The main reason for this blog is to let our HATS family and friends know that we are doing okay.  Chikungunya is causing a lot of sickness in this area.  HATS school compound  and our main orphanage/administration compound have both been hit.

We have had, and still have, many teachers and students down with it.  We have had two of our four security agents, three of our five housemothers, our laundry lady, and myself ill with it.  It hits some harder than others, some recover more quickly than others, some think they are okay and end up in bed again.  I got sick on Tuesday, three days in bed, Friday was up a little and today, Sunday, I am okay.  I still suffer from pain in my joints and don’t have my full energy back, but I am fine.  One consolation  is “the evidence suggest that once you get it and recover, once your immune system clears the virus, you are immune for life. ”  Hopefully this is fact.

What is this ‘Chikungunya’ that is causing so many people to be ill?   It is a virus, transmitted to humans through an infected mosquito.  It has been reported in Africa and Asia for years.  It apparently arrived in the Caribbean in December as it was then that WHO reported it in Saint Martin.  As of May 6, 2014 it was reported in 14 countries in the Caribbean, including Haiti.

We have been operating at the school with not enough teachers and every day missing a lot of our students.  Our final exams for this year start tomorrow morning.  Hopefully our students will be there to write exams and hopefully we will have enough teachers to supervise exams.

I am certainly hoping that our own children here at HATS do not go under with it.  They, too, will be heading over to the school for exams tomorrow.  Only Djemima will not be writing exams this week.  She will have regular classes as she will be writing the government exam for grade six next week  in Verrettes.

This morning it was obvious in church Chikungunya was causing problems in the area.  Our worship leader is recovering from this illness and could not lead worship.  Yesterday I asked Leica and Djemima to do so.  One of our students in the sponsoring program for years, and a regular church attendee, Clemanta, came here yesterday to prepare to lead worship with the two girls.  Too, the three girls sang something special in church this morning for today which is “Fet Timoun” in Haiti.  I did not have the strength to prepare a message for today either.  I told them there was a message in every song we sang in our worship service and it was enough.  We were missing a lot of regular church attendees this morning, but still had a fair number out to church. I asked how many people there had been affected by the virus in some way – been sick themselves or some family member.  Every hand in the church was raised.  I noticed one of our housemothers did not appear to be well during the service, and seemed to go downhill during the service.  Afterwards I sent her home very quickly on a moto taxi.  I just now had a call from our housemother in Ti Riviere letting me know she will not be able to come to work tomorrow due to the virus.

Leica, Clemanta and Djemima leading worship in church this morning

If you do not hear from me for some time, rest assured we are doing okay.  The next couple of weeks will be very busy ones – even if no more sickness hits HATS.  Hopefully and prayerfully it will not continue here.

Yesterday we had a birthday party for three of our children who all have birthdays in June – Dieunel, Jofky and Ti Fi.  Dieunel’s birthday was last week, the others this week.  The three birthday children were eager to have the ‘ti fet’.


Three brothers carrying things outside for a b-day party


Jonathan saying Happy Birthday to Jofky


Anne wishing the kids happy birthday


Djemima who is a ‘gem’ with helping TiFi wishing her a happy b-day


Waiting patiently for cookies, cake and juice

Today all the children were told to spend time studying to prepare for tomorrow.  This is not easy for Ti Luc as this mama cannot help him due to not knowing French.  Instead I gave him some words to write on his blackboard to check his spelling.

Ti Luc practicing for his spelling exam

After they had spent some time ‘supposedly’ studying for the exam tomorrow they came to have library time.  I love seeing the children pour through books, in both English and French.  Often they come and ask lots of questions, which shows they are truly interested.

Library hour for those who have already studied for exams tomorrow

Thank you everyone for continuing to walk with us even though you are not here at the mission site with us.  I want you to know how important you are to those of us in the HATS family who are here onsite.  We need you.  We appreciate you. Together we will continue to make a difference in the lives of the children in this valley area.