In the Summer of 2010 I was one of many lucky people who had the opportunity to take a short trip to Haiti. I fell almost instantly in love and just can't keep myself away. I've spent about 11 months in Haiti since the first time I went two and a half years ago and my time there isn't over. I'm exploring my options on where to take my life from here but it WILL include Haiti in one form or another. This is where I record stories and thoughts about my experiences.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Party

Sorry I haven't written in a long time, things have been a little crazy around here. One of the workers went on vacation to visit her sister in the U.S. Anther worker's uncle died so she's been gone for a while. And the laundry lady's brother died so she hasn't come for a few days and won't be back for a few more. That means there's only one worker here to help us cook, clean, watch the kids, and do laundry. Plus, all the kids are still on break from school so there's no relief. Yikes! But we've been hanging in there and no one has died yet. Although, one of the BIG three year olds STEPPED on Jackson today while he was sleeping on the floor... I almost had a heart attack. Jackson wasn't hurt in the mishap thank God.

Anyway, today was the Christmas party for the kids at the orphanage that Sue works with. We go to the church there every Sunday. The orphanage has about 30 kids. The party was for all the parents of the kids from that orphanage. The party was festive and had cute decorations. There were even Christmas lights which I was excited about.

All the kids did little performances including singing, dancing, skits, and reciting poems. Some of our kids got to sing song in front of everyone which was cute to watch. Jenifer, Claudeson, Michaelle and Samantha said poems too. Let me just tell you, THAT was the best part. I think that the poems from our kids were spontaneous. I say that because Michaelle (age 8) said a poem which made everyone laugh. Her poem was about a chicken who took a big sh*t on the floor and made a mess. Sue was not happy. However, the workers and I couldn't stop laughing.

The pastor wanted Sue and I to get up to say a little something to all the people. They love introducing white people during gatherings like church or parties.. I hate talking in front of people but I did it anyway. And I did it in Creole too! Woop.

We got home late from the party and all the kids just climbed right into bed. It was almost 2 hours past their bedtime! I should have climbed into bed but instead I wrote a blog.

The next big event I'm looking forward to is that AMY MIRAMONTES IS COMING TO HAITI!!! I'm beyond excited to see her. I'm planning on going to Leogane with her so I'll get to see her AND the girls. Yay!

That's all for now folks, hope you had a wonderful Christmas like me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

fete pou lekol paske nou preske genyen Nwel

The kids who go to school were having a Christmas party to celebrate the end of their mid term exams. The kids have been talking about it forever! There was good food, dancing, fancy outfits, and they even got a gift. I could tell that the kids who are home schooled were definitely jealous when the other kids talked about it. A few days ago, Jennifer suggested we have our own party at home. What a wonderful idea! So Sue and I put together a little party for them. On Tuesday morning, all the home schooled kids put on fancy outfits to "go" to the party here. It was sweet. Peter and SonSon changed their clothes about three times each before they were satisfied with their choice. Our party consisted of Christmas themed color-by-number, peanut butter cookie baking, dancing to Christmas music, watching the movie "Elf,"  and of course eating candy canes (thanks Amy!). I also let them open Christmas presents that my mom had sent. She sent three educational computer programs for us to use during school. We tried them out today and the kids LOVE THEM! It's going to be such a great tool to help the kids get acquainted with using computers as well as giving them a new way to be excited about learning. They're surprisingly quick learners so far for not being exposed to a computer ever before.

Christmas is right around the corner but sometimes it doesn't feel like it. The normal indicators of Christmas to me are not here. It's not cold, there's no extra traffic, I haven't been Christmas shopping, I haven't drank a cinnamon dolce latte out of a red starbucks cup, and I haven't driven down candy cane lane or gone to the drive through nativity (don't laugh fan). It's the strangest Christmas I've ever had. I am very thankful to be able to experience Christmas in a different way though. The biggest way that we will celebrate is by going to a party at a different orphanage. I'm very excited! The kids are too. Sometimes I miss the things from home that make Christmas feel like Christmas. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how unnecessary a lot of it is. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. But a lot of the things that make Christmas fun for me cost money money money.

Here is the contrast that I've been thinking about:

I could buy a Christmas tree for my house --or-- A kid could have one cup of milk a day for a month

I could buy three lattes from Starbucks --or-- I could send a kid to school for a month

I could buy a fancy bike for a kid --or-- I could enroll a Haitian child in school for a year

I could buy $100 worth of Christmas decorations --or-- I could buy a kid a uniform, books, and shoes for one school year

I really love Christmas, and I probably will buy Christmas presents for people next year. I probably will buy a Christmas tree and I probably will buy lattes from Starbucks. I'm not suggesting that anyone give up all their Christmas traditions. But I think it's important to remember at what costs those things come. According to one survey, people estimated that they would spend $646 on gifts this year for Christmas ( That's a lot of money! I know people get the "let's not be selfish" lecture every year around this time and I know that it's not a crime to buy your niece a nice Christmas gift. It's just something that's been on my heart more than ever this Christmas.

It's good to be in Haiti for Christmas. It's good to know that I can be happy without all those hallmark Christmas "necessities." It's good to see money being spent wisely and out of real necessity. It's good to be in a place where society isn't pressuring me to spend money on Christmas. I am hoping that by being here in Haiti, I can really make a change next year and be more wise about where my money goes. Not only for Christmas, but throughout the year. We are all aware of what real necessity is, I'm just blessed to see it first hand and let it affect me to the point of change.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Jackson and Noah in their shirts that I bought them. These shirts are a necessity for every Haitian  boy.

