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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Suitcase

Hello people. So Amy Miramontes is going to be sending a suitcase with a group who is coming to Haiti in like a week. She says she will have some extra room in it to send me stuff too. If anyone feels like they want to donate some stuff that would be AWSOME! Some things that would be great to have are new born size baby diapers, johnson and johnson baby shampoo/ baby bar soap, 5 oz bottles, and a milkshake and a chesseburger for me. ;) I'm not sure how much room she'll have but you can email her at pinknblack@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Awesome babies

I'm convinced that these babies are the strongest babies in the world. If we have the correct information, they were born on September 10th. That means they're not even two months old yet. The other day one of the babies rolled over! They're not supposed to do that for like another month or something! That's exciting. To me at least.

Today was a good day. The kids are warming up to me I think. Some of them are very sensitive and seem like they don't like me that much. Katie says it's in my head. But the kids that we school at home get mad at me for silly reasons. Sue talked about how kids in Haiti do not like their teachers. She thinks they're just trying to figure things out. It's hard because in the morning I need to be their teacher and in charge. In the afternoons I get to be silly and their friend. It must be confusing for them. But things are getting better and I'm getting more and more hugs and kisses. I went around to say goodnight to all the kids tonight and most of them came back for extra hugs and kisses before I had to make them get into bed. It was nice.

Two days ago I was carrying a basin full of water out to the back to dump it and I was barefoot. As I was walking I must have disrupted an ant metropolis because my feet started burning because I was being eaten alive. Now I probably have one billion ant bites on my feet. Lesson learned. 

I'm excited tomorrow is Saturday. Then Sunday, my favorite day because I get ice cream.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

boom boom ain't it great to be crazy?

On Sunday I stayed home from church with the babies. Before the babies came, Sue would stay home with Sonson (age 2), Dianna (3), Francesca (2), and Joshua (10 months). Since the babies are here now we switch off staying home with Sue and the little kids to help out. Next Sunday Katie and I will send Sue to church and stay home with them. Sue hasn’t been to church in almost a year because she’s had so many little ones! I think she’ll really enjoy that. So anyway, staying home was really nice. Church is always about 4 hours long and in Creole obviously. There are people who walk around and yell at you if you fall asleep or sit when everyone’s standing. They also yell at antsy kids. I’m one of the antsy kids. So staying home was actually a nice break. It was really relaxing. Oh, it was also really relaxing because the babies slept obscenely well. I put them in bed around 7 and they didn’t wake up until 1:45 am!! That’s almost 7 hours! I was stoked. So my morning was relaxing. Once all the kids went down for their naps I mopped a little. Then I got to sit on the porch, drink my coffee, and read peacefully. I was happy when all the kids came home because I had a good quiet break. Sue, Katie and I went to the market after to get the weekly supplies of powered milk, baby formula, diapers and a snack of ice cream. Yum! Sunday’s are good.

Monday was also a good day. Katie and I went with Sue to Port Au Prince because her internet wasn’t working for a few days. We went to the Digicel headquarters which was HUGE. It was air conditioned and very fancy. Katie and I played count the “blan.” We counted over 20. I joked with one white guy that in Haiti, white people flock to air conditioning like bugs to a light bulb. I was really excited because I got to sit on a couch in the lobby. Oh, the things I take for granted when I’m in the U.S. After digicel, we went to a big supermarket that is almost like walmart. Almost. Then we got to go to Epidor which I was STOKED on. I got french fries and they were DELICIOUS. However, it wasn’t all kittens and rainbows because both Katie and I felt sick afterwords. Boo. We didn’t get back to Sue’s until pretty late. I missed the babies and Katie said I kept talking about them when we were out. I was worried they’d forget to feed them or something… Haha. Don’t worry, they were alive when we got back.
On Tuesday Katie and I were so excited because we were going to take a trip to the beach! There’s another orphanage close bye that has an 18 year old American girl who has been teaching them English for three months. She is due to go home in a few days and wanted to take a day to go to the beach with us before she left. We got picked up at 8 and were on our way. We never made it to the beach though because we got three flat tires. We ended up sitting in the back of that truck for almost 8 hours. It was ok for a while but then we got hungry. We ate food from street vendors which made both Katie and I sick today. I’m still not feeling well. Every time something happens that doesn’t go along with my plans here in Haiti, I relearn that I need to not have expectations for anything. It’s better if I just learn to go with the flow. Things like getting a flat tire mean something completely different here in Haiti. There’s no AAA to call on your cell phone to come fix it within an hour or two. In this case, we pulled to the side of the road, found a guy with a motorcycle to drive to see if he could find a tire that fits the truck. It took about 3 trips back and forth to different venders and bringing back the wrong size. About 20 people came out to watch and help fix the tire. I love that about Haiti.

