Day 4 in Haiti down, and I continually find myself feeling like a kid – totally fascinated with the new world that I’m visiting.
Since the last blog update, I’ve become pretty hip to the rhythm of how things flow around HATS – at least on non-school days. Early in the morning (usually before sunrise), Karen goes for a walk along the river. These are usually 45-60 minutes, and the bigger kids are allowed to join in – if they can keep up. There’s an afternoon walk as well, which everyone is welcome to join in, and is a much slower pace (complete with 2 strollers). In either case, the walks are along the canal in front of the compound.
|Canal walk at sunset|
Sunday, naturally, was Church day, and HATS holds ‘church’ in the school. Attendance can vary from 20 – 200, depending on what’s going on in the community, and if school is in session. On this day, there were 54 people present, with HATS staff and children being around 20 of them. There was a tremendous amount of singing, and other churchly goings-on that you’d expect.
After the service, we piled into the back of the pickup truck to go to Luckner’s place, where the kids were treated to the Haitian equivalent of Oreo’s and banana soda.
Later that night, Liette and I took several of the bigger kids to the roof of the house to play Uno as the sun went down, and to look at the stars. This was a special treat for the kids (and for me, to be honest), and they were enamored with it.
Monday proved a routine day, with two exceptions – the trip to the hospital (and dump), as well as Liette and I guesting on Luckner’s radio show. He interviewed us about HATS, and me a bit about what my thoughts were about Haiti – before and after coming here.
|Measuring food for needy families|
|A few people from the community who came to pick up food|
I don’t think I can articulate how I’m feeling about this place – and this experience. The children are amazing, the staff…unbelievable. And it comes together so well, with the emphasis on exactly the right things (what’s best for the kids drives everything).
I’m not looking forward to leaving on Thursday and heading back to the States at all. I know I’ll stay in touch with the people, and furthering the cause of the organization, but the idea of being so far away from something so positive just feels….well… a little sad.
That said, I do miss my home, my friends, and my family. I think I’m going to miss this place very much too.
As for me, it’s always interesting to travel to Haiti with someone for the first time and to see the country and Hands Across the Sea anew through their eyes. Rick is ready and eager for everything we throw his way and asks lots of great questions. I appreciate his willingness to jump in and lend a hand, his excitement to see and try everything and his love for the kids.
I always love being here – I feel like I’m truly myself in Haiti in a way that I can’t always be in my life at home. In spite of all of Haiti’s challenges, the country is beautiful, the children precious and the people resilient. I had two great opportunities today to make connections in the community and to share my vision of helping adults learn to read and write. I visited with a local school director who runs a small adult literacy program and make arrangements to visit the school again tomorrow. School is out this week for spring break, but he’s going to try and round up some of his students to come in. And on Luckner’s radio show, I was able to share my dream of having a basic literacy program here at Hands Across the Sea for adults and older teens who never got the opportunity to attend school.
|Rick and Liette being interviewed by Luckner|
Yvette, I tried to visit your toad but haven’t seen him yet. I’ll try again this evening. And we’ve been playing Dice every evening with Vladimy :). Aunt Sandy, I saw one of your spider friends today in the bathroom but when I turned my head for a moment, he had hidden himself away. Shhhh…. don’t let Karen know I let a tarantula escape!
|Playing our daily evening dice game with Vladimy|
I had the fun of bringing gifts for my family’s godchildren as well as Yvette’s godson Moise. JJ and Moise were SO pleased with their new fancy clothes!
|JJ in his new suit jacket|
|Moise in his new shirt and dress pants|
Miss my kids like crazy and sure hope to bring them to Haiti later this year.