Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday, May 25,2015

Heather & Todd

“That was the best sleep EVER!” Words expressed by Heather but echoed by everyone. We all woke at 6am, gathered at the tower to chat and observe as the local men walked to the bridge hoping for work in the rice fields. An early rise is the norm at HATS. Many of the norms are different then what we are accustomed to; no Tim’s, no Fruit Loops, no rushing to start the chaos of the day. Positivity, laughter, and joy are everywhere. Smiling children in their school uniforms greet us before their school day began, and Jonathon, 3 years old, says a prayer. As the children run off to school, all the workers, our team, and Karen met for devotions.

School Children in porch ready for school

Todd at devotions

Anticipating the “main event” of the day, Don’s arrival with his passport in hand, Lacee and Karen, start to plan his special welcome. The others went off to the church to assess the chores needing to be done. Painting the exterior wall and interior touch ups would keep us busy most of the day.

Heather and Emma

Heather and Lacee

Jenny & Shirley

We took a break at recess and went to visit the school kids. Heather and Shirley were so overwhelmed with the friendliness, happiness, and love of them all. Smoke could also be seen from the school kitchen as the workers prepare lunch for the 400 school children.Our team raised $20 000 to be used to purchase food for the school. They get a snack at recess and a nutritious lunch each day. This reminded us all of the importance of our team fundraising over the past year; BBQ’s, bake sales, variety show, etc. We are so thankful for all the outstanding support we have received.

Lacee & students

Shirley & Heather

Heather & students

Lady stirring rice at school

Just before noon, we are told “Mr. Comic” is 15 minutes away. The team and Karen prepare for an unprecedented welcome outside the compound door.Don arrives passport in hand only to be told “SORRY NO VACANCY!” but his bed was ready outside.Laughter could be heard from everyone including local folks watching nearby and the school staff. The truth is however we are delighted that he has arrived because this visit wouldn’t be the same without Don.

Team welcoming Don

As we continued to do our painting in the afternoon, the mystery of where Don found his passport is yet to be revealed to all! Did he find it in his pants pocket? Driveway? Basement? Blouse or purse? Stay tuned…

Heather & Todd

May 22nd.

By Emma and Shirley

And the journey begins....... Not without some excitement though! It's Friday night and there's last minute things to do before heading to the airport to begin the first leg of our journey to HATS-Haiti. With great excitement and anticipation of what's to come and only a little time left to complete last minute details. And much to our surprise we were blessed with an unplanned power outage that lasted for 31/2 hours!! Sounds a lot like the Haitian electrical grid, eh Karen?  Power was restored but due to water build up on the highway  and any other unforeseen mishaps, such as a moose or two, or heaven forbid, a team member misplacing his passport. yes folks, you heard it right. Since I was traveling with Don and Lacee, Jenny, Heather and Todd, I couldn't understand why Don had not arrived as planned. Flash, as Don is fondly known, has a reputation for being a little tardy, but this was beyond that. My telephone rings and guess who? Mr Don calling to inform me that his passport is missing. He has been searching for his little black book but to no avail. The team is informed and we are all uneasy as this trip cannot proceed without Flash.  It just wouldn't be the same. After all, we do need our Daddy!!

He strongly feels we must get on the road so the rest of us would not miss our flights and besides, his car is loaded with numerous items for the orphanage.  As per usual the importance of the HATS mission comes before anything else so he very sadly insists that we carry on without him and he will continue looking for his passport and then catch a later flight.

Hallelujah! The black book has been found, the flight rearranged and Don is on his way. We are not quite sure when he will arrive but please continue to check our blogs for further updates  .As I endure a 12 hour stop over in Toronto, the rest of the team heads to Miami for a few hours of rest and relaxation. I decide to play telephone tag with Don because we now feel it may not be wise to leave him on his own!! Unfortunately, all that tag was for naught. His flights could not connect with mine. But that's ok. See ya later Flash.

They say things happen in threes so are you ready for number three? I suddenly receive a frantic text from our two new team members, Shirley (Heather is the other) informing me that her hotel room was crawling with bed bugs!!!  Are you laughing yet? Shirley wasn't. Don's misfortune became Shirley's fortune as we were able to move her into the already booked hotel that couldn't accommodate her as she had been a little later coming on board. Well Jerry and Alycia, you are surely missing loads of fun
Wish you were here!!!

May 23rd.
Sunday morning bright and early we meet in the lobby to pack bags into the shuttle bus and head to the airport. Oops !! Somebody is missing!!  It's Shirley!  Her traumatic experience with bed bugs left the poor traumatized girl tossing and turning all night. The other missing person is sleeping it up in Toronto.

