Saturday, November 29, 2008

Driving in Pignon

Hello All!

Here's a short clip of us driving in the back of a gator through the hectic streets of Pignon. It sure beats riding a donkey!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Morning in Pignon

1:30 a.m.

Bark, bark, bark. I roll over in bed and cover my ears, hoping the noise will stop. Then after several minutes of hearing the incessant barking, I groan, roll over and push open the side of the mosquito net. There’s no power on, so I reach clumsily for my flashlight and then stumble my way into the kitchen to find the pan of leftover sphagetti noodles that I had put on the counter the night before. The light from the flashlight is dim and as I open the door and step outside into the cool darkness, it does nothing to lighten my path. Blindly I make my way to the outside camp kitchen area, and finally my flashlight illuminates a small, pathetic dog. I dump, the pan of old noodles in front of him, tell him to stop barking, so we can sleep and then make my way back to our “camp house”. I shut the flashlight off and crawl into bed, then I close my eyes tightly and listen. Quiet, not a sound can be heard. I sigh with relief and then drift back to sleep.

4:30 a.m.

Bang, bang, bang. Jayden is awake and is banging the sides of his pack and play to make sure everyone knows it. I pretend I don’t hear, but after a little while I crawl out from under our mosquito net again, and carefully fold open his. “What do you want Jayden?” I say. He looks up at me hopefully and says “ba”, meaning bottle. I grab the flashlight again, stumble into the kitchen, grab a bag of water and search for the can of milk powder. I give him his bottle and he lets out a contented sigh “aah”. After he’s finished he calls for me again, so I take him out grab some blankets and cuddle with him on our makeshift couch in the kitchen. I hug his little body close and sing softly to him in Dutch, till he falls asleep again. I lay him back down and crawl back in bed.


Cock-a doodle do.. Cock-a doodle do... Roosters are crowing, Bark, bark, bark… Dogs are barking.. Swish, swish, someone is sweeping outside our window. Bang, bang, bang, Jayden is awake and ready to get out. Since Jason took him out the last two mornings, it’s my turn today. I quickly put on his shorts, boots, and jacket and then get dressed myself. Once I step outside all thought of returning to bed leave me. The blue sky beckons, the sun kisses my cheeks and the breeze gently pushes the hair out of my face. I smile and look at Jayden and as I hold his precious little hand we walk side by side to the meadow. The goats are excited to see us and we pick hand fulls of grass which Jayden holds carefully to their mouths. Every now and then a tugging contest ensues and I smile. Then together we hike to the river. The path is small so Jayden walks up front of me and touches the plants that are leaning onto the trail. We carefully make our way down to the river and stare into the fast flowing water. The vegetation is amazing. A half an hour later we make our way back our stomaches rumbling.


Breakfast consists of a peanut butter and jam sandwich. We finally got a stove we could use but we don’t have any pans. After breakfast we feed the chickens and then look for one of the camp workers. In broken Creole and sign language we explain we need a pan, finally he understands and brings us three.


Jayden is in bed and we are studying. We are learning body parts in Creole and are having a lot of fun. Who knew that your tongue was actually your lung? And your chest your stomach? And your neck was a koe (dutch for cow)? We study till lunch time, and that ends a beautiful morning in Pignon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update ...

