I’ve been wanting to blog over the last couple of days. I’ve had very clear blog posts started in my head, but then just haven’t sat down to do it. Or maybe there hasn’t been much time. Goodness knows there’s been plenty going on.
On Friday morning I packed Liv up and headed to the hospital down the road so we could start her vaccinations. Now, you need to understand that under normal circumstances you need to show up at the clinic right at 8 am or you could sit and wait all day to see the doctor. I had never been down there to go to the clinic specifically before so I showed up at 8 and walked into a crowded waiting area. I wasn’t quite sure what to do so I checked the window – no one there. There was a man sitting on one of the walls that said to me in Creole “What do you have in your sack?” meaning, what was I carrying in the baby sling. I showed him Olivia, we chatted for a minute and then I sat down at the back of the room so I could lean against the wall. I looked up and every person in the room was turned and blatantly staring at me. Yes, I was the fish in the fish bowl. Then they all started talking with each other about the fact that I was carrying my baby in a sac. You can speak Creole here to people, or in front of them, but they’ll still talk about you like you don’t understand. It’s a very Haitian thing to talk about the obvious right while it’s happening, and in front of the people that you’re actually talking about. Slowly people moved on and numbers were handed out to go up to the window whenever the window planned on opening. But, only to half of the people in the waiting area. I was not in that half. Clueless as to the system I just sat there and waited. My phone rang. It was Chris telling me that he had to go into Port (more on that later). As we talked I again saw every eye in the room staring at me. Sigh. I understand why celebrities flip out on paparazzi. Seriously. It’s a crazy feeling to do something very normal and have it be the most talked about thing around.
Eventually the window opened and people started getting their papers to see the doctor. I wasn’t sure if Liv would get a check up or what. The man with the numbers called me over and asked if I was there for vaccinations. When I told him I was he told me to go sit on a bench around the corner by one of the little clinic rooms. I sat. I got called over to start a card for Liv. Then I sat again. I sat for a long time. The ladies eventually came and got themselves set up. The nurse came. I was told to wait longer. I asked how long. Soon. Soon it will be time. I waited. Then finally it was time and we went in. Liv got two of the three vaccines she needed to get that day. The third one will hopefully happen on Tuesday, if there are more people there. The vaccine has 20 doses and whatever isn’t used has to be thrown out so I could understand the nurses desire to wait until she had more kids to administer it to and I appreciated her wanting to make the most of it in a place where free stuff seems to get taken for granted. Oh yes, vaccinations are free here. I just had to pay $5 Haitian for the card. That’s about 60 cents. People always ask us what we do for health care. This is one of those reasons why we’re not really that worried. I learned a very valuable piece of info on Friday morning – vaccinations start at 10 am. There was no point in being there two hours earlier :(
Jean had driven me to the hospital on his way to drop off a load of rubble from the dorm demolition. A local man is going to use it as part of the foundation of his house, which is great because it otherwise would have just been dumped somewhere where they dump rubble. I’m glad it can be recycled. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to walk home. It’s only about a 10 minute walk, and it was still early enough in the day that it wasn’t sweltering. I set out. I got stopped several times by people to look at Olivia and chat. I was hoping for that. We want people to know that we’ve adopted a child here. My favorite was a woman who I’m guessing was in her 50’s. She asked me when she was still several feet away if I had a baby with me. I showed off Olivia and told her that we had adopted her. She asked about the birth mother and where she was from, whether she was local etc. We had a nice little chat and at the end of it she smiled and said in English, “It is very good!” That meant a lot to me because people don’t always understand adoption here in the way we understand it back in North America.
Halfway home Kelele, one of our workers, came by on a scooter. He had gone out to buy breakfast for some of the workers, a normal morning occurrence. We chatted. I told him to tell Jean that I was walking home. He went on his way. A few minutes later Jean showed up with the truck to drive me the rest of the way. I got in and laughed and told him what I had told Kelele. Apparently Kelele had interpreted my message as, “Tell Jean I’m walking and he needs to come get me.” Jean and I laughed at the bad version of telephone.
Chris had gone to Port au Prince that morning to go get what we like to call “the bounty”. We have some friends that work for the US State Department. A few weeks ago we found out that the State Department was going to clean out its warehouse and that they were wanting to donate as much of the stuff as possible to NGO’s in country, rather than having national employees buy it at auction, then turn around and sell it on the street. We submitted a list of items that we could use about 2 weeks ago, having no idea if we were off our rockers for asking. Well, Chris came home on Friday with 2 filing cabinets, 2 twin beds, 2 couches, 2 chairs, and 2 fridges.