I think most Americans would have acted completely different if they were thrown into a situation like that. My first reaction was to be angry that we had to hang out in the back of a truck getting dehydrated rather than on a beach drinking a coconut. But things like that happen here. They happen everywhere. The difference is that the solutions are not as easy here as they are in the states. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to call AA A and get your car fixed within the hour, but it’s also a wonderful thing to see people care about each other and lend a helping hand. Things in Haiti are way different than the States. A lot of things aren’t better or worse, just different. It’s easy to write a place like Haiti off as dirty, pitiful, or miserable. But that’s not what makes up Haiti. There’s a lot more to Haiti than just the dirty streets and poverty. There’s community, conversation, caring and so much more. Some things are harder to see up front but it’s so cool to be here to learn more about both the good and bad of this country. I thought we’d go to the beach yesterday, but it didn’t work out. Sometimes that’s how things go. We ended up having a good time anyway and I have 8 more months to try and make it to the beach. I am on an island for goodness sake!
BTW the kids watch this Christian music video called Cedarmont Kids or something. It’s by kids, for kids. It’s awful. I am so sick of the songs. One song goes“boom boom ain’t it great to be crazy” and it’s forever suck in my head. There’s also one song called “Old Time Religion” which is the worst. You’re welcome for that interesting detail of my life.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

domesticness and other things

A few days ago two American men came to visit and stayed at Sue's with us. I knew from the start that I'd love them because the first thing they did when they got here was hand us cookies from the states. MMMM they were delicious. They also brought a coffee pot that works on the stove (no more instant coffee!) and nutella and some other treats. One day when they came home they brought the best surprise in the whole world. They brought PIZZA. Earlier that day we were talking about food we missed from the states and Katie and I had said pizza. What wonderful people. It was delicious. I hope they visit more often.

School is going a lot better than it was at the beginning. I have a better understanding of the curriculum and what each child is capable of. At first it was very hard to tell if they were goofing off, didn't understand the material, or didn't understand the instructions in English. Now I have a better time telling what the problem is and I can help them better. I think we're all learning how to work better with each other. It's cool to see the progress they make.

(p.s. it's taken me three days to write just this much because children cry a lot and are great at interrupting)

Speaking of crying, that's sometimes what I feel like doing around all of these children. There are SOO many of them and I never get a break. It's hard to be around people (especially little people) 24/7 with no time away. I uploaded a picture of my room and as you can see, there are huge bars for windows which the kids are not shy about peering in through and talking to me when I'm trying to take some time out. It's exhausting. Katie and I have been taking little walks in the afternoons if we can get both babies to sleep at the same time. I feel so refreshed after 15 minutes of being away from the kids. I think it's a tradition we need to keep up.

Yesterday Sue, Katie and I got to go to visit "Heartline Ministries." It's a really cool organization with resources for woman like a pregnancy center and a sewing program. It's only a 20 or 30 minute drive from Sue's. I had been there before on a different trip but this time one of the sewing classes was in session. That was really cool to see. If you'd like to learn more about Heartline there website is http://heartlineministries.org/

Today I actually sewed something that needed fixing. The little ties on the padding around the crib we bought were broken off so I decided to sew some new ones on. Now it stays up and I'm proud of my domesticness. I also have been crocheting wash clothes. I finished two so far. That's pretty handy too huh? Every second I get I try and learn how to cook from the woman who works here. Whenever she's making my favorite foods I get into the kitchen and pester her. She said she'll teach me like her mom taught her. :) I'm also getting good at mopping with a bucket of bleach water. I learned how to squeeze the mop out the right way. Apparently there's only one way to do it. Laundry in a bucket is fun too. I've been helping with that a little. The little girls give me lessons and love it.

