Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Traveling Conditions....

I don't mean to whine or complain, but I wish everyone would remember how difficult it is to accomplish the simplest of tasks in the developing world.
We established e-mail contact with the rest of the world a few years ago and strangely that has made one of the biggest differences in both success and frustration. We may receive a message or news instantaneously . . .but it sure takes longer to implement things.
Currently to travel to the coastal city where most of our supplies come in takes 4 hours, this includes fording a river that ranges from inches to several feet in depth and crossing a mountain range. The distance...39 miles of muddy road! (yes, that's about 10 miles an hour)
The good news is this year that we have lots of activities scheduled in the coming weeks. . .including several teams working on both physical improvements and teaching opportunities. Get ready everyone, it's going to be an exciting few months!
Beauty amidst muddy roads.... Posted by Hello
Treaveling in Haiti has it's challenges. . . Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Waiting for Christmas rice & beans & gifts! Posted by Hello

Smile from Christmas party Posted by Hello

Belated Christmas gift distribution . . .

This week we received our mail a bit soggier than usual. To get supplies and Christmas gift donations which had come into the coastal city of Cap Haitien our driver slogged his way for 3 hours to the city, loaded as much as he could on the back of a borrowed pick up and headed home.
Unfortunately, the river was higher than usual, so many of the gifts, which were gift wrapped even got soaked! We spent much of the evening trying to salvage what we could of our mail, the gifts, and many of the boxes were repacked in some plastic storage containers we had.
At last however, we could start distributing the gifts we'd received for area residents though!
Today we went to a soup kitchen Hosean International funds once a month and runs through the local women's ministry. For $500 (HD) several hundred people are asked to attend for both breakfast and dinner. We loaded up the truck (our version of Santa's sleigh) and headed to the meeting place. Lunch was almost ready to be served. I asked Lucie, who was charge today how they selected those who attended and she said it was people that their membership knew of and were in contact with...they invited them to come and eat once a month. She mentioned several people walked 5 miles to come in for the meals. Today they would also receive some gifts of clothing and toiletries from two churches in Minnesota and Florida.
As I visited with some of the the attendees, it was obvious it was the elderly, infirmed and children who were there...they are always the sufferers in every place. Some of them I already knew, a few were mentally disturbed; similar to a soup kitchen environment anywhere in the world.
I wish the donors could have been there, just to see the smiles I coaxed from the kids.
The most encouraging thing to me though, was that this was a community run outreach, attendees identified area women. These women are experiencing the joy of ministry! We only wish we could provide them the resources to do this weekly rather than monthly.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years Festivities. . . 2005!

The first time I was in Haiti for New Year's I was struck with how similar it was to Halloween, 4th of July, and a religious holiday all in one! The Independence day connection make sense as Haiti's celebration of Independence is on Jan. 1st. Thus the fireworks and sense of pride, etc. present in many communities. Everyone who is not half dead returns to their home town to see everyone they can. Those who are living in the states or working in the Dominican Republic return to see family.
My cook finally married the father of her child when he returned..the wedding took place at 5A.M.! Who would schedule that I asked? My husband told me it was because they didn't want it to have it turn into a big affair. Well, that's one way to keep attendance down I suppose. I sure didn't go-I'm not a morning person.
Now the Halloween connection comes from the tradition of seeking "etrenne"--that is probably not spelled correctly, apologies offered to my francophile friends. For several years running my husband would go to the bank to get the newest, (i.e. cleanest) bills he could find for this event. Then on New Year's day, a little parade of kids, teenagers and occasionally really hard up adult will make their way to our house to wish us "Happy New Years!" or Bonne Annee! In response, we are to give candy or some change if we have it. It makes for a new way of celebrating for me, the resident American.
So Happy New Year everyone.....!