Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Birthday!

Having a “summer birthday” when you’ve always had winter ones is quite a new experience. I was just looking at some pictures of Chilliwack and it seemed so different seeing all the snow. Here the temperature is in the mid to low 20’s (Celsius) and the sky is blue. Jason took me to the beach for my birthday, which we all really enjoyed. After being so busy with moving, setting up our house and language school in the village, it was a great being able to relax and enjoy some time at the beach. Rather then me trying to describe it, you can check out our pictures on our website. Hope you all have a nice day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Home" for Christmas

I stuff the last piece of bread still from breakfast in Jayden’s mouth as I step into the gator. It’s still early in the morning but we are running late so as soon as I’m sitting and hanging on, Jason starts it up and off we go. The roads are extremely bumpy and filled with potholes so I hold on tightly with one arm as I clutch Jayden with the other. This little vehicle has no functioning seat belts so it’s important to hang on tight. The good thing is, is that there are almost no other vehicles on the road here in Pignon, and the roads are bumpy so you can’t go fast even if you wanted too. Sand and grit blow over the plastic windshield and I’m thankful for the sunglasses I’m wearing. Here in Pignon my sunglasses are multi-functional. They keep the sun out of my eyes but even more importantly the dust out of my contacts. We’re on our way to the airport to catch a flight back to Port-au-Prince where we will spend Christmas, but getting ready took a little longer then planned. However, since we are the only passengers on the MAF flight back to Port-au-Prince I highly doubt that Mark Williams, the program director and Pilot for the flight would leave without us. I smile and tap Jason on the arm. “Don’t worry,” I say, “he won’t leave without us”, but Jason can’t hear me over the din of the motor so he just shrugs and smiles. I have to laugh! You would think we were missing an international flight or something the way we were acting. I relax and let the early morning sunrise warm my now rather dusty hair. I don’t care if it’s dusty I think to myself, the wind tugging at my clothes, the warm sun, the palm trees scraping against the blue sky…it’s all so beautiful and I just take a moment to soak it all in. Fifteen minutes later we arrive at the airport and find out that MAF hasn’t even arrived yet. We still have plenty of time so we explore the tiny airport. It consists of one very large grass strip runway and a small airport building, if you can call it that. It’s a small beautifully painted cement structure and probably the only building in Pignon that actually has a tile floor. The door just consists of a metal gate and the breeze blows right in. The only thing inside are some chairs to sit on and a bathroom. A little later we hear the whir or an airplane approaching so we go outside to look. Sure enough, there comes Mark. The little plane circles overhead and then comes in for landing. It lands smoothly and minutes later passengers and cargo unload. Then we put our few things in the plane and climb in. Before long we are airborne. The flight back to Port-au-Prince is beautiful. I stare at never ending rolling mountains and valleys in all shades of yellow, orange, green and brown. Glistening rivers reflect the sun rays and sparkle brightly. Cattle graze on the slopes, and every now and then we see the thatched roofs of dozens of little huts. After 20 minutes we catch sight of the ocean and the sprangling city of Port-au-Prince. As we prepare for landing Mark slows down the plane as much as he can and the stall warning starts to go off. I peer infront of me and see a large 747 sitting in the middle of the runway. Puzzled I look at Mark, but he appears calm and continues to advance. Seconds later the 747 has turned and left the runway giving us plenty of time to land. I sigh and relief. As the plane advances closer and closer to the runway a sudden gust of wind lifts us up and I brace myself as we land with a jolt. We then proceed to taxi to the terminal and are greeted by the other MAF pilots. Home for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Making Juice....

