that was what I wanted to do, that was no longer an option. I had to ďsuck it upĒ and make the best out of the situation. So even though it is hard some days, I have the choice on how I face each day. I am choosing to make the most of my five remaining weeks. I have much to learn and experience, I just have to be open minded about it. And with the help and strength from God I know that I will be able to do just that.
Hope you are doing well! 5 weeks and I will be hugging you so hard you will break! LOL
The Child Sponsorship Program
Aug 24, 2010 1:46 PM HT
I went back and reread my last blog and realized that because I was trying to catch up, I had missed one of the most important events of my trip...the child sponsorship program. So here is the 411, the children and their parents needed to pick up supplies, money, and fabric before the school year started so that they would be prepared in September. So, in the beginning of August I assisted Joline in pulling out all of the school supplies that we had from the previous year, and because supplies typically come after the school year starts, we had enough for the beginning of this school year! After determining what supplies we had, and how many children we had in the program we were then able to decide what supplies each grade would get. Along with the school supplies we needed to make sure that each child received fabric for their school uniforms. Steve and Joline and bought the material for the uniforms in bulk, so Joline and I had the task of cutting all the material (different amounts depending on the grade of the child) and packaging it for easy distribution. Vilex, Joline, and Pastor Plaisir talked about the best way for the children to get their uniforms made. It was decided that there would be three tailors for the girlsí uniforms and three tailors for the boysí uniforms. Vilex made cards that would be turned into the tailors once the uniforms were made as payment. The tailors would then come to the house and get reimbursed for their services.
Cutting and packaging uniform material
Once everything was in place, Vilex, Joline, and I went up to the school for 3 days to hand out the supplies to the families. Joline was in charge of explaining to the parentís that the money they were receiving was to toward shoes for their child as well as books for the upcoming school year. Vilex explained how the card for their childís uniform was to be used, and told the parents where they needed to go to get their uniforms made. I was in charge of taking pictures and handing out the supplies. There were some bumps in the road, but overall the process worked out very smoothly!
Handing out student supplies
Now this is where I get on my soapbox. We still have a ton of kids that need to be sponsored this year. It is only $29 a month, and with this you help a child go to school, get their uniforms, receive vitamins, and help their teachers get paid. This may not sound like a whole lot to some, but children cannot go to school without a uniform, and many families cannot afford this. And before this program started teachers were basically working for free. There was no many to pay them, but they were so dedicated that they this did matter that much to them. How many people in the states would feel this way??? So, please if you are interested in sponsoring a child, click on the link below, and take a look. I promise you, once you see their faces, you will fall in love! One last thought....this program is run by volunteers...all the money you donate goes directly to the education of these children!
Explaining the tailoring credit card
Supplies for the kids 2010
Aug 19, 2010 8:53 PM HT
Hey yíall! Sorry I picked that up from my new Texan friends! I know it has been awhile and, as they say in Haiti, itís not my fault! LOL! Well honestly, itís not. Our internet was down for a few weeks which was a pain in the butt! Especially because we had a trip coming, things kept breaking, and the clutch on the truck went out right after the July team left! So, it has been an interesting time here for me! Because it has been so long, this blog is going to have a lot of information, but probably not a whole lot of detail. Please forgive me! My upcoming blogs will more detailed, but I really want to catch yíall up with this one!
So as I mentioned, the clutch on the truck went out right after the July team left. Fran was going to bring one down with him when he came back in August, but that meant that we would be out of a vehicle for about 3 weeks or so. Now normally this would have been an inconvenience but doable, but the problem was that we were expecting a team of 10 in August and had no was to get to Jeremie to get all the supplies that we would need! Thankfully, God took care of us! Vilex, Pastor Plaiserís son, went into Jeremie for us a bunch of times on his motorcycle and purchased the things that we needed! I have no idea what we would do without him!!!!!! Once he bought everything he dropped it off at a pastorís house and some missionary friends of Steve and Joline in Jeremie picked it up in their pick-up and brought it out to us! We are truly blessed!
Many of you know, but for those of you who donít know I was offered originally to come stay down here for one month. I negotiated that and said that I needed longer, because if this is something that God calls me to do long term, I need to know that I can hit that bump in the road that I refer to as ďOh crap, I miss my friends and family and I want to go home NOW!Ē And I honestly didnít know that I would hit that bump, or more importantly work through it and be okay. My pastor (Fran) did not want me fly in or out of the country by myself, so that left me with coming home with him in August (one month stay), or coming home with Steve and Joline in October (3 month stay). They would be flying in for the Haiti Gala this year (surprise for those of you who didnít already know). After talking it out, it was agreed that I could stay for 3 months.
