Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A birthday to remember

Today I turned 21. Today was also a day of rioting in Haiti. The election results were revealed late last night, and people were not happy. In Port au Prince the rioting began instantly continuing on all through the day causing the whole city to shut down. We had reports that it is literally in flames from all the burning tires. It was a moment that I could not describe this morning, as I was sitting visiting with Dan, Carolyn and Gary on the front porch with our coffees. There was a cool tropical breeze, and palm trees around me and coffee in my hand. A perfect birthday morning in my mind. Yet in the distance yelling could be heard, as well as gun shots off in the distances. Yes, a perfect birthday moment. It really was a great day except for the fact that I have to head to the airport in the morning, and we were getting word that all flights on December 8th were being cancelled. No problem I thought we'll leave early the next morning, just to make sure we are on our 1050 flight. I was determined that it was going to happen, telling my self all day that I will be on that flight and God WILL make it happen. Well, I was wrong, and in tears, now the only thing being I wanted to get home. My flight was cancelled due to employees not being able to get to work. Great. Thank-you God for this information. Now, how was I going to get on a flight out of here when hundreds of others are on flights wanting to get out of here. Time for a break down. I wanted on that plane. After calling Barb and sharing the information about our flight, I was on the phone with American Airlines. Shared my sob story about the capital being in flames, my flight being cancelled, and the country being a mess, with two ladies they got me and Barb out on flights the next day. Hallelujah! Then on to our hotel reservation with Hotwire, who straight up tell up no refunds for cancelations or moving it to another day, bring on the sob story once again, after looking up the situation on the internet, apologizing, she happily refunded our hotel. Once again Hallelujah! So please pray that I will be on that flight friday after noon and back in Canada.


Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My opinion on the election

Here we are 6pm, still waiting for the election results that were due at noon today. Now, we are hearing midnight the last possible moment for those involved. We have cancelled school till the new year, because of how volatile things are right now, which is only going to worsen. Because of how late they are putting off the announcement we have decided (and from all the information we have been hearing and gathering) there are four possible out comes of this things all ending on not a good note. The top two are suppose to have a run off election on Jan 16, the current results are showing Manigat with 30% Martelly with 25% and Celestine with 20%.

  1. Manigat and Martelly are in the top two run off ( just as results that have been released are showing) which would lead to the Unity party and their supporters rioting, but would be considered a fair election
  2. Constitution is changed, allowing Manigat, Martelly and Celestine to have a run off election in January, this would lead to all three parties supporters to riot.
  3. A "mysterious box" of ballots all for Celestine appears some where, giving him 50% of the vote, which would make him president, and the other parties rioting due to a corrupt and unfair election, yet again.
  4. Annulment of the election, once again lead to rioting of the people, mainly Celestine's people. 
My opinion is option number 2 as they have kept putting of the result announcement, meaning they are looking for a loop hole for Celestine. 

On a side note, results have come out from the cholera outbreak saying it is linked to the Nepalese UN soldiers out in the Artibonite. 

One unhappy country tomorrow

* late night edit* Run off election will be between Manigat with 31% and Celestin with 21%

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A fearful moment

Yesterday I had one of the most fearful moments in what I would say my whole life. The riots were going on due to election as Carolyn and I were headed up to school to do some work and see how to team was doing on the wall. As we were headed down the road we were going straight in to a manifestation, we were able to quickly turn around and go another way. We were limited in how we could get there due to other riots. We eventually got there and things were going fine. I was in the office at my building putting away school supplies, and other stuff when I heard a few gun shots,and brushed it off as nothing and continued working. Then I heard a few more, and once again I just brushed it off. Then I peered out from the office, which leads on to the porch room, and I could see a group of young men all coming up the road and they were not just a large group of people, they also had a few pickup trucks behind them as well. This is when fear sunk in for me, I was all alone, in the building everyone else was in the other school down the road, and I had no time on my cell to call for help. So I sat there and prayed, it was all I could do. I was done my work in the school and could go over to see everyone else just yet. Once I noticed all the haitians were back to their everyday life on the road, I figured it was safe for me as well. I was up on the porch of the other school and you could see plumes of black smoke coming up from road blocks of burning tires, it was quite a scene. All is well now with the normal noises of trucks and roosters and crying babies which were not heard yesterday morning. Just pray that things don't flare up again. 


video
I suggest turning off the sound, so you don's have to listen to my conversation,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November update

hello!

