Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I strap on my back pack as I help Jayden out the door. It's 3:32 p.m. on Friday, September 25, and technically, swimming lessons started 2 minutes ago. Since I'm the teacher, it's not good that I'm late, but sometimes it just can't be helped! I was ready to leave 15 minutes ago, but when I called Jason to make sure he would be home on time to take care of Jayden, he told me he probably wouldn't be home till 5:00, so I had very little time to get Jayden ready. Swim shorts, T shirt, hat, floaties, shoes, juice, by the time I had everything organized and packed it was 3:30.

Now as I slip on my sandals, hoist my back pack over my shoulders , strap it on, and grab Jayden's little hand I am in a rush. "Quick Jayden," I say as I tug on his hand. "We have to run!" Jayden loves to run and in no time at all we are out the gate and onto the road. "Umm, we'd better slow down here Jayden." I mutter. Laundry, bath, and dishwater sit in puddles all over the rocky, dusty road and I decide I'd better pick Jayden up. It's no good getting his feet all slimy and nasty and I can make much bigger jumps then he can. After carefully navigating my way over the puddles I finally hit pavement. Ahh, that's better. I put Jayden down and we keep walking at a brisk pace. People stare, wave, and greet us, and we smile and wave back. Jayden gets a lot of attention, especially from a group of school girls walking behind us, but today I don't have time to chat. I wave at the armed guards leaning over the wall that surrounds a massive mansion and they wave back. "Ou Vreman bell," (You are truly beautiful) a couple of teenage girls say as we hurry past, and I just thank them and keep going. People say that a lot here and I'm not sure if it's a cultural thing like in Korea where you are expected to say the same thing back or if they are just being friendly, so I make a mental note to ask Denise in the future. We turn right at another street and I carry Jayden again since the road goes downhill quite steeply. Traffic is a little busier too and the edge of the road has a lot of rocks easy for little feet to trip on. When we reach the bottom of the hill we turn left and this road is unpaved, dusty and rocky once again. Jayden insists on walking and two minutes later we arrive at the pool. The kids are already swimming so I quickly get ready and jump in. Since the first class is beginners, Jayden joins this class as well. Today is the last class, and after going through the usual lessons, we spend some time having fun. Jumping into the deep end, diving for rings and playing games. I normally have three children in this class, ages 3-6, but today we have one other Haitian girl visiting and then with Jayden it makes five.

When 4:00 rolls around I help the kids out of the pool and hand out report cards. The next group is the advanced group, where students range in age from 10-16. Jennifer babysits Jayden, since he's getting tired of swimming, and this allows me to give my full attention to the class. There are six students in this group and this class is the most advanced one that I am currently teaching. Shallow and deep dives, surface support, 4 laps each of front crawl and back crawl, underwater and endurance swimming are all part of the curriculum. When they are finished I hand out report cards as well and since it's 4:30 it's time for my intermediate class.

This class normally has 4 children but today just three showed up. The ages of this class is 6-8 years old. I watch as they dive in and swim two laps of front crawl across the pool.

They've also learned back crawl, underwater swimming, front and back glides, rhythmic breathing and straight legged kicking. It's really rewarding to see how much everyone has learned in 2 weeks of lessons! At 5:00 classes are over and Jayden and I slowly walk home. The swimming has tired me out and we are in no rush now. Jayden still seems energetic enough and has no problem walking home. When we are finally back home, Jason still isn't home, but calls to say he will be home soon. After emptying out my backpack and hanging up our wet towels, I preheat the oven and take the homemade pizza that I had made that morning, out of the fridge. Yum, Pizza on Friday night and a weekend of relaxation to look forward too. I am happy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear Oma and Opa!

Thank you so much for the delicious chocolate spread! Mommy is a little mad at me right now so I thought I would send you a letter. You see, this morning I was very hungry. I first ate two bowls of cereal and then at 9:30, I shared a piece of Lasagna with Mommy as a snack, but I was still hungry! While Mommy was busy I snuck into the kitchen, opened up the pantry and pulled out the jar of peanut butter and the jar of chocolate spread. Since I love chocolate I started on that one first. It was so delicious I couldn't help but take big hand fulls and squish them into my mouth. But you see, soon my hands got pretty sticky, and I don't like sticky hands so I wiped them on my shirt. Mommy is always trying to teach me to use napkins to wipe my mouth and shirt on when I'm done eating, but my shirt is just so much easier. Well, when mommy noticed that I was quiet for a little while, she thought she'd better check up on me. Was she in for a surprise!

So anyway Oma and Opa, since I ate most of the jar could you send some more?

Thank you.

