Thursday, May 30, 2013


Goodbyes are hard for me.

Beth left Haiti this morning. I called to say goodbye and safe travels last night and ended up bawling. Not really what I had planned.

Tomorrow are my last classes with my students in Gramothe. I'm looking forward to the time with them, but not the goodbyes.

The elementary school had their last chapel yesterday. At the end the principal surprised Arold by saying some really nice things about him. They've worked together for 7 years and have formed a great friendship. Patrick got a little choked up at the end and just walked out. The kids started crying and yelling "amwey!" which is like saying woe is me. There was so much commotion some parents came down from the village to see what was going on. Arold thought it was all over the top;  I think he'd just like to slip away and not tell them he's leaving. But I thought it was a great way (minus the commotion) to send him off.

Tomorrow is my last day of classes in Gramothe. I will miss my students more than words can say. I know there will be other students later this year, but my Haitian students hold a special place in my heart.

Last church service in Gramothe is Sunday, as long as the riverbed holds out and I feel comfortable taking Isaac up.

Then it's last minute packing and flying out on Tuesday morning.

I don't want to think about that, so it's back to packing and prioritizing.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fun Saturday afternoon!

Yesterday we took a couple of my crochet students and Ashley (who's helping out at Rivers of Hope orphanage this month) to Apparent Project. We also made a few other surprise stops, Epi-d'or and Place Boyer park. It was an awesome day. Isaac did a great job riding in the car and shopping. He even got to eat a piece of my crepe at Epi-d'or and drink some water from the bottle and a straw (probably the highlight of his day). I thoroughly enjoyed this special day with some of my very favorite students. Another gift from God, for sure!

ready for a day in the hot city

Rosias and Monley adore Isaac, and the feelings are mutual.

my hubby and a view of the beautiful park

this nice guard/police man let us take a picture with him at the park.
The park we visited was Place Boyer in Petion-Ville. It was just re-opened last week after months and months of work. It was a tent city when I arrived in Sept 2010. The tents were gone by the end of 2011, but the park looked rather blah. Last summer when I was pregnant with Isaac, they put tin all around the park while they were working on it. Everytime we went shopping at the "Haitian Wal-mart" I asked Arold what he thought they were doing in there. (He loves it when I ask him to speculate so much that he's stopped responding to these questions at this point in our marriage. If you hear me talking to myself, it's his fault.) The park was finally reopened this month, and it is AWESOME! I know some people will criticize the government for spending money on a park when there are people still living in tents, but I think having a safe and beautiful place for people to just hang out does a lot for boosting the morale.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sunday Drive

Last Sunday wasn't Mother's Day in Haiti, but it was a great day anyway. We went on a drive in the late afternoon. We went to the look out point, Boutillier, for some acra (pictured below). We were pleasantly surprised to find live music and lots of canvas gazebos and umbrellas set up to protect diners from the setting sun. It was really nice to sit and enjoy the beautiful view of Port au Prince, the wonderful weather, and the live music. Arold even recognized an actor from a Haitian movie among the other diners!

After the lookout point, we ended up turning into Thomassin 25 and driving on a newly paved road that leads up into Fermathe. Arold took me on this road once a few months ago, so I knew that we would come out around Fermathe 45 area. Once we got up on the mountain a little more we could see the look out point (all those towers toward the right on that mountain ridge below) where we had just been. I love living in the mountains! 

We ended up taking a turn to see where the paved road would take us. We started going back down the mountain and realized that we would end up in Petion-Ville if we kept going. I thought it was a great day for an adventure, so we kept going. At a certain point the paved road just stopped. We were going to turn around, but another car went on the unpaved part so we followed. We ended up driving down through Montagne Noir and into Petion-Ville. When we got to Place St. Pierre there were tons and tons of people in the park that used to be a tent city. It was so nice to see people using the park after month and months of it being closed due to renovations.  Below you can see the difference in the road. The unpaved part was really bumpy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Special Gift

It's always been difficult for me to process changes in life--especially when it means saying goodbye to people I love. When I taught 8th grade reading, I was always an emotional basket case at the end of the  school year. Since I moved to Haiti I haven't had that problem because, for the most part, I had the same students the following year. It's been awesome to teach the same students for three years. I've seen my students grow in academics, but also in maturity. It has been a true blessing from the Lord to serve the same students year after year.