It's very interesting to see the differences in how Americans do things and how Haitians do things. I've noticed it especially with the babies. I'm convinced the Haitian ladies here think I'm a bad "mom" to the boys. Katie asked one of the ladies the other day if she thought we were doing a bad job and the lady didn't say no.. Haha. With two babies there are often times when they both are hungry or need to be changed at the same time. I let one cry while I fix a bottle for the other or whatever needs to be done. Usually I get dirty stares. They tell me that crying is bad for their heads and that it will give them problems. It's also common for 500 people to come tell me the baby is crying. Even when I'm holding him.. Like I don't notice the piercing scream in my ear. I pretend not to know what they're talking about as a joke but they think I'm serious and point to the baby in my arms. I always act surprised.

I am financially responsible for the babies so I get to do all the shopping. I have had two people commit to giving monthly donations (big thanks to you guys!!!!) so that will cover most of the cost of the babies. It was fun to go to the store and stock up on formula, baby cereal, diapers, baby soap and the like. However, Sue is still in need of more donations if anyone is intersted. She calculated that she spends over $300 a week on food for the kids. She has needed to cut back on some things like eggs once a week because of lack of money.

If you'd like to donate you can email me (rebeccatmail@yahoo.com) and I will give you information on how to send me money. You can send your money through a non profit that Sue has worked with to get a tax write off. You can just send a check to them and they'll email me to let me know when they will wire the money to me.

Yesterday I found blood in Jackson's diaper. Sue contacted an American doctor that she knows and we are going to try and find a time to take the babies there. I am worried for the little guy but Sue says I shouldn't worry too much yet. We may take him on Tuesday if the doctor is available. It will cost me $100 for a taxi but Sue said that the doctor doesn't usually charge her anything. That is awesome. What's also awesome is that it's really close to the girls orphanage in Leogane so we can probably go visit them for a quick hello!

The house that I'm staying in is very nice but it's small for so many children. It'd hard too because the yard is paved and very small which leaves little room for the kids to play. It's located in more of an urban area and there's no place for the kids to get out. I was talking to Sue about wishing that she lived closer to a beach so we could take the kids. She told me that she has a Haitian friend who owns a private beach that she takes her kids to whenever she has the money. She pays someone to borrow their bus and they go spend the day swimming in the ocean. I think I may want to treat the kids (and myself!) to that in the next few weeks. I think they'd love a little break just as much as I would!

If you're the praying type, here are some things that you can be praying for:
-patience with the kids
-baby Jacksons health
-wisdom to know how to best teach the kids
-energy, especially after long, sleepless nights
-that God will use this country and its people to teach me more about him

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pic

More pictures



Here's a picture of me playing outside with the kids. They have these awesome blocks that they spend HOURS building things out of. They like to make me tiny houses and laugh when I try and fit into them.

Get ready to fall in love

Jackson's on the left and Noah's on the right. I painted Jackson's toe nail because everyone kept getting confused who was who. (Thanks for the tip mother-of-identical-triplets-Lisa!)

My room!

Here's a picture of my room/baby nursery. I sleep on the bottom bunk and Katie sleeps on the top bunk. Have I told you about Katie? She's the other American girl who is a teacher with me. She'll be here for 9 months as well. She's 27 years old.

School work!

Here's a picture of Samantha and Peter doing their school work. It was taken at the beginning of my time here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lessons on motherhood and difference

Boy oh boy. I just want to say a thank you to all you mothers out there. I am pretty much the mother of these tiny twin boys and man is it hard. They get up every few hours in the night and I am sooo sleepy in the mornings! They also think it's a great idea to get hungry and cry right at MY meal times. I have had very few warm meals the past few days. But don't get me wrong, I love it. It's hard work but very rewarding. I think the boys are starting to like it when I hold them best. It's so magical when they spend so long looking straight into my face. They're wonderful. I just have a new appreciation for all the mothers in this world. Especially mothers of multiples. Thanks moms for all your work.