Things are going great here, were are at the start of elections and voting, so its been an oxymoron here lately, with lots of campaigning and loud music, but today as voting starts the streets are quiet, and so is church. We are off school tomorrow, so may go down and visit my babies down at the orphanage tomorrow. I was there the other day, and now know how a parent instantly falls in love with their child. I was there visiting before i went up the hill to the youth group I have been leading, and the kids wanted to do worship and afternoon prayer before I had to leave, so we all gathered in a circle, and I had one of the twin sitting in my lap, as we started to pray she began to position her self as if she was an infant curled up in my arms, staring up at me with her big brown eyes fighting falling asleep. I sat there listening to the staff pray in creole, as i prayed for Magine, it was the first time i understood what love really is, and how strong a mama's love is for their child. Sadly i cant bring the twins home with me no matter how hard i try, due to adoption laws and me being unqualified. School on the other hand is going great, my class is working very hard and has started to read triumphantly as we come to the end of the 12 week learning to read program. It's really neat to see their progress as some of them have never spoken a word of english in their life. Also they are working very hard on their christmas program, and it is the cutest thing hearing them sing silent night at the top of their lungs, any body walking by stops and listens to them. ( there is a video of this on facebook on my profile). Last week I had the opportunity to go to a village clinic with the medical a medical team that was here. It was an amazing chance, and made me appreciate the work doctors do here when they come to the country, especially during this cholera epidemic. And for those wondering, about the cholera here, it seems to be some what under control and the reason it is spreading is because people travel and are very mobile here. Doctors with out boarder have it under control, as they told the medical team that was here ( the team had persmission to be at the hospital from the director himself) and that they werent needed, but that afternoon on the internet they say they are crying for doctors and nurses. Also it is the nepalese soldiers that brought cholera in to the country. This past summer Nepal had a cholera outbreak, then soldiers were sent here in the beginning of October then the outbreak happened near their base, where their sewage had leaked into the main river with the cholera virus. The people were upset about it, but things have calmed down now. 

Not much else is going on here, its been cool, and sweater weather the past week or so, but I am going to freeze when i get back to Canada next week

see you all then

-Crystal

Friday, November 26, 2010

Renmen

Love takes on a new definition after spending any amount of time here. It is something that is not given easily to anyone, whether you're a ti moun or grand moun. You just don't get love very easily. The children love it when you are able to scoop them up and they have your undivided attention. Tonight as I was at the orphanage, we were praying and praising the lord with children and the whole time I sat there with a one of the twins curled up in my arms, fighting falling asleep, staring at me with her big brown eyes cuddled in to me. It was then I realized what love for a child is, the same love of mother gives. I could have sat there all day as she stared at me with her chocolate eyes, rocking her back and forth. Renmen, love, what ever you  call it, it is one of the most valuable things a child could get here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jeanton

Me, Dr. Grossman, Norkins, Nadia, Biran, Dianne, Carolyn, Kathy


     There are different  experiences one could have in this country for any type of passion. My calling here was the children and educating them to the best of my ability. Some it's construction and the restoration on the broken down cities and villages laying around the earth quake stricken land, some clean water and sanitation, and then there are those here that a called to a medical mission. We currently have a team here from West Virginia doing amazing things out in the small rural hospitals, they have done everything from treating those stricken with cholera to delivering 3 or 4 babies over a three day span. Today though the plan was to go out to Jeanton where I have gone on several occasions with Barb to check and pray for the people. I tagged along with the idea of being photographer and to hang out with the kids, little did I know I would get a slight medical education. I was assigned to keep the medical records, and write down the perscriptions. I had it down to the point where I could understand the patients symptoms, ask their name and age, and understand our doctors jabber.

     It was a great day. We were able to see over 80 patients, most of them with similar symptoms, such as headaches, abdominal pains, problems with their eyes and seeing, and lots of colds especially with the children. Most of it was diagnosed as malaria, and hypertention, and we even had one old man laying on a rickety church bench hooked up to an IV for cholera. It gave me a great appreciation for those coming to places like this for a medical mission, as you have to use your disgression with patients because some people just want medication, or with their children "force" symptoms on to them, which if you can't understand you don't catch.

On a side note it was a great day to practice my creole.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A friday morning drive


The morning haze was still over the valley as we dipped in to the Artibonite. It's  mystical place, with villages scattered across it's lands, farms and rice paddies as far as the eye could see. My love for the country and the want to see more of is what brought me out there this particular morning with Carolyn. She was contacted by a former employee saying a village needed help, and was hoping we  could help them with clean water and perhaps a clinic. Our goal this particular morning was to assess the situation. There is just something I love about driving through Haiti, especially the country side. You see a different angle of life, where people work hard in their gardens from sun up till the hot heat of the day is too much for them to bare. And the children, they love it when you come and visit them, they will babble on even though I don't have the slightest clue as to what they are saying, but they continue on and giggle when I use the little bit of creole that I do know. Another thing is they love their picture being taken, and love to Ham it up for the camera.

We eventually turned off the main highway to an old beaten path and gravel road which would lead us to the village we were visiting. The beauty capture's you, as you drive through the country side, and kids yell "Blanc" and wave until you're out of sight.  Ladies along the river washing clothes, and children playing in it beside them. Though the river is muddy and contaminated from the rains the previous week that we got and from the cholera. But daily life has to continue. When we arrived we were greeted with open arms, and we were shown around the village, asking questions about where they were getting their drinking water and cooking water, and showing us the filter system they were using for the water. It wont last long, the one they are using, but it working for know. We talked more about organizing the community to bring in the bio-sand filters that Clean Water for Haiti makes with the pastor and he was in agreement that yes the community could use them, he wants a healthier community.


We were then taken over to one of the many mud huts, that made up this tight knit village, to where an elderly man was laying on the floor suffering from cholera. It was a sad sight to see, but from talking to the family, we knew he was doing the best he could be. They had previously taken him to the hospital and were given rehydration salts to give him, and the vomiting and diarrhea had stopped. We prayed for the man, hoping he would get better, and then in the door way of the mud hut, Carolyn shared with those that had gathered around to see what was going on how to prevent cholera, they seemed understand and took in the knowledge. Then walking to the church, Carolyn shared something discouraging, she felt that the elderly man would probably not make it, due to being weak previous to getting sick.


