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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

18 kids and counting... AGAIN

Now we’re back to 19 kids again. This time it’s a different little boy who’s going to live with us. His name is Marvins. He is 5 years old and has the sweetest little face. A woman, who we will call his guardian, showed up at the gate today with him saying that she couldn’t care for him any longer. She said she was friends with Marvins’ mother and that he was left with her one day. She said she hasn’t heard from the mother since he was dropped off. I don’t know if this is the truth or not, but either way, he’s here to stay. She can’t care for him and wants him to be adopted. She’ll be back (hopefully) later to have a meeting with the man in charge of adoptions as well as to visit Marvins within two weeks.

When Marvins first walked in the gate, he was visibly scared and unhappy. The look on his sweet face brought Katie to tears. When his guardian left, Marvins ran to the gate and yelled out “mommy!!” For the first half hour or so, he just sat on the steps looking so pitiful. After some time and a lot of coaxing, he finally came to get a tour of the house. I made him a bowl of corn flakes which he seemed to enjoy. At this point, he was being responsive and answering questions and the like. After a few hours, he finally got up and started running around with the other kids. He and another boy were were running around the house while I was inside doing school work with Peter and Michaelle. Marvins walked in the house with Katie and blood was streaming down his face and onto the floor. Apparently he ran into a piece of metal sticking out of the side of the house and cut his head open. Not one tear fell from his eyes and not one sound came out of his mouth while Katie was working on him. If we had been in the states, I’m sure he would have needed 10 stitches. The cut was big and head wounds bleed a LOT. I couldn’t watch and knew I’d be of no help so I went to mop up the drops of blood which led all the way outside to the crime scene. Makes me nauseous just thinking about it. Katie ended up using little strips of duct tape to close up the wound. Paulette shaved off the hair around the cut so the tape would stick. Marvins did so well and although I’m sure he was scared and hurting, he didn’t freak out and let Katie fix him up calmly. Every time a Haitian kid gets hurt, I am amazed at how brave and tough they are. All Haitian children have been through so much. I can’t even imagine what this precious little boy was thinking today. First, he was abandoned (I don’t like using that word because it has a negative connotation towards the “abandoner” although many times, the “abandoner” is making the best decision they are able to) and then, the poor kid got a giant head wound only hours into his stay here. I thank God for the resilience of human beings, especially Haitian ones. A lot of hardships make for strong people. I can already tell the Marvins is hardheaded and will likely be a little stinker, but I will have to look back to his first day here remember where he came from, and how he’s had to learn how to live in this unfair world. A teacher in college once told me that every behavior is born out of a need. When working with kids, it’s my job to figure out what that need is and meet it. That has really helped me remember to have compassion and patience when working with all people, but especially kids.

One more kid in this house will make things more hectic. It will be a challenge but I will need to remember that all these kids come with needs. They won’t ever behave perfectly because I can never meet all their needs and there’s no such thing as a perfect kid. There’s no such thing as a perfect me either. That means that I need prayer for patience and compassion times nineteen!

On a silly note, I unintentionally started a water war with the five kids who stay at home for school. It started innocently enough with a few drops of water on peter’s foot. It ended with me getting soaked from head to toe. Peter, Claudeson, Michaelle and Samantha made it out pretty dry but at least Katie and I got one good bucket of water on Jennifer’s head. I also spent a good part of my day laughing with Jennifer, Samantha and Michaelle while they braided my whole head. It’s moments like those that make me want to stay in Haiti forever. 

Baby SonSon after eating a Mango. He's wearing his new underwear! Potty training has commenced for little Sonson. Pray for us..

Marvins enjoying a Mango pit

Haitian and American flag crafts to hang on the wall of our school room

Me and Noah

Me, the boys and Dianna

Handsome Claudeson (big SonSon)

Baby SonSon and Fabula

Bebeesh, me and Jean

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Two American moms were just here for a weeklong visit. Serena (Michaelle and SonSon’s mom), and Mary (Juliette, Jennifer, Joshua and Dianna’s mom) came. They also brought their friend Shannon and her 13 year old son Collin (coolest 13 year old EVER!). I’m so glad that they could come to visit (no, not only because they brought me chocolate and other treats!) It was so good to see how much the mom’s love their kids and can’t wait to get them home. They taught me a lot about life and love. I really enjoyed talking to them. Both of them were foster moms for a long time. It was good to relate to them about raising other people’s children and learn from discussing their stories. I’m having a really hard time recently thinking about how I’m leaving these kids soon. Katie and I have been talking about it a lot. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to be able to be home after being with these kids all the time for 8 months.  In a lot of aspects, my time here has flow by. I only have a few months left. Yet, I feel like I know these kids so well. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get home and don’t get to wake up the boys talking in their cribs and Peter and Claudeson singing in the shower and Dianna coming to show me her pretty outfit for the day. Part of me wants to go home to the U.S. and be comfortable again, but the other part of me wants to stay in Haiti forever. I have always had a hard time knowing what the right next step is. I haven’t figured out how to tell what God’s will is. How do you ever know??

