Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday March 26th – 2015

Thursday‘s Top Ten Photos

Today was just another normal chaotic busy noisy day at HATS. The kids finished exams so they started their Easter school break.  Joan and I are finishing up a few jobs before we head home for our Easter break.

Lynn’s BC/NS/NL team went home so things are getting back to normal – whatever that may look like.

Today’s normal looked like this.

Another beautiful sunny day at HATS

Morning devotions

Time to water the corn

The student farmers in their cornfield

The bikers

Veggie Tales always a favorite

Barcelona soccer highlights

Playtime

World's smallest soccer field and net

The frog hunt


Keith

Monday, March 23, 2015

Linda’s Teaching Time!

Hello from Linda, a teacher from Fraser Lake, BC, Canada, who gets to do our team’s final daily blog! It is hard to believe that in less than 24 hours we will be on our various routes home, and the March 2015 HATS team will have come and gone…

We’ve taken lots of pictures, because Haiti is so different from Canada, so poverty stricken and heart-wrenching, yet beautiful and hopeful, and we need to be able to show our Canadian friends back home what we are experiencing.

Haiti’s statistics can be overwhelming: over 400,000 children have no parents, 1 out of 5 children die before they reach age five. One person can’t solve every problem, but one person can make a small dint in a big problem, and HATS Haiti, under the direction of Karen Huxter is doing just that. Today, her school educates and feeds over 400 children.

A staff of 3 cooks a protein rich meal for 400 over charcoal fires in this small kitchen every school day.

This may be the only meal of the day for many students.

A few facts and figures comparing Haiti and Canada might help you to even better understand Haiti.  (This is my teacher bound duty…)

Haiti has a population density of 367 persons per square kilometer, while Canada’s population density is 3.5 people per square kilometer. There were large stretches of unpopulated fields as we drove through the countryside, so Haiti’s populated areas are REALLY densely populated!

Crowds surrounded our van on the way from Port Au Prince, desperate to sell us something whenever the van stopped or even slowed in the traffic.

As we neared Deschapelles, the landscape was greener, but the hills in the background are still barren.

The Gross National Income based on US$ in 2012, for Haiti was $708. For Canada, $51,347. The disparity in those numbers may help you envision all that Haiti does not have.

The 2012 Consumer Price Index, where US$ in 2000= $100, for Haiti is $432, and for Canada, $128. This means the cost of living  more than quadrupled in 12 years in Haiti, while Canada’s cost of living rose about 12%. (And don’t we grumble about that!)

We are staying in a compound that can give hope to more than 400 school students and 16 orphans. The compound has running water and a generator for electricity that runs about 6 hours a day. There is protection provided by full time security and high walls. There is (barely) adequate food for all, although we have been fed like royalty in our short stay. On the outside of the compound wall is painted the sign “Village of Hope, Orphans today, Leaders Tomorrow.” This is Karen Huxter’s vision, and she has toiled mightily for the last twenty years to bring that vision to fruition. The country desperately needs honest, hardworking leaders to carry it into a viable, working future.

The outside of the compound wall.

Waiting for work on the nearby bridge.

The school has 420 students, from 3 year old pre-schoolers (prescolaires) to Grade 10 teenagers. We arrived during exam time and got to see students “cramming” for their exams outside their classroom walls, knowing full well that their futures are determined by how well they do in school. I got up at 5:30 Friday morning to see a busload of school children head off on a field trip. The bus, hired for the trip, drove into the compound with its red, green, blue and yellow lights flashing. We followed the bus out of the compound and I saw a large group of people standing on the nearby bridge.  “Parents seeing the children off?” I asked.  Karen was polite with my naivety.  “Those are farm workers waiting to be hired for a day’s employment.” Closer inspection showed that each person was carrying their own hoe, ready for work.

Karen has taken on personal responsibility to raise 16 of the orphaned children. The children range in age from 2 – late teen aged. Two of her earlier children are now teachers at the school.

Karen’s cuties



















By the way, we painted the inside of the church while we were here

I have learned much about Haiti in my short stay here, much about generational, entrenched poverty, and much about hope. We can only be part of the bringing of hope if we become one small actor on the huge stage that is poverty. Thank you, Lynn Clark, for inviting me to share this life changing experience with you, and thank-you, Karen Huxter, for investing so much of your life in a work designed to bring hope to those who need it more than any Canadian could ever imagine.

Linda


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday March 22, 2015

Tashina
Hello from Haiti.

There are many experiences here. I tell you it is Hot!! From the Canadian weather to here that is pretty good jump. Drinking lots of water that is the key.. Almost double than I would have in Canada.