Once at the church we talked a little more with the pastor, hoping to see the vision Carolyn and I would hope to he could see that would help his village, that by targeting the elderly and the children, who both have weak immune systems, there would be no death. And to teach them proper sanitation and hopefully soon would have more water purifiers in the area. It was then time to leave, and the children were all giggling hoping for one last picture as they gathered around the truck, and waved as we pulled out of the village.

It's moments like this one that make me realize the simplest things make a difference and that people have the need for basic items such as clean water and the resources for proper sanitation items. It's moments like these and the children that I meet along the way make it worth while being here in Haiti. It is these moments that I will remember and cherish for ever, and that at the same time breaks my heart.





Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things I have learned so far... #3

  • Don't expect the house to look the same after Carolyn has the day off
  • Baygon (bug killer) become your friend fast
  • You get a new definition of winter after being here, 20 degree weather is now considered cold
  • Once you survive a hurricane and a cholera out break, you THINK you can survive anything
  • Seeing a crazy person laying in the ditch in a hospital gown become normal
  • You look forward to even an hour with no one in the house, when teams are coming in and out
  • You become crazy thinking you can write a novel in 30 days even with lots of down time
  • You begin to think that characters in above mentioned novel are real
  • You begin to literally crave diet coke and will start wanting to pay top dollar for it

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Alive

Well Thomas has come and gone, and I can officially say I have survived a hurricane. It wasn't as bad as we all thought it would be. We tracked it for a good week, before it even came close to us, at one point it showed the eye was going right through St. Marc. The government was afraid as they didn't want to lose any more people, so Wednesday night they put a message on the radio declaring school was canceled for the next couple of days. As well they became putting out evacuation alerts for the tent cities. They were telling them to fold up their tents so the wind doesn't blow them away, and the real kicker, told them the Americans were sending rope. ( I sat laughing at all this) The real plan as far as I'm concerned was for the government to get their land back. Thursday morning we went in to Port to drop some people off at the airport, We passed several tent cities and not one person making an effort to move their tents. And the wind was picking up, and beginning to rain as well. Friday morning came, and we were ready for it, school was ready and I was waiting for it to hit. It was a little windy, followed by a little rain, and a little more wind. Next thing we knew it was way out past Haiti ( the path showed it was to go right in between Cuba and Haiti). It was over just like that. But the wind and rain picked up just as we all decided to head to bed about 8 pm, and it poured and was windy all night, which is what caused the damage and flooding through out the country, not the eye of the storm its self. The next morning we headed up to school to see what damage had been done there, and through out the town. The water in the rivers were a little muddy, and it wasn't really high or even close to the road, market was going, and people were continuing on with daily life, including the crazy man in a hospital gown who usually sits in a ditch. Life went on, no damage to St. Marc. Who said surviving as hurricane was hard work, it was a piece of cake.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Update from Haiti


Life here is never boring. I have been constantly busy since the moment I arrived here almost three months ago. Trips to the mountains with Barb, where I have learned about voodoo, and the darkness it. Also getting the school ready and all the books sorted, and organized, and as well as cleaning all the toys in the preschool. Being here has confirmed what I have known, for what seems like forever, is that I want to teach, it’s what I love to do and also I love being in Haiti. It’s where I see my self spending most of my life when the time comes. The time here has gone by quickly and October is almost gone. In the beginning of the month brought Canadian Thanksgiving, which I was able to attend at the Samaritan’s Purse Compound. It was a great dinner that was supplied, with lots of Canadians and Wanna be Canadians in attendance. School is going smoothly though there are some challenges. I have a particular student I am having a hard time with. It doesn’t matter what language I tell him in, it’s like he doesn’t understand what I am trying to tell him ( even when I use an interpreter) Once I had a meeting with the lady that runs the orphanage he is in and learned his background, why he acts the way he does, makes more sense. Though I still struggle with him, as of Thursday he is no longer in my class, allowing me to give more energy and attention to the other students. I have leaned a very valuable lesson when it comes to doing art projects with my class. Don’t just give them pain, tell them what to exactly paint, else you will end up with more paint on the table, floor, chairs and the teacher than on their paper. I remember leaving school that day stating I will NEVER paint with my class again ( though I am already thinking of more constructive ways to paint with them). My class is great, and consists of 10 students, which is split up into 2 groups, thanks to the help of an assistant teacher I have. I have the five more difficult ones, but I love working with them. Normally we do our lessons all together and then split up to do work in their books, which works really well. Now that we are only several weeks till Christmas we have started teaching them songs for Christmas. It cute to listen to them sing away in a manger. On a side note, the kids love Veggie Tale’s and it’s the cutest thing to hear them sing the songs.

As many of you know Haiti was struck with a Cholera outbreak in the past few weeks, and many of you might not know, but the area that was the most impacted was St. Marc, which is where I live. When it happened it was eerie driving to school on the Thursday morning, as people were afraid, and nobody was out and the market dead. That day we were missing many students from school, so we did chapel with the kids, worshiped, and prayed for the country. We also taught them about hygiene and ways to prevent cholera. After we took all the younger kids to the preschool building, and put a movie in  for them as all the staff bleached and cleaned all the buildings. Come Monday we weren’t sure if we would open school or if the government would close all the school, but we stayed open and all the kids were healthy and remembering to wash their hands. The Sunday we went out to the Artibonite, which is the countryside highly affected by it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to see, but was surprised when we got out there. The people were very healthy and taking precautions to stay healthy, by boiling the water and drinking only bottled water. The other day coming home from school there was much activity, though the cholera cases have died down. After having to re-route home from school due to a truck in the was stuck on the road, we saw where Red Cross was setting up the cholera field hospital, followed by the UN with the riot shield telling us we had to turn around, yet again. Once we got on the main, we were told to turn around yet again due to a student protest against the cholera field hospital. Eventually we got home 45 minutes later. Never a dull moment in Haiti.