Love Jayden

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Have you ever experienced a time in your life when things just keep going wrong? It really seemed that way to me these last two weeks. Whether it' s the breaker box on fire, the inverter not charging our batteries that give our home electricity during the day, the water pump making strange sounds, the wash machine not turning on, the hot water heater not working, water dripping from the ceiling whenever there was a storm, or just simply turning the tap on inside the house to find out that no water would come out, it just seemed like there was always something. I have to admit it's easy to get frustrated and discouraged, when you find yet another thing broken, and it's also in times like those easy to forget that we do have a Sovereign God, who is in control of everything in our lives, even the small things. But He really is!

September 20, 2009

4:00 p.m.

I turn on the tap only to find nothing, no water. We normally never run out of water during the day, but Anoud and Denise have some visitors (something we hope to tell you more about soon) and it could be with the extra people here that the tank has run dry. Jason goes to turn the generator on for about 10 minutes which powers our water pump and refills our 200 Gallon Tuff tank. Once the generator is off and the pump stops running I check the water again still nothing.

5:00 p.m.

Both Jason and I are up on the roof. Today the sky is dark earlier and lightning zig zags across the sky. I hear thunder too, but the storm that's coming in seems to be far away yet. Jason unhooks a pipe and I place my hand against one end to keep the 200 Gallons of water from draining out. As he searches for a wire to push through the pipe to check for blockage, I keep my hand firmly against the pipe. Even with that, water still slowly seeps out. The sky darkens even more and now it's impossible to see. Anoud goes and gets the wind up flashlight. Minutes later, I feel the first drop on my face and look up. All of a sudden the sky opens and a torrent of water pours on me, plastering my clothes to my body and blurring my vision. It's like God opened the flood gates of heaven and all I can do is just gaze around in wonder. Wow, what power. I can't leave my spot until the pipes are put together so I sit on my knees and wait. The storm is getting to fierce and it's impossible to see anything now, so Jason decides to put the pipes back together and we head back into the house to towel off. Jason tries to turn the generator on again so we can have water flowing through the pump, but now the generator doesn't want to start anymore either. So all we can do is wait till city power comes on to pressurize our water.

6:00 p.m.

I'm so cold now, I'm shaking all over. I've started coughing pretty bad too. City power just turned on and I decide I'd better shower off and then get warm. The hot water heater hasn't been working either and I dread having a cold shower but I'm muddy and need to get clean. As I step into the shower I silently pray that the water isn't going to be too cold. Just in case I turn the hot water tap on. After several minutes warm water comes out. It lasts for my entire shower. Once I'm out, I check the hot water again only to find it growing cold. I go outside to check the heater but it's not on. I can't believe it! God cares. I find my warmest clothes and slip into them. I'm still coughing and my throat hurts, but the warm water really relaxed me. I fall into bed early that night.

September 22, 2009 (two days later)

I stare at the pages of my Bible study book and understanding begins to dawn. The chapter for this week talks about counting it all joy when we fall into various trails. That God uses those trials in our lives so that we can grow and trust Him more and more. After the study I go to my bedroom and pray. As I am praying and thanking God for what He's done, and laying the problems with our house at his feet, I hear an excited shout from Anoud outside. In the bathroom I can hear the water begin to flow. I jump up and look. Sure enough water is flowing. For three days now we've been without water during the day and now as I am praying God had answered once again. What an amazing God we serve.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sewing Classes!

I pull my hair away from my face and secure it into a tight pony tail. Long, loose hair is just too hot, and a pony tail feels much better. I survey my sewing class and smile at the girls putting the finishing touches on their projects. I can't believe how fast time has gone! I've already taught 9, 2 hour sewing classes in three weeks and today is the last class. The girls hope to start school on Monday and won't have time for sewing again till Christmas. I help Katiana sew the last seam on her skirt and then help Isguerda finish her pillow. "Everyone done?" I question. I'm greeted with a chorus of nods! "Time for pictures then!" Some girls go and change into their new skirts while others line up to get their pictures taken with their new pillows!

Here is 13 year old Renise, posing with her new skirt!

Katiana with her pillow.

15 year old Cherlye with her new skirt!

Kaitana again with her new skirt!

Phara with her pillow.

Cherlye with her heart shaped pillow! Very creative!

Looking back at the photos now I realize I don't have any pictures of Mikerline's pillow and skirt, since she was finished a few classes ago all ready. That's too bad! I really enjoyed teaching sewing classes and getting to know the girls there. I also look forward to volunteering more at the orphanage in the future. However my next few weeks will be busy teaching after school swimming lessons to the neighborhood kids here and I look forward to doing that as well. So don't forget to check back here for swimming lesson pictures next week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three years!

September 8, 2006, our wedding date!

It's now three years later and I'd like to spend a little time just remembering that special day.

