Friday, October 28, 2011

I just realized I never really wrapped up "My Haitian adventure", and that was about 5 months ago. I miss my kids there, my students, the kids at the orphanage, the kids at church. I miss Haiti, I constantly feel the need to go back, it really does feel like home there. It was a life changing experience. I'm glad I took the year off school, and it confirmed what I already knew, that I love to teach. Which is what I am now working towards, I have gone back to school ( In northern Canada none the less) and am working towards my bachelor's of elementary education. Which brings a change of blog title, to "My Northern adventure". Haiti will still be a big part of my life and my blog, but I'm also going to move on to other things in life, and adjusting to a so called northern life. Thanks for following me in Haiti, and hope you still follow me!

Friday, April 1, 2011

School days

I really haven't posted much about school and a typical day we have. So I thought I would show you a typical day in pictures

My day typically starts at 7 am when I get to school, where I mark test, books, submit the grades to the office and get the new work books for the kids in my building
Photo taken by Carolyn Walker

8 am comes fast, and its time to start our day with Praise, worship and morning prayer

Then comes time to get to work, We use ACE ( a home school curriculum) and each day a student has to work in their PACE books which consist of English, Science, Social Studies, Math and Word building(spelling)

making maps of God's world

Making maps of the world

Joshua working in his math book

Michael working on math

Joshua working on spelling

Of course lunch and break ensure silliness and games from the kids

Borislav and Olivier playing a hand clapping game

Christian and Michael

Its not a lunch break with out little hands braiding my hair
Dainah, Me, Dadyd, Christie

That pretty much sums up a day at school. After school most days involves a nap before anything else in the day is accomplished,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everyone has a Petite-Homme story....

If you have been to visit El Shaddai school you have come across some interesting people and students there. There are some very interesting people there with some very interesting lives, and one of them is Pastor Petite-Homme. Our grade two teacher. Every one that has visited and come in contact with him, has a story about him, mist visitors remember him as the man that teaches the students hymns while playing his accordion. I have my fair share of Petite-Homme stories, but I think I had the list topper today while teaching. Though I need to describe him for you to get the full picture as best as you can. Smaller built man, about my hight, wears very wide rimmed glasses, and has a unique personality. He always refers to me as Sister Crystal, around 50 years old, has eight kids, and two grandkids, oldest in her mid twenties, and youngest is 5 years old. Did I mention a unique personality? Anyways on to the story... I was standing in my class room with one of the other teachers,David, and all my students ( My class room is a screened in porch). They were telling me about the book that they had just read practicing using their english. It is quite normal for kids walking along the road below to yell hi to me, knowing I'm there and will say hi back, but today took an interesting turn of events, as the kids were yelling more than just hi to me in creole, which I just ignored, that is until my class started to laugh. I continued to just ignore it like I normally do. Suddenly one of my students decides to tell me what they are saying. "Miss Crystal, they're saying you smell like poo." Well, I couldn't exactly continue with both my students and my self distracted by these boys, so I simply tell them in creole to go away, and David is telling them a bit more elaborately in creole to go away as well. In the down stairs class Petite-Homme is hearing all this going on, and decides to take maters into his own hands, because next thing I know he his running out the gate, with a rubber ruler in his hand that he uses to spank the kids. Best way to picture this is to think of an old farmer running out the door of his house shot gun in hand. As soon as these boys see him, the split into different directions so Petite-Homme cant get them. I turned around bursting out laughing at the scene in front of me, when I turned back around to see what was happening I couldn't find Petite-Homme, but I could see one of the boys coming back to school, cautiously, looking down further I found Petite-Homme, crouched behind the wall back inside the gate, waiting for the boys to come back. The one boy that came back, took one quick look and ran as fast as he could in the direction his friend went. It took me a while to compose my self again from laughing so hard, and good thing lunch arrived, cause I was not able to get my class to calm down. Wish I had my camera to capture the moment.

Moral? Every one has a Petite-Homme story, and never mess with a man with a ruler, or tell a blanc they smell like poo. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things I've learned so far...#4

  • Haitian kids would rather do work, then a fun project at school
  • dust+wind= not good
  • as soon as you sweep the house its dusty not even two seconds later
  • Haitians know how to really worship in church
  • That my former flip flop tan lines no longer exist, but are now permanent dirt lines
  • I dont expect clean feet till at least september due to extended flip flop season
  • Goat is actually pretty good when done right
  • Stock up during elections because you never know what is going to happen
  • watching Olivier copying the Lululemon yoga poses off of facebook, provides a good hour of entertainment
  • Junior can make anything grow, even water mellon seeds.
  • Kids can make make a toy car out of a drink bottle, bottle caps, and lollipop sticks
  • most kids are garbage pickers
  • And last but not least, NEVER GO TO THE MEAT MARKET!! ( have yet to repeat it since the last time I mentioned it)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

some cute kids for you


Update for Jan/Feb

Hello everyone! 