I have been learning a lot recently about how I should be acting while I'm here. I wrote that post a few days ago about getting upset that the mother didn't say goodbye to her babies. Later on when I told Sue about it she told me how Haitian people are different about goodbyes than we are in the States. We talked a lot about it and I ended up feeling really bad about wanting her to say goodbye so badly. I thought it was the right thing to do and I thought she would want to so I pushed it.

I feel like I have tried so hard to be considerate and thoughtful about Haitian culture but I see that I still have so much to learn. I know I don't know everything about Haiti and never will. But I have been thinking a lot about how I need to be more conscious in my every day actions of taking on the role of observer and learner while being here. I'm reading a wonderful book given to me by a friend called "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about a man who goes to Haiti to cure infectious diseases and bring modern medicine to those who need them most. The way he goes about it is very unique and amazing. He is definitely one who took on the role of observer and learner first and foremost in his time here. When people would come to him with ailments which they thought were caused by wrongdoing and punishment from the spirits, he would tell them that he was sure that spirits were not involved in this particular case. He could have easily gone on an intellectual rant about how he thought spirits or wrongdoing had nothing to do with any of the ailments but instead he respected them and chose his words carefully. He could have thought that it would be "helpful" to them if he tried to dispell their beliefs in voodoo but he didn't. He knew how important respecting their culture was. I think that's an important lesson for me to learn and work on even in situations where I think I'm right.



Unrelated to any of that, there's an interesting blurb in the book that I wanted to post. The American doctor named Farmer in the book went around doing many studies and asked a lot of questions of the people of Haiti.

"How could a just God permit great misery? The Haitian peasants answered with a proverb: 'bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe,' in literal translation, 'God gives but doesn't share.' This meant, as Farmer would later explain it, 'God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he's not the one who's supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge is laid upon us.' Liberation theologians had a similar answer: 'You want to see where Christ crucified abides today? Go to where the poor are suffering and fighting back, and that's where He is.'"
-Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Monday, October 10, 2011

This is a long post so get ready!


I am back in Bon Repos. I had a WONDERFUL time with the girls. It was good to be able to sleep with them in the Orphanage. I felt like I was home with family. We sang together at night and prayed together. I prayed for some of the girls in Creole each night and they loved it. The first night one of the older girls, Vanessa, was having a really bad asthma attack. I was really scared for her. A couple of the girls were in the room laying with her and trying to make her feel better. Two of them were praying out loud for her and another girl was singing a song about Jesus. It is amazing how much faith those girls have. I learn a lot from them every time about relying on God for everything. Vanessa was talking to me one night about how she has been thinking a lot about how everything in this life is vanity. She was crying a little bit so when I asked her what was wrong she said she really wanted to be able to go to school but didn’t have enough money. She quickly told me that everything in life is vanity and that we need to not worry about things we have no control over. She said that she was giving it up to God and that God will put her where she’s supposed to be. If she’s supposed to stay at the orphanage then so be it. I am happy to hear that because I was feeling very sad that I was not able to be in Leogane with the girls. I like being with Sue and working with her kids but a big part of my heart is always in Leogane. I think I need to listen to what Vanessa was saying and realize that even though I may feel like I want to be somewhere else at times, I need to realize that God put me here for a reason and I need to listen to that and thank him no matter what I feel.

I’m back at Sue’s and I’m missing the girls but I know that this is where I’m supposed to be. I just pray that I do and say the right things while I’m here. As we were driving back to Sue’s from Leogane we saw a man laying face down in a ditch. The other people in the car couldn’t figure out if he was dead or alive. The guy driving our truck thankfully knew the guy in the ditch and said that he has seizures often. Some of the people in the car were scared to stop because they didn’t want people thinking they hit him. That would be a huge problem especially for white people in Haiti. Once the Haitian man who was driving said he knew him we pulled up the back of the truck and lifted him in. He was incoherent and barely able to sit up. I climbed in the back with him and held him so he wouldn’t fall over. He wasn’t able to answer my questions when I tried talking to him and I was scared. He had such a strange look on his face and was shaking. We brought him to some friends who took him to the hospital. I don’t know how he’s doing now. I hope and pray that he’s OK