Yes. 2 more fridges. For those of you that have been keeping track of our fridge situation (though I’m not sure why you would) you will understand why this would be more than I felt like I could handle. See, we had a fridge. It was fine. Not stellar. Not amazing. But it was a fridge. Then some friends gave us their old one and we shipped it in on the container, contents of which were received about 3 weeks ago. That’s two. Enter 2 more. That’s four. I sat on one of our new couches on Friday night surrounded by 3 of the 4 and wondered how we ended up here. One of the fridges went out to the storage shed right off the truck. The other one came in the house because it was a side by side, like the most recent one we got. After dinner Chris and I literally sat there looking at the two weighing the pros and cons of each. What were we going to do with 4 fridges?
Well, we call one set of friends that are just starting a new mission base. They wanted our old one. They were very happy actually. This is fridge number one. One down, three to go. As we were hemming and hawing our friend Barb called. On a whim I asked if she wanted to take the other one that came on the truck. She was ecstatic. Two down. Now we just needed to make a decision about which one would stay in the house and which one would go in the staff apartment when it was done later this year. Well, Fridge Number Four is much more energy efficient, so in the long run it won. Fridge Number 1 went out the door yesterday morning. Fridge Number 4 was put in place and Fridge Number 2 was cleaned out. I was excited because I thought Number 2 would go outside, but it ate too much and is now too big to fit in the doorway of the storage shed. Boo! So yes, I still have two fridges in my house and I will for many months. And yes, we will be accounting for the size of appliances when we build the main doorway of the apartment!
Some of you are probably thinking, “Poor Leslie! All those fridges landing in your lap!” I don’t want to sound unappreciative. Quite the opposite really. Chris and I have both been feeling pretty overwhelmed by all of the blessings that the mission has been receiving. Since it’s start there have definitely been some times where we wondered if it was still going to be operating any number of months down the road. We’ve had many meetings with our staff telling them that they may be laid off. We’ve had work grind to a halt for lack of supplies. Now, however, it seems that God is choosing to bless us and it’s overwhelming to us because it feels like it’s snowballing. We started the year off in such an amazing place financially. So much so that we could commit to starting two major construction projects, purchase solar panels when our donor fell through, and are buying a new van…on top of having all the funds in place to keep working at the pace that we were, or actually increase production. We finally got the contents of the container, and Rays of Hope for Haiti actually sent some extra things for us, like the table and chairs. Something that we had needed to replace, but when it came to where we wanted to use mission funds, that wasn’t it. Now through another connection we’ve got furniture and appliances that we would have only dreamed about, with an opportunity to ask for more now that we know better what’s available. We now have furniture for our place and for the apartment. If that isn’t affirmation that we’re on the right track with how God wants us to use the missions funding then I don’t know what is. It’s all happened in such a short period of time that it is very overwhelming.
Speaking of the dorms and the apartment. Can you believe that the old building only has one and a half walls still standing. I’m assuming that’ll all be down by Monday quitting time. The guys are working like machines to get it all down. This week we need to check out the foundation and see if it needs reinforcement. If it does, then that’ll be the first step. If it doesn’t then we can start looking at the rebuild. It’s all going much faster than I expected. It’s good though because we know there are going to be delays in places.
I hadn’t had much time to sew in the last month or so, but I started a new project the other day that has me very excited. I bought the material for it several months ago and it just arrived with Chris’ parents. I hadn’t touched it because I was kind of paralyzed from not knowing where to start. See, I’m doing something I’ve never done before – making a quilt. Yes, this is the Caribbean, but even the Caribbean gets cool in the winter. We had several nights this winter where we were cold, even with blankets on. The quilt will be light, like a summer weight, so we can use it during the winter months. I had ordered a package of squares, and then some half yard cuts of the same fabric line. I started by cutting the squares down and then sewing them together in random fashion. Yesterday I started taking those pieces and piecing them together with larger cuts of the matching fabric. I have 5 big sections done and am loving the result so far. It’s meant to be a random patchwork style quilt. The colors are beautiful and I’m excited to see it develop. The only sad thing is that I have to wait to get the batting and the backing for when I go home in September. Boo!
Olivia got a fever from her shots, which I knew was going to happen, so she was a bit cranky for the last two days and we were learning about dealing with a sick baby. She’s still amazing though, even when she feels crummy. She’s really such an easy baby compared to stories that we’ve heard. Oh yeah! Would you believe she was only up once during the night one night this past week! That was a great night. I’m not minding getting up with her all that much any more. She usually wakes up around the same times, and for the most part she wakes up, eats, and then falls back to sleep. It’s been so much better having her sleep downstairs. We’ve even started letting her cry a little if she isn’t completely asleep. I know some people think this is cruel, but each to their own. We want her to learn to fall asleep on her own so she doesn’t get dependent on us for it. Generally if she does cry (and this is always after a good cuddle) it’s only for 4-5 minutes and then she just stops and she’s out. A few times the little stinker has cried until she hears me walk into her room, then dead asleep.
Oh yeah! As of yesterday Haiti has another digit in it’s phone numbers. Yes, we’re 8 digits now. So crazy. I need to change all the numbers in my phone book :(
That’s the jist of things here. Hope you’re having a good weekend.