Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beans, the magical fruit

Beans are a staple of Haitian cooking. We make them pretty regularly at our house--always in the pressure cooker because they take FOREVER to cook otherwise. Normally we just eat beans with our rice, either mixed in or as bean sauce.

Recently I found a refried bean recipe for the pressure cooker. I had never made refried beans before, but the recipe looked pretty easy. I tried it, using fresh red beans. It was delicious. My husband said it was like eating really thick bean sauce (his favorite food). So, I put the recipe in my box to use again later. I think I've made it two or three times since I found it, and it's been awesome every time! Not only does it taste good, we always have a good amount left over for later in the week.

This weekend I decided to use the dried black beans we had to make the same recipe. Do you know what the difference between dried and fresh beans is? Dried beans are cheaper. Fresh beans cook faster. But those are not really all that important in this story. The difference to remember is that dried beans have shrunk from their normal size and will grow in the cooking process. This is important to remember when you are measuring them because once you put them in water to soak, they will suck it all up and get nice and plump. So when you think you have one ti mamit of beans, you really have about two ti mamit after they have been soaked...

which is double the amount of beans the recipe calls for...

which means you are going to have more bean sauce and refried beans than you have Tupperware space.

So if you're hungry, stop on by. We have some delicious bean sauce we'd love to share with you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prayerful Monday

I thought it might be nice to get myself into a blogging routine. I'm not looking to tie myself to a schedule, but give myself more of a guide for what to write about. Kind of like how my good friend Jen has "Mexican Mondays" and "Italian Tuesdays" to help guide her menu planning.  My current plan is that Mondays will be for sharing prayer needs. Without further ado, here are some things we're praying about this week.

  • We're officially starting the visa application process for Arold. This process has the potential to be confusing and overwhelming. Please join us in praying for God's favor as we move ahead.
  • We're also applying for a "permis de sejour" for me. It's basically a residence permit and should be beneficial to Arold's visa application process. Pray we can get everything together soon and make the official application.
  • My husband and I are planning a VBS type week for the kids in Gramothe the first full week of August. I'd like to recruit some of the youth group kids to help and actually have a plan for each day. Right now we have a basic outline of what we want to do (songs & Bible verse, crafts, games, Bible story, more songs), but I, being a planner, want to have more details penciled in before we start.
  • Dayley, one of the former Laboule Children's Home residents who now lives with Micka's family, has a nasty infection in an open wound on his ankle. Please pray for his healing.
  • Praise the Lord, all our students have completed their national exams for the summer. Now we just have to wait for the results.
  • Tete, one of the Gramothe cafeteria ladies, had a healthy baby girl last week. Praise God for this new life, and for the health of both mom and baby.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Surprise Visit

My husband made a trip to the farmer's market for some veggies earlier this week, and he saw some of my favorite students. They asked about me, and he said they could come visit me that same afternoon. So they finished their walk and then headed over to our house. It was so great to see them!! (all but the second from the left came to visit) I love summer vacation, but I really miss my students. I haven't really interacted with very many since I got back a couple weeks ago, and I haven't been able to come up with a way to meet up with them regularly until school starts.

 Anyway, the girls stayed for a while. They mostly talked to my husband in Creole, but we did chat for a little bit in our special mix of English-Creole at the beginning. It was nice just to sit in the same room and listen to them talk and laugh. They wanted to know about good English schools in Petionville or Port au Prince, so we did some research online for them. I didn't find out until after they were gone that they had been to Jean Claude Duvalier's house before they came to see us. They talked with him and apparently he's going to pay for them to attend an English school if they bring him the information on it. This could be interesting!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Pictures from Graduation Weekend

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pray for Philo

Please pray for our Philo students this week. They are taking the very difficult Haitian National Exam this week. They travel each day to their testing site, some of them are at the same site but all have to go into the city for the test, "write" their exams (they write out all the answers on special graph paper--so glad I don't have to grade these exams!) and then go home to study for the next day's tests. They are tested over 7 or 8 subjects total and need a cumulative score of 50% to pass. It's a very, very difficult exam. The advantage to the cumulative score is that they can totally bomb one subject, say biology, and still pass if their other subject scores were high enough. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

School Supplies

It appears that stores in the States have started their annual "Back to School" sales. If you are planning to come to Haiti to serve with MTM during the next year or so, I'd like to encourage you to consider picking up a few school supplies for our students while they're on sale this summer. We try to do a supply distribution at the beginning of the school year and at the end of each trimester just before exams begin.

