Saturday, January 29, 2011


'But what about uniforms?'

This was one of the questions that was asked of me when I told the mountain kids that they would be starting school in October. It was kind of a surprising question to me at first. Personally, I never grew up wearing school uniforms so it had never crossed my mind.
In Haiti, it's a different story. School uniforms are mandatory for all national schools, or private schools for that matter. It's actually pretty neat because everywhere you go on a weekday, you can spot school kids in their colourful plaid shirts and tailored pants and skirts.

Unfortunately, because of the late start and lack of supplies we had to begin with, uniforms weren't the priority in my books. I did my best to assure the kids that they didn't have to have a uniform to go to school - a nice shirt and skirt or shorts would be perfectly acceptable. After all, they were only going to school in Source Matelas on the porch of the teacher's family, right? This seemed to satisfy the kids, but with the number of students around the island wearing their matching pressed button shirts and bottoms, I couldn't get it out of my head.

During my time at home this past Christmas, I was given a generous gift from some people who have been following along with the mountain family, and they asked me to put it towards something for them. It didn't take me long before I knew exactly what to use it for. After I returned back to Haiti in January, I was on a serious mission to outfit the kids for school.

As most things in Haiti are a little different from North America, I learned quickly that getting uniforms would be more of an ordeal than I thought. Definitely not a 'one-stop' shopping trip.
First, you have to pick your fabric... For one that is indecisive to begin with, this was no easy task. See why?

Next, you find your seamstress. Luckily, Robenson has connections.
Then, the kids get measured and the sewing begins...

A week after purchasing the material, I got word that the outfits were completed and the kids had their very own uniforms. Visiting them this past week was such a treat to see them sporting their new 'school colours'. It's thrilling to see them all decked out!

Through this whole experience, I have been reminded again how blessed I am to have such a vast support system of people around me, both on the island and across North America. None of my connections with these children and their families would even be possible without the partnership we all share. It's a picture of the body of Christ, and a testimony of the Lord's goodness. Thank you for all of your encouragement and generosity that you have shown me and these beautiful people. I can't wait to see what else He has in store.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Canada day!

We may not have fireworks or beavertails, but today in Haiti it's Canada day just the same.

In a few hours, 87 great white Northerners (or something like that), will be chugging up the mission hill commencing 2 weeks of Cocacola conversations, windy truck rides, mountain treks, saltwater swims, sweaty t-shirts, sore muscles, and a whole lot of memories!
I can't wait to see my family and the many others that are coming to serve this year!
It probably goes without saying, but I may be a little less faithful with my blog postings over the next little while (due to my apartment being nothing less than grand central station!), but please keep us all in your prayers as we come to mind, and I'll be back to my regular routine in no time.

Happy Canada day to one and all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One year.

Today I am at a loss for words.

From the desperate steps I took outside my door last year at 5pm, until my return home to Canada in July, I felt like I was in some sort of time capsule, separated from the rest of the world. Time was moving, but it seemed to drag and blur at the same time. A fog of uncertainty.
Flashbacks of a deafening rumble. Time standing still. Seconds lasting hours.
But the seconds turned into minutes, the minutes to hours, hours to days, weeks, months, and now, one year.

One year of mourning. One year of healing. One year of tents becoming cities. One year of new ideas and projects put in motion. One year of questions. One year of awareness. One year of people dropping everything to give or jump on a plane to help. One year of promises being claimed. One year of prayers and praise.

There were moments when I never thought that I would get this far. I can look back on moments where I froze - when I didn't want to have to go another day. But as my neighbour and friend Rachel put today, I'm so very thankful that I get see today.

This morning I had the chance to walk down the same familiar mission hill and worship with a congregation of beautifully broken people. Each one with the story that would make a front-page news headline for loss and trauma. As my steps got closer to the church, I prepared myself for mourning and grief. I expected to witness a nation re-living the pain of last years events. To see tears being shed for all that was lost. A day to linger in devastation. I was wrong.