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? We’ve been enjoying your comments, but haven’t had time to reply yet since our access to internet has been very limited. I’m typing this at the camp where we are staying right now, (Camp de la Grace) and Jason hopes to go to the school this afternoon to post this on our blog. We are thankful to say that Jason is feeling much, much better. He completed taking the malaria medication on Sunday and is now feeling a lot more like himself. Jayden has had an upset stomach for the last two days, but seems to be doing much better today. I got sick last night, so I’m not functioning too well right now, but I can still sit behind the laptop and type so I guess it’s not too bad. It seems like we’ve been here much longer then 5 days! We’ve been adjusting well and had some neat experiences. Since we are living in a small isolated village, we are able to observe village life all around us. We’ve also seen all types of interesting little animals and bugs. Just the other day we found a giant tarantula. It had been hibernating in a rock pile, but had come out when the sun peaked through the clouds. The Edgerton children had been waiting for just this thing and had their bug aquarium ready. It was gross looking at the big hairy spider, but also very interesting. We took all kinds of pictures and hopefully we will be adding those to our picasa picture gallery, if the internet connection is strong enough to let us upload pictures. If you want to check, just click on our website and then on photos. Every morning Jayden wakes up early, like 4:30 and although we try to keep him in bed till 5:30 he’s raring to go outside. He chases the chickens around, feeds the goats, and picks up all types of interesting rocks, pieces of mud, etc and tries to eat them! This is a little disturbing, so one of our Hatian friends recommended a muzzle. Apparently they use them on their little kids here. Although that idea at first really appalled me, today he was picking up goat terds, thinking they were droopies (mmmm...droopies.....), so I don’t know! No wonder he had an upset stomach!
Yesterday was our first day of language school. Our instructor’s name is Jacquline, but she speaks almost no English. Our book is also very ancient, mice have had a few dinners out of them, and they smell like moth balls, but oh well. We’ve been learning a lot of new words, and it’s amazing how much we can understand Creole already! The weather today is nice. Although it has been cooler then we expected, its probably around 20 degrees today, with some clouds.
Besides learning Creole and bug hunting , we’ve also had time to go on some beautiful hikes. The vegetation, rivers and mountains are beautiful. Along the mountains wild potatoes grow, which we eat for dinner. Cows graze along the river banks. Tall sugar cane plants sway proudly in the breeze, and majestic palm trees reach up high to touch the ever changing sky. Jeroen, you would totally love hiking around here, and Jaap you and the girls would love all the unique bugs! I miss all of you and hope to write more soon!

We hope to update it regularily.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Life in Pignon

Hello All,

We are doing well in Pignon! Jason is over his malaria -PTL! We had our first Kreyol lesson today which was pretty cool. We have uploaded a few pictures on our website of Pignon so you can check it out. We hope to write more tommorrow.


Friday, November 21, 2008


Hi Everyone! I have about 10 pages of stuff I would love to write but i only have about 5 minutes. We arrived in Pignon although we almost had to turn back because of the cloud cover over the village. Fortunately we found an opening and the 3 MAF planes made it through safely. Our surrounding our extremely poor. We are sleeping on a mattress balancing on a couple of bricks on a dirt/cement floor. Very little electricity, cooking over a fire etc. Jason apparently does have malaria so he had a rough first day in Pignon. We visited the hospital, but it kind of freaked us out (we only saw the public ward and there were just people all over the place). Apparently the private wards are better but we didn't get a chance to see it. Since Jason had all the classic symptoms of malaria, and you can only be tested when you have the fever, which is in the middle of the night, Caleb, our helper decided just to pick up the medication. Jason has taken some already and feels a lot lot better! I do too, because I felt really bad for him coming to a new place with a lot of adjustments, and having to lay in bed, in the dark, under a mosquito net, not sure of what kind of bed bugs might be crawling out of the mattress in any second! ;) Anyway the people here are so friendly, and the stories they tell of life in Pignon are amazing. Now that Jason is doing much better we are much happier too. :) One funny thing was that Jayden woke up in the middle of the night and thought he was a chicken. Suddenly we heard "tok tok tok tok tok". When I told him to be quite since it was 3:00 in the morning and there was a work team sleeping the building with us as well he just giggled and kept on going. I really kicked myself for teaching him the chicken noise. There are lots of chickens here and I guess my love for chickens rubbed off on him! I will write some more soon, probably Monday. Please pray for us as we adjust here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our last night in Port-au-Prince!

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? We are doing fine! Well Jayden and I are doing fine, but Jason is a little under the weather. He spent the day in bed today with a fever, aches and chills. I keep teasing him that it’s just a man cold, but our program director said it could be Malaria. If it is, we will find out tomorrow. We hope to leave tomorrow for language school and cultural training in Pignon and there is a hospital close by there. Apparently you can take a simple test and find out if it is malaria or not. There is a treatment available there too. Today was a very busy day for me. With Jason in bed, and Jayden getting into all kinds of trouble (J) I was left to pack for the next 3 months. Good thing for me I have become a pro packer. With all the moving around in the last year, I barely have to think about what we need and how to pack, so that’s a good thing. Except this time we have to bring flashlights, mosquito nets, bug spray, powdered milk, etc, all those things we didn’t need to take on our other moves. I just noticed I have spots all over my arms and legs again. Apparently it’s fairly common to get minor allergic reactions to some of the plants and insects here, since we haven’t come in contact with them before. It doesn’t bother me that much though. If it does I just take some Benadryl and that takes care of it. Tomorrow we get to experience our first MAF flight and we are very excited about that. Our language studies will be done in a small village. I’ll write more about it when we’re there! There is a school nearby where we can check our email and write blog entries so we hope to keep you posted what life is like in Pignon.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Here we are in front of our new home!

