Monday, March 23, 2009


I know many people have been waiting to hear what my parents and my sister Gloria think of Haiti but instead of trying to explain what they think, Gloria volunteered to write a blog entry herself. Here is her story.

We arrived last week Tuesday after 15 hours of travel. With a stopover in Los Angeles and then another in Miami we were relieved to finally step out of the large American Airlines airplane onto the tarmac of the Port au Prince International Airport. A heat wave hit us instantly so we were thankful when we stepped inside the air conditioned airport. A band of Haitian musicians were seated at the entrance of the arrival section and greeted us with their lively Caribbean style music. Soon after we had deplaned the suitcases came through an outside conveyor belt into a tiny little room. After about a half an hour we managed to find all 6 of our suitcases! We were glad since we were worried some would get misplaced during the two stopovers we had. Fortunately, Jason managed to get behind security with his pilot badge and was able to help us load up two carts with our suitcases. I was surprised that we had to pay for the suitcase cart, but I soon found out that everything in Haiti costs money. With a little negotiating from Jason with the security guards we slipped out of the airport only to be surrounded with a group of Haitian men competing to carry our bags. After tipping three men we loaded the suitcases in the back of the truck and were on our way to Jason and Will’s new home.
We couldn’t believe what we all saw during the drive to their home. Everything seemed chaotic. There were no stop signs or speed limits, in fact there appeared to be no rules at all. Cars dodged around each other narrowly missing one another and brightly coloured Tap Taps, (Haitian taxis) zigzagged haphazardly through traffic. Even more amazing was to see how many people fit on one Tap Tap. They crammed inside, squashed on top of each other, hung off the sides, and even sat on the roof. It was quite a sight! Horns could be heard everywhere. Apparently this was not due to road rage, but rather a common way of communicating between drivers. It could mean “watch out”, “I’m backing up”, “slow down”, or “get off the road”, It basically could mean anything depending on the situation. We also saw many people balancing amazing amounts of fruits, vegetables and market goods on their heads as they walked down the streets. Finally after an hour, we arrived at a large gate. Jason honked a special pattern and minutes later the gate was opened by Anoud, the caretaker of Jason and Will’s home. Anoud helped Jason bring the suitcases into the house for us, and then we started to unpack. We brought six suitcase packed full with not only our own clothes, but also clothes, underwear, toothbrushes, socks, toys, and pencil cases for the kids in the village, provided for by friends and family. Jason, Will and Jayden where very excited to see us, and also very happy with all the little treats from home, and the clothing and other articles they could hand out to the children in the villages.
After having lunch Jason, Dad, and I went to an American type grocery store to buy a few items we needed. Police with guns stood on the parking lot keeping a close eye on everyone that came. Once we bought what we needed a Haitian helped bring the groceries into the truck so he could earn some money too. Nothing is done for free here! Once we arrived back home it was time for supper. That night we all slept well and felt quite refreshed the next morning.
So refreshed in fact that Mom got right to work cleaning the kitchen cupboards! (She said they looked “vet” (Dutch for greasy)). I didn’t feel like cleaning (this is a holiday) so instead I spent some time exploring their place and playing with Jayden.
Once Jason was back from flying for the day we all piled into the truck and went off into town to buy paintings. The minute the sellers/painters saw us they crowded around us, and tried to make my dad pay very high prices for the paintings. Since Jason is a good bargainer and could speak Kreyol we got a little system going. Mom and Dad would pick out the painting that they liked and then walk away. Then minutes later Jason would go and negotiate a better price with them. Altogether we bought about 10 paintings so the painters were very happy with us. The next day we were invited by another MAF family to eat a real Haitian meal for supper. It included rice and beans (of course) and some type of beef stew, meliton and carrots. It sure was delicious!
Friday morning at 7 o’clock we were on our way to the beach. I was excited since I’ve seen some of Will’s pictures and the beach and hotel that we were planning to stay at for a night looked really nice. We were on our way for about an hour when suddenly a bus came right at us and pushed us off the road. Unfortunately the edge of the road was a ditch and with our car on a crazy tilt we were stuck in the mud. Traffic stopped around us and people joked and laughed when they saw our car. In minutes several friendly Haitians helped us push the vehicle back on the road and we were on our way once again. We avoided school buses as much as we could after that! Since a large dump truck/Tap Tap had tipped and blocked the only way to our destination we had to wait for awhile before that was cleared away. At least we found a little rocky beach to wait at, and we were able to collect a garbage bag full of beautiful shells. About ½ hour later we were able to continue on our way and we arrived at our hotel on the beach 20 minutes later. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Palm trees swayed in the wind, the sand was white and soft, and the bright turquoise ocean beckoned us. We quickly put all our belongings in our little room and headed out to the beach. We built sand castles and went snorkeling and seen amazing fish in the coral reef. Because we had the beach basically to ourselves, we were bombarded by Haitians trying to sell their wares. They had more paintings, little soapstone statues, jewelry, exotic shells, and all kinds of other beautiful things. My parents bought a few more pictures and ordered a bunch of shell bracelets for the grandkids so that kept them busy for quite a while. At night we could see millions of twinkling stars and watched the wave’s crash against the shore. The next day we had a hearty breakfast and I was back in the water bright an early. In the morning the water was even clearer, so Will and I decided to go snorkeling again. Once we were underwater we could see the sun rays shine into the water. After we made our way through a beautiful maze of coral and looked at some exotic fish we decided to head back to the shore again. We found some nice comfy beach chairs and put them in the water were we nicely relaxed; trying our best to ignore the Haitian sellers. Since our checkout time was 3 o’clock, we made sure that we had everything packed by then. Our ride home was uneventful and we were happy to be safely home again.

