If I knew where to post it, I might write a letter to Elton John asking him to reconsider ‘Goodbye’ to be the hardest word, not ‘Sorry’. And on Valentine’s Day too.
This will be a different blog. Yes, once more there was activity around HATS, which I’ll tell you about first, but since this will be our last post, it would be best if you heard from each of us individually.
– With the replacement of the switch and outlet plates, our part with Kay TIM-BR MART is officially done. It’s SO heartwarming to know that soon seven little girls will sleep soundly in a lovingly painted, solidly built home.
– School recess with the ‘Blans’ caused a bit of a stir. As usual, a hug to one HATS child leads to a crush of children you’ve never seen before all looking for the same thing. We were happy to oblige.
– The workers saw the new cement saw put to work. It was an impressive sight to see and you could tell each was wondering when they’d get their turn. Demolition of concrete likely hasn’t been this easy at HATS…or around most parts of Haiti for that matter.
– Brian met the HATS student a friend of his (Leonard Cottreau) in Yarmouth, NS, sponsors. With Karen as an interpreter, Brian delivered a handwritten card, a gift and picture of Leonard and his wife. The sponsor of a child at HATS is one of the few opportunities to see–almost first hand–the difference you can make.
– We had a guest join us, Justin Brake, a freelance journalist from St. John’s, NL who’s doing a piece on HATS and traveling around to learn more about the country. This is the first time, he told me, he packed stuff in a backpack and off he went. A brave, good soul for doing so in Haiti.
From the team:
Well! Has it been a week all ready? We have experienced just about every emotion known in the past few days. H.A.T.S is a beautiful jewel amongst a troubled land. The love and appreciation for the things we sometimes take for granted is amazing. The TBM Team has done a great job this week painting, plumbing, teaching, learning and most of all playing. We have been accepted as family and it will be hard to leave our friends. Maybe I will have opportunity to return but until that time comes we will keep Karen and her family in our prayers. Her strength and determination with God’s help will continue the growth of H.A.T.S. to reach more people and help build leaders for tomorrow.
I knew this day would come fast, our last day here. When I jumped on the chance to come with the TBM Team I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t read the blog or Googled anything on what or who I would meet. I leave here with an overwhelmed heart and find myself holding back my own tears. Karen is amazing. What she has done here is mind boggling. For myself, there is no more complaining about 12 hour days, this lady does not quit. She’s a work horse and does this all for the kids. In my own self- awareness, this is what I have been blessed with to meet and have a chance to open my heart to these kids. Each day I was greeted with open arms with a hug here and a hug there. I would take each spare moment to play soccer, build tables out of scrap pieces of wood or just sit down with one or two kids on my lap. For me putting down this experience in a blog is hard, but the best I could do is just say “Thanks”. This has forever changed my life.
Wow, hard to believe our time here is over. As I sit here in tears after having said our last goodnight to the children. This week, being in Haiti, giving of myself, has been a dream come true for me. Something I have always wished and prayed I could do someday. I never knew it would be Haiti exactly, but I couldn’t have asked for a better more meaningful experience. The people I am with, the Tim-Br Mart Team, (Brian, Aimee, Corey &Jon) have made the time here with Karen & her children all the more special. So here I am completely out of my “box”! Right down to eating goat!! The thing I couldn’t have dreamed or imagined is, the way that Karen, the children & even the staff have touched my heart and impacted my life in such a huge way. I am so very proud to have been part of this work project, the painting of the Kay Tim-Br Mart House. The overall work being done here at HATS with many hands and Gods help is just so wonderful. These people and the children will remain in my heart forever. I don’t think I will ever hold another child in my arms without thinking of these little ones that have fallen asleep in my arms time after time this week. On a lighter note, I am hoping that my bladder will return to where it belongs and get from behind my eyes where it has been lodged all week.
God Bless, love & hugs, Cherie
The last day …….How do I say goodbye to everyone at HATS …..I guess I don’t , I say so long and see you later because I can’t help but come back . This place grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. What an amazing trip this has been! This is my 3rd trip here and it was a little over a year ago when I was here with another team and the earthquake hit …it changed all of our lives forever….but little did I know at that time how much we “Timbrmart” would change the lives of those here on the compound .When I returned from Haiti after the earthquake I was asked to give a two minute audio blurb of what had happened during that time and while the annual Timbrmart convention was going on in Miami, they played this audio and had a slideshow of images I saw on the screen for Dealers and Vendors alike …..what happened after was what shows me how amazing our group really is …..they raised over $45,000 in two hours that night . So approximately $65,000 later, here we are putting the finishing touches on “The Timbrmart House” or as they say in Creole “Kay Timbrmart”! What a blessing it has been to play a small part in that ! To the Timbrmart team that came with me: Jon, Corey, Cherie and Aimee…..You have made me proud to work beside of all of you …..You all worked hard and even more importantly you played hard too with children that will never forget any of you …you are part of their lives now just as they are part of yours
Foolishly, I thought it would get easier the second time around. It simply doesn’t. I struggled for words like “miss you” and “you’re not far from my thoughts” in French, knowing for SURE I was mangling every verb tense. But in the end, they understood what I was saying; t-shirts were used to wipe away tears, both mine and theirs.
I’m hesitant to type more, feeling I won’t do the last week any justice, let alone the bigger picture of HATS, the work being done here, or how we’ve impacted the lives of children and the community of Deschapelles, Haiti. It’d be much like calling the Bible “a nice book”. Even as a team, we ‘shifted gears’ as I call it; relationships becoming more significant, discoveries made and small things learned and shared. The next time we gather together, the hugs will linger a little longer I’m sure. To those who donated money to help me bring Cholera vaccine: “Thank you” is hardly enough.
This is what I’ll say: I am, once more, leaving HATS and taking in my heart far more than I could possibly give. Thank you. I’m a different person for having been here, twice.
To our families and friends, we’re coming home. We miss you too. You’ve not been far from our thoughts either.
To all who’ve read our blog, thank you for following our journey.
And if you want to know any more about our experience or how you can help, just ask. We’ll be happy to share. But make sure you tell us how much time you have first.
~Aimee (blogger of the HATS Feb/11 team)