I balance precariously on a branch and stare for a moment at the ground beneath me. Then determinedly I lift up my other flip flopped foot and climb higher into the grapefruit tree. Tantalizing ripe grapefruit sway in the breeze way above my head. Holding tightly onto a fork like branch that I’m carrying in my other hand I stop for a moment and take a deep breath. Sweet blue eyes look up questioningly beneath m.” Ba?” Jayden says, meaning ball! I smile and nod. “Mommy will be right down,” I tell him reassuringly. Then I tackle the task ahead of me. Since we make all our own juices here these grapefruits will be just right for the juice I plan to make with tonight’s dinner. The only problem is, is that we’ve taken all the ones within reach, or within the sticks reach. Now it’s time for some monkey business! I climb a little higher and then push my forked stick through the thick foliage. Wham, wham, wham. I shake a branch laden with fruit but nothing happens. Wham, wham, finally a massive grapefruit breaks off the branch and falls to the ground with an earth shaking thud. “Ba?” Jayden says again and goes running for it. He picks it up excitedly and carries it under his arm like a football. He tries to run with it but it is pretty heavy for his little arms so he doesn’t get very far. From my vantage point I can still keep an eye on him so I carry on. After several more unsuccessful attempts I finally get 3 more down. There is still more up there, but by now my arm is getting sore and I’m not sure if my flip flops have survived the awkward position. I jump down and bend the deformed flip flips back into shape. Then together with Jayden I carry our treasures to our little kitchen. Yummy grapefruit juice with dinner tonight!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Dark Night ...

I take the last bite of dinner and sigh. That Bami sure was delicious. Thanks Dad for giving us all those packages to bring with us! Although we can’t make it exactly the same way as we did back home we have come up with some good alternatives and it’s what we call a delicious, nutritious meal! Jayden is racing around the room, since somewhere between Port-au-Prince and Pignon his high chair has gone missing. As soon as he’s finished his meal he slides off his seat and runs laps around the room. I watch him and smile. Just then everything goes dark, pitch black. The batteries must have run out. Jayden starts crying in panic and we feel around in the dark for him. Seconds later I find him sitting on the floor and I hug him close. Todd, who happened to being carrying a flashlight with him turns it on and after passing Jayden to Jason I proceed to light some candles. Earlier today we had run completely out of water, so the generator which normally provides electricity at night and charges the batteries that we were using just now, had been brought down the road to pump water from the cistern. It took quite awhile to bring it there because the generator is fairly heavy and we still don’t have a vehicle. The pump house is a good two kilometers down the road as well. At least by dinner time it had pumped the water back to the camp, so even though it was just a trickle we did have water. By candle light we wash dishes and then I heat a little water on our propane stove for Jayden’s nightly bath. Since there isn’t a lot of water here and it’s expensive on gas to pump it, everyone usually only takes a quick shower once or twice a week, but Jayden is still small so it’s easy to bathe him in a Rubbermaid. He really needs it too. It’s incredible how dirty he gets everyday. Even though it’s only 7:30 as soon as Jayden is in bed we get ready for bed too. Normally we play games, read books or study at night, but without light it’s just not very practical. Our candles need to last for the time we are here so we can’t afford to keep them burning for too long. After brushing my teeth I make my way to our bedroom only to be surprised by another creepy visitor. A large black spider is frozen to the wall under the beam of my flashlight. At three different times I whack it with my shoe, but each time it gets away. Finally we can’t find it anymore and we give up. Later as we are falling asleep Jason and I whisper jokes to each other about what that spiders is going to do to us while we’re sleeping. I move as close to the middle of the bed as I can and pull the sheets up to my ears. Keep your mouth closed, keep your mouth closed, repeats itself over and over again in my head as I drift off. I know what I’ll be dreaming about tonight.

Until Next Blog,

~The Krul Family~

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some more Pics..

Here we are taking the 1hr + hike into town to get some internet!

Will getting a hand with the laundry.

Jayden running free in the acres of open land

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Early Morning Visitor!

