28 July 2011

Thankful Thursday

*That B's daughter is feeling much better!
*Our generator, which has been getting a workout every night this week...
*Getting to know Ed Robinson, our guest this week. He is one cool guy.
*A day to myself today.
*The breeze that's cooling off my house.
*The first four bites of cornflakes in the morning. (Oh, come on--everyone knows the rest are soggy.)
*That God hears me, even when I don't know what to say. 

What are you thankful for today?

22 July 2011

Grocery Store Moment

Yesterday, in the grocery store, as I was pricing out the difference between brands of chunky peanut butter, a guy walked by, pushing his cart with one hand and drinking a beer with the other.

Drinking a beer...in the grocery store.

That's something you just don't see every day.

21 July 2011

O's Family

Our yard guy, O, knocks on the back door when he's finished with his work. I click the metal lock in the metal door and it creaks open.

Me: You're ready?

O: Yeah, I'm ready. Bye.

Me: (laughing) You can't say goodbye until I let you out the front gate.

O: (something mumbly in Creole)

Me: Huh?

O: I'm not leaving, I'm staying here.

Me: (exuberantly) You can't stay here! You have to go get married!!

As he left, he had the biggest smile on his face. "Pray for me," he calls, and he's not joking (for once). It's a long trip to the village where his "wife" lives...and this week, they're making it official. He started going to our church, Calvary Chapel PAP, about a year and a half ago, and it must have gotten him thinking. It's about time they got married, I often tease him, since they already have four kids. And let's face it, in a few months, we'll probably find out that she's pregnant again. But he only gets to see them every six months. That's rough.

He's a good dad--he calls his kids every night to make sure they're being good for their mom. And I can tell he loves his wife. He's always joking around, and it's a true blessing to have him in our lives. (Oops--I meant to add a "sentimental alert." Oh well, too late now.)

He called me yesterday afternoon. There was lots of people noise in the background--happy laughing and talking, just like O, only times fifty. "I made it! I'm here! My family greets you!" he yelled into the phone. "I greet them back! Have a great time!" He told me he was coming back the 32nd. That must have been another joke.

We're rejoicing over O and his family! Please pray for safety for him as he travels and a strong start to his marriage.

16 July 2011


Sometimes, it's hard to find a quiet place to think in Port-au-Prince. Here's my neighbor's solution. I only wish my own roof was flat.
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15 July 2011

A Haiti Moment

It's 7:30 PM on Friday, and I'm ironing in my kitchen. The window is closed, because my neighbors are blaring a radio program. (Unusual for my neighbors, but not for Haiti. You don't have the right to quiet here.) I just finished pulling the laundry off the line, because it felt like it might rain. We got a nice, heavy rain on Wednesday, but nothing since then. Outside, both dogs were very suspicious of the way the bushes were moving. I wouldn't be surprised to find a mouse on my doorstep tomorrow morning. I turned around to see a spider as big as my hand scurrying up the wall by the door into the house. Not cool. Half a can of Baygon later, he is dead.

I am ironing white pilot shirts, because I can only iron on city power, and I'm afraid it'll go off before morning. There is a distressed lizard behind my refrigerator who is chirping at me. David is trying to shoo him away by slamming cupboard doors. His next task is setting up our evening Star Trek episode, which his dad kindly sends to us. My next task is making a cake from a box for a potluck tomorrow.

In spite of so many things, life in Haiti is good. Thanks for praying for us.

12 July 2011

Music to my ears

To say that it's been dry is an understatement. We usually get rain every day in this season, but we haven't had rain in 35 days.

 This is the corn O planted for us. It's rather...dead. I was going to split it with him, but he's going to lose money as it is. I've been dumping my laundry water out there, but it only goes so far. 

Clearly, I couldn't save all of it. So sad. And when it's sad for me (just because I love corn), I think about the people who really need their crops. Like, to live.

My dusty banana tree. All the trees along the road are just coated with dirt that the rain usually washes off. 

I took these this morning, to show you how dry it's been. And then, finally, after 35 days of praying...I heard music to my ears...