But all in all everything is going great here. I have 5 weeks till I head home from Christmas, and lots planned in those weeks. Including a Christmas program at school, weekly youth group meetings with a group of girls that I have began to work with, and many visitors from now till I leave.

Love
-Crystal

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cholera update


Things have tapered off. But don’t let that fool you. People are still getting sick, people are still dying, but not to the extreme that it was before. There are stories of survival out there, but no one talks of those. For instance, one of our employee’s family was stricken with cholera, his brother, sister and mother. He had to go out to the country to get them. He returned to the hospital getting all three there. His mother and brother were okay, they gave them some rehydration drinks and sent the two home. His sister on the other hand was admitted. They put her on an IV doing everything they could for her. We prayed all we could pray. The next day, she was well enough to go home again. They sent her with a couple IV packs, and now she is well and back out in the country with her family. Thursday on our way to school was eerie, it was as if everyone was too afraid to go any where. Though we did see trucks with bottled water. That day we taught our students about how to keep clean, how to drink only clean water and how not to spread germs. We spent the morning praying, and praising, not entirely sure what to do, as we were missing a bunch of students. I was up to my elbows in bleach water, scrubbing and sanitizing toys, shelves, desks, chairs, and sleeping mats, all while the little kids watched movies. We spent a few days waiting to hear helicopters coming over with supplies. I have never been so happy to hear a helicopter in the middle of the night. We spent many days refreshing our news browser finding out the newest news, death toll, and how far it spread. Even though I live here, you still can’t get reliable news from the Haitians. Finally the President made a statement, purified water was distributed, radio and cars with speakers were going around telling people how to stay safe. Saturday Red cross trucks lined the road on the way out of town, heading towards St. Marc, it is encouraging to see. Sunday we went out to the fifth section, which is the Artibonite where the cholera outbreak started. I wasn’t sure what I was going to see after hearing that people are lining the roads sick, wanting water. Honestly I was slightly afraid going out there. I was presently surprised. The people were healthy taking precautions. Drinking only filtered water, boiling all cooking water, and not eating raw vegetables. But all in all everyone out there was healthy, very healthy, and in general some of the healthiest kids I have seen in Haiti. Things are looking up here, today we saw the field hospital for cholera patients that red cross has started to put up, followed by UN soldiers with riot shields telling us to go another way. Which we were once again re-routed due to the reason the UN was telling us to go another way for, a demonstration. It was a very large group of students protesting that the field hospital was being put up in their back yard. So in other words things are looking up health wise, as it has yet to reach Port-au-Prince, and there are not near as many deaths and cases of cholera coming into the hospitals, but it takes years for it do be completely out of a country, and another severe out brake could happen again, in a few days, months or years. Though the people have learned proper sanitation and hygiene which will help them in the long run.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cholera

I am personally okay. Our hospital here is not. As you all know by now a cholera outbreak has happened just slightly north of where I live here, with our hospital being the closest to many. We drove by wednesday night and there were already hundreds of people outside the gates. By the next day there were hundreds more. They are now at the point where there are police at the gate not letting family members in even, which is really rare here as family members are the ones that have to do everything for the who ever is at the hospital. Thursday we weren't even sure how many students would show up to school. We were only missing 25 students, so we took the morning to pray, and teach them sanitation and ways to prevent cholera, and as well as bleaching all the toys and chairs and desks. We have been slowly getting news, some good, some bad. The president made a statement today, and there were trucks with speakers, radio, and television telling people what to do to be safe. The worse fear is that it ends up in port, which as sad as it sounds, it's most likely heading that way. It is as far north as Cap Haitian, and as close to Port as Ti Tiyenne, which is only about 20 minutes to the closest major tent city, and where many people from the Cite Soliel area are buying from the market there (Where most of the produce is from the Artibonite, where it all started), and as well out on La Gonave which is a small island just off the coast (still part of Haiti).  That's all the information I have for now. But I ask that you pray, because the medical personelle is not here, and there are hundreds of people hooked up to IV laying on blankets out side of out hospital, and hundreds more going untreated. And pray that rehydration supplies come in, because there are not enough here. Just Pray.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Struggling

This afternoon I heard something, that I am now sitting here struggling with. Maybe some one out there could clarify. I was sitting with Barb and we were talking about the youth group we are starting together next week, and we were talking about what I can and can't teach and discuss with the group, and the thing that came up, is that the Haitian Pastor of the Church, told her that youth can't be saved, and that they could be is slightly off topic. I was taken back, and trying to reason it in my head. But I couldn't. The concept just didn't seem right, and there to Barb I spewed my feeling towards that. If you can't be saved and have a relationship with God, how can you have a meaningful relationship with your self, your family, your friends, whom ever you marry. Barb told me she agrees. I know I have to listen to what the Pastor wants, but how can I teach and not try to save these kids. I have some time to still work this out, but I don't know what to do.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weight