I roll over sleepily and pop open one eye. Suddenly both eyes pop open! What was that? Out of the corner of my eye I see something big and creepy. Very slowly , so as not to disturb our visitor, I turn over and nudge Jason. “What?” He mumbles sleepily. “Wake up!” I whisper. He sits up in bed and I point at the large, black, hairy intruder. ‘Gross,” he says. Some how the spider had crawled its way into our mosquito net while we were sleeping. I shiver. “What if my mouth was open while I was sleeping? Eww.. "Get a towel", Jason whispers. He’s been married to me long enough, and knows how I feel about killing little creatures. I carefully move the mosquito net aside and slip out of bed. I grab the nearest towel off of another bunk bed in the room and fearfully make my way back to the bed. Spiders don’t bother me so much normally, but this one in our bed is pretty freaky. I wrap the towel around my hand and inch forward. Wham, the towel covers the spider and I close my hand around it, then I dash for the door. Morning is dawning, so there is enough light to see. I shake out the towel. I missed it! The spider is nowhere to be found. I run back to our room. “It got away, Jay.” He had been laying down, supposing the spider was gone, but when he heard it wasn’t he immediately sat bolt upright. “Are you sure?” he says. “Yes, it wasn’t in the towel.” He crawls back out of bed and we go hunting. Finally I see it behind a rubbermaid container. “There it is.” “Are you going to try catch it again?” Jason questions. “No way!” I said,” "I’m going to get the skeeter beater. I’m not taking any more chances!” I stumble into the kitchen and find the fly swatter. “I wouldn’t use that,” Jason says. Jayden sticks that thing in his mouth. “What are we going to use then,” I wonder aloud. “How about a clothes hanger, Jason says. He reaches for one and squeamishly walks towards the spider. “Where did it go now?” I gingerly flip over the Rubbermaid and seconds later uncover its hiding spot in the lid. There it is! Wham, Jason got it this time. We drag the Rubbermaid outside and using several napkins clean up the wet, juicy mess on the inside of the lid. Then I bury the spider, so Jayden won’t pop it in his mouth when he goes exploring tomorrow morning. Poor thing!
That begins another buggy morning in Pignon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Day at the Market