It sounded like it was tapering off for a while after this, but now the thunder and lightning are picking up again...and there's few things I like better. This storm is a good start, but if a food shortage is going to be avoided, we're going to need a lot more. Please pray for more rain!

P.S. B came to work today--her daughter is feeling a little better, but they're still waiting on more tests, and she's far from 100%. Thanks for praying!

11 July 2011

Someone else's fever

Mwen pa ka pran te pou lafyèv li.
I can’t take tea for someone else’s fever.

I try to stay positive on this blog. I don't have a "whiny Wednesday." But every once in a while, I find things I hate.

I was painting at the new house last week, when my phone rang. It was B...on her day off. Bad sign. In a jumble of Creole, I understood that she was at my house. J let me borrow her car, and I hurried over. Her daughter was lying on the couch...even from six feet away, I could see the huge beads of sweat on her forehead. 

Another flurry of Creole told me that she'd been vomiting the night before and had an itchy rash. What startled me was her face--she couldn't open her eyes because it was so puffy. They'd been to the hospital and were sent home with several prescriptions. I gave her money; some for the medicine, and some to save in case they needed to go back to the hospital. This was Thursday; I told her not to come Friday, even though we had a guest coming and it meant I'd need to do lots of cleaning myself. 

I prayed for them in Creole: help them, they love you, they need you, please heal her. They left, B leading her daughter by the hand. In the quiet, I felt something. It's not an emotion I'm too familiar these days. I expected to be sad. Sad was a safe feeling. Sad would make sense. But I wasn't sad. I was angry. Not with them--it's not their fault. Not even with the doctors--even though they often shuffle patients off without answers. I was angry with God. I was angry because things were finally starting to line up for them, and now this happens. And there really wasn't much I could do about it.

I didn't see her Friday, but Saturday, I got a text from her that she'd be late on Monday, because her daughter needed to go back to the doctor. I texted back for B not to leave her if she was still worried about her. By then, I wasn't angry anymore...just worried. Just praying.

The Bible tells us to "hate what is evil and cling to what is good." I'm looking for the good in this...at least I had something to give them. Maybe I should have taken them myself and gotten a good diagnosis. Maybe I should have given her more money. The proverb is right--I can't take tea for someone else's fever. But knowing that she has one still upsets me.

Please pray for B and her girls.

09 July 2011

Impact Report for Last Year

I just wanted to share the new impact report from last year, because there's a longer blurb about our program...but there's some good blurbs about other programs around the world, too, so feel free to read the whole thing. :) 

05 July 2011

From trash, a treasure

We were walking through the ravine on our way to D's house. I carried a cardboard box, full of magazines, scrapbook paper, empty red cornflake boxes, empty cake mix boxes, and empty butter boxes. B's youngest daughter seemed confused. "Are we throwing this away?" she asked.

"Oh, no!" I laughed. "We need this trash!" I tried to explain the process by which D makes necklaces out of cardboard boxes, but finally gave up, lacking the word for "glue" or "bead." D's been working with the Apparent Project and has had quite a bit of success starting her own business. When I approached her about teaching B and her girls to do the same, she was enthusiastic. Quite a turn from the original D. "I can't do this. I won't be good at it." And yet, with practice, she could and she was. What a change to see her now employing other women. So cool.

It's an answer to prayer for me and for them. I've struggled with how to help one of B's girls in particular. She's 18 and wants money for beauty school, and she wanted me to give it to her. But it didn't feel right. I thought about loaning it to her, but I knew I'd never get it back. I'm trying to be more generous, so I tried to figure out if it was just me being selfish...but it felt like enabling, not empowering. I wanted to see her empowered, like D, to see how she could change her own life, without any help from me at all. She doesn't need me. I want her to know that.

It wasn't easy to say no. I'm certain she didn't understand my motives at all. But nevertheless, I wanted to help, so I set them up to work with D, with fear and trepidation, hoping, praying, it would work out well for all of them. Today was Day 1. I set them up with lots of materials, put D in charge, and skedaddled.

I hope this works. I hope this works. I hope this works.