An All The Things Post

We had a Vision Trip in last week, so not much was happening here on the blog. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that at this phase in our lives, I’m just not going to get half the things done that I want to. Thus the need for an assistant. Just bumping that back up here so you can help us spread the word.

So what have we been up to around here in Haiti land? Hmmm…

Well, we Vision Tripped. That’s always a busy time of hosting, cooking, showing people around, etc. This last group was 3 people for most of the week. Two had to head back early because of work commitments. We finished the week off with our last guest and had fun enjoying some of Haiti’s fun stuff.

The littles at Moulin Sur Mer. No, it's not lost on us that they are almost the same size in the picture.

The littles at Moulin Sur Mer. No, it’s not lost on us that they are almost the same size in the picture.

Our missionary friends are starting to make their way back to Haiti and we’re happy. It’s that “the gangs all here” type feeling. They really are our family here and when everyone, or almost everyone, is away on summer break things feel quiet and lonely. We have had fun visiting and catching up with those that are here, but we’re looking forward to getting back on schedule with our regular bi-weekly missionary gatherings. We feel really blessed to have so many people around us that want to have fellowship and support each other like this. In some areas and even in other countries there’s a sense of competition amongst missionaries, which is crazy. We know these people have got our back and the things we’ve all helped each other out with over the years is a very long list.

I think I mentioned that when we came back the yard was a mess because of mud that had washed in with a big rain. The guys had cleaned some of it up in front of the dorms, and asked if we wanted the driveway cleaned up at the same time. Chris said no, and a few days later we realized that was a big mistake. It rained almost every day for about two weeks, and last Thursday we had a really good rain, but it didn’t seem abnormally strong – until our yard flooded in a matter of 5 minutes. In the past few days Chris and Melix have had more time to investigate, and it turns out that the giant canal opening just up from us is half full of washed down mud, silt and rocks. The walls of the canal are over Chris’ head, just to give you an idea about volume. We talk a lot of deforestation in Haiti, but I don’t think people fully understand how bad the issue is. A year or so ago some people in the area burned off the hillside behind us. Many in the community were upset about it, and Chris made a comment about a major rain washing down the top soil. It took two rainy seasons, but it finally happened. All the mud, silt and rocks in the canal and our yard are topsoil from the hillside behind us.

It’s been dry since Thursday, so the guys have spent the last few days cleaning up the driveway. They literally scraped 2-3 inches of dry mud/clay off our already well packed down driveway, and did what they could to clean as much of the stuff in front of the dorms as possible without ripping out what grass is still alive.

Before, on Friday morning after the rain.

Before, on Friday morning after the rain.

During, getting a little "help" from Alex.

During, getting a little “help” from Alex.

I didn’t realize just how much stress the mud was putting on all of us until it started to get cleaned up. It seems minor, but it wasn’t really. See, the kids play in the driveway – a lot. They ride their bikes, run around, etc. When it was so full of mud they couldn’t do that. Some days we had to try and keep Alex up on the deck or in the house because it was SO muddy. Some days it took us 15 minutes to get vehicles out of the driveway because it was like driving on oil – super slippery and no traction. The amount of mopping and sweeping that has taken place in our house in the last two weeks did not go unnoticed. As soon as the guys had a small area cleaned up Alex had his bike in the driveway and was just sitting in the middle of everything. For the last two days the kids have spent more time outside, without being forced, than they have in the last two weeks. When they have the space and time to burn off energy we’re all much happier. It’s like we’ve all let out a sigh of relief or something. I’m VERY grateful for all the work the guys have done! A couple of them also spent the last two days building up the wall on the canal that runs beside the house where all the water was overflowing, hoping that we can redirect it down more and it won’t make such a mess if we get another big rain.

Our funding has been very tight and will be for a little bit while we work on fundraising efforts, so that’s been a bit stressful for us. If you want to read more about it you can go to the mission blog and read the post Chris wrote a couple days ago.