I tell you all of that to say this....I hit that bump; rather it was more like a wall! I cried for hours, I missed home, and I was ready to pack up my things and leave. I have been trying to figure out why exactly I hit the wall earlier than I had expected myself too. I thought that the roughest stretch was going to be after the August team left, but this happened the week before they even got here. And after thinking long and hard about it, I have come to the conclusion that it really had a lot to do with the fact that the internet was down. Not only could I see my friends and family, but then ALL communication was taken from me. Okay not ALL, but the most convenient. I did buy cards for our phone so that I could make some international calls home, but that is expensive in the long run. I am happy to say that as of right now I am doing much better. And it is not only because the internet is working again, I was doing better before it had gotten fixed. Iím sure there will be more bumps along the way, but I am even more sure now that I will be okay and I will get through them. I have awesome support, not just from friends and family back home, but from Steve and Joline. I donít know that I would be as strong as I am in this journey if it wasnít for them! Mesi Anpil Steve and Mme. Steve!!!!
Laurie holding Michlove
The Texans...I donít even know what to say. They were AWESOME!!!! Mike Clawson brought a group from his church in Texas to experience Haiti and did they ever. Their job while they were here was to paint the school buildings in Marfranc. This was a huge task, but this group of 9 highly spirited individuals surprised everyone when they finished the job in just 3 days! But more than just working hard, this team was eager to learn as much as they could about the Haitian culture. And through their graciousness of sharing everything that they saw and felt each night, I was able to rediscover all the things I love about this country and its people! I am truly honored and blessed by meeting with them and sharing in fellowship with them. Thank you so much to Mike C., Mike W., Dave, Carl, Steve, Shelton, Susan, Stacie, and Bethany (Bet-toe-knee J). The next time, which will be the first time actually, I am in Austin, I am so hanging out with you guys!!!
So that brings you just about up to date. To make two really long stories short, both the truck and the internet have been fixed. Neither because of the parts that the team brought with them, but we are grateful that they did, the transmitter for the internet may have helped but did not solve the problem, nor was the clutch the correct one for the truck. But in all things, God is good and looked over us, and brought the answers in His time!
Repairing the satellite dish
A special shout out goes to Brian and Leslie Zurita! I have no idea what we would do without you. All of your help is greatly appreciated and I cannot wait to get home so that I can give you both gigantic hugs! For anyone who does not know these two wonderful people are Steve and Jolineís lifeline in the states. When things break or going wrong, these two will do anything and everything they can to help get what is needed to fix the problem. So thank you so much for yours of help trying to track down truck parts, talking to Hughes Net, shopping for things, and just being great friends! I love you!
Adjusting to the Haitian Life
Jul 24, 2010 9:24 PM HT
Hey all! As most of you know I have been down here for almost two weeks now. Sorry that this is the first time I have written. The first week the guys were here, and since they left I have been trying to get acclimated. In doing so, I bought a goat. Yes ladies and gentlemen, thatís right, I bought a goat. I was trying to come up with a name and had many wonderful suggestions, but the day I brought him home from the market (which was an experience all in itself!!!) I called him baby, lack of anything better at the time. And it seems that has stuck, although when the Haitians say it, it sounds more like Bebe, so rather than changing it, so we kept it. Bebe is doing wonderfully right now, the poor thing doesnít know his fate, and I am happy keeping him in the dark about it for now.
Laurie and Bebe
As for adjusting to the Haitian life, I believe that I am doing alright. I have one Kreyol lesson, but am still pretty much completely in the dark when I hear it. Iím picking up on certain phrases that are said a lot, but have a long way to go. I am confident that I will start understanding more; it is just going to take some time.
I am getting use to the intermediate internet service that keeps me from being able to talk to friends regularly. We had a lot of rain while the team was here, and even more since the team left last Tuesday. According to Steve and Joline, this is very unusual weather for July. And because of the rain we have not had consistent internet service. But honestly, I think itís a God thing. In this day in age we are so hooked on technology that itís hard to just ďfitĒ God time in. Itís something that we really have to think about doing. I found the first few days after the team left, I was online as much as I could be. And though I missed my family and friends, I still had instant access to them. Iím not saying that I want to drop off the earth to really get the experience of Haitian living, and trust me the cold showers, and no air conditioning are reminding me that Iím not in Kansas anymore, but I do need to disconnect myself more. I need to let myself get completely out of my comfort zone, and Iím not just talking about expecting the cockroaches to run when you turn on the lights, or Bouki killing a rat (both of which are completely out of my comfort zone!), but what it really means to live in a third world country.
Though interestingly enough, I am finding that that is not the comfort zone infringement that I am having to adjust to. How many of us spend an adequate amount of time with God every day? If you answer this honestly, the answer is probably not many of us. I have found that without the internet working, I am not able to ďescapeĒ back into my other life, but am faced with having to live in the moment. Admittedly I am not good at that. Iím not good at facing the things in my life that I should work on, but I am trying to take the steps necessary to get better at that. I am learning, slowly, that just following Godís voice and coming here isnít enough. I need to set time aside everyday and just listen.