Bein' crazy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Living in Haiti with 18 children means…

Sometimes waking up every three hours to feed my infant twins
Killing spiders the size of my palm
Eating ants with every meal
Doing laundry by hand and missing the scent of tide
Falling asleep to the sound of singing and preaching at the church nearby
Waking up to the sound of dogs fighting over dirty diapers and garbage in the pile right outside my window
Sharing a bathroom with little boys (who pee on the seat regularly)
Showering in cold water
Learning Creole because I want to understand what my students are saying when they’re being sassy
Going to sleep at 8p.m. and waking up at 5a.m.
Getting weird ailments that 
Eating chicken bones
Being cold when it’s 70 degrees outside
Waking up to step in a puddle of pee from one of the many kids who pee the bed at night then cleaning them so they can go back to sleep in dry jammies
Being walked in on by a child while I’m showering 40% of the time
Finding pee in the bucket in my room that I use to give the babies a bath (a three year old ratted out her 2 year old friend as the culprit. Thanks for the tip Dianna!)
Sleeping in a twin bed with a three year old after I have taken her back to bed after the 3rd time
Fitting 24 people into a 8 passenger van
Learning to be less judgmental about a new culture
Playing every day and never running out of playmates (I often forget to play when I’m in the states)
Appreciating a cup of ice water like never before
Teaching and learning more in one day than I did in one week when I was home
Loving and being loved
Needing to rely on something bigger than myself to sort out many of the things I see here
Learning how unnecessary “stuff” is in life
Learning how to be appreciative of what I have and putting things into perspective
Being stressed and exhausted more then I have in my life but realizing that with God, all things are possible
And loving (almost!) every second of it!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's a chico kind of day

Left to right: Francesca, Dianna, Scheelanda, Bebej, Betchina, Mislanda, Juliette, and in the front is Samantha)
I LOVE these big smiles I get every day!

They love each other

Baby got his hair done. But he was mad and said he doesn't want to look like a girl.

Chico/styrofoam with cheese. Yum.
Life's been good here. The boys are getting HUGE and doing really well. School has been going surprisingly well. It's been a challenge to give attention to each of the five kids in different grades and at completely different ability levels but I'm getting it done. Usually I have a baby in my arms as well. It's a challenge but it's good for me and testing my patience. I've been trying to make an effort to get out and play and dance with the kids more too. One of the girls told me the other day that she likes it when other American's come to visit because they play more than I do. That made me really sad. I have to be in the house watching the babies most of the time though. I think the kids see me as wanting to be inside rather than playing with them and that is not the case. Therefore, I'm making an effort to go play whenever I can. I hope it will improve my relationship with all the kids. It's hard to balance the teacher/playmate/big sister aspect of being here. It's an interesting combo!

My friend Tom from Extollo arrived in Haiti the other day for some work and he came to visit me. He also came bearing gifts! Amy and my family sent some Christmas treats and presents with him. Tom took me out to lunch which was a nice break. Yay for Haiti hamburgers (or "yambagas" as they like to say) and french fries! After Tom left  I had the kids color some Christmas coloring pages and we ate the candy canes that Amy sent. They loved the candy canes almost as much as I did!

That's all I got for now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bon Fete!

It's the boys birthday today! They're three months old now. Big kids almost.

I don't remember if I mentioned that all the kids were coughing and not feeling well but now everyone is pretty much better.

We made little booklets with the Christmas story for today's craft. That was fun.

Tomorrow a friend from the U.S. is coming to visit (if he can follow my directions to find the place... "turn right at the big pot hole, and left at the place with lots of tents")

I wish I had more to say but that's all that's all the updates I got.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Sheelanda, Bebej, Diana, and Francesca

We were decorating for Christmas...
Chicken, rice, bean sauce. My favorite meal!! Before...



our classroom
Sheelanda's birthday!
Noah (headband courtesy of Michaelle), Michaelle, and me

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's hard raising kids for someone else

I am starting to realize more and more how hard it's going to be to leave these baby boys. I'm with them 24/7 and take care of their every need. I love them so much and they love me. We're attached. Whenever I see their big smiles I think how hard it would be for me to even leave them for a week. How much harder will it be in 7 months when I know them that much more?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busy busy!

Sue just left this morning to visit family in the State's for two weeks so I've been busy today. It was a good day though. I got through school with all five kids while watching Noah and Jackson. The kids are getting SO good at their lessons. I love teaching them.

Noah and Jackson are still sick but getting better. The other kids in the house are all sick too with a nasty cough. Nighttime is the worst for them. Poor things. Be praying for them!

I don't really have any other updates or exciting things to say. Oh, except that I got to watch Home Alone today and it was nice. And i learned two new songs in Creole.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


On Monday, Sue had a wonderful surprise for me! I was having a rough morning and the kids were getting on my nerves. Sue went to the bank with her driver and when she got back she said, "go get your shoes on, we're going somewhere." My kids were in the middle of school and she said, "go hand that baby to someone else and tell your kids school's over." She didn't tell me where we were going the whole ride. We drove past the airport and she promised that she wasn't making me fly home. She ended up taking me to a fancy hotel where we ate a delicious buffet! Guess what was in the buffet? TURKEY! Usually I don't even like turkey but I was so sad when I missed it on Thanksgiving. It was such a nice surprise! The food was delicious and it was a refreshing break.

