Saturday, October 31, 2009

MAF - Haiti Music Video

This is a music video that was recently produced in Haiti. To view it full screen, click on the square button beside the volume control.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Driving Back!

I shift on the seat and brace myself for the next bump. The road is rough and the tap tap like vehicle I am in has no seat belts.

The air is thick with fumes, so thick I can actually taste the pollution on my lips. The sky is a swirling mass of gray clouds and dirty dust rises up from under our tires. I cough, trying to clear my throat, but the air I breath in to replace what I breathed out is just as bad. I sigh and settle back into my seat. Although the benches are full of Haitian and American ladies, this trip going home is much quieter then it was going to the women's retreat. I shift the back packs and suitcases under my seat so I can stretch my legs into a more comfortable position. Then, not being in the mood to talk, I take time to observe and reflect.

Scrawny dogs dig in the garbage that litters the sides of the dusty roads. Every now and then market vendors clutter the sides of the street, making the already narrow road even narrower. I see bananas, plantains, potatoes, tomatoes, and a whole variety of other dusty fruits and vegetables. Music blares from a stand selling radios, and a man blackened by coal dust, arranges neat little piles of coal to sell. Broken down vehicles are everywhere.

There is nothing uninteresting about what's outside the metal caged vehicle we are driving in, but as I look on, I can't help but realize how normal this has all become to me. This is my life now, Haiti has become my home. No longer do I look at everything with eyes of utter amazement or disbelief, but I now I look with eyes of familiarity and love. This country, these people, have found a way into my heart. As the vehicle bumps along further, I take some time and muse over the last few days. I really loved attending the woman's retreat at Villa Ormiso. Not only did I learn valuable life lessons, I also made new friends. I spend some time reflecting on the teaching sessions, times of singing, and the fun we had playing games and just talking. As the truck comes closer to home, I sit up a little straighter. I can't wait to see Jason and Jayden again! Soon, I'll be home again soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to Work

Well, I'm finally back to work after being home sick with Bronchi-pneumonia for over 1 week and a half! Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging emails.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Wonderful One Week Holiday!

With our one year anniversary of arriving in Haiti coming closer, October 30 for Jason and November 4 for Jayden and I, Jason, as a pilot, was required to use some of his two week holiday time and take a one week stretch off. After some planning and researching some different ideas on what we could do and where we could go we came up with a plan. Since we were able to get cheap flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we thought that would be a fun place to visit, and give us an opportunity to eat at some of our favourite restaurants and do some shopping for things you can't purchase here in Haiti. Since we live right in the Caribbean we also had the opportunity to visit some of the Islands in the Bahamas and spend a couple days visiting the different beaches and tourist attractions there. We had a great trip and thought it would be fun to share some of our memories and pictures.

Some funny moments were:
1) The day we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, after settling into our hotel room, we walked 45 minutes to the nearest McDonalds. It had been six months for both of us and everything tasted so good! After we finished our meals we even ordered ice cream and cinnamon rolls! Good thing we had a long walk home! This one older lady was watching us for awhile and asked us where we were from. I guess not many people are that excited about McDonalds anymore!

2) I was quite excited to go shopping Saturday morning at the Aventura Mall, something we had planned as well. When I did my research it said that the Aventura Mall was the 5th biggest mall in the United States, which I thought was pretty cool. The only thing I had forgotten to take into consideration was the fact that it had been six months since we'd been to any kind of mall at all. Here in Haiti my shopping Mall, is the second floor of the market, where it's crowded, and smelly, but also a lot of fun. There are no change rooms, you just eye up the clothes and hope it fits or clumsily try to put it on over or under whatever you're wearing! There is only one of each clothing article and only one size, if it doesn't fit you just have to look for something else! You also barter and I can easily purchase a new skirt or shirt for about 300 Gds ($7.50 USD). Well, to put it lightly the Aventura Mall was nothing of that sort! When we got there Jason was thirsty and decided to buy a milk shake only to pay $7.50 USD for it! I can buy a new outfit for that.

So, laughingly we walked around, (till our legs got tired, that mall is huge!) and took pictures like silly tourist. Jayden liked playing hiding and seek in the racks of clothes!

And nope, I didn't buy any clothes there, too ritzy and expensive for this Haiti girl.

3) One day in the Bahamas, Jason had walked a long way to look for a good snorkeling spot. After he came back, two hours later, he convinced me it was worthwhile to go. So, I took my snorkeling set and started walking.