This is the family who is living with us, and are taking care of the house. Their names are Anoud & Denise and their two children are called Nicolas and Sabboule.

Here is Jayden sharing his toys with his two new Haitian brothers!

Another picture of us, this time with a larger view of our house.

Nicolas & Jayden.


Hello everyone! How are you all doing? We are doing fine! How’s the weather here? Well warm as usual. I think every day it’s been around 30 degrees or so and we’ve been acclimatizing pretty well! At least we’re not sweating so much anymore! We are thinking of all of you shivering in cold Canada and the USA. ;) It’s hard to believe it’s actually November and Christmas is just around the corner!
The Edgerton family arrived today and we were very happy to see them. They are the other family that’s joining MAF Haiti. Their names are Todd and Jennifer and they have two children Kyle and Meagan. Jason and Todd, always joke about being “the other half”, since all the career staff in MAF Haiti are both Pilot and Mechanic. In our case Jason is the pilot and Todd is the mechanic. We’ve done several classes with them when we were in Nampa Idaho and really enjoyed spending time with them. We’d better because they are now living in the same place we are! The house we are staying at right now, is actually their house, since we are still waiting for electricity and a few basic appliances to be installed. It’s really nice having them here. I guess we are just used to our little one bedroom apartment, and the house we are staying at now seemed big and empty but now that the Edgertons are here and unpacking their things it feels more cozy.
Except for the couch, stove, fridge and two beds, which are all sitting in Customs, we’ve unpacked and set everything else up in our own house. It’s a lot of fun, finally being able to unpack after being on the move for the last year. However, next week we move again, this time to a small village in Pignon for 3 months of language and cultural studies, but at least our things are unpacked and most of our house is set up. As we mentioned earlier, a family is currently employed as care-takers of our home and we have included some pictures. They live on our property and Jayden plays with their two little boys. Their names are Anoud and Denise and their two children are Nicolas and Sabboule. We’ve included pictures of them and our home and hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Hello everyone! How are you all doing? We want everyone to know we appreciate your comments on our blog and your emails! Things are going well here in Haiti! We're acclimatizing to the warm weather and adjusting well. Today I had a little suprise! I was putting Jayden down for his morning nap and I noticed that part of his bottom sheet was turned up. When I reached down to adjust it I noticed some little dots running around. As I took a closer look and lifted up the sheet a little more I let out a horrified gasp! There were red ants everywhere! They were just teeming under that sheet and borrowing into Jayden's little foam pad that I placed into his pack and play to make it more comfortable. I grabbed Jayden out and yelled for Jason. Then I got to work. I gingerly lifted out the sheets and held them as far away from myself as possible. Then racing down stairs I shook it out outside. Bad idea! Soon I was covered with tiny, biting little red ants. I jumped up and down a couple times and frantically shook them off. Finally after having gotten most of them off, I felt a little better. I decided to just leave the sheet on the patio, since I didn't want to take it back in the house. Then I got to work on the mattress. I scrubbed, disinfected and rinsed, but the closer I looked the more I realized that they had made little holes into the foam pad and were hiding inside. Finally I just pinched out all the little holes, taking some of the foam out with the little ants and managed to get them all out. Phew, what a job! Anyway I felt much better once I knew they were all gone. Jayden is sleeping under a mosquito net so I hope they won't get in again. Plus, no more milk bottle to bed at nap time. I'm sure the little drops of milk were what attracted them in the first place. How is Jayden doing through all this craziness? I'm happy to report really well! He's gotten used to drinking water instead of juice, powered milk instead of fresh milk and bread instead of waffles. He doesn't mind the heat, and still runs around with the same amount of energy. He does sweat a lot though so I shower him off a couple times a day. Unfortunately the water is really cold, so he is not to happy about that! I think the whole neighborhood thinks I am murdering him, every time I rinse him off! Tonight I took pity on him and warmed up two big pans of water on the stove, like they did in the olden days, and let him sit in a little blue tub. He liked that a lot, and I felt better too now that he actually enjoyed getting clean. I included some pictures, so I hope you enjoy. Tomorrow we will write more about the family we are helping and other aspects of life in Haiti. We appreciate your prayers and support and don't forget to leave your comments! We love to read them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