Yesterday was a productive day. I got a lot of chores done after school including laundry, mopping my room, organizing my room a little better, and redecorating our school room for Christmas with our snowflakes. This Saturday we'll make new Christmas crafts to add to our decorations.

Last night the boys were up ALL night. The poor things were coughing up a storm. They have had this cough for weeks now. All the kids in the house are coughing at night. Allergy medicine helps the older kids but I can't do anything for my boys. Yesterday afternoon they started wheezing which worries me. I heard of a good doctors office within walking distance to us so one of the workers and I walked with the boys there after lunch. They couldn't take us but we're going to go tomorrow morning. Hopefully they can help us! These sleepless nights are making me crazy!

Two of the girls here (Mislanda and Beshlanda) may be going home with their mother. Their mother comes to visit frequently. Today she came and informed us that she is planning on taking Beshlanda, the younger sister, home with her this summer but that she does not want Mislanda and still wants her to be adopted. Sue's place is a home for kids who are up for adoption. She is not an orphanage. The mother of the girls had agreed to put her girls up for adoption when she brought them to Sue. In Haiti, a mother can always change her mind up until the child leaves Haiti.

It hit me hard when I saw the mother tell her younger daughter that she was taking her home. The older sister was sitting off away from her mother and sister but was fully aware of what was happening. She showed no emotions when her mother was telling Sue that she wanted to keep the younger girl but adopt out the older girl. I am so surprised at the strength of these kids. I can't imagine being 7 years old and having my mother tell me that she is taking my brother but giving me away. I wonder what was going on in her mind. When Sue told the mother that she was not going to take just one girl the mother thought about it for a while. I think she finally decided that she wants to take both girls home. I'm happy for them. Beshlanda asked her mom, "are you taking us home with you?" When the mother said yes, Beshlanda jumped up and down with excitement. Mislanda came over and found out and they both were bouncing off the walls. Strangely enough, they started talking about all the food that they were going to eat when they went home. I am happy for them both that they will get to be with their mother. But I'm worried for the girls. I worry about their connection with their mom. How can they bond with their mother when every day they wondered if their mom would want them. How these Haitian kids can handle rejection then acceptance then rejection again is beyond me. But a mother is always a mother and I hope that they will trust her and that she loves them with everything she has.

Every day I'm surprised and impressed by how strong these kids are. I know that it's in their blood because even Noah and Jackson have it. They are physically the strongest babies I have ever seen. Haitians have been through so much oppression throughout their history and it is continuing on. They have to be strong to survive. I admire their strength. The more I see and read about Haiti leads me to believe that Haitian's give most of the credit for this strength to God. They are such spiritual people and their strength overflows from the physical and emotional to the spiritual. There's so much I need to learn from them!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today the kids and I made coffee filter snow flakes to decorate for the holidays. We looked in some of the story books they have here for pictures of snow. The kids know what snow is and know the name in Creole. Then we watched Frosty the Snow man and the Grinch on their tv which was fun.

As you can see from the pictures I just posted, the boys are ADORABLE. I'm in trouble because I'm madly in love and I don't know what will happen when I have to leave them. Sue had found two couples who wanted to adopt them but they both didn't work out. If you are reading this and you live in California you should probably think about adopting them... I want to live near them when they go to the states.

Today it was Sue's turn to stay home and my turn to go to church. On our way home the big truck got a flat tire so the driver went back to get a new car to take us the rest of the way home. He came back with a 7 passenger SUV. There were 19 of us. Haiti is a magical place because of many things but the way that many Haitians can fit into small vehicles is one of them. We could have fit at least 5 more humans in that car.

In our school at home we are learning about the verse in the Bible that goes "love is patient, love is kind" etc. Each day we have been discussing what each word means. Outside today I heard ALL the kids reciting the verse in English. All the home school kids had taught the other kids the words. That made me smile.

The boys have still been sleeping well at night only waking up once in the night and then again at 5:30. That means longer stretches where I get to sleep. Yay! I hope that tonight they keep it up!

Bon nwit!


Jenifer and I made the same face on accident

And again..

And a third time. I thought it was blog worthy. 

All of us ready for church (sans Peter. He was tying his shoes.) 

Goofball and Jackson. Just look at that face! I love them.

Noah and Jackson

This is our ride to church. The back of a truck all caged in. It's a bouncy ride and pretty dusty.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving and more

Thanksgiving was a sad day for me. I really missed my family. But today I feel a lot better and don't feel as sad. I cried a few tears yesterday and one of the kids asked me if I was sad because I didn't get turkey on thanksgiving. Sue and I went to a little restaurant in town and I ate french fries and she had chicken nuggets for our Thanksgiving treat. That was nice. It was also Betchina's birthday today. She turned 5 and we got to eat cake for dinner. That was delicious. Even though the weather doesn't agree, it is starting to feel holidayish around here. In the stores people are decorating for Christmas and playing Christmas songs. Soon the kids will make some paper chains and other decorations for the house. It's not the same as being home but at least I'm not missing the holidays all together!

