Well hello friends! Long time no see. I swear I was trying to do better and getting back to blogging and I just never manage to get around to it. Since I last wrote, we have came and went to Haiti for Christmas and I had major surgery 5 days upon returning to the States. My surgery was planned. I've been out of work 6 weeks and I'm so ready to go back. I have the absolute best bosses in the world! They have been so good to me and I'm ready to get back to normal.
Going to Haiti for Christmas is wild and we had the best time. I'm going to blog my Christmas experience for you and also my Tori-bug's perspective. Getting to spend 7 days with 120+ kids was an experience like you can't even imagine. Like I said, it was wild! In a good kind of way. We were able to share so much this visit and learn so much about them individually. My hubby got to go too. We are already planning next year (not really bc I never plan my next visit) but we would definitely go again at Christmas time.
Hello friends! I'm trying really hard to keep this blog updated a little better. It sure isn't bc I don't have lots to share that I've not been blogging more regularly. Lord knows I have lots to talk about!
I've been doing a sheet fundraiser for my next Haiti trip! I'm selling 1200 count sheets and I've done quite well. I've sold more than 200 sets so far and have already earned enough money to purchase our plane tickets back to Haiti in Dec. I've even earned enough to ask my sister to go along with us. My sister has Lupus and therefore can't go when it's hot (she can't be in the sun). She would love to go but we are trying to convince her hubby that it's ok she will be gone over Christmas. I'll be posting more as the time nears but we are so excited about spending Christmas morning with 120 orphans!
WOW! A lot of time has passed since I last updated this blog. I kept promising to update it and telling myself how much I love to blog but never got around to it. Let's start from December 2011.
Tori-bug and I, along with a friend Amber took off for Haiti Dec. 1. I tried my best to prepare both Tori (my 11-yr-old) and my friend about things they might see, smell, and experience. I'm not even going to pretend I was not a little anxious with three females traveling alone to an extremely poor country. Haiti can be dangerous but thankfully we were very safe. After getting settled and introducing Tori and Amber to everyone we headed over to the orphanage. The kids absolutely fell in love with my little "blanc" or white girl that was their age. All the big girls thought Amber was beautiful as well. We got to do so much on this trip. Decorated for Christmas, made homemade Christmas ornaments, even bought two 4ft Christmas trees. We had 120 baked ornaments hanging all over them. The trip was very short and I hated to leave but it went by fast. Tori came home with this fire lit under her to serve again and was determined she would go back when our youth group went in May. I was trying to appease her so I said she could if she raised her funds. Little did I know that little thing would have all of her money raised before me!
I thought I'd have to send her in May without me but I was able to get my fundraising too. This past May our church took a group of 23 of us. The orphanage director was not able to be in the country during our trip so myself, Brian (our youth minister), and my nurse friend Lillie lead this team. It was the largest team they had ever had visit them. Great experience and lots of new ppl went with us. I was able to reconnect with my dear friend Paschal (who calls me affectionately "mom"). He's 35 and has two kids. I'm only 38! Hehe! They had just had their second son Carlinsky in Jan. a lot of my friends helped us raise the money to get this child born safely in the D.R. Mom had lost a baby the previous year and she has lots of pregnancy issues. I love this family. They are like my own. Our project this year was to tile the boys dorm We also painted it and their bunkbeds. We were able to build a dresser for the girls to put their clothes in too. This trip was a little more stressful with me running the team house and organizing bc I'm not used to that. But, we made it. I think the highlight of this trip was the guys sleeping on the roof each night. They absolutely loved it! Every group that came after us has chosen to sleep up there as well.
NOW, on to the most exciting news! I have just purchased our plane tickets to fly back to Haiti Dec. 22-29. My husband, Tori, and myself! Spending Christmas morning with 120 orphans is going to be the best!
Tori-bug and I are getting so excited about our trip to Haiti. We leave in 28 days!! Woohoo!! I can't wait to see all the kids at the orphanage and I am excited to see how Tori-bug interacts with kids way less fortunate than she is. I think it will make her to have an even bigger heart than she already does. She said she was willing to give up her Christmas presents for the chance to go.
I was really nervous about taking her with me to begin with b/c she is so young. I didn't want to overwhelm her with the sites of pure devastation, but after we prayed about it, we felt like God wanted this opportunity for her. I didn't do any fundraising this trip (warning..... you will probably be getting a support letter for us to go back in May..lol) so coming up with two full price tickets was a big deal. When Tori-bug found out that it costs so much she said she will give up all her Christmas to be able to see these kids and take THEM Christmas. What a sweetheart! Isn't that what we want our kids to know about the true meaning of Christmas anyway? It's not about them getting, but giving to others like Jesus Christ did for us. This will be a great learning moment for her and she will never forget it. All 127 kids were sponsored for Christmas. Thank you, Jesus. What a blessing! Another friend, Amber is going with us too so this will be her first trip and I believe her first mission experience. Hopefully between the three of us, we will be able to make a difference for the few short days we are there. Please be in prayer with us for safe travels, safety while we are there, and an experience like no other. May those kids experience the true gift of Christ through us three girls.
