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, September 23, 2012

Amy and I are in La Govnave visiting Steve. They are doing a fantastic job on the children's village (  that they're building. It looks a lot different then the last time I was here. We have been having a good time bugging Steve and swimming/snorkeling, eating delicious chicken and kind of helping out. Amy cut Steve's hair and did some bookkeeping for him. I have been lazy. On Friday we watched a soccer game. The Haitian guys who work with Extollo have a soccer team and they played against a different team of guys who are working on building a new Hospital with the Wesleyan church people that are here. The game was super fun and Amy and I had fun teaching all the kids who came to watch how to cheer on Extollo. Some people on the streets even have yelled out our Extollo cheer a few days after the game. La Gonave is a small place!

 We are probably going to leave tomorrow morning to go back to Leogane.

I miss the girls. And I miss my kids at Sues. And I REALLY miss Jackson and Noah.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Amy and I are now in Leogane at the orphanage. We spent our first few days at Sue's in Christionville. I LOVED seeing those kids. They're all getting so big and they've all matured a lot. Jean is talking so much and speaking a lot of English. Jennifer's whole attitude has changed, she's so mature now!! I can tell that Peter and Claudeson are loving all the open space to run around and play in. All of the kids are. Their behavior has changed so drastically. There's far fewer fights and fits. Sue has almost a completely new staff and I really like them all. I think that helps a lot too. They are a lot more caring and kind.

The boys are getting HUGE. The woman who takes care of them now is named Nadine and I really really like her. She's so sweet with them and they love her a lot. They aren't walking yet and probably won't walk while I'm here. But they run around the "garden" (the place where all the kids play) holding onto these boxes and they say "keep keep!" like a little truck. It's great. I can't believe how much they've changed. I was worried that they wouldn't remember me but they definitely did. They cried when I put them down and always wanted me to hold them above any one else. It makes me happy and sad all at the same time. I really love those boys.

Amy and I have been in Leogane with the girls since Friday. They seem to be doing really well. Our friend Peggy from Samaritans purse (her husband Judd is rebuilding an orphanage close by called the Lamb Center) gave us a big box of toothbrushes to give the kids when we went to visit the other day. She fed us lunch in her air conditioned house!! Anyway, every morning I've seen the kids outside brushing their teeth. At night they all gather in their house to sing and pray with a pastor that's staying there. Then they're all ushered into their beds to fall asleep. Most other times that Amy and I have been here all the kids stay up way late and no one ever made them sleep. We've also noticed that they all sit inside to eat together and pray before they eat.

There is a new outdoor kitchen and dining area that is being built on the foundation of their old temproary house. It has a bread oven and a sink! It's not finished yet but it looks like it's going to be really nice. The dining area will have tables so all the girls can sit outside together. Anything that adds more organization to their lives makes me real excited.

Yesterday some women (one of them used to be the main caretaker of the kids) came to do a little program with the kids. When Amy and I got back from church in Grand Goave we saw all the kids sitting in their new dining area singing with pastor Kelly while these ladies were dishing up plates of rice for the kids. All the boys were there too. After the kids prayed and ate they all went into the field and the ladies played games and sang with them. It was a great party. Only and hour or two after the party the girls got their normal dinner so ALL of them were FULL!! That was the first time that Amy and I had ever heard any of the girls say that they were full.

Amy and I brought four big jars of coconut oil with us. We gave one to Sue and are giving three to the girls. Yesterday I gave all the little girls a bath and sent them over to Amy who put coconut oil all over them. Their skin looked SO good! We both had so much fun spending individual time with each of the girls and we could tell they really loved being taken care of and looking so pretty. We're going to do it again today and then take their individual photos like we always do every trip. We're also going to bring some over to the boys when we take their pictures so their skin looks nice and pretty for their pictures.

I love all these kids so much and I am so happy to be here with them. My heart is full.

Amy and I had a great experience yesterday. We took taptaps with our friends Junior and his brother Mackenson to Grand Guave in search of a church we heard of in English. We didn't find it but we found this place called Mission of Hope and went to church there. It was in Creole but we met some cool people so it was good. On our way back the taptap stopped in town and we had to walk by the place we used to buy rice and beans. I wrote about the woman Migluise who worked there. She died from heart problems a while ago and Amy and I hadn't been back to the stand where she worked. We think about her a lot and miss her. However, yesterday when we walked by her old stand her daughters were there making food again!! We sat and ate and chatted with them about their mom and life and everything. I was so happy.

Soon Amy and I are going to go to our friend Kinsey's house who died about a month ago. We made his family a photo album with all the pictures we had of him. People don't really have too many photos of themselves and I think it will be really cool to be able to give his mother a whole album of pictures of him.

We're off to visit other friends in the area today and then back to hang out with the girls again.

I love Haiti so much!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I am having a hard time still. Sometimes I pretend to be OK because it's easier. But then something randomly sets me off and I break down and can't stop crying. Sometimes the tears seem never ending.

 I see a mom with her baby and think about how lucky she is. I think about how she probably doesn't even know how lucky she really is. I see families out to lunch. They get to be together. They get to feed and love their kids every day. They get to tuck them in at night and know that their babies will be safe. 

Right now, there are so many kids I love who I don't know if they're OK. I can't make sure they're safe. I can't even make sure they've eaten today. I'm helpless to do anything this far away. 

I called the girls in Leogane the other day and learned that one of my friends Kendy died in an accident. He was only 20. It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. I'm not afraid of death, really. I know that Kendy is home. He's not hungry or hurting. But why did that happen? Why is it OK that the median age in Haiti is 21. Why do people have to die from completely preventable diseases so frequently? Why do healthy young people have to die in vehicle accidents because of the horrible condition of the roads? Why can only 51% of the population read and write? Why do 80% of the popluaion live under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty? Why are so many of Haiti's children living in less than These awful statistics and realities about Haiti bum me out a lot. It's easy to feel hopeless when there's so much crappy stuff happening.

But those things are out of my control. It's a constant struggle to remind myself to always look to God. He's the only one who is going to make a difference in anything. In hopeless situations He's the hope that I think is impossible. God is in control, I just have to let go and allow God to take care of the things he's already taking care of in my life and in the lives of the ones I love.

Sometimes my efforts seem silly. Sometimes I feel like no one is getting anything done at all. But it's simply not true. There are so many people doing so much good in Haiti. No one has everything all figured out. No one does it perfectly. But that's not my calling as a Christian. We're not called to be perfect. We're called to get up and try. And that's what I'm doing.

As you all know, I am a big fan of the work of Extollo ( Amy and I decided to help fund raise for them. The best idea we came up with is doing a fundraiser by running a 5k.  Let me just tell you that I do NOT run. The last time I tried running I threw up in someones front yard maybe three blocks from my house. That was a while ago. So Amy and I are getting up off the couch and training. If running around the block caused me to throw up, a 5k seems impossible... But we're up for the challenge! It will motivate us big time if you guys are willing to help us out by donating to Extollo. All you have to do is go to their website (posted above), click on the donation form, and type "Becca and Amy 5k" in the special instructions box. Our run is scheduled for November 18th so donate before that! Thanks for your support people!

Also, Amy and I are leaving for Haiti this Saturday and we're so excited! I can't wait to be speaking Creole, holding the kids I love, eating beans and rice and being back in that lovely country!! I'll try and keep my blog somewhat updated while I'm there.