The babies have been sleeping really well at night. It makes my days a lot happier when I get more than 5 hours of sleep! School has been going really great with the kids too. I feel like these kids are learning so fast. Peter is talking in English so well now it's amazing. He's saying so many new words and chooses to speak in English rather than Creole to me a lot more often now. I really have been enjoying teaching and seeing the kids learn. Today, I showed peter a new way to do his math problems because previously he had been using crayons as place holders to add and subtract. Now his books are getting into the higher numbers and it's taking longer and longer to do the problems and count out 15 crayons or whatever. I showed him how to start at 9 and count up to add instead of starting at one. It's very nice. We also practiced our "doubles" (1+1, 2+2, etc) and both Michaelle and Peter have them memorized. I'm still working on trying to get Michaelle to try the new way of doing math. She'll get it soon enough I'm sure. 

The kids are super good at reading as well. We play games with their flash cards that they make which they really enjoy. I am trying to think of a way to get them to better be able to sound out words. They are so quick at memorizing their sight words from their reading but when I show them a new word, they have difficulty sounding it out. They need more practice knowing what sounds the letters make since the Creole and French alphabet is so different from the English alphabet. I'm trying to figure out a way to make this easier for them. 

I have been in a better mood too because the kids have been a lot less sassy recently. I decided that I wanted to spend more time with the kids who aren't home schooled so I sent all the home schoolers outside and kept some of the other kids inside to do puzzles and play games with. We all had a lot of fun. The home schoolers were mad at me for sending them outside but they got over it quickly (which is unusual) and we ended the night on a good note. That felt nice. 

Claudson (10 year old brother to Peter) is so darling with the babies. He has been watching them so much recently. The other day he watched them for almost 2 hours while I did laundry. I didn't hear them cry once. It's adorable to see him beam when I tell him what a good papa he is to them. He's a wonderful little guy. 

A few days ago, Sue was showing me pictures of Claudson and Peter's house and family in the U.S. There were pictures of their mom, dad, siblings and house. She gave the photos to the boys to have. Claudsons' face just lit up so fast when she handed him the pictures. He kept saying "for me? for me??" He held the picture of his mom and dad and just smiled and showed it to me proudly and said "that's my mama and papa!" Tears started welling up in my eyes because I felt happy for him. I also felt so sad that so many kids don't have a family to cherish. I realized the good that will come of these kids going to the US and was happy that these boys will have families who will love them and stick with them. But I also feel torn because I want these kids to be Haitian and love Haiti and grow up here. Most of the kids at Sue's have families who gave them up. I know most of their parents live in situations that are not ideal in raising up a child. They are poor and many live in tent cities where sexual abuse and crime are not uncommon. I'm sure the kid's parents were struggling with paying for food and other necessities as are most parents in Haiti. However, I've been thinking a lot recently about the affect that foreign aid has on parents who give their children up for adoption or to orphanages. I wonder if by all the American's coming to help and offer children a safe environment, it encourages families to give their children away. 

I guess I need to have faith that God will give these children what is best for them. I'm just curious to know if U.S. interference in Haiti has increased the amount of kids who are abandoned by their parents and families. I hope to God not. It's heartbreaking to walk down the street and have a father walking his daughter home from school yell out to me "ou bezwen?" In other words, "do you want my child?" while shoving his 4 year old daughter towards me. I don't want that reputation. I want to help kids who have no one. And I want to help families who have little resources stay together. That is my hope for Haiti. That families are not split apart. I don't think the answer to "curing" hurting children in Haiti is by sending kids to the U.S. I think life in Haiti is hard, but that breaking families apart only makes it harder. 

I am happy that the kids here have the chance to have families in the U.S. I know that they'll have wonderful opportunities to do things like play sports and go to gymnastics and go to college and have a warm bed and maybe a pet dog. But not every child in Haiti is going to have that opportunity. I know that in a perfect world all children would have these things but I think it's important to think about answers that will help Haitians on a wider scale. I think the kids here are going to have a better life in the U.S. But I think that the good could stop there with that one child. My hope is that these kids will not forget about their native country. I hope that they will grow up to love Haiti and be proud of where they come from. Haitians are proud of their country and I don't want these kids to lose that. My hope is that they will grow into people who will come back to Haiti to improve the lives of people who didn't get the opportunity to escape the poverty.

Monday, November 21, 2011

thinking of a title is my least favorite part about blogging

We heard from Katie and she's doing fine! That's a relief.

It's actually been going OK without here here. Sue and the workers have been helping with the babies during the day a little and the boys have been sleeping SO good at night. For the past couple nights they've only been getting up once each! That's been very nice.

The other day I was at the computer and the babies were on the ground. One started crying and the ladies were in the kitchen so I got right up to pick him up because I knew they'd be in there in a second giving me the evil eye for letting him cry. Instead, they laughed and said, they're big boys now, you need to let them cry! They said "in Haiti, when the babies get up in the morning, you give them a bath, feed them a lot and put them down. If they cry, you don't go get them because then they will be weak when they grow up." News flash! A week ago the ladies thought I was crazy for letting them cry for more than 30 seconds. I asked why they changed their minds all the sudden. I guess when babies hit 3 months they're big all the sudden. They have some crazy ideas. Like that the boys need to start practicing sitting up or else they'll die. I think they're ways are crazy sometimes but I can't imagine what they think of a 22 year old American lady trying to raise two HAITIAN boys. For as much as I think they're crazy, they must think I'm crazy times 2 because I'm in Haiti with Haitian kids.