Three quarters of the way there, I was so hot, I decided I would swim the rest of the way. Well, that seemed to take even longer, and it seemed like forever, before I got to the rocky, deserted beach.

On top of that, Jason had told me he had seen a barracuda, something cool to see, but better get out of the water if you do! Well, the whole time I was swimming I was worried and kept doing 360 degree turns to make sure no barracuda was sneaking up on me. Needless to say, I didn't stay in the water long!

4) Well, having to walk that far one day and hardly seeing any fish, (Jason has pictures to prove they were there, but they must have disappeared when I arrived),

it was a nice surprise to see lots of them the next day on a different island. We found out quickly they really like fruit loops, Jayden's snack, and soon fish were swarming around us in the waist deep water.

Every now and then Jayden would throw a fruit loop into the ocean and then snatch it back and eat it before we had a chance to stop him! A little deeper there were a lot more bigger fish, so I decided to snorkel further and took some fruit loops with me. Well, when the big fish caught sight of the fruit loops they went wild and just started circling around me crazily. One fish pulled the little bag of fruit loops right out of my hand and took three of my fingers with him. Fortunately I got my fingers back with only some teeth mark scars to show. That did scare me though! So lesson for all, don't feed big fish fruit loops! Ps: We did see a barracuda there, but he avoided us and we him of course!

Jayden really liked the hammock they had there!

5) I had never been on a jet ski, and that was definitely on my list of things I wanted to do! Jason regularly asks me what's on the list, especially when he's looking for something different to try. Well, after seeing Jet Ski's being rented out for a good price and being able to barter with them for a better price we decided to go for it. Sure you can rent a jet ski on Harrison or Cultus Lake, but if you're going to do it once wouldn't you want to do it in the Bahamas?

Since, Jason had been on a Jet Ski before he let me take it for almost the entire time! It was so fun! Jason has video of me going full speed across the blue ocean. At one point I almost thought my legs would fly out from under me. I guess I haven't lost my need for speed!

6) On the last day before we left Ft. Lauderdale, we decide to look for a Wal-Mart and stock up on some groceries that were either hard to find in Haiti or very expensive. Well, Jason spent a little time on the Wal-Mart store finder and Google maps and found a Wal-Mart not far away. We then got on a city bus only to find out that there was no Wal-Mart Super Center there. We asked around but no one had heard of a Wal-Mart even close in that area. We double checked the information on our GPS and it showed that we were right by the Wal-Mart. Well, it wasn't there, so we asked a bus driver to take us to another one. "Oh I know one," he said. Well 2.5 hours later we finally arrived at the Wal-Mart hot, tired and thirsty. As we walked through the door we couldn't help but laugh. The flight from Port au Prince to Ft. Lauderdale is only an hour and forty five minutes, so we spent longer on a bus trying to find a Wal-Mart then on an airplane getting here in the first place. Well needless to say we didn't want to take a bus back so after we finished shopping we took a taxi instead. At least in a taxi it took only 25 minutes! Jason still wants to phone that Wal-Mart and ask why they aren't there!

7) One last thing, when we arrived home, Jason and I decided we should weigh ourselves. Since I've lost a lot of weight since I got here I was not terribly upset too see I had gained four pounds. Well, we really have to watch what we say since we found out little kids listen a lot more then we think they do! That night as I put Jayden to bed, I asked him if he was going to give Mommy a kiss. He looked at me for a minute and then said "Too fat!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

UN Plane Crash Kills 11 in Haiti

We just found out yesterday evening about the crash, and were very shocked by the news! I have gotten to know several of the UN pilots very well, and our condolences go out to their families!



A United Nations plane has crashed in western Haiti, killing all 11 people on board, UN officials say.

The Uruguayan surveillance plane was monitoring the Dominican Republic border as part of its tasks with the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Most of those on board the plane were military officers from Uruguay and Jordan, officials told the BBC.

More than 9,000 UN personnel are stationed in Haiti, which has long been ravaged by violence and instability.

UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said the Uruguayan CASA212 went down west of Fonds-Verrettes.

She said rescue teams had traveled to the area on foot because of the rugged terrain.

No survivors were found at the crash site.

Officials said the cause of the crash was not yet known but an investigation had been launched.

The UN's Minustah mission has been in Haiti since 2004, following the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Excerpt taken from BBC Website.