Hi all!

Brian De (Bowers) here writing the blog. As per usual for HATS it’s a little bit late because when we arrived there was no internet, only half power and lots of other little “issues” to be dealt with.

So our day started early Tuesday morning … 3:30am kind of early … off to the airport with 8 – 50lb suitcases with everything from toothpaste, medical supplies , food and stuff for the kids too. After much juggling of taking stuff out of the suitcases and putting it into our carry-on’s (because most of our 50 lb suitcases were just a tad over the 50 pounds and they just won’t let that slide!) we were on our way to Montreal.

Ordinarily we’d be all set and not have anything to do in Montreal but sit back, relax and wait for our next flight, however this time we had to pick up 3 extra boxes carrying a drum set! So Jocelyn, Luc and myself made our way to get breakfast and find our gate and Karen set off to find Keith and Joan waiting for her with the boxes. They were checked in and were delivered.

We had a great flight to Port Au Prince Haiti and if you’ve ever been there you’ll know the chaos that is the Haiti airport … it’s insane! Hundreds of people scrambling and grabbing bags (doesn’t matter if it’s their’s or not) they just throw them off to the side to get them out of their own way lol. Jocelyn stayed back with Luc and the 3 luggage carts we rented and Karen and I fought the crowd to get all 8 bags, 3 boxes of drums and all of our carry-ons, we had all our stuff! Praise the Lord! And it was only about a 2-1/2 hour process … not bad for Haiti!

Airport arrival (prior to all the pushing and shoving for luggage)

So we loaded all our stuff in two vehicles (Luckner and the van driver, along with security, Daniel, met us there) and off we went on the 2 1/2 -3 hour drive to the compound. Pretty uneventful drive as far as any drive could be in Haiti ūüė≥, however, we did come across something that kind of made my heart jump. If you’ve ever had the RCMP put their lights on and pull you over and you get that little spark of fear (knowing you haven’t done anything wrong) but it still scares you … well we were driving behind a crew cab pick up truck when it stopped in the middle of the road and three armed police officers jumped out of both sides of the truck and start running back towards us with sawed off shotguns in hand! That’ll make your heart stop in a hurry! Thankfully they were chasing some guys causing a disturbance and not us but it’s not something you see everyday, nor would you want to!

Luggage loaded in 2 vehicles, now time to roll.

Traffic just ahead of us on the drive home

A torrential rain storm started just about a mile before we got home but it didn’t matter, we arrived at the compound to a greeting fit for Kings and Queens. The kids had “welcome” signs hung up for us and hugs waiting for all of us. A nice meal was waiting for us too and so we spent some time catching up with the kids, getting showered and it was off to bed early to the sound of the most amazing rain pounding on the roof, it’s easy to sleep with that coming down … even in the heat (speaking of which … this is by far the hottest and most humid I’ve seen in all my trips to Haiti.)

Our lovely Welcome Home sign.

Today was spent mostly unpacking, taking inventory of what we have, what we need, planning projects and ordering materials for cabinets for Jocelyn’s apartment. I was also tasked with setting up the drum set. (Luc was anxious to get started on it!), and fixed a toilet down in the girls dorm … never a dull moment at HATS!

Luc and Markenson trying the newly set up drum set

Too, we spent an enjoyable time at the HATS school, IMKH, surrounded by young students.

Hugs from Jocelyn and Brian before skipping off to school

Prayers and hugs before running off to school

A ‘Welcome back to Karen’ sign outside the Grade 13 classroom. Teacher Luckner in the door.

Lots of cute preschoolers surrounding Brian and Jocelyn

Grade 6 classroom with our Leica.

At the end of the afternoon, as we do most nights here, we enjoyed a nice walk down Treat time on our walk[/caption]by the canal with all the kids, one of my favorite things to do!

Dickieson posing for photo

Lots of hugs for our Jocelyn

Loving brothers and best friends

More than real life monkeys can climb trees, Brian & JJ in this tree

Sponsor Brian with the handsome young man he has helped for years

Treat time on our walk

As I’m typing this I think the girls are off getting showered and I’m sitting here listening to the most torrential rain I’ve ever heard in my life, and the thunder and lightening…spectacular, even with all of its hardships, this is one beautiful country.

Brian De