I was in the kitchen one night with Fabula (a worker who speaks English very well) and I asked her what she thought about me "raising" the babies. I said that I guessed that she must think the way I do things is very crazy and she subtly agreed. But I told her that the American way is the only way I know and that's the best I can do. I told her this because I don't want her to think that I don't do things the Haitian way because I don't agree with it or don't like it. I just don't understand it or know how to go about raising them the way she would. I think it was good for me to tell her that because I don't want to come off as a know-it-all. I'm glad that she knows that I don't think that her ways are wrong. I think that we really are learning from each other.

A while ago, the ladies who work here told me that they boys had coughs because I didn't put them in clothes during the day. They thought it was crazy that I'd keep the boys naked because they'd get cold. I thought they were crazy because It's so hot here that the boys would sweat when I had clothes on them. However, since then, I have been putting clothes on them because I realized that they may know better than me. The next night one of the ladies was holding one of the boys a few feet from the tv while a show was on. I told her that I thought that it was bad for his eyes. She looked at me like I was crazy but she turned him around anyway. A few nights later I noticed her telling one of the kids to move the baby back from the tv because watching tv was bad for their eyes. It made me smile. I think that we both realize that we both have good ideas and can learn from each other.

The boys are doing very good recently. I'm sure no one is as excited as I am but for the past 3 or 4 nights in a row they've only woken up once each! The blood in their diapers is gone too. It's been gone for a while but I forgot to update everyone. I picked up Jackson today and knew he had a fever. It was only one or two degrees and went away by bedtime. They're getting to be FAT and I love it.

The school kids had an AWESOME day. They didn't want to stop working. Michaelle and Peter are working on knowing all their numbers up to 100. Tonight as I was feeding a baby near Peters bed as he was trying to fall asleep he asked me "How do you say nine zero?" I told him it was ninety. I am so happy because that means he was thinking about school as he was falling asleep. And it was GOOD thoughts! Maybe his dream about school the other night wasn't a nightmare after all. Yay.

I hope all of you eat a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for me! I'm missing home a lot. Especially my bff Fan.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First day without Katie

It actually was a good day today. The boys slept alright. I only got about 6 hours of sleep total but that's how it goes. The kids were good in school today. Sue schooled Katie's kids. I mopped the floors and cleaned my room after school and before lunch. We had chicken and rice and bean sauce for lunch so I was really happy about that. The boys were napping so I did laundry ALL afternoon. I guess I was washing for about 3 hours. While I was washing I was thinking about how women in Haiti do it. I only washed clothes for myself and the babies. I can't imagine washing a whole families laundry while I keep track of my kids. Not to mention that they have to keep their house clean and cook all day too! My day has been busy and I didn't have to clean an entire house or cook meals for a family. Cooking takes all day if you're going to have three meals! You can't just throw some leftovers in the microwave. You actually have to cook the beans instead of open a can. And there's no such thing as pre-diced garlic. I just have a lot of respect for Haitian women today.

I haven't heard from Katie yet. I know she made it safely home and that she was at the doctors a few hours ago. I am happy that she made it safe. I'm sure it was a miserable flight for her.

I overheard Peter (my student) talking to one of the other kids today. They were talking in Creole and I wasn't listening until I heard him saying something in English. He was talking about one of his lessons today! He was telling her about some new words he learned from his story today. That was pretty cute. I'm glad to know he was paying attention :)

That's pretty much all I have to say for today. I'm still worried about what it will be like here without Katie but I feel a little less frantic about it today. Keep praying! I appreciate those of you who are taking the time to read this and think about me. It's nice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Changes

I just got back from taking Katie to the airport. She woke up this morning with bad cramps and they didn't let up the whole day. At around 2 o'clock she decided she wanted to fly home in case she needed medical attention. She was worried it was her appendix. We frantically found a ride for her and switched her flight to 5:15 this evening. I went with her to the airport and she was feeling a little better. Please pray for her that it's nothing too serious. She probably won't be returning until after Christmas.

I'm so worried because not only will I be a "single mother" for the two months she's gone, I also have an additional 3 students that used to belong to her. Sue is going to have to help me out a lot and I feel bad. Please pray for me as well that I have the strength to get everything done each day and still be cheerful.

On to less depressing news, I am happy to report that we're figuring out ways to save money. A few days ago Katie looked online at how to make homemade baby wipes with paper towels and baby shampoo. They're working out really well so far and are A LOT less expensive (one box of 80 baby wipes here costs 8 dollars!). I am also happy to report that my school kids took some tests the other day and made 100% on two of the tests! I was very excited.

Prayer requests:
- That the boys start sleeping better at night. Last night Jackson got up every hour because of gas pains.
- That I have patience
-That Katie feels better and that her pain is not too serious
-That the school kids keep up their hard work!
-That I don't get overwhelmed and discouraged



Jackson and Noah (2 months) with Joshua (10 months) They almost fit in the same clothes size! 

Smiling Noah
Thanks for the awesome new boy outfits! We love them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

pima pike

Peter just sat up in bed and talked in his sleep but in English. He hardly ever speaks English during the day but he just sat up and said "the princess is in the castle." Ha ha. Also, a few nights ago he seemed to be having a bad dream and muttered something about "ecole" or "school" in English. Uh oh, my student is having nightmares about school!

