F is for fun, f-f fun!
We recently were able to take a number of children to the beach again, and to an ACTUAL SANDY BEACH! Most beaches in Haiti, at least on the west coast, are rocky/pebbly, and though beautiful, just aren’t quite the beach in our books! A wonderful person who has visited us here in Haiti, sent us a very special gift of funds to be able to take the children on beach trips! So, a few weeks ago we went and had a fabulously fun time running in the soft sand, making sand castles, and playing ’till we dropped! Thanks to S.A for making this possible for us!
Beach Fun at Wahoo Bay
G is for Grace Point Church of God Haiti Team , g-g-Grace Point!
We recently had a team come, and farther down the alphabet you will learn more about them. Here though,we want to make mention of the incredible amount of supplies that they managed to collect and bring down with them for the children’s home. When their team leader, Randy, asked me for a list, I went to town and sent a lot of ideas, hoping that they would be able to bring a few of them to help stock some of our daily needed items. Imagine my surprise when I started getting updates on the list via email, updates showing that the list was being crossed off very quickly!
The really INCREDIBLE part however, was when the team arrived and started packing hockey bag after hockey bag of supplies into the classroom to be organized! The room and hallway were soon overflowing, with bags and supplies, not to mention team members, excited kids, staff, etc. That evening Cherub and I sat down to start organizing things and were moved to tears as we realized EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. on the list had been brought/sent, and in some cases, in multiples!
It is so encouraging to be able to have our needs met like this, which allows us to care not only for the children in our care here at HCH, but also for those that come asking for help in the community.
Thanks to all of the friends and family of the team from Gracepoint Church of God for their tremendous support of the team as they collected supplies. Thanks for choosing to love on us from afar, and for choosing to be a part of what God is doing through Haiti Children’s Home!
Grace Point guys unpacking
Richard providing security for the bags yet to be unloaded
H is for hurricane, h-h hurricane
As you have heard, hurricane Sandy also hit Haiti on it’s long and nasty path! We were fortunate to be far enough away from the coast that we were not affected by high winds and mudslides. Our biggest challenge was finding bedding and clothing to keep kids warm and dry while the rain poured for 4 days without stopping! Every hallway and room in the entire compound were strung with lines in a futile attempt to help things dry, but we were down to almost nothing when the sun decided to shine! On the first day of sun, we had almost 600 articles of clothing to dry, not counting sheets, towels and other laundry items! We thank God for His grace and are thankful that our problems were contained to a lack of dry clothing!
I is for intense, i-i-intense
The last few weeks have been anything but normal! It seems that literally and figuratively, when it rains it pours! The rest of this blog will give you some understanding, but in the last 2.5 weeks the following things have happened that have definitely made things lively around here!
1) We have added 3 babies under a year to our family…talk about scrambling to find baby clothing, diapers, re-arrange staff etc!
2) In the same 3 day period we received two of those babies, Hurricane Sandy knocked on our door!
3) We had a team of 10 come from Canada
4) We had 5 of our staff and volunteers come down with Dengue fever
5) One of our new babies was admitted to the hospital for a week
6) Just a few days ago, we had not 1, not 2, but 3 flat tires in a 24 hour period!
7) Two of the children in the nutrition program had to be treated for cholera symptoms
8) Two of our staff members had incredibly high blood pressures. Think 193/130, and 185-120! Yep, and then it was me having a heart attack as I confirmed those readings!
And the rest of “normal” life around here continued on…..THIS is why your prayers are so important!
J is for jwe, j-j-jwe!
Jwe(jway) means play in Creole, and we have been absolutely amazed to see that after years, literally, of trying to teach the children to play WITH toys instead of hoarding them, and WITH each other instead of just fighting, we can see CHANGE happening!
Two big changes we have witnessed:
1) When we go outside to play with the kids, though they are always happy to see us and run over for a hug, they are now content to return to playing! Previously, everything would stop if we appeared outside, as the kids were starved for attention and consistency. Now, though they love us to be near, and regularly stop for a kiss or a cuddle, they are becoming confident and ABLE to PLAY!
2) Each Wednesday is “Toy Box Day”, and on this day, we spend the afternoon playing inside with a variety of toys that change each week. When we started, we had to have things very separate, with each group having their own play-space and toys. Last week, we felt we could perhaps challenge that system, and allowed the kids to leave their play spaces and interact with other groups and toys. It went very well! This week, we just put all the toys in the middle of the room and sat down nearby to see what would happen. Cherub and I were both near tears with big smiles on our faces when we realized that each and every one of them were playing! Real, imaginative, relaxed, age appropriate, PLAYING! Imagine our delight when we decided to step out of the play-room for 30 minutes and things carried on as successfully with our Haitian staff taking the lead!