We have similar interests. From Hockey, singing with drums playing, bugs including the dreaded mosquitoes. Spiders are huge and hairy. One of the things I notice more above is that these Children don’t have Xbox or TV for that matter.  But somehow have something to do with a smile or laugh.

Hockey!!! They play hockey just without the ice because it melts so fast.  Doesn’t keep them from having fun and play the national hockey game of Canada. A couple of these kids are really good. Wonder how they would be with the Canadians and ice.





Spiders here are big but this tarantula is very tiny compared to what they can be. Either way my mom would be across the compound.  First hearing about the spiders here in Haiti, I didn’t know how I was going to react. Well it is just the same as I did in Canada.


In Church this morning the tambourines were going along with the drummers and singing. Wow if that is not praising God I don’t know what is. I would really like to learn songs of praise to God in one or both of my native languages. Just thinking of how powerful a tool it can be.

Stories flood in as everyone has their own story how they ended up at HATS including my own. God has placed his humble servant Karen Huxter who is such an inspiration for the short time I am getting to know her. Her passion is for the children.  One of the words that she hates to hear is “Can’t” I've seen it for myself in the children who people had written off.  She adopted a beautiful boy who is full of life and intelligence.  I have learned many lessons from him myself. The rest of the children in the property too are cared for just as if they were her own. Karen has been teaching independence to the older children as they have to face the real world of Haiti. What an incredible solider for Christ. Karen has been here 20 years and states “I know a lot but there is lots I don’t know. I am still learning” My heart has been touched by her story and the more that is to come.

This past week I learned so much. From the people in the HATS organization, Karen, even the children (who I would love to take home to Canada). God has blessed me with this time in helping paint a church and also learning of a different worldview and way of life. Nothing is too small or too big to ask God about. It is just simple faith. My faith in God has grown and I want to continue to grow.
Tashina

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Team project

The team has almost completed their painting project.  There is a little touch up to finish Monday morning.  A job well done indeed. The team members raised money for Luckner and I to buy the paint and then came down to do the painting.

The beginning of Lovely Lisa

Painting team - Francine

Painting team - Linda

Team leader Lynn on the ladder. Tashina holding it.

Non team member but big helper. True to form lying down on the job.

A good start on the ceiling by Tony

What a difference inside our church.  Wow.  From dull dark grey cement to beautiful walls in  two shades of yellow - pale yellow on the walls and a deep yellow, Lovely Lisa, trim, with a white ceiling.  It looks as if the sun is shining inside or someone has turned on some very bright lights.  Noteworthy indeed is the fact that this big job was done without any scaffolding.  It is a good thing that Keith decided to buy Joan a step ladder for her birthday gift as it was put to very good use
on this painting job.

Children decided the team effort was paying off

A lot brighter already

The last roller of paint going on the ceiling

Lovely Lisa looking good

It will be fun to see the expressions on faces of those who come to church tomorrow morning and again our school students Monday morning.

Ready for church in the morning

Thank you team Lynn, Francine, Tony, Linda, and Tashina.  Thank you Keith and Joan for your various methods of support on this project.  Indeed a team effort that has had impressive results.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Francine…

Barren lands and rice fields; azure ocean and mountainside slums; French and Creole - Haiti is a land of many paradoxes.  But the greatest paradox I’ve seen is the HATS-Haiti compound at the edge of a canal, sitting next to villages where there is no evening light and I am reminded that Jesus is the Light of the world; that He, and He only, can bring a nation out of darkness.                  
 
Ocean

Mountain slums

Seeing “tap-taps,” crowded markets, rolling mountains, azure oceans, welcoming smiles and children

Market

Children

Hearing children singing, roosters crowing, goats “baa-ing”, a rice mill grinding and generator working

High school student singing

Goat

Tasting fresh mangoes, “mini” bananas, pumpkin soup, rice with sauce and veggies I can’t pronounce

Bananas (called “figs” in Haiti)

Papayas

Smelling food cooking, charcoal burning, and yes- sweaty smells from working in the intense heat
Touching children’s braids, hugs from a child, kissing the cheeks of our cooks, net-covered bed  

Djemima

Mosquito net

Feeling joyful, thankful, useful, humbled
In Haiti, people will build “with another” level in mind; in case they want to add another floor.  I am reminded  that we, as Christians, need to build with another level in mind; meaning to not only lead people to Christ, but then teach them and grow them- to become disciples.  HATS is striving to do so, as they teach the next generation about the gospel; even as they learn their reading, writing and arithmetic.  It is our privilege to be here and so, we’ve been painting; a lot.  Lovely colours are being rolled and brushed onto the walls of a church built by Haitian contractors.  Another team will paint the outside and those who are waiting for the colour scheme, with bated breath, will have to keep waiting.

Church