Here the weight of a women is no issue. The  plumper the better. A women is desired here, because of her weight. Being bigger is a sign that your family is wealthy because you can eat, and eat lots. Women want to be big here,  thats what the men want. It's the complete opposite back home, it seems that the men want the tiny girls. Even at a young, age they start to plump up their kids to the best of their ability, even though it may be very unhealthy and in the case of one of my students, who can barely walk up the stairs to the school. So by looking at the two cultures, what one has the correct view on weight, and the image of women. Is one right and the other wrong, or is there a middle ground somewhere there?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Roads

The roads here are like nothing you would see at home. Picture this, your going up a mountain on a horrible rocky road, now times that by a hundred and you a have you typical road here in Haiti. Though the main highway has vastly improved it still isn't that great. First off, they are very narrow and with the construction, and lack of flaggers can get very dangerous. But then there are the side roads and those that have yet to be fix, which every ran they get worse. Its like the roads never seem to get better. Also here's another thing when a vehicle breaks down it parks in the middle of the road so people can get past on either side. Tell me, where is the logic in that. So next time that you are driving and hit a small pot hole or road construction, its not that bad. Really, its not that bad compared to here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Child's Play

When you think of a child playing make believe, you see them imitating things that adults do in everyday life. When you see a group of little girls playing, what is it that they are usually doing. Sit for a moment and picture it in your head. House, is what you came up with right? Playing mommy, daddy, baby, and some one playing the dog maybe. It's a common game of make believe that is played all across the world. But there are variations of child's play and make believe all over the place. As I sat in the play area one lunch hour and watched the preschoolers and kindergardener girl play together I could help but to think to my self that I had seen what they are playing, here before in haiti. A bunch of girls had baskets of blocks, a toy bbq and other kitchen untensils. They were walking around with the block baskets on their heads, yelling common things I hear out on the streets. "PAIN!" "KENEPS!" "MANGO!" and other things that are sold out in the streets. Then I look over to the girls bbq-ing, imitating the street side vendors and their interation with the market girls. Child's play any where is a copy of what they see in their normal life. Here its pretending they work the market, and home the girls play house.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving

So to kick off my week of comparison I thought I would compare  how we spend thanksgiving here versus there. Well I'm sad to say there weren't many differences. Besides the weather, hanging out in the pool and well the biggest difference is the lack of pumpkin pie here in haiti. The pumpkin pie challenge is one put out to all missionaries in the area that attended dinner... who ever could find pie filling would be the thanksgiving hero, but no one succeeded. But thanks giving was great the turkey, the potatos the gravy it was all there, except the pumpkin pie... It amazed me how many young canadians there are in the area (and by young I mean 20-30 years of age) it was amazing to say "I'm from the Okanagan" and people know where you are talking about. And also it was great to hang out and swim in the pool while everyone back home in wearing sweaters and thinking of ways to keep warm. And also it was great to cuddle up to a cute Haitian baby while eating dessert. All around Thanksgiving here is great, though I now expect pumpkin pie served at christmas.

Friday, October 8, 2010

konparezon senmenn

com·par·i·son

  [kuhm-par-uh-suhn]  Show IP
A
–noun
1.
the act of comparing.
2.
the state of being compared.
3.
a likening; illustration by similitude; comparative estimateor statement.

So in honour of making it to the two month mark in here in Haiti I am making it a theme week. Its comparison week, which will give you a close look at the culture here and your typical north american culture, which also means 7, yes 7, blog posts! So starting sunday look for a new post each day and enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Things I have learned so far... #2

- Once again stay away from the meat market

-You make any excuse to go for a ride in the air conditioned vehicle

-Give up trying to have straight hair if its curly

-Riding in the back of a truck to school will in fact dry your hair

-Never question why a Haitian women organizes stuff the way they do... it will always be a mystery

-Sleeping in is considered till 630 am at the latest

-And going to bed late is maybe 930 pm

-During the rainy season, it becomes routine to check the hurricane forecast... several times a day

-Haitian money is some of the most dirty money one will ever see

-It becomes fun to online window shop

-What you do in a day depends on if you have internet or not


(I would have posted pictures if blogger was working properly)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pray for rain, pray for safety

Its a odd thing here, the rain that is. Its not a foreign concept to these people, but the emotions that go with rain. They hope for rain to cool everything off, to take a break from the hot heat that comes all year long. But then there are those that end up being flooded out of their homes temporarily, or are stuck in a mud house that melts with the rain. Sure they want the cool feeling of the rain, but not at the expense of their homes. And what about those that still live in the tents? What do they think of the rain? Do they pray to God asking him to hold off the rain and the wind, so they can have a shelter yet another day? And then there are those of us, that have a safe shelter from the rain, that pray to God to send it, to cool our bodies so we can have a good nights sleep. Here, there is a mixed emotion that comes with the rain, I experience it as well when I pray for the rain, yet feel guilty about it, thinking about those that would suffer if God helped me with my prayer. Yet God has answered the prayers of millions here, when after the earthquake the people of Haiti fasted and prayed for 3 days. Every hurricane has gone north of us, and became a small tropical storm before it even hits us. God protects us from the rain, yet knows when to give us a cool off. Pray for rain, and pray for safety of those whose housing situations are not ideal