Wow! Its been a long time since I've done an email update, and a blog post. But life here has been busy like it always is. School is busy with students eager to learn, not only about their lessons but God as well. The kids at the orphanage are thriving, and are full of life as always, and wanting to love. We've also gone though some changes at school with our american principal going back to the states, and having a Haitian take over the school, its great seeing the changes that are coming with that and his dedication to the school and the students. The new principal hasn't really affected my building and my job, now him and I work together keeping the three buildings in sync. 

This past February, I got to witness some things I never dreamed of seeing in my life, which have opened my eyes. A pastor from Port-au-Prince came to St. Marc to have a crusade, wanting to free people from their misery I guess is a good way to put it. It lasted two weeks and things were brought out in the open about spiritual issues here in Haiti. Please keep and open mind when reading about this. Every one knows that voodoo is a big part of Haiti, pretty much all Haitians participate in it, even if they are "members" of the church, even the pastors do. And because of this no one will give you a straight answer about it, when you ask them. And a big part of the voodoo culture here is being demon possessed, and zombies. Its hard to describe this stuff, to you, because we are all ignorant to this stuff, it even happens back home, and we just don't realize it. Let me explain what a zombie is, with the best of my understanding. A zombie isn't like what we see in Hollywood, its really a soul of a dead person that has taken up residence in some one's body. It is put in the other person's body by a witch doctor, I'm not sure how as I have heard several stories how it is done. The main story I have heard is with a mixture that includes poison of a puffer fish. So, it isn't really what we picture  zombie to be like, they look just like you and I, and are walking all over Haiti, acting like a normal, for the most part. And there is a way to get the soul of the zombie out of a person, but its scary, messy and hard work. The kind of work the churches don't want to deal with. Also it is time consuming, as some times they can have more than one soul inside them. But this pastor that came for two weeks, was willing to do it. Every night there was close to 10,000 people that came out carrying their lawn chairs, for worship, a sermon, and deliverance. People would bring their loved ones that they wanted set free to the crusade. In front of the stage, there was a roped off area with tarps on the ground, ready with pastors, and security guards. Here is where they brought the possessed. It was like looking into the pit of hell. There was shrieking, wailing and moaning coming from there. The spirit would cause them to run, and be vicious, their hands and feet would be bound together with strips of cloth, and they be rolling around wanting to be free. There would be fighting and hair pulling. It was mostly young women, little girls and teenagers, that had gone to the witch doctor wanting something, or their parents taking them there wanting protection for them. As I said it was like looking into hell. But people were healed and saved, and delivered. One girl had over 1000 demon spirits that they casted out of her, another was a zombie, that they set the soul free, then she could see her family's faces, she could pick out the facial features of any other person, but not her family and friends, she thought their thumb was their nose. Also I witnessed a crippled lady walk that should never have been able, even if she was in Canada or the States. It was amazing to witness. 
In other news we have a new addition to the orphanage. A sweet 2 months old baby named Dyouna pronounced Juna. She is an amazing baby and hardly cries. But her favourite thing to do is spit up on me and only me. All the kids are doing great there, and I love spending Friday afternoons with them, just loving and playing with them, and going for walks. 

Well thats about is for now,Its Karnival time this weekend, which is Haiti's version of Mardi Gras, so it's going to be nice and loud all weekend, with every one blaring their music as loud as they can. 

I leave you with some more pictures of nice warm Haiti to make up for the snow every one is getting

Love Crystal

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is...

Love is…

The little girl that always comes up to you after church just to hold your hand…

A smile, that you cherish the rest of your life…

Love is hearing the name “Mamma” attached to your name.

The way you get engulfed with hugs the minute you walk into school…

Love is going for walks, and soaking up everything the kids say to you whether you understand them or not…

It is receiving a hug and never wanting to let go.

Love is having cuddle time during prayer, and having her big brown eyes stare up at you.

It’s enduring little hands play with and braid your hair for hours.

It’s laughing and giggling in two different languages.

It’s having a family back home that supports everything you do.

“Love never gives up.

Love cares for others more than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Isn’t always “me first”,

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.”

- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Message

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The journey home for chirstmas

Well, I have been back in Haiti a week now, and its been great. I missed teaching, I missed the kids, and most importantly the HEAT! I realize it has been a while since I last posted, I am apologizing now if this is a really long post.

Lets go back to December, which seems forever ago....