Anyway, today I made the piklise (I think that's how you spell it..) for lunch and I had to cut these spicy peppers that they have here. I washed my hands and the Haitians told me that I need to rub my hands in my/their hair to get rid of the spice on my hands. She also told me I couldn't touch the babies for a while. That would have been good to know beforehand because I am the one who is supposed to take care of them! I wish she would have warned me better before I touched the peppers because about 15 minutes after I washed my hands they started burning like H-E double hockey sticks. I thought my hands were going to fall off it hurt so bad. The pain just escalated for the next 3 hours it was awful!! She felt bad and through her caring tears of laughter she made me soak my hands in sugar water and poured ice water over my hands. It helped a little but not enough. 10 hours later and my hands are still burning a little. But I was able to bathe the babies and touch them after 5 o'clock. Good thing because boy were they cranky tonight. I put them to bed an hour before they usually go to sleep. That was good I think. We'll see how they sleep tonight..

This afternoon I got to do the girls hair. I braided two of the girl's hair last night and I did one today. I can't believe they let me! And tomorrow is church no less! I feel honored that they went out in public with their hair done by me. Paulette told me I need some Haitian baby girls because I can braid hair so well. Yay.

I got to visit Leogane from Wednesday to Thursday and it was wonderful! Three men from the U.S. were getting picked up at the airport by my friend on Wednesday and I caught a ride with them to Leogane. I got to visit my friend's family who live in the town that I'm staying in so I'm excited to know some people here. He has three children that want to learn English and I am going to try and go over to their house once a week to give them some lessons. I'm especially excited because it will be a wonderful break to get away for a little bit every week. They also have coconut trees with delicious coconuts that I got to try... I'm hoping they'll pay me in a coconut every week.

My trip to Leogane was short but sweet. I love those girls with my whole heart and I miss them every second I'm away. I wish I had the opportunity to go see them more. They're wonderful people. Since I went during the week I got to see them doing school in their new building on the orphanage grounds. I took some video's which will be cool to have. I spent my time in Leogane just visiting with the girls and other people I know there. I also planned to eat some food from my friend Miglise who has a food stand in Leogane. I took a taptap there with my friend Junior. Last time I went to visit her, her daughter was there instead and said that she was at home sick with arthritis. I wasn't worried and hopped she'd be back when I visited next time. However, when I arrived at her spot this day, all of her things were cleared out. I asked the people sitting around where she was and they told me she died. I was not expecting that at all. I cried in front of all the people standing around. I tried not to, especially because everyone was already looking at me but I couldn't help it. I loved that woman. I will miss her.

Another sad thing also happened on our way to the orphanage on Wednesday. I was in the car with the three American men and we were almost to Leogane when we hit traffic that was not moving at all. We waited for a while and I just knew it was an accident. After waiting for a while the driver decided to pull around all the cars to check it out. It was an accident. It was the second fatal accident that I've seen in Haiti. As we pulled up, our headlights shined on a naked, dead woman laying in the street. A car must have hit her. There were hundreds of people standing around watching and walking over her body to get passed. We sat there for 40 minutes before the UN and the police showed up. I was very nervous that a riot would break out. Whenever there is that many people waiting for a road to open up there's bound to be tension. When the UN and police showed up the tension increased fast and they started beating people with the butts of their guns. Luckily, they had moved the woman's body as well as the blockade that they had made so we were able to zip around and get out before things got worse.

Looking back, I feel like the whole situation was surreal. That would never happen in the United States. Americans handle things so differently. But unexpected death is so commonplace for people in Haiti. They seem immune to being sad or scared about death. Adults and children the age of five were stepping over this woman's lifeless body to get passed while I was in the car with tears welling up in my eyes. In some aspects, I think that death shouldn't be so scary to me. Death happens to everyone at some point. But I think that that being sad or scared is OK especially in unexpected situations like this one. It just seemed so insensitive to me that people were gawking at her naked body laying in the road. I wanted to cover her up or take her away from all the peering eyes. Most of the people standing around, including myself, had no idea who this woman was. It felt that we had no right to be looking at her in such a vulnerable position. I thought about her family and what they would have done had they been there. How were they going to find out? Would any one know who her family even was? Does she have children? Does she even have a family? I think these are questions I think of because I'm not used to death. People in Haiti almost have to be used to it. Life here is hard and they know it. When I found out about the cook Miglise dying, I told a Haitian friend about it. She responded that death is coming for all of us and that I need to not be sad. How can you let yourself be so sad every time a person dies in Haiti? Especially when it's someone you don't know. People here have seen so much hurt and death, especially since the earthquake. It could be a defense mechanism to be so emotionally tough. Haitian people are amazingly strong.

Today I watched how Sue and the Haitian worker Paulette handled a crying child and their approaches were so different. Four year old Sheelanda was crying because she bumped her head and Paulette put her in the chair and said "eat your food!" and started to spoon it into Sheelanda's mouth. Sue walked in, saw the crying child, picked her up and hugged her and talked about where she was hurt and what happened. I think both of them were annoyed at the other's response to the situation. The difference between their reactions made me think about the affect of their different cultures on their behavior. I know that both women want what's best for the child. I think that Sue comes from a place where being tender and kind to a child is important. Paulette comes from a place where being strong and tough is important for survival. I think that a lot of times American's come here and are taken aback at how children are treated here. I am guilty of having thought that kids are treated in a cruel way sometimes. But I wonder if it's just my view of things that makes me think that. Up until this point I had never thought about how important being tough is to survival here and how that connects to child rearing. Life is not easy for anyone in Haiti. Perhaps adults treat the kids this way because they know that toughness is so critical.