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Week of school


Well It has been a busy week with school starting and getting into the groove of that. Also on the first day of school marked my one month anniversary of being in Haiti. Back to talking about school… Well Sunday I was nervous about starting school, as it was my first time going back as not a student. After being so worried, I realized there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of! The first day we kept all the little kids together which was preschool all the way to grade one. That day we sung songs, read stories, starting off with the creation story and then my favourite Robert Munch book Purple Green and Yellow. It was cool seeing them to react to the things I love. The first Day flew by before I knew it, it was over. The next day I got into teaching, I love my grade ones, though we had to over come language challenges we breezed through our first week. Between French, English and Creole, we some how understood each other. The school program we use is actually a homeschool program, called ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) and to start off grade one we do a 12 week lesson on all the sounds of each letter of the alphabet, with the first week being the A sounds with the three sounds that go it, then the do certain work sheets everyday, to understand how to tell the difference and how they work into other words. Then at the end of the week they take a test on it all. And to my surprise all my students did very well even the ones I didn’t think we comprehending it. Carolyn was very impressed since I don’t have an interpreter. It brings a sense of joy when you see it get it, when you don’t think they understand you. Oh and there is also an annoying song that goes with every lesson. Even though everything is laid out for me with this program I am able to get creative with how to drill it into their heads, for example after they learned all three A sounds I had them all sit in a circle and I had a ball I would throw to one of them, followed my me saying a word that had one of the three sounds in it (or no a sound to see if they are one the ball) and have them say which one they hear and throw the ball back. It made them really listen and think for which sound they needed to listen for, and it helped them on their test. Oh and a couple highlights from my week other than them doing really well on their tests was Friday afternoons are a slightly free/fun day since we have chapel and it’s a short day, so we put together a giant world map puzzle then I gave them paper and paint to paint their own version of the world but what I got was even better, they all painted the same four flags, Haiti, Brazil, USA and Canada just for me, so now those are going to be hung around the class room because I love the paintings. And the second highlight was when one of the boys in my class pulled out a couple toy cars to play with, and one of them made me laugh wishing I brought my camera like I planned to that day, it was a VANCOUVER CANUCKS toy bus, all the way here in Haiti. I tried to explain that I am a fan of that team and showed them on the map where it was. It was just a great moment to end a great first week of teaching. Which I absolutely love to do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A poem

Living Sacrifice



Walking in to the room
sun shines through
the stained glass.
He’s reminding me
He’s everywhere.

The old pews
are well worn
and perfectly lined.
He’s reminding me
He’s here.

Kneeling down
before the cross
it’s quiet.
He’s reminding me
He’s in the silence.

Lifting my heart to him
with my hands held high
I sing softly.
I remind him
I’m his to use. 







Wrote this awhile ago, thought I would post just because

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pray for a miracle


This past week I have learned about how far faith can take a person. I am talking about the ability to pray to heal, headaches, sicknesses, diseases, to be able to grow limbs. When I was told Dr. Norm Dobbs, a psychologist from the states, was coming to pray to heal the people in this country, I was told he wanted to pray from limbs to grow. The first image that came into my head was as the man was praying for people an arm or leg would suddenly grow out of the person. I know this is a silly concept but this is God we are talking about, anything is possible if we have faith in Him. He calls us to pray for healing. I have yet to witness a limb grow, and neither has Norm, but in small doses things are happening. Not only is he praying to heal he is also praying to save, and saving people is he. One of my first experiences in Haiti was going into the mountain community of Jeanton to talk with people up there that she has connected to and wants to bring God into their lives. While there we hiked up a hill (really a mountain) to see a Boko, (witch doctor). He is a blind old man, who serves the people as the local Boko. At first he was very hostile towards us, even though he knew Barb. Well Norm and Barb hiked up there, and prayed for a few hours with him, amongst the spirits and the other nonsense that comes with voodoo, and a light shone through, demons where gone, and light and God came to him, that afternoon, he was no longer the local Boko. I have heard of other small miracles Norm has done through prayer, such as down in the children’s ward at the hospital he prayed for a couple lifeless children, and on his way back they were acting as happy normal children despite the pain. Tonight I witnessed Norm’s praying first hand while at Dr. Kerry’s. He has a little three year old Haitian boy in his care who has cerebral palsy. He was in the worst shape and has survived the earthquake, this afternoon Norm sat there praying for him, to gain strength. It wasn’t instant results, but he will be healed, and he will continue to be prayed for. It doesn’t take anyone special to go and pray for healing, to go and do God’s work, you just need to believe, you just need to put your self out there. Just have faith and put your hands, the ones God gave you to do his work, and pray. Pray for heath, pray for happiness, pray for life, pray for limbs, you never know you might just see one grow out of thin air.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

3 weeks in...

Well I'm just shy of being here for one month and love being here more everyday. Not much has been happening besides getting ready for school to start in a week, other than we are moving to a bigger house only 2 days after school starts YIKES! As well our principal is stuck in the states due to health problems even he isn't sure what they are, he went to the hospital the day before he was suppose to fly back to haiti. Last week I got to meet Bev and Al who run the orphanage, they are an amazing couple. As well we have Carolyn and Gary's friend Norm here for a couple weeks, on a mission to pray for people's health he is very eager and wanting to see result. Yesterday We decided as adults to leave the kids at the orphanage and go for lunch and for a swim at one of the local resorts, Xaragua. It was a perfect afternoon of food, the beach and pool, sun tanning, friends and of course Haitian coke, which is to dye for! Today after church we were invited by the pastor and his wife to a beautiful meal that she had prepared for us. I'm starting to like haitian food even more every time I have it. Well that is all for now, a busy week ahead of more visitors coming in and getting the school ready, and my self prepared for my first class, which I have to say I am a little nervous about. Well here's some pictures for to keep you all satisfied for now.



