Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24th, 2014 - Joan

I (Joan) usually start my day at 6:30 a.m. with a walk around the compound; Keith tells me that 7 go arounds makes a kilometer.  The kids are still eating breakfast and getting ready for school, the sun is not yet up but it is light out and the air has not yet become so humid that anything done quickly causes major sweating. I can get in about 6 rounds uninterrupted, then the kids are out and curious about what’s on my iPod or giving me gifts of leaves, or they want me to hear their memorized homework for that day  and that’s it for the walking. Yes, I guess I could start earlier but I would miss moments like these.

Djemima, Karena and I in bedroom

Anne, Jofky and I with charts

The kids love to see our pictures, of themselves and of our family. Just before heading off to school they gather in the front porch and pray before heading out. If they come early, we get a chance to see pictures. They head out to school and I head to the office.  Various jobs come my way, doing payroll, typing class lists, tidying up.  At last we have internet to send the class lists to Liette, Karen’s daughter, so she can get getting sponsors for the new kids.

Kids looking at photos with Joan

We spent yesterday morning taking pictures of the preschool 3 and 4 year olds. Are they ever cute. I think it felt like a field trip to them as they left the school grounds and entered the compound for their photo. Some were not too sure about us “blancs”  ( that’s us white people) but we only had one crier.  Each child in preschool 1,2 and 3 gets their picture taken for their sponsors. Preschool 1 are all new and there are 45 of them. If you can, please go to HATS website and check out how to become a sponsor. Thanks, it is so needed.

Kids at picnic table

Ducklings in a row

Homework is an important time of the day. The kids get home from school at 12:30 and get changed. Got to keep those uniforms as clean as possible! They have about ½ an hour to play, then its lunch time and then lessons begin. That’s what they call homework here. So it is about 3:30 or 4:00 before everyone is done and then it is play time.

Today, the school organized a soccer game with the uniforms that the team brought with them. The older kids got to watch and there was serious playing and cheering going on. Soccer is to Haitians what hockey is to Canadians! The older school kids had cleaned the field of debris and rocks the day before and this morning when they knew that the game was really going to happen, they made the goal posts. New soccer balls were found in the depot for the game along with the uniforms and the kids had a blast.

Intense concentration

The cheering crowds


Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014 - Keith

Emma and Don – this blog is for you.


Electricity and keeping it operating at HATS is a huge and ongoing concern and problem. How many times today have you flicked a light switch, or turned on an appliance or the TV without thinking?
Here in Haiti the flicking of a switch and the ensuing light that follows is usually then followed by a smile or sigh of relief or some new Haitian words I recently learned from little Anne!!

Electricity arrives on the compound from one of 5 possible sources:

1)      EDH - Électricité de Haiti..EDH (Pronounced Eddie Ash. I was here 3 days on my first visit before I realized Karen was referring to Hydro and not some random local dude!!)  The Hydro is delivered via traditional overhead wires from various transmitting stations. The closest one to HATS is a small Hydro dam at Ti- Rivière. Last June a lightning strike hit the transformer and it blew its top and was destroyed. It hasn’t been replaced. EDH wants Karen to pay $6000 US to replace the transformer. That’s not going to happen because of the expense and the fact that the product is not that good. Hydro is un-reliable at best, most times not  available, expensive and prone to power surges which has destroyed electronic equipment at other missions.

Scorched transformer

Ti – Rivière

2)      DELCO – The generator. The diesel generator is now 10 years old and showing its age. Parts are hard to find and it was out of service for 3 months this summer waiting for a part to arrive and be installed. It runs about 5 hours per day to provide electricity for the laundry, pump well water to the holding tanks, feed the internet and charge the batteries. It has not been providing constant voltage and killed am air conditioner, printer and a fridge already this month.


3)      Inverter – An inverter converts DC power into AC power. A house runs on AC power and a car uses a DC battery. When the Delco (or the recently deceased Eddie Ash) run they charge a group of 16 car batteries through a battery charger in the inverter. At night the batteries through the inverter run some lights and the fridge.

Batteries and Inverter

4)      Mini diesel generator – When the Delco was on the fritz this summer Karen borrowed a small household diesel generator. It was able to pump water and charge the batteries enough to keep the food from spoiling in the fridge.

Mini Delco

5)      Self winding flashlight – When all else fails the old self winding flashlight provides enough light to keep from bumping toes or stepping on insects in the dark. It has 3 functions.
Provides light
Musical instrument, depending on speed of winding
A toy for children or bored volunteers

Winding flashlight

Emma O'Rourke, Karen's brother Don, and their team members in Springdale, Newfoundland raised the necessary funds for a new generator. Thank you Emma, Don, team members, and all in Newfoundland who donated and helped in any way for this to now be a reality.

Low and behold……. Karen and Luckner were able to finally track down a new generator in Port au Prince and it arrived today to much fanfare!!! A Wilson P33-3 with a Perkins motor.

Yup. You read it right. Wilson P33-3.

New generator arrival

Generator shed modification

The generator arrival show – standing room only

Wilson P33-3

The boss is the one with the red hair not the red hat!!

Hopefully it will get installed, hooked up and tested in the next few days.

I’ll keep you updated on this powerful soap opera…….. if we have electricity!!!!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014


Joan and I are back at HATS Haiti this time together and this time for an extended period. We arrived October 7th and planned to stay 4-5 weeks. We are already into our third week and Karen is of course negotiating an extension.

