Friday, December 9, 2011

10 days.

I know that there is still technically 16 days till Christmas, but over here, I'm on a different kind of countdown. Just 10 more days until I arrive in Canada for my winter break. From what I hear, about 3 inches of snow fell today which makes for even more excitement!
And yet in the midst of my countdowning, I'm also growing increasingly aware of the short amount of time I have left to wrap up ends on this side. Here are some of the details:

According to the school day countdown we have on our classroom door, there are only 5 days left that we have together as a quartet (Zach, Noah, Caleb and I). When I return in the new year, I will only have the Mazur brothers, since Zach will be returning to the States with his family while I am in Canada. So instead of just closing up the school term with Noah and Caleb, and I'm also closing up the year with Zach. With just a few final days of bookwork ahead of us, we will finish in style with our annual beach Christmas party, baking extravaganza, and this year, even a Christmas concert!

The next 10 days also hold a lot of goodbyes. Last week the first dominoes of the tumble effect began as we sent off the fall intern group (one of them being our dear Heather). Even though their time with us seemed so short, we were thoroughly meshed together in no time, and it was difficult to see them go, knowing that the chapter was closing on our group dynamic in this time and place.
The domino effect continues in the coming days with more staff goodbyes, which I am not thrilled about. With the year coming to a close, the Malmstrom family as well as, Brianna, Courtney and Naoki will all be turning a new chapter. It's not easy to picture what life here is going to look like without these wonderful people, but I am trusting that just as He will guide each one who embarks outwards, that He will also grant peace and provisions for those of us who stay.

In the midst of this, I am also trying to finalize the paperwork and collaborate with John on the ground here to get the homes started for the Louissaint and Ferdinand families (aka. mountain families). I'm afraid I won't have many building pictures to show off until I return in January (due to a few logistical hiccups), but the more finalizations I can put in place before I leave, the quicker we will be able to launch when I return.

Thank you for your generous support and prayers for me during the past 4 months. It's truly amazing to look back and see how far we've come since September. I eagerly anticipate reuniting with you all upon my return and giving more of a personal update during my time in Canada!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

'Tis the season!

Some may say that getting into the Christmas spirit is a little more difficult in Haiti. Without the snow falling outside our windows, all-day Christmas music on the radio and warm scarves and sweaters to wear, I agree that it takes some getting used to... However, the boys and I eagerly embraced the challenge this morning as we set out searching for the perfect Christmas tree.

We considered getting one of the baby palms being planted by the new guesthouse area, but in the boys' opinions, they were just too puny. So, we pressed forward onto greater heights, being in the form of some tall seedling trees that grow in abundance in the valley at the back of our classroom.
We carried three tools with us - A gardening hoe, a hand shovel and one giant pick axe.

Several coats of bug spray and two bee stings later, we found our winner and began clearing the thick grass away with the hoe. Our first inclination was to dig the tree out by it's roots, so we each took turns swinging the pick axe to loosen it's rocky foundation. Unfortunately, because the tree was located on the side of a small incline, it made the work a little tricky and hindered our aim - which caused numerous scars on the tree trunk. After about half an hour of intense digging, we hadn't made much progress, so we all agreed to cut it down instead. Caleb left to retrieve his manual chainsaw and within a few minutes we had the tree trunk secured with soil and rocks in a cement bucket and dragged it into the classroom.

Then the fun part began as we decorated with stars, glitter, tinsel and even a string of garland crocheted by Noah. They had to play around with it first, of course.

We may not need a coat rack by the door, nor hot cocoa to warm up after our adventure, but with a Christmas-ified tree taking up a substantial part of the classroom, and carols on our instruments, I think it's safe to say we're ready to celebrate the birthday of our King!

Happy December and Merry Christmas from Haiti!

PS ~ Pierre got his Christmas present early this year... Yes, his wheelchair!!!
Pictures coming soon. :)