Has a week seriously gone by since I last posted? Wow. Where did that go?
Last Wednesday we said good-bye to Bryan, Kelly and the boys. We miss them. We want them to come back. There, I said it. It was a really quiet day, and every time I heard kids I prepared myself for the boys to come knocking on the door, then would have to remind myself they weren’t here anymore. On Friday I was feeding Alex in the kids room while Yonese cleaned and Olivia came in and said, “I miss Bryan and Kelly.” I told her I did too, then she asked when they were coming back. I had to tell her that we needed to pray that God would tell them to come back to Haiti (no pressure here, guys ;)) and she agreed, then asked when we were going to visit them :) My sweet, sweet girl. Yep, they left a bit of a hole.
Barry arrived back that same day and has been settling in well. We put him to work with our welders to see if he could streamline things. We have a mold shortage right now. Just before we got back a project bought up 11 of our molds, leaving us with 7. In the last few weeks the guys have managed to finish 3 more so we’re not doing too badly, but we do need to get our supply up. Chris did another steel order so that’ll help, and the improvements that Barry is working on should make a big difference.
Friday night we had our friends Gary and Carolyn over for dinner. They had just gotten back earlier in the week after being gone for the summer. It was so good to catch up with them. They’ve been in ministry for a while, and have been in Haiti for long enough to be called “seasoned veterans” in my book. We always like talking life and ministry with them and learning from their wisdom. They’re kind of a mentor couple for Chris and I and the people we turn to here when we need sage advice on life.
On Saturday morning we packed up the cars and headed towards Port. We had a breakfast date with a friend of Chris’ that worked at CWH for a month way back in the day when it was just Chris and whoever he could convince to come spend time with him. Ben, in the month that he lived here, managed to learn Creole to the point that he was telling Chris what people were saying :) Until this day Chris still tells people about Ben learning Creole in a month, and sometimes forgets that Ben isn’t normal.
We were in two vehicles because one needed to be dropped off in town for repairs. About 20 minutes into the drive Chris pulled over and told me he’d forgotten his phone on the charger at home, which had Ben’s number in it. I turned around and parked at a nearby resort, read my Kindle and waited for him to come back, then we were off again. We dropped off the one vehicle and then headed down by the National Palace to meet Ben, then continued on to the Olafson Hotel to eat.
It was my first time at the Olafson. It’s one of Haiti’s oldest Hotels and has a long history in the country. The sad thing is that like everything else in Haiti it hasn’t been maintained over the years and is kind of sad looking. I went to change Alex at one point and ended up using a bench in the lobby. Right above it was a picture ad from probably 100 years ago. The thing that shocked me was that it was a picture where all there was was the Olafson. It was this big, grand hotel up on the hill, surrounded by forest with only a dirt road to get there. As I looked around the grounds and then at what was outside the gate it made me sad to see what had developed around it. It’s a concrete jungle of rubble, pot holes and masses of people. I know that’s normal for population growth, but Haiti used to be so green and forested and spacious.
We enjoyed our visit with Ben. It was the first time I’d met him and I understand why Chris likes him so much. After Ben worked with Clean Water for Haiti he went on to train as a Jesuit Priest. We didn’t get a chance to talk about why, but eventually he decided not to pursue that and started working with Catholic Relief Services in Africa. Eventually he ended up in Ethiopia, and then got a transfer to Haiti where he ended up working with the CRS project in the tent camp being managed by Sean Penn’s organization JPHRO. Eventually Ben circumstances changed and Ben was no longer working with CRS and was hired on with JPHRO as their Country Director. It was fun to think that one of our former volunteers was working with JPHRO now. And the Country Director to boot.
We enjoyed our time with Ben so much. We exchanged war stories, so to speak, about our times being here. Some similar experiences that just reminded me that what we have gone through here is not unique in many ways. Most of the long term people that have been here have had issues similar and we can all empathize with each other. Ben ended up getting called away because of a work emergency so we didn’t get to visit as long as we would have liked, but we enjoyed it while it lasted.
From there we headed up to the Haiti Baptist Mission. We thought it would be a good way to kill some time before going to see other friends for the night. We had ice cream and wandered through the “petting zoo” which really only had a crazed monkey and some bunnies and goats. Oh, and peacocks. And a Jackfruit tree. Chris has been growing a Jackfruit tree in the yard for a few years now and it’s making slow progress. It was fun to see one growing here. While we were away Bryan started reading a chapter of Proverbs each morning during staff prayer time, and we wanted to get our own Creole Bible so we could continue on with this, so we did. Also got some pure vanilla extract and I can’t wait to bake with it.
Mid-afternoon we headed down to our friends house. It was still in the mountains and nice and cool compared to what we’ve been living with at home. There were hardly any mosquitos! We enjoyed our time with them a lot. It was just nice to get away and do something we hadn’t done in a while. We actually hadn’t seen them since our girls were about 6 months old and crawling because of all the life stuff both our families had been going through. It was fun to see them older and running around together.
Yesterday morning we did a quick grocery shop, then went to PAP Fellowship for church. It was nice to do church, in Haiti, in English. John McHoul and his hair always make me smile. He’s special :) It was nice to visit with some people we hadn’t seen in a long time. After church we headed home and got back just in time to have Bryan and Sheena, some new friends from down the road, come over for a visit. We only met them a week ago, but yesterday we thoroughly enjoyed hanging out on our deck getting to know each other better. A visit turned into dinner, just an added bonus.
It was a busy weekend and I’ll be honest, I feel like I need another one to catch up! It was fun though. This week we’re getting things ready to welcome our dentist friend Lori and her crew for a week. We’ll be doing clinic for our staff and their families, and just enjoying some time with our favorite dental person. We like to tell people we have a great medical and dental plan for anyone that works for the mission, both Haitian and foreign :) Heck, I’ve had better dental care here thanks to Lori than I had back in Canada.
Okay, time to go put some food into some bellies!