Before entering the church, I could hear the music. Getting closer, I could see from a distance that people were standing outside the doors - standing room only. The church was bursting at the seams with people praising and worshipping and rejoicing in the love of their Saviour. There were bright smiles, hands raised and dancing.
Once again I was humbled and amazed at the beauty and strength that my Haitian brothers and sisters have testified to me. As the pastor spoke, we are living to give GLORY to God. Not to wallow in despair. What a challenge.

As I sit in my apartment, the songs of the people drift in my window. Another service is just beginning and I don't want to miss it.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for the nation of Haiti both in the yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. May we continue to live to worship Him in this life, and may He soon lead His children to the promised land!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A sneak peak week (in colour)!

Here's a set of snapshots from my past 7 days.

Tuesday : Back to the sunshine, sweat, summits and smiles. Happy new year Haiti!

Wednesday : Pierre!!! After weeks in the hospital, he's back at the Hope House and awaiting further treatment. Please keep him in your prayers and I'll update again soon. For now, praise the Lord he's still grinning!

Thursday : Market Day! So many colours, so little time... Picking out fabrics for the mountain kids' new school uniforms! I'll be sure to post pictures when they're done!

Friday : Sporting our shades! Mountain hike to see some of my favourite people.

Saturday : Sewing up a storm! Met with the tailor and delivered the fabric for the uniforms.

Sunday : Girls just wanna have fun. Hot chocolate and chocolate mud masques (Thanks Darcie!)

Monday: Sunrise service with my kids! I thought we'd 'ease' into the school year with a 6am wake up with the world. I didn't get the most enthused reactions at first, but the view and pancake breakfast redeemed any tired eyes.

2011 is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more about each picture in the weeks ahead!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Green slime.

Yesterday I flew from the winter wonderland of Ontario back to the sun-soaked island of Haiti.
Upon boarding in Toronto, we were informed by the pilot that our plane would have to undergo a de-icing treatment before take-off. Now apparently (according to some Canadian veterans, haha) this is normal in Alberta during the fall and winter season, but it was the first time I have ever experienced a pre-flight spray down. Let me tell you, it's nothing like those automatic car washes at the gas station!
After misting and melting the snow, the robotic arms began to spew out this fluorescent green slime. Within minutes, the wings and jet fans were doused in the limey goop and we proceeded to the tarmac to take off. In line, I could see that the other planes had been given the same treatment. Somehow our slick coating was supposed to protect the wing machinery from freezing. When we reached the take-off strip and the turbos began to scream, I watched as we picked up speed and the goop on the wings rippled down the slope of the wing and sprayed off the ends. It left me wondering how many planes would spin out on our slimy leftovers.

But as my journey continued by air, I noticed that even though the majority of slime blew off during our first ascent, traces of green still were visible in some crevices of the wing. I smiled to myself when we landed in Haiti when I saw that same green goop still hanging on to the sides of our plane. Not that we needed it anymore, but it survived the trip.

It made me think more about my trips back and forth between my summer and winter homes... Even though I am brought into a new culture, climate and language, there are still traces of both countries that are visible in my life. Certain cues will trigger memories in Canada that are a part of my life in Haiti, and vice versa. No matter where I am, I carry pieces of both my Canadian life and Haitian life. Like the green slime on my plane, I have been marked.

As 2011 commences and I look ahead to the next 360 days, I am challenged by the symbol of my plane's spray down. I am so blessed by the times I have been doused in love and joy and beauty. The times when I am a recipient of generosity, or when God's word speaks to me and impacts me so powerfully.
But there are also dry times. Moments where I linger in regret or loneliness and I struggle to make sense of circumstance. It's in these moments that I pray that the traces of goodness still linger. That the closeness of the Lord would be apparent and I would hold on and trust.

And just as traces of people and places are marked on my life, I pray that I would leave evidence of love and reminders of peace in the lives of those around me. Thank you for your prayers for me in this coming year. Pray that I don't miss the divine moments that the Lord has in store, and that as I strive to share the love of Jesus, that I may be like the green slime that doesn't let go.