Here are some of our pics from Haiti. I wanted you to be able to put a face with a name. The boy to Kevin's right (in the black shirt) is Tirelli. He had just turned 15 when we were there. He never left Kevin's side the entire time. Most of the kids in the orphanage don't act their stated age. Some don't even know their age. He is 15, but acts more like 11-12. They just don't have the same socialization that our kids have. Tirelli wants to be an interpreter when he grows up. A very good career that could be. He speaks English pretty well and definitely understands a lot of English. I would venture to say that more than half of the kids can speak English fairly well inside this orphanage. Most of the older kids can speak it and understand at least some. The younger kids, not so much. When you first get to Haiti they won't open up to you very much. They are leary about you, but when you show up several days in a row they start to share with you and become comfortable. The older kids usually don't think they will ever see you again so they have a harder time opening up to you. I told them that I would be back. They will be thrilled when they see a familiar face again in December. It is so hard to leave them. At least I will be able to tell them I will be back again at the end of May. I honestly never thought I would like doing this kind of thing when we first decided to go. Now, my heart is so invested in these kids. I think about them constantly and worry over what they are doing and how they are getting along. I worry about the money and them having their basic needs met. It makes me want to send every extra dime I have to them. I am not a rich woman by American standards and I don't have a lot of money, but I have SOOO much more than they do. I know that my $30 a month is truly being spent to feed, clothe, and educate them. I feel so strongly in the mission that Melissa is running and I know what a great job she is doing so sending my support to help a child every month is easy for me. Who doesn't waste $30 a month on stuff we really don't need? $30 a month goes a LONG way in Haiti if you get it to the right people.
This picture was taken at the team house. We stayed in a very nice house by Haitian standards. We had clean facilities, bathrooms with showers, stove, refrigerator, and freezer. We ate EXTREMELY well. Full breakfast (eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes, juice, and oatmeal every morning. Mikela (in the middle next to Melissa, who is holding baby Leekson) is the team house mom. The average life expectancy in Haiti is like 45. Scary isn't it?? Mikela cooked and cleaned for us three meals a day and did our laundry (with the help of the other two young ladies in the picture- Yprolin (holding Takesha) and Woodland). Yprolin lives at the orphanage and she helps a lot to look after Leekson and Takesha. She brings them back and forth from the orphanage to the team house when there is a team there. These two young ladies are 18-19 years old and have lived a lifetime already. Mikela is 42 I think they said. Neither of them speak much English. Woodland has lost both her mom and dad. She was the young lady crying that Sunday when we came home from the beach (I think I wrote about that story). When I finally figured out why she was crying (b/c she doesn't speak English) it was because it was Mother's Day in Haiti and she missed her mother. I had just lost my mom 2 months prior to our trip so I sat down and boohooed with her. We used a whole roll of toilet paper, but we bonded without words. I love that girl. Please say a prayer for her. She is having a difficult time at present. I hope I can dig a little deeper into this situation when I return in December.
Something I recently found out is that once a child turns 16 they are no longer adoptable. Not sure why that is, but that is the way the Haitian government runs things. We are hoping that the new president will relax some of the laws in Haiti so that some of the kids could get a temporary visa and passport so they could come go to school in America or at least come visit. How they expect these kids to learn a new way of life and take it back to their country to teach others is beyond me? I am hoping we can get Melissa's orphanage some chickens (laying hens) when I go in December too so they can at least have protein in their diet once a week or so. They used to have some laying hens, but once they get to about a year of age they stop producing eggs so they ate them. They need more. Also, prior to Amber and I going in Dec. I am going to learn how to milk a goat so they can milk the goats they have for calcium. They do have several goats running around inside the orphanage, they just don't know how to milk them. I'm making it my personal mission to learn how, teach them how, and see what happens :-). That ought to be fun!! Lol. Anybody wanting to help me by purchasing a chicken- they cost $10 each and if you know how to milk a goat and are willing to teach me, hit me up!!!
Derline is my girl! Don't know why I didn't get Kevin to take mine and her picture, but she is the young girl in the pink dress. She is the same age as my Tori-bug. She is a fiesty little thing that is all attitude. She wouldn't let anyone get near me the whole 9 days. She said I was hers. Well, besides Dieunor (pronounced Juno). Dieunor is in the looney tunes shirt. This was at church on Sunday morning. Dieunor is a very sweet, mild mannered boy that is being sponsored by my friend Mama Nell. Sonson is in the orange shirt and is being sponsored by my friend Linda Gail.
We have all these little guys in the above picture sponsored monthly and for Christmas. Want to help? There are still things you can do!
You know what they say....... Time flies when you are having fun!