The election results were released right before I was suppose to leave on the 9th, and things turned ugly in Port, tires were burning, bottles were flying, as well as bullets and tear gas. People in general were not happy with the election results calling them a fraud, because it should have been Manigot and Martelly not Manigot and Celestin like the results came up as. Because of all the rioting my flight got cancelled, and as soon as we booked another one, it we get cancelled, it went on like this all weekend. Finally after about the third or fourth time, we decided enough was enough and made plans to get to the Dominican Republic. Even though our plans were pretty vague. We knew how we were getting to the boarder, we knew we had a ride on the other side, and we knew there was a bus. So we went with it, know and hoping it would work out. Also at this point in time, none of us had tickets yet. So on the 12th we were all ready to go. Our ride arrived around 5 am, and we loaded up the bags into the back of the truck, piled in, and drove off. We went through an area in Port that I had never been through, and on the hillsides of the highway there were tents, hundreds of thousands of them, making up the main tent cities of Port au Prince. It was heart breaking to see this, especially 11 months after the quake. Then on the roads right in front of us were the reminders of the rioting that took place the week prior, were tires were burned then pushed to the side. It wasn't long after we left port that we made our way closer to the boarder. Right before you cross the boarder, you literally drive through a lake with caves on the other side of you, that Haitians are hand digging with a little pick and axe for the gravel.

The boarder is its own experience on its own. And the goal for the boarder workers? To get as much money out of you as they can. The first stop is at a police station where you have to go through a gate and they ask you for money. Then you drive a bit up the road and stop at  the Haitian customs building, were Dan and Gary took our passports in to be stamped, so we could "leave" the country, and where they try to get more money out of you. Then you drive to the Dominican side where before you even cross over they scam money out of you, where they ask you to pay for you tires to be "cleaned for all dirt  so you don't track in cholera." Then once again Dan and Gary headed into the customs building on the DR side with all our passports to get them stamped and to pay the entry fee, where they yet again tried to up the entry fee price and extra 10$ a person. (And in either Haiti or DR customs some one managed and extra $40 canadian that I hid in my passport folder). After taking our luggage into get inspected, we came out and found the missionary that was picking us up and taking us to his mission for the night, or so we thought. Our original plan was to catch a bus in the middle of the night and go to the airport which was another 7 hours away and have a pastor pick us up at the bus stop and take us to the airport. But the missionary had a better idea, he has a medical student group from the university at Santo Domingo heading back a few hours after we got there and had room for us and our luggage in their bus at no charge. We went with that idea. We hung out at their mission for awhile and tried to get through with american airlines to change our tickets, but due to bad weather in the east in the states we had a hard time getting through, eventually my mom back home was able to change my ticket at no extra cost, and the others decided to chance it when we got the the airport. We then boarder the bus then took off through the country side of the DR. In Jimanni where we started out, there was quite a Haitian population being so close to the baorder, and the cement houses looked very similar, except they were more finished looking. But one of the main differences as we drove through was the forestation. In Haiti most of the tree are cut down so people can burn them for charcoal to make some money so the hillsides are very bare, unlike the DR where it is very green and full.
Haiti on the left, DR on the right
The group of college students were great and informed us about where we were and what not. You can tell that the DR is a very Catholic country because there are shrines to Mother Mary all over the place. Once we hit a major city, they told us we were going to stop for dinner at a place that had chicken. I was thinking something along the lines of haitian style with beans and rice along the road. Where we stopped was similar to Swiss Chalet but to go. We were prepared to buy our own dinner. But the group insisted that they buy it for us. A few hours later we were in Santo Domingo. Which is a beautiful city that I would one day like to explore. Once at the university the pastor picked us up and dropped us at the airport where we planned to spend the night, and once 3am came we would check in and Gary, Carolyn and Dan would change their tickets. We were forced down stairs to the arrivals area, where is was very loud, from flights coming in all night, and lots of people, at least there were restaurants open. Hours later we were all in the boarding area waiting for our flights hoping everything would work out due to a blizzard on the west coast. The other 3 left on an earlier flight than I did, because of all the UN soldiers that were booked to leave on a vacation that  day. I made it to Miami with no problem, except a long customs line, and raced to my gate for my flight to Dallas which I made just as they were calling my group to board. I relaxed once in Dallas as I had a few hours and found my gate. After finally getting a good meal I sat down and waited for my flight, which ended up being delayed 2 hours because of mechanical problem. Lets put it this way, I was not happy, I had hardly slept in the last 36 hours, and at this point wanted to get home, because this delay was going to make me miss my connecting flight to Kelowna from Vancouver. After yelling at the poor guy at the counter he finally promised me a hotel voucher when I got to vancouver. I finally arrived in Vancouver much later than planned got my luggage, and went to claim my voucher, which they denied me, because they got me to Vancouver and my next flight was on another airlines. Then I turned ugly, crying and yelling at the poor guy once again. I stalked off to the payphone to call home. Which resulted in me having to pay for a hotel and spending the night, and getting the first flight out of the day. It only took two and a half days but I finally got home. It was an adventure of a lifetime, that I wont be forgetting any time soon.