Seth (and Jessie) here!
It’s was so good to be back in Haiti at HATS! I use the past tense because we’re on our way home now. It’s been over 2 years since we were last at HATS and the kids have all grown so much. Our original plan after leaving was to visit every year, but we didn’t make it last year. And since Jess is pregnant(!!!) we knew we wouldn’t be coming back next year, so we had to come now.
Looking back on this week is such a blessing, especially remembering how our trip began! First off, we were too busy leading up to our trip. There are a few things that shouldn’t escape your mind when you’re preparing for a trip out of country…one of them being your passport. Well, as we got in our beds last week to get a few hours of sleep before leaving, we thought about checking our passports, and lo and behold, mine had expired! First we sat a few minutes in shock, fearing we may not be able to come at all. Then we researched a bit and decided that instead of going to St. Louis for our flight, we would drive 5 hours to Chicago to the passport offices and hope that we could get expedited service. Thanks to God’s favor, I had a new passport by 1pm that day and had a new flight scheduled for the next morning. American even waived our change fees! So we made it to Haiti and only lost one day!
We arrived on the HATS compound to no cheers, but that’s because Karen had brought them to her house in order that we could surprise them….they had no idea we were coming! It was a great reunion! It was also great meeting the two new members to the HATS family- Markenson and Sonson. Oh my are they cuties! Sonson is a cuddler, and Markenson is deceiving, because he looks like he’s 2, but when he opens his mouth he’s a little fireball! They were such a joy this week!
Karen didn’t have any big projects for us to do- our main project was to spend time with the kids. And we thank Karen for that! While the kids were at school, I did various small projects, mostly plumbing, and Jess helped in the office. Jess also spent some time each day tutoring Ti Luc. After the kids came home from school and had finished their homework, Jess had crafts and little projects to do with the kids. One afternoon, Jess was doing bubbles with the kids and she had to be constantly reminding the little ones not to drink the bubbles. Josie said they had seen a movie where a child drank bubbles and blew up like a balloon. Jessie said that that can’t happen and was trying to explain that it would make your stomach sick, but before she could get to the word sick, Jofky’s eyes got really big and he asked, “will it make you have a baby in your stomach like you?”
After the younger kids went to bed Jess and I played Uno with the older kids almost every evening. It was special to get to spend that extra quality time with them. I was able to play soccer with the older boys and their friends from school (twice!). And we can’t forget the famous walks down the canal, and a trip to Luckners for a snack!
Yesterday, we celebrated Ti Luc’s birthday! He got a remote control moto for his birthday- it took him no time figuring out how to drive it all over the compound. I think the little kids had as much fun as Ti Luc running around chasing the moto.
There were a few things we had forgotten since being in the U.S. so long. 1. How hot Haiti actually is! I forgot what is was like to be constantly sweating even after taking a cold shower! Back in America, we thought highly of ourselves because we held out until late May to turn our A/C on thinking, “Oh, we used to live in Haiti.” 2. I forgot how much I love doing plumbing in Haiti! The plumbing projects Karen had for me probably could have been done in half a day, but that’s too easy. I’d rather fix something, break it, fix it again, break it again, fix it again and hope that it works. I fixed the valve under Karen’s sink one day, turned the water on and checked it for leaks. There wasn’t a leak so I went to fix something else. I came back in a half an hour to check it again(a good habit when working with plumbing in Haiti), and there was a bucket under it and water spewing everywhere! Hopefully I didn’t create more problems for Keith when he returns!
It was such a great week! It was a blessing getting to spend quality time with each of the children, and on the last day we got to pray individually over each child and employee. We didn’t give Karen a sufficient thank you because she wasn’t feeling well when we left this morning, so be praying for her, as well as for Ti Luc and Markenson. Karen, thank you! You were so hospitable to us. Thanks for sharing your life, home and children! Our next trip won’t be soon enough, and hopefully next time we’ll be able to bring our own children so they can experience this too!
~Seth (and Jessie)