Saturday morning, we woke a bit earlier and at 6:00 met the older kids at the gate as we went for a walk. It was gorgeous to see the sun coming up over the mountains and everything lighting up. As we walked out of the compound, there is a bridge where a bunch of workers gather every morning hoping to get picked up for work. We passed people who were on their way to work in the fields for the day. Many carry machetes and hoes, one man was carrying a full-size water pump on his head while another was carrying a long hose. The water pump is used to irrigate the fields and gardens. We walked over makeshift bridges and along narrow paths. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

After we came back and had breakfast, Sandra and I did payroll for the month. We used the money we had gotten from the bank the other day and converted it from Haitian goudes to dollars and counted the right amount for each employee.

Friends Jocelyn and JJ enjoying walk with the other children

Karen, Sandra, and I put together the Christmas stockings for the children. Each child had a ziploc bag of small gifts that we had brought down. We went through all the bags and put the gifts in stockings. It took about three hours to get everything sorted out and put away.

Dickie had fixed up some chairs and I got to paint them, I always get more paint on me than the project whenever I paint!

Painting chairs

We took a break and went out for a drive to see Luckner’s new house that he is building. We drove through a “Haitian subdivision” to get to it. On our way out we saw a little boy playing on the side of the road. He had made a car out of a bottle of oil with the side cut off. He had sticks through the bottom and bottle caps at each end for wheels. Dickie asked to see his truck but he thought Dickie was going to take it. After Karen explained what we wanted in Creole, he smiled and pulled it along the road to show us how it worked.

boy with toy

When we got back home, I went out to play soccer with the kids. This is by far, their favorite game and they always want to play it because they know they can beat me! They’re so quick on their feet and know tricks that amaze me! While I was out playing, Karen and Sandra were hard at work picking out and trying on clothes for each of the kids. Each girl got two new dresses and they found new shirts and shorts for the boys.

Sunday was by far the hottest and muggiest day we’ve had! Before church, we gathered all the children inside around the Christmas tree and attempted to take a family photo…. trying to get all 16 heads looking at you and smiling is nearly impossible but Dickie did an excellent job and was successful in getting a few of Karen and the children.

We gathered the drums and other musical instruments and headed over to the church. Church on the compound is another one of my favorite things to experience. Everyone is singing and clapping and playing instruments and it’s all so joyful. There were a few young ladies who did solos, and I said a short message while Karen translated.

We gave the kids a snack when we got back to the compound and all loaded up in the truck to drop Luckner’s kids off. When we returned home, we discovered we had locked ourselves out of the house so we went back over to Luckner’s to get a spare key and drove back home again.

After we had some lunch, we went out again to visit Germaine. She had recently had surgery and had gotten home from the hospital in Mirebalais. We walked through a market and up through a community to find her house. The road was very rough and beat up so we walked for a part of the way. It was wonderful to see her again, she looked well, but quite weak. She will need to rest for quite some time. We hope she recovers quickly.

It was time for soccer again when I got back to the compound, the boys wanted to beat me again! All was going well until Judel got a foot in the mouth and ended up losing a chunk of his tooth and getting a fat lip 🙁 that was all the soccer for that night. He bounced back quickly, those boys are tough!

There had been a few sightings of cockroaches around recently in the kitchen and so when Sandra was making a lemon meringue pie and Karen was telling me a story out in the living room, Sandra would see one and scream, Karen would jump and scream! We’ve had some good laughs this week!

Cuddling sweet Magdala

We declared Monday, as cockroach killing day! We started taking things out of the cupboards and off the counters and piled it in the living room and the roaches were running! We each had a can of Baygon, it is wonderful stuff! We were spraying and pulling out dishes and spraying some more as they ran out trying to get away from the spray! We must have seen a few hundred in total, some babies, and bigger ones. Dickie ended up taking the entire counter and sink out because we could not get rid of them. Sandra and I gave the table and wall behind the counter a new coat of paint. If there’s one thing I have learned this week, it’s that I am not afraid of cockroaches!  (I, Karen, am afraid of cockroaches even after 21 1/2 years here. I do lots of things but ‘I don’t do cockroaches.’)

Sandra, Karen, Roselore, and I went out in the afternoon to the bank. This trip was a lot less intense. We drove to a smaller bank in Pont Sonde and Sandra and I stayed in the truck watching what was going on. We were parked on the side of a busy street and surrounded by a market, we were right across from a Haitian restaurant. The lady was scooping up rice, sauce, and meat out of big pots. Some kids came with dishes from home, others got take out in Styrofoam containers. One man stopped on his moto and ate inside a little space she had set up with lawn chairs and tarps. We saw a man with a hot dog stand on a bicycle and he had all the condiments on the side, it was neat! We enjoyed watching the people the most, seeing all their different clothes, head scarves, going about their business. We had some good laughs as we watched young men walking around with their pants below their bum, having learned it from young men who the Haitians guys think are cool because they live elsewhere. So apparently that trend is catching on in Haiti too now.

There are many close calls here as the motos and tap taps drive by as fast as possible regardless of how much space there is or how many people they are carrying. We made it back to the compound safely, telling stories of our sightings all the way home. The kids and I ended off the day with a good game of hockey! I lost of course but we had fun. Games of soccer and hockey can get quite intense, especially when the older boys are playing but thankfully we had no injuries that evening.

Tuesday, 12th, – good byes are the worst. After breakfast JJ and Moise came up to say good bye before they headed off to school. JJ and I have become good friends over the week and had some good talks. I will miss the times we got to play sports together or walk with the little kids along the canal, those are some sweet memories. The little kids came up to pray with us before they went off to school. I hate saying good bye to each of their sweet faces. They’ve all grown up so much in the last year and a half. We went to devotions and little miss Magdala fell asleep on me, I will so miss cuddling that sweet little girl. I played with the babies till the van arrived. Some tearful good byes were said and I was on my way to Port-Au-Prince.

Sad Farewell

A big thank you to Sandra and Dickie for bringing me along on this trip. To Roselene for making delicious meals all week. To Daniel for bringing me safely back to the airport. And especially to Karen for the amazing experiences, stories, and memories. It has been another experience of a lifetime, can’t wait to come back! Good bye until next time!