We are missing our friends and original team of Lily, Al, Gary, Cathy and Carol who have returned home to Canada.

After 7 days we finally have internet again, thanks to a 3G Hotspot connection.

3G Hotspot

We had a wonderful welcome at the orphanage. The kids were genuinely happy to see us and kept calling out Msta Keif, Msta Keif.  There were hugs and cheers all around for Joan and me but also for the rookies on the team. Everyone felt very special and very much at ease.

The banner

The welcome


Lily and new friends

Cathy, Al and Carol taking it all in

Keith welcomed by Germaine

Karen has kept us busy and the agenda changes on a daily basis if we are lucky; but more often than not almost hourly.

There is no typical daily routine but Monday will give you a pretty good idea.

We wake up every morning to this beautiful sunrise over the coconut tree. What a wonderful start to our day.


At 06:45 I start my commute from the guest house to the big house. The walk can take from 45 seconds to 15 minutes depending on how many kids need noses wiped, how many soccer balls get kicked at me, how many stray toys, school books and shoes I pick up or how many jobs the house mothers have to tell me about like busted screens, broken hinges or empty propane tanks.

I review Ti-Luc’s homework for 30 minutes before all the kids gather at Karen’s house to start their day at school. From there we head off to staff devotions and my plan was to continue making and treating church benches.

Didn’t happen!

I was needed at school to take a picture.
Went back to school to try and get a 3G USB internet working.
Someone needed the depot opened.
Mucked with unresponsive printer…….. unsuccessfully .

Then Karen decided we needed to go to St. Marc for supplies.

We were partially successful.

Stop 1 - We got a 3G hotspot which is giving us temporary internet.
Stop 2 – Grocery store for fruit. No fruit but got bread and cheese.
Stop 3  - Bank lineup too long to get cash for teachers’ payroll
Stop 4 – Another grocery store for fruit. No fruit but bought some mops
Stop 5 – Topped up truck with diesel
Stop 6 – Picked up phone cards – they didn’t work when we got home
Stop 7 – Karen visited a teacher who was home from school sick.

We returned to the compound in time for me to do Math tutoring with Moise.

Then a hockey game broke out.

Hockey in Haiti

 Ah well, there’s always tomorrow for the benches. More later.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Thank you Lily and Al, Cathy and Gary, and Carol. Thank you.

You all did a lot of work in intense heat and humidity.  At the same time you laughed and enjoyed yourselves with the children and even us adults.  You were a hard working, fun loving group - easy to have around.  Thank you  'new' members of our HATS-Haiti family.  You are loved.  You are appreciated. 

Seven came, five left. Keith was first in van to leave but we dragged him back out.

Lily and Jonathan

Cathy and Magdala

Al and Carol with Ti Luc & Karena

Donations being organized

Birthday party preparations for Ti Luc and Jonathan

Birthday boy Jonathan with Gary

Fun times with the kids

Cathy with her hubby Gary at his best

Returning home for supper

Paymistress Carol

Hi folks, Karen here.

We have internet again - yay!  We found a different way to get internet on site - thanks to Luckner and here we are.  This is the last blog the team members wrote the night before they left.  This will be followed tomorrow by a thank you to that team that also has been sitting on my computer for far too long.  Then Keith will do one and we will be blogging as per normal again.  Thanks for your patience and understanding while we were without internet service.

Blog - October 13, 2014
It is with great difficulty that we write this final blog tonight, knowing that tomorrow we have to say goodbye to all the beautiful children & wonderful people at HATS. We have a torrential rain storm outside with loud claps of thunder and lightning. 

We attended devotions at the school again this morning. It is such a joy to hear the children singing.

Today has been no different then the rest of our week: Al, Gary & Keith finished up the benches they were working on. They built 15 and have materials cut for another 15 to be built by another team. When the children met this morning it was good to see everyone could be seated.

The school has an enrollment of over 400 children and even though school has begun some children still  didn’t have their books.  This morning Cathy, Joan, Carol and I went to the library to assort and repair books to meet their needs.


Lily Library

Cathy Library

When Lunchtime came we were privileged to help with feeding the school children. It was an interesting process. The same meal is prepared everyday over a charcoal fire by the cooks. The children eat their meal mid morning and then the teachers start the the next subject with them.

School cooks

Lily’s new kitchen

Healthy food for 400

Inspection by the BOSS

Cathy & I had fun making Newfie  Bongos this afternoon.  The children are so musical and love to be the recipient of a drum or tambourine to play in church.


Newfie bongos

What a joy it has been to have been Haiti for a week. We have grown to love the children and feel very close to them. We have experienced Germaine’s great cooking. We have seen the beautiful scenery. We have enjoyed the singing and the way the Haitians praise God. We are going away a changed people with a great appreciation for what we have.

Little sweetie Magdala

Thank you Keith and Joan for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your team to HATS-Haiti.  Thank you for your leadership.  It has been a great experience.  We wish you all the best as we leave you behind in Haiti.

Thank you KAREN for allowing us to be a part of your awesome family. You are indeed an inspiration to all of us. Your dedication and commitment to the Haitian people is commendable.

Lily and Al

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The HATS-Haiti Mission... still without internet.

This zone lost service last Monday afternoon in a huge thunder and lightening storm - the day before the team left. As usual restoration of it is is taking far too long. We are all okay here. Keith, however, has been writing his witty blogs which eventually you will get to enjoy. is all about the children...