Right now we’re sitting in the Port au Prince airport waiting for our flight to Miami and then home. It’s 11am, and we won’t be home til after midnight tonight, so we figured we had ample time to write a blog.
We left HATS and Haiti last March but HATS has been with us since we’ve been gone. We can’t fully describe what a year with a specific set of people does to your heart except that the relationships we’ve formed weren’t just for a year, they’re for an eternity. We came home last March not really knowing what God had in store for us next or when we would be back to Haiti, but hoping we would be able to return often enough. The first month home we spent a lot of time in prayer and searching. Since then, Jess got a 4th grade teaching job and we bought and fixed up our first home together! It has been a very busy summer for us, but we realized that because of Jessie’s job we wouldn’t be able to return until next summer and we also hoped Karen might get a bit of rest. So we gave Karen the dates we could come and she was able to fit us in. Jess starts teaching this Monday.
It’s been awesome being back at HATS for 8 days! Anyone that’s been to HATS knows the wonderful welcome the kids give you- you almost think you’re a celebrity! It was so good to see all their smiling faces and hear their happy voices again. And none of them, other than Sandra and Jonathan had forgotten us (Sandra was saying Jessie’s name within the first few days though!). I picked up Anne to give her a hug and the first thing she said after patting my head was, “Seth, you’re beautiful; Where’s Jessie?” Haha, thanks Anne!
As for work this week, Karen didn’t have a lot for us to do. I fixed as many pipes and water problems that I could. I also like to multi-task, so I tried mixed pipe fixing with shower taking- trust me, it’s not effective, but it does feel good in the 100 degree weather. I also got to help Jess a bit with cutting cloth for the school uniforms- which she did a lot of this week. She even got the kids involved a few of the days; she set up an assembly line and the kids got creative and made it into a mini-market where they bought cloth from each other. Other than that, we had a lot of time to spend with the kids and everyone at HATS- and I believe we made the most of it! We played a lot of soccer, drew a lot with sidewalk chalk, chased a lot of lizards, caught a lot of crickets, danced and sang a lot, swung on the swings a lot, and told a lot of stories- the older kids asked a lot of questions about what we had been doing the past few months. One of the things the kids loved doing while we were here previously was -ti lekol (or little school or in other words- crafts). They would have done a craft everyday if we had given them the opportunity and we probably only missed a few days! Another thing the kids loved to do was rollerblade. I must admit, this was not Jess and I’s favorite activity- it was a vigorous workout for us because for the most part we carried the kids up and down the driveway. But the kids loved it so much we couldn’t turn them down, even when they asked to do it again! And after eating Marguerites great food all week we probably needed the extra workout anyway! One of the times, I helped Ti Luc to the front gate (running the last 1/4 of the way), and I sat him down and said, “oh man, that’s tiring, we need to take a break before we go back.” He sat for probably 2 seconds and looked up at me, with no sweat whatsoever on his face or body, and said, “I’m ready, I’m not tired, let’s go.” I just had to laugh! Some of the kids started to get pretty good at rollerblading- By the last day Djemima and JJ didn’t need our help anymore and Leica was pretty close. Also, the little ones like Anne, Dieunel and Karena were doing quite well- they couldn’t do it by themselves but they were getting the form down!
On Saturday and Sunday we had a visitor, Joan, who is relative of Karen. She was spending time in St. Marc with Youth for Christ and decided to come visit for a few days. It was a blessing for Karen and us to have her. Fortunately, she got to experience a HATS carwash! A HATS carwash typically ends with everyone on the compound being 100 percent wet and Saturday was no exception. This time I sacrificed myself with endless drenchings from the kids so that Karen, Joan and Jess could fill up water balloons and surprise attack the kids from the roof! Karen was even daring enough to throw a balloon at Luckner when he pulled up on his moto!
Two of the housemoms, Antwa and Maga, were not there when we got there because of pregnancies. Maga had her baby and Antwa is still waiting to have hers. We were really hoping that we would be able to see them while we were here. Antwa came on Sunday for a short visit and Karen brought us and the older kids to see Maga and her baby on Tuesday. It was so great to be able to see them while we were here.
Jofky. Jess was telling him goodnight and that we would be leaving the next day and he grabbed her face with both of his hands and kissed her 3 times on the lips; he only kissed me once. He didn’t say anything, but I think he made his point! We will miss them all so much and HATS will be in our prayers this next year until we’re able to return again!
We end our blog with this prayer for our family in Haiti…. “Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you…..May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11+14
~Seth & Jessie