It was an emotional couple of days in more ways than one; Yesterday Sue called me with some news. Apparently the mother of the twins I talked about decided that she couldn’t keep the babies. I have mixed feelings about them being here. On the one hand I LOVE babies and am ecstatic to be able to love them all day every day. But on the other hand, it’s very hard to see a mother have to give her children up. They arrived today as we were finishing up school with the kids. I was so tired all day because I have been awake for a while because I got up at 4:30 this morning to catch my ride back to Sue’s. The second I walked in the gate I had to turn right back around to walk some of the kids to school. When I was finished with that I made a cup of coffee and started working with the homeschooled kids on their work. At noon, us homeschoolers finished school and the babies arrived. Of course I was the first one outside to greet them. The mother came to drop them off along with the dad of the father of the babies and the driver. The driver has his own orphanage in Leogane called the Lamb Center. Sue used to work there so she knows the man well.
The mother of the babies has one leg and seems somewhat mentally challenged. She didn’t talk much at all. I tried to engage her but she was very quiet. I really hope that this was her decision to give the babies up and that she wasn’t pressured by any other people. 

The babies are very skinny. We made them bottles and they drank them faster than I’ve ever seen a baby drink in my whole life! They have pretty bad diaper rash. One of the babies seems to have a crooked upper thigh. Sue says that the leg might have been broken during birth. I gave the babies a bath tonight and the water was very dirty by the end. I am in love. Literally in love with these babies! They have names but the grandfather said that they were just “play names.” I believe Sue will rename them. One of the Haitian workers here said that the name of one of them means to birth a child in Creole… I’m sad that they can’t keep the names that their mother gave them but I’m not so sure about naming a child “labor” or “birth” or however it translates. It was time for the mother, father and driver to leave and one of the babies was in the back room sleeping. I asked the mother if she wanted to say goodbye and she said yes. The people she was with said “oh no, it’s fine. We need to go!” That made me very angry. I asked the Haitian workers why they didn’t let her and they said it was because she’d be too sad and cry. I told them that crying is the appropriate thing to do when you’re sad and leaving your children with complete strangers is a perfect time to be sad. That upset me a lot. However, I could have misunderstood the mother and maybe she didn’t want to say goodbye. Either way I am sad for the babies. I was sitting rocking them to sleep tonight and asked them how they felt. I wonder if they’re sad. I wonder if they know that their mother is never coming back. It then made me think of all the kids without parents. I was so sad to witness children being left by their mother as babies but so many of the kids I know have parents who left them when they were much older. That is so heart wrenching. I have fallen in love with these boys already. They are handsome little guys and I am excited to see them grow and get stronger in the next 9 months.

Sue had to go out to buy things for the babies today and spent quite a bit of money. It was money that she had saved for food for the kids. I told her I would help as much as I could but I know there will be continual costs for things like diapers and formula. She is not sure how much it will be each week or month yet but she knows that her budget was tight before the babies came. If you are interested at all in donating I know she will humbly welcome it. I’m sure she doesn’t want me saying this but we talked about how she has a really hard time asking for things especially financially. I told her I would ask for her. She has given so much to these kids in her life and she does it all in the Lord’s name. I told her today that I think God has a lot to teach me and I think a lot of it will come from her! She’s wise, humble, forgiving beyond belief, and so loving and patient with these kids. Way to go Sue!

As you can see, a lot has happened in the last couple of days so as I have said before, if you’re the praying type, here are some things to keep in mind:
-Pray for the man who had seizures
-Pray for the girls in Leogane that they are healthy and happy
-Pray for these new babies that they will get strong
-Pray that the babies are healthy and that the one babies legs were not broken
-Pray that we can find enough money to support the babies as well as the rest of the kids
-Pray for the mother of the babies
-Pray for more cold weather like the day we had today! ;)

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Leogane

I arrived in Leogane! The girls were sooooo happy to see me. Everyone ran out of the house and swarmed me. I was so happy to see them too. I gave so many kisses and it was wonderful. I decided to sleep in the orphanage with them because I hate being alone and love them more than anything. It's nice and I havn't seen any spiders. Jesus really must be with me protecting me! haha. The next day I went to check out the container. Guess who forgot to leave a generator key? Yup, Amy and I did. So now I can't run the air conditioning or lights or water filter. But it worked out ok because I like sleeping with the girls. I went and bought water with one of the older girls so I have water and a place to sleep. I just love being here because the girls take such good care of me. People are always asking if I'm hungry and if I ate anything. All the little kids have been coming up to me and offering me part of their meal. I love them oh so much.