Gloria’s story ends here on Saturday, but they still have till Thursday so I’m sure they will have more things to share. Both my parents are really enjoying themselves as well. Today they went on an MAF flight to a village called Hinche and Mom also went with Jason and I to the large “Mache” (Market). Maybe I’ll talk my Mom into writing an article. Hope you like the pictures.


  1. Hi Jason and Wil:

    Hi! I have read your blog quite a bit, but haven't commented yet - so now you know we're reading it too! Nice to hear your family arrived safely - how nice for them to see where you live and work. Your posts will have extra meaning for them now that they have seen the area. We love the stories of how God is blessing you in Haiti and the blessing you have been especially to the children. Enjoy your visit with your parents and sister!

  2. hi will and jay
    nice to hear that will's parents and Gloria have arrived safely. Hope you have a nice time together. I enjoyed reading Gloria's blog. We also enjoyed reading your new newsletter. We are looking forward to coming out in July the Lord willing.

  3. Hi Jay and Will.... we've been missing your posts! Glad to see you are well. How nice that your parents and Gloria are there! I guess they are leaving tomorrow? Love the pics.... you look great Will... very tanned and relaxed.... island life must agree with you! Jayden is growing up so fast, everytime we see a pic of him on the computer, the girls are like.... hey, there's our cousin who lives in Haiti! I think Gemma said once at school for show and tell that she had an aunt and uncle in Haiti, but she said no one believed her.... of course, right after that, she said she had an aunt and uncle in Australia too, so I am pretty sure the teacher thought she was making up storiesfor sure! Jay, your hair looks good a little longer.... at least Ron really thought so.... he said you looked younger and cooler! You are still young, so I'm not sure what he's trying to prove with that! Talk to you later... love Ron, Anita, Gemma and Carlye

  4. Hi there!
    I certainly do like the pictures! That beach looks almost as nice as the Dutch coast! ;-) Much warmer, though... that's true.
    Why am I not at all surprised about your mom starting to clean those 'vette kasjes' right away? :-) I'm glad they arrived safe and well. But I didn't expect it to take 15 hours of travel from Chilliwack! It must have been nice to finaly being able to show them around in your new home(town/land).
    And thanks for the newsletter! It is, as always, very nice! Last week Oma ask me already when I expected your next newletter, so I have a job to do...
    My best wishes for your parents and Gloria on their way back home!
    Love Mary, and Robert ;-)

  5. Hi this is Sara Stoutjesdyk from Alberta. My brother in law Matt (Gloria's BF;) was here for a week and was saying how Gloria was visiting you all in Haiti. So we checked out the blog. Very cool and interesting stories. We really enjoyed it. It was neat to read Glorias story as well. take care James and Sara

  6. 1) Hi Tim and Amy! How are you? I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. We've really enjoyed the visit with my parents and Gloria and miss them now that their gone. Thanks for your comment and encouragement.
    2)Hi Mom and Dad. Thanks for the comment. Gloria is a good writer too isn't she? Anyway we are looking forward to you coming as well. Maybe you can see Gloria's pictures sometime. She took a ton!
    3)Hey Ron, Anita, Gemma & Carlye! glad to see a comment from you again. Sorry it took so long to write a story again. There is always plenty to write about, but also plenty of other things to do! Anyay, my parents and Gloria have left again, so it's quiet here. I'm glad you liked the pictures. Gloria went camera happy and took a lot! Island life is definitely agreeing with us! The weather is sunny and warm, the people are friendly, the food is good.. Jayden is definitely getting big too. He chatters all day long and I just started potty training him even, quite fun! No wonder no one believes Gemma, who has family in Haiti AND Australia?? I keep threating Jason with a pair of scissors, but he says he wants to wait for a "good" haircut. He has to renew his medical in May and hopes to go to Florida then. At least he lets me shave the back of his neck every now and then! Anway hope to see you guys in May!
    4) Hi Mary, the beach is truly beautiful. I don't remember the Dutch coast so I can't really compare, sorry! My parents had a good time. As for the Newsletter they also told me you translated it into Dutch for Oma and Opa! That is very nice of you! Thank you.
    5) Hi James and Sarah! Nice to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed the stories. Gloria talked about you (when I asked!) and said how nice you were. Thanks for commenting and letting us know you liked the stories.