Here's a prioritized list of what we currently need:

  1. blue pens--virtually out at the end of the '11-'12 school year (I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a Haitian student having a blue pen.)
  2. pencils
  3. pencil sharpeners
  4. erasers--pencil top or hand held are both fine
  5. black and red pens
  6. tempura paint for the preschool
Other useful items:
  • rulers
  • scissors
  • staplers (for the principals and teachers)
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • highlighters
  • small packs of crayons
  • French-English dictionaries
  • French-Spanish dictionaries 
  • craft supplies (glitter, pompoms, yarn, etc.)
Things we currently have in good supply (ie: not needed at this time):
  • paperclips
  • index cards
  • notebooks and loose leaf paper
  • coloring books
Merci d'avance!!
Thanks in advance!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Graduation Weekend Festivities

Various people from North America came to Haiti to be a part of the first ever high school graduation in Gramothe. A couple of people came the Monday before graduation and spent the week with us, while most of the visitors came in on Thursday afternoon. We had a good contingent from Terre Haute--including the medical director and her daughter, both of the MTM office ladies--in addition to friends from Canada, Oregon, Iowa, and other parts of Indiana. All of the MTM board members were here for the festivities. It's hard to explain how exciting it was to have so many MTM friends and supporters here all at the same time!

Another bonus to having all these people here was the more relaxed atmosphere. There was a schedule, but since the team came for graduation and not a clinic week or construction project there was more time to just hang out and fellowship together. It was really a lot of fun.

Early Friday morning the "team" went to Dumay to meet sponsored children and see what's going on there. When they got back, they went up to Gramothe to deliver gifts to sponsored children and check things out. Arold and I skipped out on Dumay (he had to work, and I didn't want to get up that early), but we did spend time with the team in Gramothe. Everybody ate lunch together. Then Mr. John and Mr. Ron built a wood cabinet for someone in the village while we were there, and the rest of us took in a soccer match between the teachers and senior class.

On Saturday, the MTM board held their annual meeting while the non-board members decorated the church for graduation. In the afternoon about a dozen young people from the church were baptized, and I think everyone attended that. That evening the 14 graduates and the two high school administrators came to the guest house for a special dinner. The North Americans enjoyed talking with the graduates and learning more about their lives. The students enjoyed practicing English and eating lots of good food. After dinner, some gifts were given and various people addressed the students. It was a great night!

Sunday was a long day. Regular church in the morning, a trip back to the guest house for some snacks, and then back to Gramothe for the graduation ceremony and reception afterwards. The ceremony was not too long (thank you Willem for cutting down the program!), but it started raining (pouring really) in the middle of it. That just meant people were not eager to leave, so they took all the time they wanted/needed to take pictures and enjoy the food at the reception in the cafeteria. It was a very joyous time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Together Again

It was great coming home to this guy.

More blog posts to come in the next few days.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Next Few Days

I apologize for the slow blogging the past few weeks. I have lots of things I want to share about graduation, the Philo class, some student work from the end of the year, and pictures from the last couple of weeks of school. I also have some pictures and stories from my time in the States, but I'm too busy enjoying my family and friends to write while I'm here. When I get back, I'll be able to post more pictures and stories for you to read. I have three more days to enjoy in the U.S.A. and then early on Tuesday morning I'll be off to the airport and back to my husband. (We've both decided we don't really want to do this weeks apart thing again.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Laundry Day

Every single item in that laundry basket is for my son. He doesn't wear clothes yet, and I'm already doing his laundry!

We were blessed this weekend with two baby showers. One was with friends and the other was made up of 80% of all the female relatives I have. It was an incredible weekend. I was beyond blessed to celebrate this new life growing inside me with so many of the women who have shaped me over the years. I just wish I'd had more time to talk to everyone!

Anyway, today I cut all the tags off my baby's clothes, blankets, diapers, towels, washcloths, etc. and threw them in the washer. Then I had to wrestle this growing stomach to get them out of the dryer. I don't know how pregnant ladies get their clothes out of the dryer on a regular basis. These two loads (my mom has a really big washer) were enough for me! I'm thankful we line dry everything in Haiti--no bending over to empty a dryer for me.

I am so excited to get everything sorted and packed for my return to Haiti next week. Don't worry I'm not trying to cram it all in a suitcase. I will just take the 0-6months sizes for now and get the bigger clothes at Christmas time.