I remember waking up early that morning and noticing that the sun hadn't come up yet. Was it going to be a beautiful day? I sure hoped so. I remember quickly jumping out of bed, to excited to eat, and then after getting dressed driving to the hairdressers in my Dad's van.

My maid of honour and sister, Gloria, and my bridesmaid and sister in law to be, Esther, joined me there. I remember that by the time my hair was done and I pulled into my parents driveway, Jason was already there slowly circling the block. I had all of 2 minutes to put my dress, veil and shoes on, before he was anxiously ringing the door bell. I remember driving the old fashioned fire truck all around town, and having everyone honk and wave at us! I remember arriving at the airport only to find out that Jason had forgotten his keys for the airplane. Jason's Dad was quickly called and saved the day! We flew to a small landing strip by a golf course on Rowena's Inn on the River, and had pictures taken there.

I love to fly so it was just perfect! We then drove to Minter Gardens met the bridal party there and had pictures taken as we enjoyed the beautiful gardens.

It was the first time I had ever been there, I wanted it to be special, but looking back now I actually don't really remember what it looked like. I guess, I was to busy floating on air and excited about the wedding to really completely enjoy the beauty there. So, I definitely want to go back and see what I missed!

I remember getting so hungry we finally went through a Tim Hortons drive thru, before we arrived at our apartment amenity room to eat lunch. I guess that's what you get for skipping breakfast!

After a delicious lunch with family, and more pictures it was time to drive to the church. I can still remember the old fire truck stalling at the big intersection on Yale Road and then not being able to get it started again. We must have been quite a sight, but in no time people jumped out of their cars and helped push start the vehicle. I remember sitting nervously in the little back room of the church before the wedding, waiting to walk down the aisle. I remember the wedding service's message "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." and I remember Jay starting to get nervous and stumbling over his vows. (You did Jay!) I remember after saying them not feeling any different! (Aren't you supposed to feel different after you're married?!) I remember after the service getting a ride in a "real" fire truck! Which was really cool!

I remember the fun reception with its skits, songs and games, and how fortunate we were to be able to celebrate it with family and friends!

And finally I remember driving home to our cute little apartment with my wonderful husband Jay! It was really an awesome day, one I will never forget!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Krazy Glue!

August 23

I cut into a giant juicy watermelon with my "forever sharp" kitchen knife and wince in pain. I jerk my left hand away and watch in horror as bright red blood squirts out of my thumb. The cut is deep and the blood is flowing fast. "Jay," I yell, "come here". Hearing the pain in my voice, he comes running and surveys the damage. "Put some pressure on it", he says "and keep it elevated." Didn't you learn that in life guarding?" he teases. Never one to easily panic he escorts me to the bathroom where we keep our first aid supplies and starts pulling out the Hydrogen Peroxide. "Mama, big owies!" Mama big owies!" Mama kying." A worried Jayden hovers over me keeping a running commentary. I hunch over the sink as waves of dizziness, roll over me. What a wimp I am anyway? It's just a little cut, I tell myself. Never the less I close my eyes until the dizziness passes. Even though I'm applying pressure the blood is still coming out fast. Jason quickly cleans the cut, it's almost half way through my thumb, and then works on bandaging it up. Although it's quite painful, once the cut is bandaged and everything is neatly cleaned up, I start to feel better.

August 27

It's four days later and the cut still hasn't closed. Thankfully it's no longer bleeding and I've been careful about cleaning it out every day, but no matter what I try the cut remains a gaping crack.

August 29

"I really don't want stitches Jay, but my thumb can't just stay open like this." Jason's given someone stitches in his hand here before, but without anything for the pain, I'm not at all excited about the prospect. " I have an idea," he says. I read somewhere that you can crazy glue your cut closed if it doesn't close on its own. Maybe you should try that." "No way", I reply. "There is no way I am gluing my thumb shut!"

August 30

It's been over a week now and my cut is still open. I've tried wrapping it tightly in bandages, which only caused the skin to go white, moist and dead looking. I've tried wrapping it in breathable fabric cloth, but the cloth just kept fraying and wouldn't stay on. I've tried wrapping string around it, but nothing seems to be working. "Maybe, I'll just have to try that whole crazy gluing thing," I mutter to myself. It's either that or stitches. I go to the kitchen and find one of the single use Krazy glue tubes my parents had brought, and carefully apply a single line over the cut. I'm careful not to touch it, and within a minute it's dry.

September 1

The cut is completely closed. With some water and soap I gently remove the glue. The only thing left now is a scar. Wow, it really worked. Take a look.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just Another Afternoon!

August 24, 2009

1:35 p.m.

