Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Update

The month of March has been a busy one - a month of adventures - and a month of many lessons.
This month I am just barely getting my newsletter out in time! Last week a doctor who regularly visits HAFF was here and we were busy with clinics. Earlier this month I was able to briefly see two Atlanta friends - one working in Port-Au-Prince came North to the Central Plateau and another led a short-term team of college students to Bohoc. These reunions were true blessings from God. Due to visa issues I also needed to cross over to the Dominican Republic for an overnight trip - so I had a much need "mini-vacation". God fed my soul over and over again this month - - and I am so grateful. 

March began with a testing period for our students. I coordinated with our Haitian English teacher to prepare the exam for our 11th graders - and did my best to make sure they were prepared. Currently the students are on break through Easter, but when they return in April we will hit the ground running again. This break from school made time for a few other things. Carla WIlson and I are working very hard to produce everything we need to get a new school partnership program off the ground. I look forward to sharing more about this program with you soon!

In addition to teaching and helping with writing projects here at HAFF  - we are continually seeking the Lord's will in what other projects I should be involved with. Several ideas have come and gone but God has not opened those doors yet. After being in the classroom with 11th and 12th graders I discovered I needed to learn more about their educational background to better serve them.  The Wilsons and I decided that for a couple hours on Monday mornings I would spend time visiting primary schools. We have several in the area, and HAFF's students usually come from these schools. In addition to understanding the life of my Haitian students better, hopefully these visits will serve our Primary Teacher Training Program. This program helps teachers to understand and apply the national curriculum, methodology, and how to integrate Biblical principles into their lessons. It is my hope that I can apply my knowledge of child development and preschool education in this program. All primary schools offer at least two years of preschool and these teachers are usually the least trained. I hope to help them create a better learning environment where children are empowered and learn to love school. In April, we also hope to integrate a visiting team into our primary school program. I believe exciting students about school early, is one of the best ways we can bring change to the education system in Haiti. Please pray for how God would have this unfold and the best ways to present new information to eager teachers.

As Spring approaches (although it feels like early Summer here in Haiti), things will continue to pick-up speed. I'll do my best to update my blog with all the newest information. Please feel free to email me with any questions!

Happy Easter & God Bless,

"You are looking for for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here."

Prayer Requests
For Me: 
- Guidance in how I should be used in the primary school program
- Strong relationships with the high schoolers I teach, particularly breaking down the walls of some of the girls
- Comfort in being away from family & friends - and making new friends here
- Continued prayer for language learning

- For God to raise up more financial support this year
- Wisdom for the Executive Committee in decision making
- Each member of our Executive Committee as they balance a commitment to HAFF and personal responsibilities
- The spiritual lives of our teachers and students at IPB

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stories of God's provision, indoor plumbing - and grapes

Life in Haiti has picked up speed recently. We're working hard to get a new project off the ground - making sure the HAFF blog stays updated - I had tests to grade from our first term - I spent my first day in a Haitian hospital as my new friend Gerald prepared for a long awaited surgery - and I went to the Dominican Republic this week. 
And now, I have a terrible cold. 

My friend, Emily is working in an orphanage in Port - and I began following the story of her friend Gerald months ago. Despite being in the capital city, the surgery he needed brought him four hours North, to our region. Emily and Gerald picked me up on their way into town and I spent the day experiencing a little of what Emily has been doing for so long now.  It was an eye opening experience - but mostly a heart warming one, as I watched the tender friendship that has developed between Emily & Gerald - and the gentleness the visiting doctors used when treating this boy who has experienced so much pain. Despite the conditions of a third world hospital - God allowed me to see through His eyes - I could have seen so much pain and disparity - but I saw His love, His gentleness and His healing displayed by people who love Him. 
I also used a flush toilet for the first time in 3 months at the hospital, so there's that. 

With Emily near the home God provided for her to stay in
during her time in Pignon. 

That was last week, this week my in Caribbean adventure,  I crossed over to the DR. Haiti only allows you to be in country, as a tourist, for 90 days and yesterday, marked my 90 days. Since I'm not ready to apply for a permanent visa (a long and expensive process) we researched all of the other options and discovered an overnight boarder crossing was the best way to ensure I would not displease any Haitian or American officials. Thankfully a couple we know needed to go too, she is American and needed to cross and he is Haitian and knows Spanish - a major, actually a necessary plus. So Monday morning, we set out on the very bumpy 4-ish hour drive and eventually crossed over into 2nd world status. You simply cross a bridge - and enter a different World. Suddenly - air conditioning, indoor plumping, television, restaurants and groceries stores become the norm again (these things are also common in Haiti's largest cities - but their not quiet the same and certainly have not spread to local communities). 

I took my first motorcycle ride -  my thought process went something like this - -
Wait, you want me (in a skirt) to get on a motorcycle with some random man, wearing no helmet - in a place where traffic laws are mere suggestions at best...?
Ok - -  
why not?  After all, "life is either a daring adventure or nothing".

It was a smooth 3-5 minute ride to the hotel, where air conditioning, toilets that flush and WARM SHOWERS awaited. We had lunch & dinner at the same restaurant and I ate delicious (& authentic) fajitas. We found a grocery store where I happily purchased two boxes of soy milk - and you would have thought I found the holy grail when I saw a street vendor selling grapes. The grapes excitement was only surpassed when we found ice cream. Here in Haiti, there are some truly delicious flavors - but variety in the rural area is very limited - this min-vacation reminded me that I am, and always will be someone who intends to appreciate all of God's flavors to their fullest. 

Meat, green veggies and dairy products all in one meal?!

BASEBALL. Granted, it was the yankees & 
 the cards in Spring training - but I'll take 
what I can get. 

Colorful and Delicious

As always, Haiti provided 
breathtaking views. 

So now, with a God gifted mini vacation behind me (including my fair share of indoor plumbing in the past two weeks) and after a busy day helping at an auction (for the items of a past missionary) I am exhausted to the fullest - and trying to recover from a nasty cold. This Sunday, a team with 410 Bridge arrives and a friend of mine is the team leader. I am looking forward to visiting with her and watching this team of college students make an impact on the little community of Bohoc, which is quickly becoming my home.