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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


  [kuhm-par-uh-suhn]  Show IP
the act of comparing.
the state of being compared.
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)