Heading out on one of the employee's new motorbike
Haiti 2010
Busy Haitian Beach
Attempt of the self portrait Xaragua Resort, Haiti 2010
Xaragua Resort 
Nothing beats a nice cold Haitian Coke


Monday, August 30, 2010

A little this, a little that...

Sunset at restaurant we went to the first night

Chris and Leslie's Church in the mountains

Olivia drinking from a coconut (it's harder than it looks)

St. Marc: Three boys playing soccer
an electrician's worst nightmare
Since the start of my first it has been a little on the dull side, with finally moving into my "home" and finally unpacking, to dealing with the school being broken in to. Which leads me to a paraphrase of my last email I sent to anyone, if you know of anyone that has trumpets, clarinets, trombones laying around and would like to donate them, we could really use them here, as our band instruments were the main, thing that was stolen. School starts in 2 weeks and I just got my lesson planning and curriculum books today, 2 HUGE binders that will take me through the whole year. I cant wait!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things I have learned so far...

Things I have learned in Haiti so far:
  •       Do not breathe while walking through the meat market, or the sections of the outdoor market that sells meat, gagging will ensue
  • -       When people tell you don’t go down a certain path, it’s usually for a good reason, because, well, it’s usually a path people use for a toilet. And gagging may or may not occur.
  • -       Keep things in a bag, even if it is one single item, people assume it is for them.
  • -       People, manly men, will do anything for the young white girl, if it gets them to Canada.
  • -       Flushing a toilet is in fact an art form.
  • -       Also having a bucket bath, while trying to wash a mop of hair.
  • -       If you have curly or semi-curly hair, forget about trying to keep it straight.
  • -       A pony tail is your friend.
  • -       You will hear Justin Beiber being played on the radio with people young and old trying to learn the English.
  • -       Neighbor kids will sing songs from Eminem with out having the slightest bit idea of what they are singing.
  • -       Just give up logic all together, it doesn’t exist here.
  • -       Pray for rain
  • -       Pray for Power.
  • -       Hopefully you get them together. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The past week


The last few days have been a whirlwind of an adventure, between going to church in the mountains, and adventures in St. Marc. Church was amazing it is this tiny little church of about 30 people in the out door, sectioned off area in the tiny community. To get there we first had to drive off the main road about 10 minutes up the steep trail that was all rocks and holes, which I was told has improved according to Chris. Once there we walked a few minutes through the mountains to this tiny village that always welcomes Chris and Leslie with open arms, and takes care of Olivia from keeping her entertained to braiding her hair. After a very long service of which I was welcomed and didn’t understand they sent some one up a coconut to get some for us, which I drank from for the first time, unlike Olivia who is a complete pro at it compared to me. Once back it was a day of relaxing watching Olivia’s silliness and also Noah and Abe’s craziness in the place called Haiti. First thing Monday morning it was off to St. Marc to Barb’s house. Honestly her community is overwhelming at first because they all know you are here to see Miss. Bawbawa, and instantly they want to know all about you hoping you speak the smallest amount of creole, some even know a little bit of French which helps me get by, with out Barb translating I would be lost. Right after Leslie left it was instantly getting to business, which for Barb is checking on various people and children around the neighborhood, for fevers and other medical things she can help with which for me meant meeting everyone in her area. Then once that was done we hopped on a couple motorbikes, and headed to a village off the beaten path, to check on various people there, and enjoy the kids as the walk with us to all the neighbors. Also up there I was handed a baby to hold, and she was the most precious thing in the world, the weirdest thing was that the mother just handed her to me to hold, Barb said it was to make sure that I loved kids which is important to them, also this was the first moment I have cried up until this point. I made me realize how lucky we are to have everything handed to us back home. It was interesting as we met a witch doctor which is a common thing around her I am learning, I’ve seen a few voodoo acts in various ways of healing, which everyone denies that they are related to voodoo in anyway. It was neat to see what an impression Barb has made on everyone that she meets along the way. Finally on the way home I got to meet the children at the orphanage that Gary and Carolyn help operate along with Bev and Al. They children there are so sweet, and they all come from this community. Though this is not a orphanage by what normally defines one, its more like a foster care system in which the kids stay and learn and grow in until they are adults, which means that they are not adopted at all. Here there are 6-8 boys (not totally sure on the number) ranging in age, and as well as twin girls who are three years old and are the cutest things around. Whom I already love to go over and cuddle. Tuesday was a St. Marc day to do various errands around town, one of which included going to visit some one at the hospital. I honestly can’t describe it, other than the people there are desperate. It broke my heart to see all the people sick, hurt, or barely hanging on to their lives waiting to see a doctor, a nurse or anyone that would help them in the hot sun. We went into the Emergency Room, which if you complain again about the lack of attention back home, has nothing on what it is like here. It consisted of 8 beds crammed into one tiny room, where a couple doctors and nurses are trying to do there thing, but also the family is trying to keep them comfortable and cool by fanning them, since there is no AC and the family has to take care of the patient’s hygiene and food during their stay at the hospital. In one corner there was a child being held down while screaming covered in what looks like vomits and diarrhea, right there I wanted to cry. After we were lead through the doors to another room, to see the man we had come to see. In there, there was many beds squeezed together, with the patients, nurses doing their best, and family trying to take care of their loved ones. It was heart breaking being there. The man we had came to see, was some one from the village we went to the day previous, we were told that he was working in St. Marc and had fell out of a tree breaking his ribs, and becoming paralyzed. Once there and talking to him we found out it was true, and the worst part is in a country like this if you can’t help your self you are just a burden on your family, especially living in a mountain village like he does, plus his wife is 8 months pregnant. I had to hold my self together as a child was screaming in pain behind me, as two white nurses worked on her, and Barb prayed for this man. I have never really liked hospitals, but I have never been more happier to get out of all the suffering, which I could do nothing to help. Coming back we relaxed in the afternoon, enjoying the semi-cool breeze, and the gift of electricity (EDHEDH shut off, but after going out a second time and coming back to still a nice cool night and once again the gift of EDH. Making it perfect for sleeping after once again attempting to bathe in a bucket, having the challenge of trying to wash all my hair. Once again we have gone to the hospital and up to the mountains, to see the people that are there, each time is a different experience, though I am able to now go into the hospital with out the thought of throwing up, and only a couple dozen people a day ask me to marry them, so I can bring them to Canada. Survived my first week, so lets hope the rest is a breeze

