Sunday, February 14, 2016



Valentines is not a familiar tradition here in Haiti, but was quickly embraced by our kids. Thanks to a good friend from Montreal we had a generous amount of supplies. The kids had a blast creating their very first Valentines.

Now if you have had the chance to work with 15 kids at the same time, all different ages and stages of ability, you know that it has to be a controlled activity as much as possible. So Leica helped me put together the bags for each child so that each would feel special.

As my friend Carol works with young kids herself, she wisely provided hearts that were stickers and no glue was needed. The glue is a favorite snack for Magdala!


Leica helped with Bags

When all my explanations were done in my broken Creole, the children started creating their Valentines. There was lots of chatter and comparing of their creations as they went along.

Boys Working on Valentines

Girls Working on Valentines

Judel and Jonathan were very proud of their handy work.

Judel with his Valentines

Jonathan with his

The children that Carol works with in Montreal follow our kids on the blog so have gotten to know them by name. They made their own Valentines to share with the children here.

Finished Valentines

Letters from Carols class

The candy hearts were very much appreciated and of course to get your very own heart shaped container that you can keep is a real treat too. Thank you Busy Bees for helping us celebrate Valentines here at HATS.

Special treats for Sonson

Thank you Busy Bees

Friday, February 12, 2016



T.G.I.F. Yeah, tomorrow is Saturday. Everyone loves the weekends and the kids at HATS are no different than their counterparts in North America in that regard. No school, a chance to hang out with friends and a change in the school day routine.

With the older kids, Joan and I will start the day with a canal walk. We are usually out for an hour and have 4 or 5 different 5km. routes we are trying.

After breakfast then it is laundry time for the older ones.

JJ is unclear on the concept…. Take Sonson’s clothes off first.

That’s better JJ and Moise

Leika hard at work

Josie and Karena are happy while they work

While the laundry is being done, the little ones just play. What a great life.

The local hangout

Markensen providing some boy power for Sonson and Sandra

Hang on Magdela – there’s going to be turbulence

What's play time without snacks?? Right Markensen?

In the heat of the afternoon it’s time to hide in the shade. Whose turn is it to pick this afternoon’s video?

Everybody loves a video

After all the chores are done AND the afternoon heat has waned it’s time for some soccer or hockey or basketball or a canal walk with the little ones before suppertime and lights out.

Soccer time

Early to bed – tomorrow is church day.

It’s all about the kids…………..

Wednesday, February 10, 2016



Every year Haiti celebrates Carnival about this time in February. It’s a holiday from work and from school for most of the country. Here at the school, as in all the schools in the country, Friday was a holiday from class but everyone came to school in their best clothes and had a party. The real no school holiday is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Our kids here at HATS were so excited last Friday morning; they were jumping around long before it was time to head to school. Our older four were excited in that laid back, I don’t care teenage way, but they did want their photo taken!





The younger boys and Karena were sprouting a bit of Carnival attitude for the camera before they headed over to the school for the party. Josie and Sandra had their face paint on to celebrate.

Dieunel, Jonathan in front, Jofky, Karena and Judel

Josie and Sandra with a friend

Luckner and the teachers at IMKH (Institute Mixte Karen Huxter) put on a great time for the kids. It all started with loud, ear splitting music and the kids started dancing. The conga line was a favorite for the classes to do together. Although the Grade 11’s had to hand in their homework to Met Luckner, they enjoyed seeing the little ones take part.

The music gets you dancing

Grade 11 students

While the younger ones dance out where everyone can see, the older students like to dance too, but more discreetly. These girls were having a great time a bit out of sight.

Beautiful girls enjoying the dance

The Grade 5 group

Our kids came home tired but happy to have had a chance to celebrate with their friends. As always,
It Is All About the Kids on the compound and at the school.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Canal Walk


The canal walk is a highlight for the kids, the volunteers and the work teams here at HATS. For all of us it is a rare chance to get off the compound where we work or go to school, live and attend church. It is an opportunity to see Haiti in all its beauty – and not the news clips we see on North American TV of poverty, squalor and political demonstrations. This Artibonite Valley is very beautiful with rich agricultural land providing food and employment for the locals.

The canal and Artibonite Valley

100 meters and Moise is tired already

Bananas enroute to market

Saturday Morning I left promptly at 6:00 with the older kids. Well; it was actually 6:20 but we are on Haitian time and had to wait for Moise and Vladimy to find their shoes… Leika, Djemima, JJ, and Dieunel were all ready on time. We headed north along the canal, crossed the bridge and came back on the other side.

Everyday is laundry day along the canal

The walkers club

Across the bridge and back on the other side

When the kids walk with Karen they practice their English, walking with me I practiced Creole with them.  Obviously 5 Kms is not nearly along enough lesson time with my limited linguistic skills but they had a lot of laughs at my expense.

Homeward bound

Lush fields of peas

Beauties and the beast

Tomorrow we’ll do a shorter walk with the younger children.

It's all about the kids........

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday, February 5th – 2016


For any one that has kids or has looked after kids you know there is that one time every day that I used to call the arsenic hours when my kids were little.  As the saying goes, “he’s jumping up and down on me last nerve!”

So at 4 o’clock today the little ones came running up to the door. Can we do this? Not today. Can we that? Not right now. Can we ride our bikes? Yes!

Keith’s bicycle repair shop

I know that the picture does not look like children riding bikes, but this is how each riding time starts. Keith has one or more bikes that need: a chain reattached, a handle bar tightened, a seat adjusted or a tire pumped. With 17 bikes to keep running there is always something that needs fixing. Today Sandra waited patiently for her bike to be fixed. With a big “Thank you Keith” she was on her way.

While she was waiting for her bike Sandra had a little spin on Anne’s bike. She so wants to be like her big sister and I don’t think it will be long before she will be riding without those training wheels. Jofkey decided to take out the scooter and discovered how to do a wheelie!

Sandra trying her wings

You will also notice in the background that Jonathan and Markenson are having a race, Jonathan on foot and Markenson on his bike. It was so much fun to hear them laughing together.

Jonathan and Markenson

As it grew closer to supper time, one by one the bikes and helmets were put away. Thanks to Dickie and Jim, everyone has a place for their very own helmet.

Parked bikes

Sonson had a nice long swing all by himself while his brothers and sisters were biking. He was having a great time….I heard him singing for the first time. So cute.

The swing all to himself

The kids were surprised and pleased when Keith and I got bikes out and joined them riding around the compound.

Joan and Keith can ride too!!!!

It Is All About The Kids!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday, February 03rd – 2016


Every school day the kids head next door to school at 7:30 AM. The preschoolers, staff and volunteers then gather for devotions. After devotions and a short time of socializing, everyone disperses to start their day. There is no list of jobs to do (except for me!!) and all the staff knows what needs to be done. A place like HATS is very well run and there are days like today when the whole operation seems to run on momentum.

The cook cooks……


The gardener gardens…..


The laundry ladies do the laundry…..

Leonard and Madame Saintardieu

The guard guards…..


The barber barbers…..

Moise getting a trim

The directors direct…..

I’m not sure where Karen and Joan have disappeared to…. Maybe working from home, or gone for a pedicure or in a meeting. Another good example of HATS running well on momentum.

The preschoolers play

Sonson found a cool piece of concrete to play on

The house mothers clean


And the blogger blogs!!!!!

I just needed a nice mango shake and a quiet place to think about today’s blog!!