Smoke from nearby cooking fires swirl upward as I gingerly make my way through the crowded market. I dodge a woman carrying a large basket on her head and feel a warm arm nudge me on my right. I move aside to let a boy pass and look down just in time to side step a rather flattened dead rat. “En dollar, dis dollar, sache? sache?” Voices swirl around me all demanding my attention, but I hurry on searching for Pam and Jennifer. I soon find them, since although the market is crowded their pale skin is hard to miss in the sea of dark bodies. People carry chickens under their arms, baskets of rice on their heads, and herd their bleating goats to the “meat department”. Little sheets, garbage bags or blankets are laid out everywhere and woman, children, and the occasional tied up duck, sit on them proudly displaying their wares. Onions, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, garlic, and plantains are some of the more common goods people sell. We stop and barter for some potatoes and then go on to buy rice, onions and eggs. As we stop to examine some bananas I suddenly let out a small shriek. Something sharp just stepped on my toe. I quickly pull my foot away and look down just in time to see a rooster on a short string held by his master straining to eat some kernels of corn between my feet. A lady sits close by with a large bowl of corn on her lap, ready to scoop up to sell and when the rooster spots this it makes a dive for the bowl. She shoos him away and then says some choice words to the owner. He shrugs picks up his rooster and is soon on his way. We continue to squish and squeeze our way through the throngs of people and animals to buy the last things on our list. Towards the end we pass through the meat department and I shudder. Since there is no refrigeration, meat is killed every Saturday morning at the market to make it as fresh as possible. I watch as a woman puts her hands elbow deep into a large pot of yellowish brown soggy meat. I try to hide my horror as I smile at her and she smiles sweetly back. A few steps later two men wrestle with the carcass of a pig. What bothers me even more is the line up of cute little goats, bleating in horror as they await their slaughter. My stomach turns and I focus only on peoples faces, so I don’t have to look. Finally we’re back at the vegetable section and I let out the breath I didn’t even know I was holding. Relieved I look around and then go in search for some pineapple. Just then two large tap taps (taxis) come barreling through the crowd. Jennifer pulls me to the side and I watch as women frantically pull their goods out of the path of the large dump truck like vehicles. As soon as they pass, the wares are placed back out, and we make our way back to Pam’s truck. Ahh.. done with the market till next week.
As we drive back from the market, Pam realizes she still needs oranges. Seeing some sold at the side of the road, we stop to buy some. One of the two policemen in Pignon happens to be standing close by and as we stop he walks up to the truck. License and registration he demands gruffly, in Kreyol. Pam fishes in the glove box for her paperwork and hands it over. We soon draw a crowd and people surround us. Pam groans. “You don’t have the proper licence plates on your truck,” the police officer says. Pam fishes for her phone to try to call Matt, her husband, but there is no answer. “You better come to the police station,” the officer says, as he climbs onto the only motorcycle the police force in Pignon own. We follow him, and as we drive, Pam explains how they had spent a lot of money trying to get the new license plates, but to no avail. Since they were still working on their Haitian residency papers, they have not been given them. Knowing some of the struggles Pam and Matt had gone through in their two years here in Pignon, I feel like crying. When we arrive at the police station Pam goes in and Jennifer and I stay with our food in the truck. A few minutes later, I decide to join Pam. Although I speak only a little Creole I figure she could use some moral support. “We are going to confiscate your truck” the police officer says. Pam pales even more and grabs for her cell phone once again. She really needs to get a hold of her husband, but he’s not answering. In the meantime I study the police officers. Pignon only has two officers on duty at one time and I take my time examining them. The one who “arrested us” is wearing dark blue pants, a cream shirt, worn black boots, a gun holster with a gun and a flashlight holder minus the flashlight. The other officer is only wearing plaid shorts, sandles and a white polo shirt. The police station is a tiny concrete structure. It has some kind of desk but it is bare. There doesn’t even seem to be a light in the place. The only other thing in the small room is two empty cells with padlocks. Taking up the whole yard is a giant school bus painted blue and white. I guess that’s their police cruiser! I couldn’t help but smile to myself. Pam explains about the paperwork and licence plates but to no avail. They want her truck. She then explains that she has a baby back home that needs to be fed and if she can come back later with the truck. They shake their heads stubbornly and tell her she can walk, but the truck stays here. At this point we are both trying to hide our anger at their injustice and are near tears. Jus then Pam’s phone rings and she walks off to answer it. When she leaves, the police officer wearing the shorts, points out to his friend wearing the worn out boots that they shouldn’t let this opportunity slip out of their hands. They both really could use a new pair of boots. I stare at them unbelievingly, but they ignore me completely. Feeling helpless, since I speak so little Creole, and not knowing what to say, even if I did, I close my eyes for a second and take a deep breath. There is one thing I can do, I think to myself. I could pray to God who promises in His word that He is a very present help in time of trouble. I pray that God will touch these men’s hearts to return the truck. I pray for Pam and Matt that this new set back won’t discourage them even more from the mission work they are doing here and that some how this can all get resolved. Then I look up and wait. Pam continues to try to reason with them, but they continue to shake their head. No, No, they say. You can go, but we will keep your truck. Discouraged, I looked around. “There’s Pastor Memish”, someone in the crowd surrounding the police department says. I look up to see an older, Haitian man making his way through the crowd. Was this who God has sent? I look up hopefully. He greets us all and then softly begins to speak to the police officers. He is so calm, that it is amazing to watch him. He speaks to the police officers for about 10 minutes and then turns his gentle eyes on us. “You’re free to go,” he says in broken English. Our mouths drop open in amazement. He hands us the keys and walks us to the truck. As I slide back into the passenger seat I silently thank God, an ever present help in time of trouble.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Around our house in Pignon

Here's a short clip of Will playing with some Haitian kids around our house in Pignon.

Our house in Pignon

Will in front of the gazebo where we can study in the shade!

The Edgerton Family's house (across from ours)

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Long Walk for Technology!

Hello guys!

Just so you appreciate what a blessing it is to have a motor vehicle, i thought i would share with you my experience today.

Since it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a willing driver (or even a working vehicle for that matter) and I dont do so well with donkeys, Todd and I decided to walk to the airport where we could get an internet connection to send a couple emails. Two hours of walking at a face pace under the beating sun just for 3 emails - now thats dedication!

I posted a video below of us driving through town in the back of some guy's gator. (I hope the video works for ya)