School Collapse in Petionville, Haiti

As many of you have already heard on the news, there has been a collapse of a large 3 story Christian School here in Petionville (less than a few KM away from us). The death toll is now rising above 100, but is highly expected to rise as there were approx 600 people in the building when it collapsed! Hundreds of children and teachers are still trapped beneath the rubble, and there is virtually no heavy machinery nearby to assist in the rescue efforts. Please pray for Haiti as they suffer yet another loss / setback. Our Haitian neighbor lost 2 nephews and another with severe trauma in the collapse. We have not yet been able to get to the collapse site as tens of thousands of Haitians crowd the streets near the scene, and make it impossible to get through. The UN forces along with the Red Cross are working steady to rescue/retrieve as many victims as possible with the meager equipment available. Here is a video clip that shows a little more..

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome to Haiti

Rain is pouring down in buckets, lightning is flashing and the thunder is so loud it sounds like bombs are exploding all around us! We thought we had escaped the rain when leaving Chilliwack but apparently not! Wow, what a weather! It was a warm day again today but right after dinner the clouds gathered and now we are finding out what rain is really all about. As soon as I heard the first drop, I ran to the door and raced onto the patio. The rain is really a blessing here today! I actually wanted to stay standing under it for awhile. With the amount coming down I figured I would have a better shower this way then inside. The water here just trickles a little, so the pressure of the rainstorm was quite a big deal! I didn’t stand there to long though, because I didn’t want my clothes to get too wet. Doing laundry here is a real specialty to right now so you have to wear your clothes as long as possible. My whole idea of clean has gone right out the window too! I’m not sure how long I’ve been wearing the clothes I’m wearing now and I have no idea when the sheets on our bed that we are sleeping in were last washed. Everything gets dusty and dirty here pretty quick, but for some reason it doesn’t really bother me. I’m not sure if it’s just because my survival instincts have kicked in, and I realize that none of that stuff really matters in the big picture or if I’m still not functioning quite right because of the long time I’ve gone without sleep! Since our house doesn’t have power yet, we are currently living in another home. This morning we walked to our house (takes about 5 minutes from where we are staying), and as we began to unpack I really did look forward to actually cleaning everything, so I guess I haven’t lost that Dutch blood in me just yet. So what else can I tell you about Haiti? The Haitian people have been very friendly. I don’t feel scared or worried at all, like I thought I might. The MAF staff here has been great! Every night this week we are invited to eat dinner at one of their homes, and they have all been very welcoming and friendly. One more thing, Julie White, one of the MAF staff took us to the two nearest grocery stores. Stepping into them was like stepping into the US. They both had air-conditioning and had almost everything you could buy back home. Even toys and gifts! They also were set up in much the same way as grocery stores back home. However the cost was a different story. We bought enough stuff to make three basic, easy meals and it cost us $80! I guess we have to rethink our ideas about what meals are all about. We bought things for pizza, spaghetti and tacos, but from now on we go back to the old-fashioned Dutch way of cooking. Sorry Jason, but vegetables and potatoes from now on! J And occasionally some rice and beans thrown in!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The flight to Haiti was fairly uneventful. As soon as the plane took off Jayden fell asleep. I myself was up for over 30 hours before I had that privilege. I chatted with some of the Haitian people around me and was glad to see how friendly they all were. The flight lasted only 1 hour and 45 minutes, so before I knew it, I saw Haiti. First impressions? It looked bigger then I thought. The water around it was a cool blue color and I could see the coral reefs. The land looked a mix of browns and greens. Jayden woke up minutes before we landed and we felt a real thud, thud as the plane bounced on the runway. It took a bit of time to gather my things, but with the help of a friendly stewardess I was finally able to exit the plane. A metal stairs had been rolled to the entrance of the plane. As Jayden and I made our way down the stairs he cried! The bright sunlight and the wave of hot humid air was just to much for him. As I gently soothed him, he began to calm down, but he did cling to me.. after waiting for 20 minutes outside someone had finally found my stroller, which I had checked in before I entered the plane and we were ready to walk to the airport! Mark Williams, the program manager of Haiti was getting worried, so he came out of the airport waiting area to make sure we were alright, since it had been taking so long and to welcome us and help carry our things. As we entered the airport music played and shiny dark faces smiled and waved at me. Although the line up at customs was long, and I was a little worried since I had filled out some of the paperwork wrong, scribbled on it and rewrote over top, the girl at the desk took no notice. Very importantly she opened my passport, and stamped it, and then without even glancing at my papers stamped those too and waved me on. Then it was time to pick up our suitcases. Evidently two of my suitcases had been misplaced, but finally after 45 minutes I had them all! From then on, Mark Williams guided me through the crowd and we made our way outside to the waiting area, where Jason was waiting. He was glad to see us and we were sure glad to see him! The drive from Port-au-Prince was an experience! The roads were full of people, animals, buss', parked cars, tap taps, garbage, etc. There were huge dips, and holes in the roads, and some roads were actually partially dried up river beds. Since I had been expecting poor road conditions I guess what surprised me most was that I wasn’t afraid at all! It seemed like we had many “narrow misses” with other vehicles, people etc, but we were going so slow even if we had hit something it would have hardly mattered. Apparently people don’t use car seats either, although I had brought one with for Jayden, now I kind of understand why. The driving is so slow that although many vehicles have dents and scratches I doubt that many people get really hurt. Our first stop was to our house. We were surprised and excited to see that it had been well maintained, and to meet the Hatian family who had been taking care of it for us. Since they have no other place to stay we plan to have them live with us. There is a separate little house for them with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, where they live. Their names are Arnold and Denise and they have two little boys, a 3 year old and a one year old. We just ask everyone to pray for this young family, and that we may received guidance from God, on how best to help them. I’ve got more to tell, but Jason’s getting antsy (he wants to use the computer) and this blog has gotten pretty long. I’ll write more later.. bye for now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Departure for Haiti

