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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pale vous Frances?

A few weeks ago our kids started school for the fall. This year the MdL school is being taught completely in French. This is a change as for the last two years the MdL school has been in English. Our older children had been going to Haitian school, which is in French, before the earthquake, but since then they'd all been attending MdL school in English. Some of our older children are going to two different nearby schools and the rest of our children go to the MdL school. Here's a peak at what the kids look like after they've had a long day....looking better than I do, for sure, after a long day!



Jennifer (Fritz's niece), Youdelka, and Cendy

Oline not wanting to show her face

Ruby, Fritz's niece. I could just eat her up!

Daphne, another one I can't get enough of

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Yesterday Kaitlyn and I tackled a beautiful hike with Rod and Brittany and our new friends (since yesterday), Tiff, Jamie, and Katie, who teach at Quisqueya Christian School with Rod. We drove up to Kenscoff, which is about a 45 minutes up-hill from where we live, then parked the car to walk to Le Montecel, where camp was held for Maison de Lumiere this past June. The trail was surrounded by greenery and wildlife on every side. Adults and children alike were fascinated to see Rod and Brittany pushing a stroller with a white baby. Along the way, a family driving by us stopped their car to talk to Rod. They found out that Rod works at QCS, where a relative is a board member. They generously offered us to have lunch at their home, where they served meat and cheese croissants, apple pastries, and avocado sandwiches. We left wondering why they were so prepared to host seven other people? I LOVE Haitian hospitality! Something for me to strive to be like.

One child in front of her house ran inside to grab her friends when she saw Asher. They ran after him squealing, "Nou bezwen we babe blan! (I need to see the white baby!)"

On the way back many comments were made to Rod and Britt about Asher's legs bouncing around in his stroller and that he was getting too cold. Eventually, when an older man protested a bit too much, they gave in and covered him up even though he was already asleep and content. When a white person has a baby (black or white) with him or her it typically invites Haitians to give comments about how the baby is being taken care of, as in the money fiasco I created with Estaline.

The family we ate lunch with met us along the road again as we walked back. We were getting tired and had commitments to get back to in town, so we piled Asher (inside his stroller- don't judge please) into the back of the truck and we all held on to the stroller as we slowly made our way down the hill. When it comes to fitting people inside a truck here in Haiti, any number of people seems to work.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Black Shoes

Today we had our normal Tuesday morning staff meeting, where we learned from our new principal that all the children attending the MdL school (our kids in grades K-6, many of the children of our staff, and some children in our neighborhood) need black shoes. Here in Haiti black shoes that are typically worn to school cost around 800 Haitian dollars, which equals about $100 US. Um, hello? Am I not currently living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? A typical Haitian salary is less than $1 US per day. How does a Haitian pay for shoes for their child to go to school? Not only are special shoes required for all Haitian schools, they need to pay for tuition, books, school supplies, uniforms (pants or skirts and shirts), sometimes lunch (other times they are given a daily lunch that is included in their tuition), ribbons for the girls' hair, and I'm sure other items that I have forgotten to include. This explains why so many children don't go to school and adults are unable to read. Yet, how do so many children go to school with the cost so high? Sponsors, for one. Each child in our orphanage has sponsors from the states or Canada who donate a monthly amount to Child Hope, which pays for school-related costs, food, clothes, and medical care, among other things, for our children. Many of the children in our neighborhood who will be going to our school or others have sponsors as well who are giving just for school. In addition, hundreds of other organizations, such as Compassion International, pair up donors with children to send them to school. A huge Thank You to those who sponsor our children, those in our neighborhood, and through other organizations. You are making the difference between a child spending their days on the streets or sitting in a classroom, surrounded by books and learning and receiving a hot meal.

Someone asked what would happen if the kids in our school didn't wear black shoes. MdL is hoping to get this school accredited this year so someone who does the accrediting can pop by the school without warning multiple times a week to check on it. If they see that our kids don't match or look sloppy, it may take longer to get accredited.

This discussion about shoes and their prices started to seem ridiculous and I'm afraid I started to judge the Haitian culture as well. Why the emphasis on appearance when jobs are minimal and people aren't eating here? But aren't we (I), as Americans, just the same way? There are millions of homeless people in America as well. We love our fashion and we all want to look cute and shiny on our first day of school and every other day as well. We'll go into huge debt to buy clothes, cars, jewelry, and electronics. We are the same everywhere. We want to look good!

Because we want our kids to go to school (and most days they want to also), if you know of a place that will donate black dress or tennis shoes, please contact me. In the meantime, our kids will start at the MdL school this coming Monday, wearing whatever kind of shoe they have, hopefully being happy and thankful God has given them the opportunity to put on their backpack and learn French. May I remember to also be thankful for my clothing and my education that the Lord has been gracious to provide.