Ryan will be finishing his time with us in two short days. It’s hard to believe he’s been here for a year. I still remember meeting him at the airport, and that sense of relief that washed over me when I saw him walk out completely exhausted and looking like all he wanted to do was sleep. Secretly I was hoping that he wasn’t going to be one of those young, super enthusiastic types who LOVED everything he came across here, and thought it was all AMAZING and everyone was FABULOUS. I can’t describe the silly relief that washed over me as we drove around Port au Prince that day and I saw that he was just taking it in and processing it.

He has been such a blessing to us this past year. Yes, he’s helped out with pretty much everything we’ve asked of him, even crazy weird projects. But, I think the bigger thing has been how he’s just fit right into our family. The only time he really spent down in his house was for sleeping and when he needed to get away from our craziness. The rest of the time he was up in our place, hanging with us and our crazy kids (notice I didn’t say we were all crazy…). He helped with cooking meals, and I discovered he was the first person that I could easily share my kitchen with. He helped out with cleaning stuff up. He helped out and loved on our kids. He’s changed diapers and offered to babysit so Chris and I could go out or go to town for a day. He’s connected with other missionaries in the area and loved our staff well.

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We’ve had a lot of different volunteers here over the years and we’ve learned that not all are created equal. Ryan is one of those gems and we will miss him more than I think I can even say. I’m kind of scared for next week because we’re going to have a major adjustment with him not being here and I’m not sure if we’re going to hack it. I know the kids are going to miss him a lot too. He has had an incredible amount of patience with them, has taken the time to help burn off their energy by running around the yard with them, and taught them a lot too. Last night he was teaching Alex how to say “wheelie” while they were looking at pictures of motorcycles. Sad, sad, sad.

On Monday Alex had his first haircut. I’ve been looking at his little mop for a while and thinking that maybe it was time, but it was so blond and curly and cute and I wasn’t sure I was ready to admit he was old enough to need his first cut. I was scared too that all his curls would be gone. I finally decided Monday was the day and after lunch we plugged him in his seat and I took the scissors to him.

The crazy mop before. Hairdo by one Ryan McDaniel.

The crazy mop before. Hairdo by one Ryan McDaniel.

The finished product. It looks really preppy here, and now is more wavy when he's just bombing around the house.

The finished product. It looks really preppy here, and now is more wavy when he’s just bombing around the house. (Um, I just realized as I was sizing this that Olivia photo bombed the pic with Barbie…nice.)

Thankfully no one cried – not me, not him. And, I think he looks even cuter now! It’s a cross between preppy little boy and ragamuffin curly. His wave is more there than it was before. And, I think he’s a little cooler. Poor kid was always a sweat ball.

I’m also counting the days until school starts for Olivia. Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s post on back to school? You need to. If anything it’ll give you a good laugh.

Seriously though. I love my kids. They are special. I love that we can take holidays for 6 weeks each summer. Most families don’t get to do that. I love that we get time at home together after we get back. For like a week. Then I’m done. I love routine. My kids love routine. Ryan reminded me that last year I was saying many of the same things when he arrived at the beginning of September, but I don’t think it was that bad. Alex was just starting to walk on his own and couldn’t talk = less fighting. Now that he runs all over the place and can yell like nobody’s business, and can hold his own when it comes to harassing his sister, life has been much louder around here, and I find myself wondering if someone exchanged my children for crazy animals somewhere on our trip back without me noticing. Maybe while I was asleep in one of the airports???

They have truly been off the hook in the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to having some apart time. As in Olivia is at school 4 days a week, and they are apart. They love each other and have lots of lovey huggy moments of playing nicely. We have more of those when they have apart time. Alex is also in that phase where he wants to do everything his older sister does, and while she has self editing skills for the most part to think that maybe this is a good place to stop, he doesn’t have those yet, so while she may come by the desk and say hi, he comes by the desk and then proceeds to climb me yelling, “Snuggle meeeeee!”

Don’t get me wrong, they have their sweet loveable moments. Like right now we’re listening to music. “Price Tag” to be exact. Olivia is shadow dancing in front of the door, and Alex is on the couch playing and randomly yelling, “Monay, monay!” :)

So long story short, in 12 days I will let out a big sigh of relief as I drop my baby girl off for her first day of Grade One (can you believe it???), uniform and all. And while I might complain about the rush in the morning, I give you permission to remind me, somewhere around March, that I was looking forward to this.

~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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