Finally we arrive in Port Au Prince extremely excited, a little anxious and certainly proud to be ambassadors from our hometown of Springdale, NL. Karen's hometown as well. Its on to the bus and off to Deschapelles.

The beautiful smiling faces, hugs and kisses mixed in with welcome home and welcome new ones make our hearts do a happy dance. There is love all around .

Welcome to the team

Happy children. Happy Team

Unloading the goods for Haiti.

Lots of hugs going around

We acquaint and reacquaint ourselves with everyone and then are treated to our first  Haitian meal. Yummy fried chicken, rice and beans with Creole sauce and salad. Germaine has definitely not lost her touch. We leave the table with our bellies full as we prepare to show " The New Ones" our sleeping quarters.

The HATS Hilton sleeping arrangements.

Oh, by the way, its is really great to see you too Karen!!! We know its all about the children but you are kind of special to us as well!!

Jonathan is one of the reasons Heather's heart is touched.

We were blessed with the visit of two Canadian police officers who are working with the United Nations here in Haiti. It made their day to see and spend time with fellow Canadians as well as to compete in a soccer match with the kids. The treats they supplied were a great hit!!

Lacey with Guillaume and Valerie.

Our kids with Guillaume and Valerie

Sandra happy to have Valerie back to visit.

Soccer with the kids

After a lovely supper we are starting to  wind down. Possibly an early night but only after a few of Mama Karen's bedtime stories. To even imagine touching a life in a country just as this is way out there. We are on a mission, a mission that is all about the children. The children and their future. A future we hope will be improved if only a little by our presence here. Good night all. Can't wait to listen to the sounds of the heavenly choir. What a great day it has been.

Hugs, Emma and Shirley

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ti Luckner (Ti Luc) Huxter - Alexandre Noel Huxter

(This very special boy has two names - Ti Luckner or Ti Luc and Alexandre.  He does not use Alexandre but it is still his legal name for now.  It will be changed when he becomes a Canadian citizen.)

Today is a very very happy day for Karen, Luckner, Ti Luc, and everyone else at HATS.  This will also be a happy day for many in Canada and some  in the US when this blog is read.

A lot of supportive people have been following the story of Ti Luc from birth and the saga of the adoption that took far too long.  The adoption was finally finished two years ago and the passport one and half years ago.  Due to problems with our lawyer and receiving the paperwork we were unable, until recently, to apply for a visitor's visa and unable to send in paperwork for Part 2 of applying for Canadian citizenship for Ti Luc.  We were blocked.  Thanks to Luckner, who is one top notch lawyer, we finally had proper paperwork and became unblocked.

We went to Port au Prince in March to the Visa Application Centre and applied for a Visitor's Visa so I could take Ti Luc to Canada with me.  I thought I had all my ducks in a row so to speak and could see no way that I, a Canadian, applying for a visa for my legally adopted son would be refused.  Well, I was refused a visa for Ti Luc.  I was shocked and sad but not being a quitter I decided to start from scratch again, see what I might have missed when I applied and reapply.  I gathered up a lot of extra paperwork which included letters of invitation from 8 people in Canada inviting Ti Luc to come visit this summer and paperwork showing I have been with HATS in Haiti for 20 years.

Today we went to Port au Prince for two reasons   1.  To go to the Visa Application Office to apply once again for a visitor's visa so Ti Luc can accompany me to Canada this summer and  2. to go to the Embassy with the paperwork for Part 2 of Canadian citizenship for Ti Luc.

I felt strongly led to go to the Embassy first and drop off the paperwork for citizenship.  I was not sure of the procedure but I asked for someone to look over the papers while I was there in case something was missing.  Thankfully they had me see someone there who did just that.  She said I needed copies of two more pieces of adoption paperwork and asked if I had any proof of my being here 20 years as this would mean we could dispense with the need of another piece of paperwork.  I explained I had these necessary papers with me today but in another envelope as they were meant for the Visa Application Centre and were needed there.

Ti Luc's passport

Ti Luc has had this since Oct 2013

Then what I consider a miracle happened.   In the space of a total of four hours from the time I walked into the Embassy, with the help of a very nice Embassy staff member that I will never forget, my paperwork for citizenship was accepted and I walked out of the Embassy with a visa in hand for my darling boy as well.  No need to go anywhere else.