I haven't updated this blog in a long time partly b/c my laptop was down for over a month back in June and July. The days just seem to pass by lately is the only other excuse I have. Everything has been going great. I never finished my journaling from Haiti. I already have plans to return next year May 29th. I am also now sponsoring the two children that Kevin and I connected with while we were there. Derline is a precious 11 year old girl that I fell in love with. Kevin is sponsoring Alteus St. Claire, aka "Tirelli". That is not at all how his name is spelled, but that is how they say it. Derline's name sounds like "Daylynn". Tirelli is 15-years-old and a very sweet kid too. Imagine Missions started a Christmas sponsorship program too where you select a child or in our case the child we sponsor monthly and you buy Christmas for them. They sent us a small wish list of things that they would like to have. There is no mail system in Haiti so everything has to be sent via Melissa Young, who runs the orphanage. Somehow she has to get all 127 kids gifts to them so I decided that I would make a very short Christmas visit in early December. My friend is going to go with me and I'm seriously considering letting Tori-bug (my 11-yr-old) go too. That way we can take the 11 children that we have gotten sponsored locally to them before Christmas. I think my friend Amber is going to fall in love with Haiti just like I did. Hopefully, she will want to go back with us for our regular mission trip at the end of May. My baby girl is dying to meet Derline so I am praying about letting her go for this very short trip. We will fly down on Thursday and fly back home on Sunday. I feel safe enough for her to make the trip, but it is very costly---- $600 for just a plane ticket for 4 days. I will have to see if I can come up with the money for the both of us to see if I can make it happen. She says she is even willing to request her Christmas gifts from grandparents, family, etc. be money instead of gifts so she could go.
Tori-bug is gearing up for gymnastics season to begin. She told me a couple of months ago that she didn't want to compete this year. She loves gymnastics, but for some reason didn't want to compete. She was back and forth, back and forth, then finally said last week that she didn't want to compete. I was a little bummed out b/c she is so good at gymnastics that I didn't want her to regret her decision. The first competition fee installment was due last Thursday and she tells me on Wed. night that she didn't want to compete so I didn't pay it. Last night (Thursday this week) she says she DOES want to compete. I texted her coach and asked if it was too late to pay the fee and she said she would let me pay it so now we are back to competing. I am so happy. They had a mini-meet at practice yesterday and she looked so good. Her kips on bars are still a little off, but we don't have our first meet until December so she has time to get it together.
I continue to miss mom horribly. The days are better now though. I don't have that extremely raw feeling in my heart anymore. I think about her constantly and I have to smile every time I go by a Chick-fil-A or if I eat there. Mama LOVED Chick-fil-A. Six months seems like a lifetime without her, but I know she is dancing in heaven with Jesus. A friend of ours lost her mom about 2 weeks ago and it brought back so many memories when I attended the funeral. Hopefully, I can help others that are now going to be living without their moms now too. Nobody understands that feeling unless they have been through it.
Well, thanks for checking in with me! No telling when I will update again so I won't even begin to make promises :-)
Well, well, well. They didn't finish the concrete inside the house last night. They were only able to get 3/4 of the front room done. A teenager that went with us had me awake most of the night (it's a long story) so I got back to bed about 3:30am. I'm exhausted! My energy is not up today. We went over to the house to start sifting sand again and the girls started painting. They were able to get the back room done. Hopefully the guys will be able to start on the outside after lunch. Us girls are going to go over and start handing out the shoes. Lillie and Emily went to finish sorting out the storage room this morning b/c Lillie is one-handed now :-( We are home for lunch at the moment. Hot dogs and mac 'n cheese.
The boys were able to finish the second room with stucco. We went over to the orphanage to pass out shoes. That was priceless!! We brought them in a few at a time and sized them. They also got a toothbrush and a pack of toothpaste. It was interesting b/c some of the kids were being picky about what shoes they got, but most of them were okay.. The older girls wanted nice church shoes/sandals. The older boys also got a Galilee Mission Run shirt. The older boys like tennis shoes. We were also throwing a birthday part for the "May" birthdays. We had about 6 different kinds of cakes and some juice. The 11 kids who were celebrating their birthday got 3 items as a gift. We had wrapped them in plastic disposable colored tablecloths. What was funny is the kids don't really know their birthday so when they come in and see a gift with their name on it, they figure out it must have been their birthday that month. It is cute to see their face light up and them say, "It's my birthday". Melissa is doing a fabulous work here. She really is. Her funding is not at all what she needs and it frustrates her to be able to keep up with everything that needs to be done. Example: 2 flat tires and a battery on our first day here. On the second day, one sink and one toilet wasn't working. Both the refrigerators (in the team house and the orphanage) went out the third day and yesterday (day 4) we noticed the drains in the kitchen at the orphanage weren't draining properly. It is really burdening me to know that this awesome lady is trying to keep this place running. I'm gonna ask all my Facebook friends to sponsor a child. Only 75 kids to go!! An ER doctor from Canada came yesterday to tour the orphanage. He is connected to two very wealthy men who had been supporting an orphanage in Ethiopia. The person running that orphanage was misusing the funds and was put in prison so now they are thinking of supporting Melissa. That would be way awesome. Every dime goes to the kids. She will tell you all of her budget and where your money is going. People really do want to know where their money is going to want to sponsor. I assure you, she is doing right by it.
I am a pediatric nurse that absolutely loves doing what I do. I married my high school sweetheart and he is the most wonderful husband. I have one step-daughter that is 17 and one daughter that is 8. We are a very close knit family. Still live in the same small town we grew up in.