Archive for “August, 2012”

I’m on Island Time!

We had a wonderful “Relationship Gathering” in Georgia with most of the people in our group on the ground in Haiti and some of the supporting groups from the states.  We all shared testimonies on what brought us to Haiti, what keeps us in Haiti and what our dreams are while we are here.
It was great to put faces to names and to see some of the people that have come down to my new home to visit me.

We also spent a lot of time discussing what we are doing right and wrong.  We discussed the books When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity.  A couple of books that try to define the differences between relief and rehabilitation. We also had a guy from the 410 Bridge come and share with us the way that they work in Kenya and Haiti.  Sometimes our attempts to help do more damage in the long run…we were very critical of ourselves in many areas…we have a lot of work to do.

So, about the Island Time…

Friday we were privileged to attend a Haitian wedding.  Our friend Francoise Jean got married!  The invitation that I got said that the wedding started at 2:45.  We were running a little behind…it happens often here…and we got to the church a half an hour late…at 3:15.  We were the first ones there!  They were still decorating the place.  The program we got stated that the wedding would start at 3.  It got rolling a little after four.  It was a beautiful ceremony similar to Christian wedding ceremonies in the US.  Everyone was wearing their Sunday best…even ME!  Here is a pick of us men in the back of the truck on the way to the wedding…Amos, Me, Kervens, and a picture of the newlyweds!

So, now that the traveling and festivities of a wedding are behind us, it is back to work.  I have several projects on my plate to get finished before the start of the Jubilee school year.  I have to design and install some shutters / water barriers on the second floor windows for the school, build or have built a bunch of new benches for the feeding program, restore power to the school, set up a solar electric system for the clinic, and probably a bunch of other stuff in the needs done category.
In the want to do category, I would like to reset my garden area at the house, help Amos build some furniture, build some more shelves for my room, put down some pavers around the swing, steal some honey from my bees, build a pedal powered pump for the well in Jubilee, get ready for the next session of my English school…wow, I better stop here…I might actually have to do some of this since I wrote it down!

Yep, I’m Still Here!

I put things up on facebook pretty frequently about what is happening day to day, but I have not been keeping up with this.

April 3rd?  Wow…I could have swore that I had a post in May, but oh well.

English Classes –
We are moving right along in our book.  Up to chapter 13 out of 16.  We will start a new session as soon as we finish the book and test the first group of students.  From the overflow groups that we started out with, there are around 60 or so students that attend classes regularly.  Some fell behind and got discouraged, some had other obligations.  The students that are still working seem to have a good understanding of the material we have covered.

When we start our second session, I am going to ask some of my star students if they would like to help teach the next group of beginners.  I think they might have a perspective that I miss while explaining the subjects.  We will have a new group of beginners and I hope to have enough students from the first level to fill a couple of classes of second level instruction.  We are also going to use some higher level books from our curriculum to have an advanced English class.  (I can learn from those higher level books – English is not easy!)

The curriculum we are using is from Cambrige University Press –

Grace Deal’s Dad came down here and helped me move the bees from the wall panels to the beehives that I built.  The bees love their new home and are multiplying in numbers.  I have opened the hive a few times to check on their progress and manipulate positions of frames to encourage their production, but I have not harvested any honey yet.  If I want to do it right, I will have to build a centrifuge, if I don’t, I might ruin some of the frames and foundations that I made.  Advice from bee keepers is welcome!

Garden –
Gardening has been a numbers game with me so far.  Plant lots of stuff, some of it lives, plant lots more stuff. We took a load of plants down to the garden in Jubilee and had about 90% of it die…but we will keep trying.  One of my students wanted to help me with the garden one day, so I let her.  Her and I traded some flowers and plants and she keeps introducing me to some of her friends and neighbors that have small gardens as well.  We have done lots of plant trading all around town.  Also, I am a sucker for a guy riding his bicycle down the street with a basket of tropical plants in the back.  Gets me every time, but I have some coconut trees and some other nice tropicals from that kind of sale.

I built a cabinet for my room…an effort to stay organized.  It turned out nice after lots of sanding and paint.  I built an adirondak chair out of scraps as a prototype for when I get things going with the carpentry trade school.  I want to have many different things that I have built sitting around so the students can get ideas of what they can make in my shop.  I brought some more tools down here when I returned from the brief Omaha visit in June.

I started a medical transport business…kind of.  One night while I was hanging out in the square, I looked over to my left and this sixteen year old kid had a pretty bad wound / infection on his leg.  I called Grace (director of the medical clinic) and she said, sure we can take a look at him!  So every morning except Friday and Sunday, I go down to the square (where he lives) and pick him up on my motorcycle and take him to the clinic.  The wound is healing, slowly, but it is healing.  I have also been able to help a little while I am at the clinic.  I can open up packages of gauze and hold onto my new friend when it is time for his shots in the bum!  Not quite a nursing assistant yet.  By the way, Grace bloggs much better than I do, you can find her at

I tried to take a trip to the Dominican Republic with Grace, Kelly and LaLa…didn’t quite make it.  Apparently you have to have a special permit to take a vehicle across the border…we did not know that.  If we wanted to cross, we would either have to go back to Port to get the paperwork or have some less than ethical character create the desired document on the spot.  We chose neither of those options and decided to head for Jacmel on the Southern coast of Haiti.  OOPS, missed our turn…now we are back in Port.  Ok, lets take this road…I can see it on the map.  We ended up deciding to sleep on it and we found a Baptist mission in the mountains South of Port.  They graciously put us up for the night on the cheap.  When we woke up and walked around in the morning, we were astounded by the beauty around us and we decided that we would have our vacation there.  We went hiking through mountains and ravines, we climbed waterfalls, we kept getting passed by people with 50 lbs of vegetables on their heads.

I thank God for every day that I am able to be here.  I know that many of you pray for me. Thank you for that.

I think that if you all harass me enough, I will post more often…so harass away!