Tania, Ogimene, & Ameline

Before I turn into a teary eyed mess, let me say what I planned to write. Today I received a special gift from the Lord. As I was leaving Gramothe to walk home, three of "my girls" were standing at the top of the road, preparing to walk down the mountain. When they saw me, they waited and we walked together--something we haven't done since I stopped teaching computers this year. When I first arrived in Haiti, these girls were chosen to be in my after school computer class. I'm not sure who wrote their name on the paper, but I'm confident the Lord put them on that class roster. Those first few months were... interesting. The boys were falling all over themselves to talk to me. They even tried to get my phone number, so they could call me and listen to me speak. You know, to learn English pronunciation. (ha! that line still makes me laugh.) But the girls never spoke to me. They hung back and made the boys talk for them. I don't think I heard them speak until at least November, and I'm sure they weren't talking to me. Finally after Christmas of that first year, I got them to talk to me. But they were still really shy. As my Creole got better and their English improved, we were able to communicate better. Last year we often communicated in a mixture of Creole and English. They would ask me questions in Creole and I would respond in English. When I started teaching again in January, I could tell that Tana especially had improved. Today was all the proof I needed. We talked all the way down the mountain to the guest house--a good 30 minutes--all in English. I think we only used Creole to clarify once, maybe twice, the entire time. How is that for measurable growth in English?!

These girls have a special place in my heart. Evidence here. Our walk down the mountain today was a sweet blessing from God. Not only did we get to catch up and practice English, we also talked about our futures--my family going to the States and the three of them finishing high school--and God's plan for our lives. I was able to encourage them in their pursuit of higher education. (They'd all like to become doctors, which isn't realistic, so I encouraged them to consider nursing--especially in the realm of childbirth.) Also, I had the opportunity to share part of my faith journey and encourage them in their walks with Christ. It was a very sweet time, and I'm thankful to God for this special gift.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mica from Boucan

Mica is from Boucan, which is further up the mountain from Gramothe. I think she did a great job writing about where she lives. I especially liked the last couple of line. Click the picture to see it in full screen view.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Change is hard

I wanted to keep things lighthearted on my blog for our last few weeks with MTM, sharing pictures and fun stories from students, but my heart is heavy today and I just can't do it. Change has never been easy for me. As an adult it's a little easier because I've seen how God has walked with me through big changes in the past, but I still don't like it.

Yesterday was the 4 week mark. We have four short weeks to say goodbye to the people we love and pack up our lives here. I don't know which of those things I like less--the packing or saying goodbye. We want to finish well, but I think both of us would like to ignore the suitcases that taunt us from their place in the corner and pretend our lives are not about to turn upside down.

Please pray for us over the next few weeks. Pray that we'll say proper goodbyes and find closure as we prepare to leave our home and Arold's family. Pray that Arold and I will draw closer during this time, that God would strengthen our marriage as we face this challenging and stressful transition. We are confident God is moving us to the States, but that does not exempt us from the culture shock that is sure to rock our little family. Pray also that God would provide jobs for both of us.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

My baby is growing up. These pictures were taken when he turned 7 months old, but he's now at the 7.5 month mark and will be 8 months soon. Time needs to slow down!

Isaac has hit all of his milestones right on track. He has 4 teeth--as of Sunday. He is trying really hard to crawl. He can pull himself into a standing position, which is scary for mom and dad. His favorite food is still bananas, and the only thing he really doesn't like so far is green beans. He can drink out of his sippy cup unassisted. 

 He continues to be very social and doesn't show any signs of stranger anxiety. At church yesterday he wanted to go to nearly everyone who smiled at him--which is a lot of people! He absolutely adores his nanny, and his face lights up when he sees her. He likes to babble and tell us stories, and he even sings when we turn on music. 

He does a good job of playing on his own for short intervals, which allows us to get some housework done. His favorite toy is the laptop. He especially likes when Grandma and Grandpa are on Skype because he gets to touch the keyboard sometimes! Other favorite toys include an apple, a giraffe rattle Miss Amanda brought to him, and anything he's not supposed to touch (like cords). 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Student Work

My students in grades 9, 12, and 13 will take national exams this summer. Their scores will determine whether they get promoted to the next grade/graduate or whether they repeat their current grade level. In preparation for these national exams, I use test questions from prior years during class. Recently I had my grade 9 students work on writing production. It was painful to say the least. In the end they produced some decent work. Today's example is from Kettly, a young lady who is progressing quite quickly in English. Click the picture to make it larger... and comment if you need any help deciphering what she wrote.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MTM's senior class of 2013

I'm currently working on the senior class yearbook. They gave me their individual profiles and about 50 pictures they want in their book. They also have a few other pages planned, but I need to finish the others first. Here are a few snapshots of our senior class this year. They are an amazing group of young people. 

There are 11 students in our Philo Class (seniors) this year.

The gentlemen. Love this pic of them!

Three of the ladies. (I don't know why there isn't a picture of all 5 girls.)