Last night I went to the container to get my pajamas on and Salvacienne came with me. She waited for me outside. I heard her knocking so I went to open the door. There is a giant tarp above the container and it had completely filled with water. It was a TON of water. It broke and made the LOUDEST sound ever. I grabbed Salvacienne just in time and we slammed the container door shut. Not before the water threw rocks and dirt all over the floor. That was not fun to clean up.

That's all for now because my time at the internet cafe is almost up.

-Becca

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exciting News

Yesterday Sue (the American who runs the Children's home) called me in to the house. She was on the computer and said "so how much energy do you have?" I figured she wanted me to do an activity with the kids or something. However, apparently we are going to be getting 1 month old twin boys! She wanted to run it by everyone before she said yes because it's going to be a lot of work on top of all the rest of the children. I'm very excited because as I'm sure most of you know, I LOVE BABIES. Perhaps I will be teaching school to several children WHILE holding a crying baby. This should be interesting!

On to other exciting news.. I get to go to Leogane!!! The opportunity came up and I jumped on it. The couple who is adopting a girl here named Francesca are coming from the US to visit. They are coming to pick Francesca up and bring her to Leogane to spend the week. I asked if I could go with them and they worked it out for me to come. The girls don't know I'm coming so it will be a surprise. I am going to be bringing some nursing supplies to Yveline (takes care of baby Charley in exchange for nursing school) as well as some pictures for some of the kids.

I tried to upload some pictures of the house and kids but the internet just wouldn't let me. I will try again tomorrow.

For those of you who care (mom?) this is what my typical day looks like:
-I wake up at 5:45 or 6 or whenever the sun shines through our window/bars and shines in my face
-Then I shower then eat breakfast (sometimes pancakes!)
-7:15 walk the kids to school in there sweet little uniforms
-Come right back to start my day with the home schooled kids
-Their school starts with all 5 kids and they do some activities with Sue. It looks a lot like a preschool circle time. They do the days of the week, body parts, colors etc. After that, we break up into groups. I have been taking two of the kids named Peter (antsy pants) and Samantha. They have a home school program that consists of a series of booklets for 5 different subjects. Samantha and Peter are in two different levels so that adds to the difficulty. When I notice the kids struggling with certain things I stop their book work and think of some way to help them with it. Sometimes it's flash card games, sometimes is practice on a piece of paper, or sometimes I have them teach me.I'm still getting to know what each child is capable of.
-At 10 we take a snack break and they play outside for a while. I usually stay inside preparing what we'll do next.
-At 10:45 they come back in and we read a silly story to the 5 kids. Then it's back to book work. If they've finished their books we work on math or letter flash cards or vocab.
-At 12 we finish and the other kids get picked up from school.
-The rest of the day is spent rocking kids, playing silly games, reading stories and normal kid stuff.
-Dinner time is around 5:30
-Bath time (it's like a conveyer belt. All the naked kids line up and take turns getting in a big bin outside where one of the workers washes them then they come to me or whoever and get dried off and find their nightgown in a giant stack of pajamas.)
-Then it's inside to watch a kid song music video.
-7 p.m. is bedtime and that's my day.
With the twins coming, soon this timeline will last throughout the night for nighttime feedings and crying babies. Yay?

And that's that. Hope you enjoyed. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Love and War and by war I mean schoolwork.