Thank you God. Today we were given a visa

I was thrilled and so very very thankful.  Luckner too was extremely pleased and thankful.  Ti Luc and the other kids, as well as Germaine, and two housemothers on duty were given the good news when I arrived home and all were thrilled.  Ti Luc danced and yelled in joy.  He said "Now Mama you really will take me to Canada and not just promise".

My happy boy dancing

When we were alone before bed he asked for chalk.  He took his blackboard for his school work, and with his feet, as he always writes everything, he wrote a message "Ti Luc gen visa - Ti Luc has a visa"  He put a smiley face on it and signed his name.  Then quietly asked me to take a photo and send to his Canadian family so they will know he is coming to see them this summer.

Thank you God. Today we were given a visa

Thank you God.  Thank you Luckner.  Thank you family.  Thank you to everyone else for the many prayers on our behalf over the years that this has taken, thank you for your encouragement and for your friendship.  We could not have done it without you.

I would like to encourage those of you who are going through an adoption process in Haiti. Things do not happen quickly or easily here.  Keep on believing and keep on praying.  God will see you through.

With love,
Karen and Ti Luc

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Minustah (U N) and Fet Drapo (Celebration of Haitian Flag)

We had two special events this week - on Sunday and again on Monday.

On Sunday we had a delightful visit from three Canadians, one man - Guillaume and two ladies - Valerie and Veronique, who work with the police force in Canada, but are presently with the UN in St. Marc and one Haitian policeman, also stationed in St. Marc.   The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together with them.  We now wait and hope they will return to see us.

Enjoyable Sunday afternoon visit

Guillaume with sidekick Jonathan

Happy Magdala with Valerie

Jonathan putting little Canadian flag to good use playing with Haitian policeman

Veronique and Magdala

Yesterday, Monday, we celebrated the Haitian Flag - Fet Drapo as it is often called.  May 18th - Flag Day is one of the days that I really enjoy.  I like seeing our school yard decorated with hundreds of Haitian flags.  I like hearing the history and seeing the pride these wonderful people have in their flag.  They have a big celebration yearly but it is not just a once a year thing.  I see the beautiful Haitian flag raised every day in our school yard with the students standing, arms outstretched to the flag and singing the national anthem.  It is beautiful to see the respect and pride in their flag.

Raising of the flag prior to a couple of hours marching outside with the band

Yesterday, we had the flag raising in our school yard as usual.  We had all the students together in the church building where they listened to Met Luckner and two school supervisors of this district share some history of the flag.  This was followed by a two hour march with music supplied by a band, with our students proudly waving their flags.   They returned to the school tired and hungry but also proud and happy.

Returning to school yard thirsty and hungry after two hours marching in hot sun

Everyone received a hot meal, cold drink and then had some relaxing time to visit with friends and watch some secondary students do some Haitian dancing.  It was indeed another successful 'Fet Drapo' at the HATS school.

Secondary group dancing

Hungry students after a day of marching and celebrating the Haitian flag

Prescolaire students enjoying their meal

Groups of students everywhere with their meals

I had some adorable preschool students who danced for my camera that I am going to try and share with you on this blog.

video

Video: Fet Drapo preschool dancers

The HATS mission is here for the children - at the school, on the orphanage compound, and in the community.

I T     I S     A L L      A B O U T      C  H I L D R E N

Karen

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hello from all of us here at HATS-Haiti

Once again this will be a blog where photos will do the talking.

We are all still really missing Joan and Keith.  We are, however, excitedly awaiting the team from my home town of Springdale, Newfoundland who are returning to their HATS family on Sunday, May 24th.

Keif coffee is ready. Come on back

Since Tuesday we are also missing Vladimy who is once again in the hospital in Port au Prince.  We would appreciate prayers for this fine young man.  Thank you.

Last Sunday we had some special visitors at our church for a short time.  Tomorrow these  new friends will be visiting with us here at this compound for a while.  They are interested in knowing more about HATS and getting to know the children.

I T     I S     A L L      A B O U T    T H E      C H I L D R E N

Sandra & Jonathan

Josie & Ti Fi, Vladimy & Karena and Judel. Almost home.

Go Dieunel. You can do it.

Birthday girl Anne

School director, Luckner, has a new assistant.

Little Sandra does love her mangoes

One little pig went to . . . This big pig went to HATS

Out of mud hole to shake off on compound wall

Two beautiful girls - Leica and Magdala.

JJ, Leica, Djemima

Jonathan

Returning for supper. Anne and Jofky in the lead

Sunday morning visitors at church

At back of our church waiting for Valerie and Rosette were Veronique and Guillaume