This important change has been something burning in the hearts of Cherub and I for 6 years, and it is beyond amazing to see it actually happening!
Vanessa and Hannah on the way to Port-au-Prince
K is for kringlish , k-k kringlish
“Kringlish” is a word that we made up here a few years ago to describe the mix of English and Kreyol that happens around here each day! Most of the children are now quite fluent in English, and though Kreyol is still their first language, they use both throughout they day. We notice each day, with much humor, the funny sentences we hear flying around the yard!
“Manje is sou tab la!” (The food is on the table).
“Li pa share ball la.” (He/She is not sharing the ball.)
“We goin’ big piscin na?” (Are we going to the big pool(the ocean)?)
The funniest part is when we catch ourselves doing it, or when we hear our Haitian staff inserting English words the kids have been using, into their Kreyol sentences!
L is for love, l-l-love
Imagine giving birth to a sweet little baby girl with sparking brown eyes.
Imagine struggling for 7 months to keep that baby alive.
Imagine going from doctor to doctor, clinic to clinic, buying all kinds of medicine, searching for an answer to why your baby is failing to thrive.
Imagine knocking on the door of the same orphanage you brought your little boy to a few years ago, pleading for help once again with your sweet little girl.
Imagine your despair thinking you are going to lose another precious child.
Imagine hearing that your 7 month old baby does not weigh even 7 pounds.
Imagine hearing, “we will do what we can, but she is very weak and sick”.
Imagine leaving your baby in the care of strangers.
Imagine sleeping well for the first time in 7 months. Imagine waking up with a start to realize you have slept!
Imagine getting a phone call 2 days later saying your baby has been admitted to the hospital after throwing up blood.
Imagine spending the next 8 days at your baby’s side, praying and hoping against hope that she will live.
Imagine trying to communicate with a Spanish speaking pediatrician, when all you speak is Creole.
Imagine relying on a stranger to provide you with food, diapers, clothing, blankets, water, formula,bottles,and everything else you need to be able to care for you baby. and yourself.
Imagine feeling helpless. Again.
Imagine your exhaustion as you sit watching her labored breathing when pneumonia sets in.
Imagine the hope you try to stifle when sparkling eyes cries for MORE milk.
Imagine the fear you feel when a nurse comes and places a tiny oxygen mask on your baby’s face.
Imagine the desperation you feel, because you cannot understand why.
Imagine the hope you feel when the doctor communicates to you that TODAY, things are looking better.
Imagine the awe you feel when for the first time in 7 months, your baby does not throw up 90% of her food.
Imagine the joy you feel when you are told your baby is being released from the hospital.
Imagine the fear you feel when you realize you are supposed to take your baby home, and you have no way to provide for her.
Imagine the courage it takes to ask those foreign strangers to help you again.
Imagine the relief you feel when they say “yes, of course we will keep her until she is strong enough to go back home”.
Imagine the amazement you feel when you realize she is still yours.
Imagine the empowerment you feel when you realize there are options.
Imagine the LOVE you have for sparkling eyes, the LOVE that demanded courage, the LOVE that drove out fear, the LOVE that brought you and your baby to HCH.
A mother`s love
This is the “story behind the story” of a little girl named Bianna who joined our family at HCH recently. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Bianna! She continues to do well, and laughed out loud for the first time in her life last week! What a blessing it was to be a part of that special moment in her life! Her reflux issues seem to be under control, and her little body is healing and filling out. Thanks to all of you who support HCH and make it possible for us to be here in Haiti “for such a time as this”. We are blessed to be able to lend a helping hand to the families in our community, and continue to be amazed at how God chose us to work alongside of Him to love in His children!
Little twigs for legs: Bianna`s first day at HCH
M is for mealtime manners, m-m- manner’s
My staff and volunteers and I are always discussing new ways to help our kids develop appropriately, and ways to provide as much exposure to North American idiosyncrasy’s. One thing that we have started doing recently is having two children join us each day at lunch time to teach them table manners and expose them to eating “as a family”. We are on our second week, and it has already been a sounding success! We are learning to eat with our mouths closed, use a knife instead of our hand to push food onto our fork, use a napkin, request or decline seconds based on what our tummy is REALLY telling us, ask to be excused, see food being served and the remainder left on the table, pray to bless the food, learn appropriate table conversation, etc, etc. It is a wonderful opportunity for some interaction in a smaller group, and the children are so excited each day! It also exposes them to some other food choices, and encourages them to be willing to at least taste new things even if they are unsure of what is on the table!