I feel like I am being tested a lot here. I am having a really hard time being patient with the kids and loving them at all times. It seems that there's always something wrong with my body whether it be infected bug bites or a sick tummy. I am exhausted from feeding babies at night and being with kids all day long. It's hard but I think I'm really growing stronger and learning a lot about myself. When I start to have a pitty party for myself I look around and realize that my life is so good and easy compared to the people around me. I live in a beautiful house and I get food three times a day. Life isn't like it was when I was in the states but I don't expect it to be. I'm happy to be here and I think God is using it to teach me how to be a better person. I hope so.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some Pictures

Some of the girls in Leogane all ready to go to school!

Michaelle and I playing a game to work on her numbers

A classroom in Leogane

Big boy Tchaly

The girls at Sue's all ready to go to Church

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I have the chance to visit the girls in Leogane for one night and I'm VERY excited. I am definitely in need of a break. (a GIANT flying beetle thing just climbed up my pj pant leg. ew ew ew.) Anyway, I'm really excited to see the girls again. I wish I could stay for longer. I'm also excited to get a suitcase full of goodies like diapers that Amy and my mom sent me with a team who is going to Leogane. Yay!

School has been going pretty well for the kids. I lead the circle time again and the kids were the best behaved I have ever seen them be for me. That was nice. My two kids were really good when we split into groups to do book work too. They are FLYING through their work and are so smart! I am loving seeing the progress. We play fun games with their sight words and they are getting so fast. They are even starting to be able to sound out words on their own which is hard because they are used to a completely different alphabet with way different sounds. They are starting to speak more English during the day too. That's cool to see.

Today I was working on school and Sue was watching the babies for me. Jackson was cranky and she could NOT calm him down. He wouldn't drink his bottle for her or anything. So I went over and the second I picked him up he stopped crying. That warmed my heart. I love those little boys. But I'm in for trouble if they only like me... I thought multiples were supposed to be more easy going but that hasn't really been the case with these boys. They LOVE to be held and many times, that's the only thing that will make them happy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Random updates

Yesterday I had a rough morning. Katie left around 5 a.m. to go to the U.S. embassy with her friend and didn't come back until around 2. I had to watch both babies and teach school for all five kids who are in different grades. I also had baby duty the night before and was awake by 4:45. So I had a lot of work and very little energy and patience. I was holding a fussy baby at all times because they weren't feeling good. We started school way early and ended school way late. It was not a good morning for any of us. I told Katie she's never allowed to leave again. :)

After Katie came back, the babies napped and I got to rest a little bit. After my rest and a coke I felt a lot better. The babies were being good so I decided to go give myself, the workers, and the kids pedicures. I washed and put lotion on all their little feetsies. All the kids have bright pink toes now. It's pretty cute.

This morning I got to shave two of the boy's hair. That was pretty fun.

Noah and Jackson are sick and have trouble sleeping because of the congestion. They've been sick quite a while. I am also still finding blood in their diapers and are waiting to hear back from the doctor about an appointment. Pray they get healthy soon!

I'm in a great mood today because I got to sleep in. Usually the babies are up at 5 for the day but this morning they went back to sleep until 7:30 after they ate! The extra sleep was soooo wonderful.

The bugs have been crazy here and decided it's a good idea to invade the house more than usual. We've been getting extra protein in our rice because a ton of ants always end up in our food. As long as they're small enough to not crunch, I have no problem with it.

That's all the updates I have for now!

old pics from leogane

gitna and shabeen

Jackson loves me 

I look really tired or something but really, I like to do laundry!

Me and Francesca

Making books for school!

Michaelle and Peter
This is a picture of the kids making sticker books for school. Each day they work hard and obey, they get a sticker to put in their homemade books. They all decorated their books and wrote their names on it. There's a story book that I read to Michaelle one day about a duck family. One of the ducklings name was Rebecca and I got really excited. Well she remembered and ran and got the duck book so she could spell my name in her sticker book. A lot of times I think the school kids hate me but things like this make me think that maybe they do love me. Yay :)

Hair cuts!

I got to give some hair cuts today!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

school, babies, and lunch (most of my time is spent thinking of these three things)