On a different note, I got to go to the beach TWO times this week. Shannon, Serena, Mary and Collin watched our babies for a day while Katie and I got to have a day off at the beach. We went with Frankie, his sister Taberno, and their two friends. It was so wonderful just to sit and relax and interact with other adults. Then, on Friday we took all the kids to the beach. The kids had soooo much fun! Jackson, Noah and Joshua stayed home with Sue but the rest of the kids got to go. It made my heart so happy to watch the kids on the taptap getting so excited about everything they were seeing. Jean pointed out EVERY vehicle he saw to me like it was the most exciting thing in the world. All the kids could hardly stay seated in the taptap because they didn’t want to miss anything. I wish we could take the kids out more often to go do fun things like that. They keep talking about it today and I’m sure that we’ll continue to talk about it for weeks to come!
All in all it was a great week and I wish they would come visit every month! 
The best we could do at getting a group picture at the beach

Jackson, me and Noah reading in my bed

Samantha and SonSon in their masks for Kanaval

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shower time

Taking a shower in the rain is always a good idea during rain storms in Haiti.

Another life experience completed.

Here are some recent pictures of all the kids


Claudeson ("Papa")


Gangster Noah

Noah and I having a very exciting conversation

Betchina and Jean


Dianna, Josh, and Juliette



Baby SonSon


Michaelle and Jennifer



Thursday, February 16, 2012


Kanaval (Carnival) is happening in Haiti right now. Kanaval is a countrywide dance party/parade/reason to celebrate. There are major Kanaval events that happen on specific days with one main event. However, all week they have "little" events with live music and dancing. Last Sunday night my friend Pierre (who is Haitian but lives in the U.S. and does lots of work for Extollo) was visiting and showed Katie and I some Kanaval festivities in Bon Repos. There was a giant flat bed semi truck that had a live band on it that drove down the street and everyone followed down the road dancing. It was very festive and I was so happy that I got to see it! It was also probably the craziest thing I've done in Haiti and something I probably should never do again. There were TONS of people dancing and singing and having a good time. I can't imagine what the Karnival in Port Au Prince or Jacmel is like since there are so many more people.

Yesterday, I went to Leogane to stay for one night. Frankie (Pierre's brother who lives here) came with me. We took taptaps (bus/taxi) because I didn't want to have to pay the $75 US it costs for him to drive me in his truck. Instead, I payed about $6 U.S. dollars on taptaps.  I only went to Leogane for one night because I can't be away from Sues house for too long and I also had Frankie with me to help. The reason I went to Leogane was because I needed to pay (finally!) for Yveline's school. It was a long ride for such a short visit but was necessary.

Our trip to Yveline's school this morning didn't go as well as I had hoped. I wanted to give her school the complete amount for the year and not have to deal with them telling us they needed more and more money later on. From my experience, that's a constant problem when people find out Americans are involved in paying for anything. The director of the school ended up giving a price that was higher than what they had originally told Yveline. I'm sure it was because he saw me there and knew that I was helping here. I wish I had stayed outside and kept out of it. Oh well. We ended up only paying for her tuition so far and I'll save the rest of the money for the other stuff that she needs to pay for later like supplies and graduation. Keep it in your prayers that her school won't charge us more than the money that was donated.

Although it took a long time and was a short visit, it was so good to see the girls and I enjoyed the experience and the price of going by taptap. It gave me a chance to get out of the house and see the country I love. I miss doing that. As we drove through Port Au Prince I saw so many little kids dressed up in the traditional Kanaval dresses with a lot of glitter on their faces and in their hair. I saw groups of little kids who were all dressed up and on their way to the party. What an exciting time! All the kids in Bon Repos have a Kanaval party at school tomorrow and their outfits are all picked out. Katie is going to make face masks with the kids who stay at home for school. We probably won't do much school and just end up watching a movie or something. It should be fun.

Things here at the house have been going pretty good. I get bored sometimes once my teaching duty is over for the day. The boys are so good at playing on the floor by themselves now and aren't as demanding as they used to be. They're getting so big it's amazing. Some days it seems like they change over night! They just had their 5 month birthday on the 10th. I can't believe that the have been here for 4 months and I've been here for 5. Life is SO different for me here in Haiti than it was 6 months ago! Crazy.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

La plaj

I was having a really hard time the past couple of days. I was feeling really burnt out and just ready to go home. My friend Pierre has family here and was visiting. He showed up at my house on Friday and invited me and Katie to go to the beach with his family the next day. His invitation couldn't have come at a better time. Katie and I both needed to get away and it was a lot of fun. 20 (I think) of Pierre's family members and Katie and I all piled onto Frankie's (Pierre's brother) taptap and headed to the beach. His sister cooked beans, rice and chicken which we packed up and took with us. It was really fun getting to know some more of Pierre's family. Most of them live right down the street from me too! Pierre's kids were there as well.

I have started to teach Pierre's kids English once a week which has been interesting. They're pretty shy but learning quick. They come over to my house once a week for an hour and I teach them some simple phrases. Hopefully they'll warm up to me more now that we got to hang out at the beach together. I really like them.

Other than that not much else has changed. Oh! The boys have been sleeping through the night for a while now which has been so wonderful. If I wrote about it already, then I'm sorry, but it truly is the most wonderful thing ever to get an uninterrupted nights sleep. Speaking of sleep, it's past my bedtime. Bon nwit!