It's been a good couple of days. I have been able to go to the town a few times with Paulette. I complained to her about my swollen feet and she tells me that the walking will be good for them. However, I think she just brings me along for entertainment to see what I'll say and do. Today she took me with her to get some eggs. She teaches me a lot of Creole on our walks so that's nice. When we got back I heard her laughing so hard in the kitchen. I went in there and she was telling her sister all about the things I said and did and how hilarious it was. For example, we saw a bus full of "blans" (white people) and she laughed at how excited me and the bus full of people got when we saw each other.
Paulette is so wonderful with the kids too. A few days ago I was watching her sit outside with the kids. She had all of the kids line up and had them sing for her. I could tell that the kids respected her a lot. The kids were very serious and it seemed like they wanted to make sure they were singing as loudly and beautifully as they could. After that she and the other worker got up and started playing a game with them which ended in hugs and giggles from both the workers and the children. It was so great to see the kids with adults who took the time to play with them and love them. They were really enjoying each others presence. I started to get emotional because my thoughts went to the girls in Leogane as well as many other children here in Haiti who don't have that. I have always thought that the success of a child relies heavily on having a stable adult in your life who cares about you. I read a study in college that said that children do best in school when there is a teacher or other adult in their lives who asks them about their work on a daily basis and cares about what happens to that child. I think that the kids at this children's home are so much better off having consistent adults in their lives who love them and care for them. It makes me happy to see that these Haitian woman really care about these children even though they don't belong to them. I wish so badly that every child could have that.
Today was the first day of school for all the children. Most of the kids go to a Haitian school that is a few minutes away. Five of the kids stay at the house to be home schooled. The five kids that stay home are kids who are the farthest along in the adoption process. I think most of the five will be home schooled in the US as well. (p.s. a mosquito just flew into my mouth. I really hope it hasn't eaten yet..) I am here to work with them on their schoolwork. All of it is in English. It's difficult because not only are they learning the subject matter, they are also working hard to learn English at the same time. Some of the kids are VERY antsy and have a hard time concentrating. It's slow going but I really enjoy it so far.
All in all I've been having a good time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

video
Here is a video of the kids singing songs this afternoon with one of the ladies who takes care of them. They have beautiful little voices!

Learning how to be Haitian


So it’s my third day here. Yesterday I was very tired and felt like I couldn’t make it nine months. I really missed the kids in Leogane and all the wonderful people I have met there. I felt really lonely and just wanted to be in Leogane with the girls. My feet were really swollen and I thought they may explode. I had about 50 bug bites. And I just felt done with everything. There were some good parts too though. I had fun practicing my Creole with the workers who are here. They were very friendly. The kids and the workers had fun laughing at my broken Creole. It was wonderful to see that the kids not only got THREE meals with veggies and meat but they also get SNACKS. I was so excited when I saw that. It’s amazing how healthy these kids look. I also see a huge difference in their behavior compared to the kids in Leogane. These kids definitely have way more supervision and they treat each other a lot better. Not all the time but I can definitely see how consistent discipline affects them positively here. It’s also a wonderful thing to see how much the adults love the kids here. The American lady who is in charge rocks several of the smaller kids to sleep each night.  Some of the smaller kids are also required to nap. It’s very lovely.

Last night I fell asleep to the sound of singing from a local church service. The windows in my room are made of bars and have no screens or window panes. Thank God I have a mosquito net! There was also a tiny frog in my room but I was too scared to touch him so I left him in there. Also, you’ll all be proud to know that I saw a giant centipede in my room and decided that instead of going to get help, I’d just kill it myself. I’m getting braver. OH! And people, I have yet to see giant spider!!! Thank you Jesus!!

Today I am feeling a lot happier. I slept very soundly and don’t feel tired at all. It’s the weekend so there was no school today. This morning I had coffee and bread for breakfast so that probably helped my day be better since it's my favorite J This morning I learned how to do some laundry Haitian style so that was good. I’ll need to do my own laundry eventually. I learned from the lady who does laundry regularly and she we talked about how Americans don’t know how to wash clothes because machines do it for us. Then I watched (and helped a little!) all the girls get their hair done for school on Monday. A new (to me) worker came today named Paulette and I think we’re going to be new best friends. She talks to me in Creole like I understand it better than I do. But it helps because I have to figure out what she’s saying. I asked her if she’d help me buy a phone tomorrow and she said yes. But then she pulled a phone out of her pocket and said that she would give it to me as a gift. Yay for new best friends! But I still have to buy a SIM card and minutes before I can call anyone. I also got to walk to the market to buy bread with Paulette.

I am trying to upload a video of the kids singing (which they do a lot) but I think the internet is too slow to upload anything. Sorry!