Hi friends. It's been a while, huh?
Just wanted to let you know that we made it to Indiana safely. We are adjusting and getting settled at my parents' house. I'm having fun introducing American life to Arold. For example, we stopped at McDonald's yesterday and he ate his first Big Mac. As we left he said, "Now I know where it is and I can come by myself." I guess he has plans to eat more Big Macs.
I find myself in this strange place of wanting to show my husband everything on the list of stuff he needs to see/experience and knowing that I don't need to overwhelm him because we have plenty of time for him to experience American life.
Every day is a new adventure, and at the same time it feels like we are in a holding pattern. I have been hired by Goshen Community Schools (thank you Lord!), but I don't start until August. Arold is still applying to jobs, so any routine we have right now is only temporary. And then there's this funny feeling of our days having no purpose. We wake, we eat, we play with Isaac, we sleep, and then we start all over again. It's a strange thing to go from very full and purposeful days to this time of waiting.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Hi friends. It's been a while, huh?
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Today was our last Sunday in Gramothe. It has rained a lot lately and the road has been getting worse and worse. There are some really big holes in the road on the way down to the riverbed, and this morning they threatened to swallow us up. There's a team of 18 people here right now, but we didn't take the truck to church. The road is just too bad. So some people walked (bless their hearts) and the rest of us rode the ATVs. I have taken Isaac on the ATVs before--always in his moby wrap--but today was scary. That road is crazy! It was a relief to get to the riverbed because there were no giant holes to swallow us up. If it wasn't our last time at church in Gramothe, I would have kept Isaac at home!
Church was really great--except for my cranky son. I listened to the sermon from the cafeteria because he was so restless/cranky/crying. I tried to keep him in the sanctuary the other parts of church, but we left a lot because he was making so much noise. Silly boy. The great parts of church were the singing time, the English sermon on following Jesus, and the part where Willem called our family up on stage. We actually were up there twice. Before the sermon Willem called us up and talked a lot about Arold and then let him say something to the church. Isaac was going crazy, so we left the stage after that. But after the sermon Willem called me back up to say something (through tears of course) to the church. It was good to say goodbye. Then the church prayed for us. Prayer send offs are one of my favorite parts of being part of a congregation. I cried the whole time, and I saw my husband wipe away tears too.
The best/hardest part of church was when everyone was dismissed and so many people made their way to Arold and me. It was like a wedding receiving line. Except I was by the door and Arold was on stage. So it was two receiving lines of one person. Rosias and Monley were some of the first people to come and hug me. They were both crying, so of course I burst into tears again. (And I had just gotten myself under control from the prayer time!) Then other students and adults in the church came to find me and bless me and Isaac before we left. It was really sweet to be told over and over again that I am loved and they will miss me. Of course I got to tell them that I love them too and God bless them. Such a perfect way to end my time in Gramothe.
Tonight Arold's family is coming over after church. It's nice to spend time with them before we go. We will miss them so much more than words can say.
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
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.|
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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!
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
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
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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.