Hurry up and Wait: Raced out the door after a quick breakfast of Rice and Beans to get going on the paint. Run over to the Depot. Wait, need the key. Find mom, get the key. Go back over. Get into the Depot. Find paint and rollers. Paint is in giant buckets and it needs to go to the other compound, find mom to ask Jacques to bring the wheelbarrow (My pantomime skills are improving although they aren’t that good). Wheelbarrow is broken. Jacques has to fix it (it’s a marvel of wire holding together). It’s like that a lot here. Mom starts a project and then people come to the gate so security comes up to inform her. She either goes down to the gate or invites them up. Mom’s working at her desk and there’s a broken pipe or the cooks need to know something or Ti Luc need her or there’s something happening at the kids home or or or.

Painting: I get there with my kids and JJ and our first project is the doorway added to the preschool building. We’re sure we have the right paint since the school records say it’s painted in Aqua . We put on the first roller of paint. Oh no. Will it dry lighter maybe? Okay, let’s hope… keep painting troops. 10 minutes later it’s dry. Ummmm, ya, that has not dried lighter… Oh boy. So now instead of a small doorway we have to do the entire building. Mistake #1. Yikes. So, we keep painting and I love it. No walls to wash, to taping, just put it on as good as you can. I figure I’ve painted a lot my kids have been there, they know what they’re doing. Mistake #2. The paint rollers are poorly loaded, paint is dripping everywhere and being forced out of the tray onto the deck. Mom comments that it looks like the Judel and Dieunel were the painters (they are 4 and 5). After that building is done and I’m about to tackle the next one mom tells me that she really wants some baking done and that the painting can wait for Jesse. I know how to take a ‘not so subtle’ hint! They kids are quite relieved at this information and quickly disappear and I start to wonder if they didn’t make a big mess on purpose…

what we planned to paint

 

Color Difference, ugh

Martha & Germaine: Martha is my mom’s cook, Germaine is laundry, housekeeping and sous chef. Both of them have some rudimentary English and are very good and understanding pantomime. Martha is a great Haitian cook and her juices are famous among all who have done mission work here. I thought I’d gone to heaven drinking her Papaya juice today and she made some funky Sour Sop juice too. Since Martha doesn’t read she cannot bake anything that isn’t Haitian and Haitian baking is dried out and awkward. This afternoon we had a number of perfect ‘Banana Bread’ bananas given to us so I made a triple batch of muffins, a cake, etc. I kept popping back from the B-day party to check the oven and when it was perfectly cooked I took it out to cool on the top of the freezer. Perfectly cooked in Haiti is different than in Canada. When I came back from the party 30 minutes later the pan was scalding hot… Martha figured she’d help me out by putting it back in… YUM! So then I made a double batch of pumpkin date loaf for my mother. Martha was on her way out so mom turned on the oven for me to 150 (325 since Mom’s oven runs hot). Before 20 minutes were up we smelled burnt muffins… Martha had helped me out again by turning the heat up to 200 before she left (that’s about 410)… We cannot even get the muffins out of the pan to use for baseballs. Mom has saved them for Martha…

Korosol – known as a Sour Sop in English

Visitors. I had just laid down on the sofa swing with Jonathon (poor baby was tired from those 7:30am devotions so I was gallantly rocking him to sleep) when Security informed us a guest had arrived. My niece Mariah’s birth father was at the gate. He lives quite far away. They travelled up there a few years ago and it was a few hours of walking down the mountain followed by a long tap tap ride to get here. Despite being very poor he arrived with a HUGE pot of fresh fruit, cabbage and papaya, 3 brooms and about a 20lb sack of melons, juice oranges etc. That how it’s done in Haiti! You have nothing and still you arrive bearing gifts for others. Liette (my sister) had donated 2 goats and low and behold we had 2 here so the timing was excellent. His wife is in hospital for 3 months with pregnancy complications and he’s trying to make ends meet with his 4 children. I asked mom if I could give him some money. She took my US and converted it to Haitian Goudes and I went out and handed it to him. MAJOR FAUX PAS! Here you never give anyone a cash donation unless it’s rolled up super small and wrapped in white paper.

My baby with the baby

 

Mariah’s Dad with his goats

Birthdays at HATS. The birthdays here at HATS are so exciting for the kids even though by Cdn standards they would be very simple. Everyone gathers together in a circle and sings to the birthday person sitting at the head of the group. Then everyone hugs the B-day person. The person then gets ONE present and everyone gets a small pkg of cookies and a glass of juice or pop. Alexa’s favourite part of the party was that her brothers had to hug her. You can see the joy on her face as Ronel is hugging her. You can also see the ‘oh crap, I have to do that too’ look on Jared’s face in the background.

B-day Party circle

 

Lots of Hugs
Lex Hugging Ronel

~Dana