Every morning when we start school we do a sort of circle time with all the kids. On Monday I got to lead it. Usually Sue does. I talked about Halloween and how kids in the states dress up. They told me which costumes they’d choose. One said “a doctor” and another one said “Jesus.” That night Katie and I were talking about how different their worlds are going to be once they go to the States. We were thinking about how our night here in Haiti was so different than the one kids in the states had. In each house in the United States kids spent their time picking through their trick-or-treat bags throwing away the candy they didn't want. If they got something “awful” and “boring” like peanuts or a pencil or something, they probably quickly passed it on to their mothers and fathers. However, here in Haiti, our kids spent their night searching through each garbage can in the house. They also picked through dirty diapers in the trash pile which is waiting to be burned in the back of the house. This is a daily occurrence here. Each day we find one of the kids with something that we had thrown away the day before. On Halloween, we found an old Pringles can which they used to hold their bar of soap. We also find the kids scraping out peanut butter jars or Gatorade drink packets for any last scraps of food. We find them chewing on old gum or scraping out the leftover powder from the formula containers. And always, they are sharing. Life is so different here. Before I came to Sue’s, I always used to picture the kids in Leogane living in the States and tried to imagine what they would think and do. I also thought of kids that I babysat in the States and tried to imagine how THEY would react to life in Haiti. It was hard for me to even begin to imagine how each would act. Here at Sue’s, this is a going to become a reality. All of these kids are eventually going to the U.S.  I wonder how it will be. Kids are flexible and I know they’ll acclimate eventually. I just wonder what they’re first reactions will be.

The babies’ mother and grandfather came to visit yesterday. When they showed up, my first thought was that they were there to take the babies back. I didn’t know what to think but I knew that I was so sad. I had it in my mind that they’d be here forever and I wouldn’t have to say goodbye for a long time. I was mostly worried because I didn’t want to think about what their life would be like. I would be worried about their health. I wholeheartedly think that children are meant to be with their mother and father and I wanted to be able to be happy for them if they went back. I also had been feeling really conflicted about the babies being here for the past few days. I sort of felt that we had stolen them from their mother or something. I was worried that someone had forced the mother to give her babies up. I didn’t want that to be the case. I didn’t know what was best in the situation. I wanted the mother to be with her babies and vice versa. However, the mother is 18 years old, mentally challenged, has only one leg, and is very poor. She had been feeding the babies cereal for the first month of their life because she couldn’t breast feed and couldn’t afford formula. They’re just so small I was worried that they weren’t strong enough to live in those conditions. None the less, I knew that I do not know what is best for the babies. The whole time the grandfather and mother were here I prayed that whatever happened that it was what was best for everyone.
The visit ended up being a great relief. I had a chance to observe the grandfather and mother. I saw how hard the mother would have had to work to keep the babies alive and healthy. She seemed happy to see the babies. When one of the women asked if she was happy that the babies were with Sue, the mother exclaimed “oh yes!!” with a big smile on her face. That made me think that hopefully she wasn’t forced to give them up. I was also happy because I got to take a photo of the babies with their mom (which I posted earlier). I asked her if I could do it so I can give the picture to the boys so they can have it when their older. She seemed happy. I was also surprised because the grandfather also asked for a picture with them so I could give it to the boys too.  The grandfather also offered to go and get the birth certificate for the boys and bring it to Sue. All in all, I think it’s a good thing that the boys are here. I’m sad that they don’t get to be with their mother. And I’m sad that they won’t get to grow up in their own country. I hope and pray that the people who adopt them love and respect Haiti. I hope that Noah and Jackson are going to grow up and not forget where they came from. I hope that they turn into smart young men who come back to Haiti to help improve the lives of people here.

On Wednesday, I decided to do school in the afternoon so that I could take a trip to the market with Fabula, the cook. I absolutely love going to the market places in Haiti. This one was located under a big roof and was cramped. It was different than the one in Leogane in that it had cement floors in most places rather than dirt/mud. People sit everywhere with their goods. Most people sit on the floor, on tarps with their goods neatly piled up in front of them. There are things like mangos, sacks of rice and grains, peppers, lettuce, carrots, soap, coconuts, cloves, bananas, limes, and so much more. Those who sell meat usually bring it to the market in huge chunks, most likely killed that morning. They set up on tables covered in dirty cardboard soaked in the juices from the meat, flies buzzing all around. They chop up the meat into the portions and lay it out for people to see. As we stood waiting for our 20 chicken legs, a woman walked up and started searching through the meat with her hands to choose the best pieces. It’s funny to think of our and sanitized deli departments with prepackaged and boneless meat in grocery stores in the U.S.

After returning from the market, I watched Fabula make my favorite dish, rice and bean sauce with chicken. She also made pikliz which is a really spicy cabbage salad thing.  I wrote down the recipes. Fabula said that one of these weeks that she’ll let me cook the chicken. I told her I need to learn so I can impress my American friends and family when I get home with my Haitian cooking.

Today I woke up at 4:45 with the babies and made some coffee. The other kids were up soon after that. Today we are going to make little journals with the school kids out of old cereal boxes. I am going to use them for a sticker book so that when the kids to extraordinarily good on their school work they’ll get a sticker to put in their book. I need some sort of reward to motivate them during the hard days. We’ll see how this works.

Last night I got so cold around 7 o'clock and I put on long sleeves and pajama pants. I was so cold last night and this morning too. Katie checked the weather, it was 79 degrees.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Me and baby.

Noah rolling over and a picture of Monica from Leogane

Here's a video of Noah rolling over for the first time! I can't believe I caught it on video.

Me and Mondica in Leogane from before. Sorry it's sideways.

The babies and their mother

The babies mother and grandfather came to visit today. I asked to take a photo of her holding the babies so I can give the boys the picture to have when they're older.
This is from my trip to Leogane a while ago. Me and Salvacienne :)

This is what happens when you hire an 11 year old babysitter.. Haha! I left baby Noah with Jenifer for a while one day and when I came back into the room this is what I found.

Me and the kids