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Recap of the last couple days

Other than getting here the last couple days have been pretty jammed packed. Starting off spending a few hours in Port au Prince at the Toyata dealership trying to pick up a truck that was supposed to be ready for us. Once we got back there was a group here finishing off a vision trip, so it was fun meeting all of them, then going for dinner at one of the resorts nearby. I couldn't believe that there was this little piece of paradise amongst everything else that is this country. Yesterday morning was another Port morning of taking the group to the airport and dropping off some to get a ride to some other mission they were volunteering. I wasn't sure what Port would be like when I got there after everything I had seen on TV the last few months. People since the quake have just continued to do what they do everyday, whether it be selling stuff on the side of the road, selling water to those driving by, or may it be just being a child and playing. I guess the best way to describe driving through town, or any town is like a massive drive through where you can buy anything you want. It's kind of cool actually. But its hard to say no to the kids as they try to sell you stuff right at your window. While in Port I also got experience haitian fast food in the semi chain of Epidore's, which has everything from cakes and pastries, to pizza, burgers, ice cream and crepes. Form there it was off to the grocery store, and while there I was quite surprised with the amount of things that are there, and mostly all american items, (with exception of the pigs head in the freezer). The ride home, was quick then it was off to Indigo, a club resort down the road, for a walk around the nature trails, yet another hidden beauty amongst everything else that is Haiti. So since I've arrived it has been a busy couple of days.

Friday, August 13, 2010

arrived

hey everyone arrived in haiti safe and sound. will post more later

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the days a going...

As I write this there are currently 24 sleeps till I leave what has been name "The great adventure of a life time" or " one of the best things you can do in life." Sure people are right about calling going to Haiti this, but I see this as just the beginning of a life, of helping the people of Haiti. Another thing is people keep asking me if I'm scared about going, and honestly, I have no answer for this. Not because I don't know how to word it, but because I don't think I am. As I believe this is the right thing to do. But we'll see about being afraid when it comes closer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Count down

Well it is official, tickets are now booked and I am set to leave august 12, so that means 6 weeks to the day till I leave!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Filled with Praise Blog Party!

If you could have dinner with any person (past or present) who would it be?
   This is kind of a hard question, but I would have to say Mother Theresa, she is just so compassionate and caring towards everyone she met, and made a huge impact in their lives. 








What is your most embarrassing moment that you are willing to share with the blogging world? 
      Well... there a so many but one Classic Crystal moment is when I was about 9 or 10 I was at our curling rink watching my dad play, I was rocking on the back two legs of the chair, and it tipped, with me in it, I did a complete summersault, then stood up with my hands in the air, then went on as if nothing happened.


If you could only use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
     Caring, as I am always putting others needs before mine.


You found a machine that allows you to fast forward your life to a moment or to rewind your life to a certain moment, but it can only be used for one moment.  Would you fast forward or rewind and to which moment would you choose?
     Not, sure maybe to when my sister was born, because I became the most amazing big sister, and got to spend the next day at the hospital with my mom and sister


What is your favorite simple blessing in life?
    My family, just having them there for me when I need them is a blessing.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guess What?



Got both of these yesterday!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stuffing Letter

Well 50 support letters are stuffed and ready to be handed out starting tomorrow. So if you are here because of the letter, Then welcome, and if you are here welcome also, So my friends and family, leave a comment ( the word "comment" at the end of this endless typing) to let me know if you found the place


-Love you all

-Crystal

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thought you would like to know...

Not much needs to be said here, this is how people almost 6 months after the earthquake in Haiti are living... Think about your cozy bed, house, car, air conditioner... You can still help

Monday, May 24, 2010

Follow me back tuesday!

Thought I would try something new this tuesday (though it is not quite tues) 
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Hosted by the following women (click on their names to link up)
Look forward to your comments!