I load the empty crate of glass pop bottles in the vehicle and then help Jayden get into his car seat. I'm both excited and nervous. I eye the big white land cruiser for a minute and then sigh. "It's just hard the first time," I tell myself. "Once you've driven this thing once, you'll feel a lot more confident." I've never been the most confident driver, and it seems every time I get used to a vehicle for some reason or other it gets switched with one of the other program vehicles and I have to go through this all over again. Not only is this vehicle standard, I can drive standard, but it's also really big and clunky. This is my first time driving it and the roads and traffic here in Port au Prince are just not that forgiving. "Here goes", I sigh, I push my leg up and then hoist myself into the driver's seat. I pull the bench two feet forward and then take a moment to pray. Here in Haiti, I never drive anywhere without praying first. With the roads, traffic, and unfamiliar vehicle, I need God's protection more than ever. Trusting in His safety and protection I start the vehicle and check the gauges. Good, the fuel is over half a tank, we're not supposed to drive around with less. Everything else looks normal. Meanwhile Anoud has opened the gate and is waiting for me to back up. I fight with the stick shift unable to get it into reverse. Sweat is pouring off me now and I turn the A/C on but it doesn't take me long to realize it's broken. Hot air blows at me full blast and sweat starts to drip off my whole body. In the back Jayden whimpers and then says "Mama, too hot! Mama, too hot!" I turn around to look at him and notice he's completely wet with sweat as well. I check the doors to make sure they're locked and then roll down my window a few inches. "Once we're driving the wind will help, Jayden." I say soothingly, as he continues to cry. "Wally?" he asks. I hand him his water bottle and then fight to put the land cruiser in reverse once again. This time it works. As I back up and out of the gate, Anoud looks questioningly at me. I just smile, thank him and wave, and then focus on getting out of our potholed street. The road just looks like a dried up river bed and every time we have a storm the gullies and ruts just become worse. Finally I pull onto the asphalt, and although its worn out too, it is a lot better. After 10 minutes of fighting traffic, maneuvering over terrible potholes, ridges and ruts, I finally pull up alongside an iron gate. I take a moment again to thank God for bringing us here safely . After unbuckling Jayden, I gather all my supplies and head for the gate of the Manassero Orphanage. Excitement blossoms up inside me. It's my first day working at the orphanage.

2:05 p.m.

I survey the group of girls and check through the list of names. Sewing classes have started and our first project is making pillows. This will give me a good idea how advanced each girl is. The girl's names are Phara, Renise, Mikerline, Isguerda, and Cherlye. The youngest girl is 13 and the oldest girl is 20. All of them live here in the orphanage called the Light House. The girls are friendly, polite and eager to learn. A group of younger girls have surrounded Jayden and he spends the next two hours playing with them. I wonder a little about what that much attention is going to do to him, because it seems like no matter what mischievous thing he does, they all laugh and think it's the greatest thing ever.

4:00 p.m.

I help the girls clean up the sewing machines and supplies. Some of the pillows are almost done. I see heart pillows, and rectangular ones, blue ones and pink ones, each unique and very pretty. I can tell from this project which girls are more advanced sewers and which are beginners.

4:10 p.m.

Time to go home. Jason calls to say he's already home. Sewing class is done for the day. Jayden seems a little tired too. Maybe all that attention was a little too much. I'm definitely more comfortable driving now. The only glitch comes when I need to cross four lanes of traffic and the traffic lights aren't working. After a few minutes of waiting, vehicles stop to let me turn, but then my front wheels become stuck in a giant pot hole just as I'm trying to turn. This causes confusion, some vehicles start crossing in front of me again, and those behind me start to honk. I push on the gas, fight with the wheel and check for traffic all at the same time, as the land cruiser leaps out of the pothole. Horns blare, but a few second later I'm on the road I'm supposed to be on, without incident. God has kept us safe once again.

4:20 p.m.

I stop on the way home at the grocery store and help Jayden out of the car. The air conditioning is working in the store and we stand in the entrance for a moment enjoying the coolness. As I grab a loaf of bread and some milk, Jayden escapes. He races down the aisle laughing and it takes me a minute to catch up. Some store employees help me catch him and I'm embarrassed. He just giggles and then makes a dive for the rack of balls. I should have grabbed a cart. After helping himself to some candies, which I instantly proceeded to confiscate and return, the cashier lets him choose a lollipop. So much for parenting around here! Oh well, he's happy, and contently sucks the sticky lollipop all the way home.

4:25 p.m.

I check my change but realize I don't have enough left to exchange my crate of empty glass pop bottles for a new crate. Oh well, I guess I'll have to do that tomorrow, when I go to the orphanage again.

4:30 p.m.

Home again! Jayden runs up to Jason and gives him a big hug! Then it's my turn. After sharing stories about our day. I go heat up the dinner I had made that morning.

And that ends just another afternoon in our lives here in Haiti.