Monday, started bright and early. Both Jayden and I were quite excited as we packed our final things into the suitcases and tried to close the lids. The truth is Jayden was trying to unpack, and I was scratching my head wondering how in the world all our stuff was going to fit, but we had fun! Natalie came over in the morning and showed me how to roll up all our clothes to save space and it really worked! I didn’t manage to take everything, that I had planned, but with some thoughtful consideration, I chose some of the items I thought we could do without. Once packed, each suitcase weighed around 50lbs so I was happy. We left Chilliwack at 3:30, and arrived at the Seattle airport in record time. There were no problems at the border for which I was very grateful! I had a huge package of paperwork which explained where we were going and what we were doing, but the friendly border crossing guy didn’t ask for any and after a few simple questions and then an incredulous, “wow”, he waved us through. Traffic on the way to the airport wasn’t bad either ! When we checked in at the Seattle airport they weighed each suitcase and one was 2 lbs overweight and another one was 6 lbs over weight. If I wanted to keep them that way I would have to pay a $100 fee. However Jayden and I were both eligible for a carry on as well. I had only packed one big backpack because I also had to carry Jayden’s car seat and stroller. However, I really didn’t want to pay $100 extra so I pulled out another bag filled it with 8 lbs worth of stuff and carried that as well. Since our flight didn’t leave till 9:30 I had plenty of time to get through airport security. When I arrived at the boarding area, I quickly spotted a friendly looking older couple and spent some time talking with them. The older man helped carry my stuff onto the plane which was a big help! Jayden did well on the flight and slept 3 out of the 5 hours. We arrived in Miami at 6:30 a.m.. From there I had a long walk all the way to the other side of the airport to where the international flight gates were. I looked pretty funny with all the stuff I was dragging, but the airport wasn’t busy and Jayden and I did enjoy ourselves. Although it was a little stressful traveling by myself with an active little monkey, we both stayed relaxed and had fun! Since the layover was 4 hours I weighted at the Port-au-Prince gate for a long time. It felt a little strange being the only white people , sitting there, but Jayden didn’t feel the same. He just walked up to people and “petted” their clothes. Gave his rubber ball or threw it at them and chattered and laughed, so very quickly we made friends. One lady gave us all her personal information, in case I ever wanted or needed to contact her. We did experience one funny incident. I was waiting in line and there was a lady in front of me, who previously had been holding a little boy, younger then Jayden. Anyway she wasn’t holding him anymore, he was no where to be found and instead she was pulling 2 suitcases. When the airport attendant asked for her boarding pass and passport she pulled it out of the front of her shirt! Much disturbed the man barely dared to touch it! Then a lady came up to her and said, “but ‘so and so’ where is your baby?” Her hand flew to her mouth and she went running off leaving her suitcases behind, blocking the aisle for anyone else to get past. Minutes later she came running back with her little boy, grabbed her suitcases and trotted on board.
(I hope to write another post tonight with my first impressions on Haiti and what we’ve been doing since we arrived)