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Fun, Different, and Crazy

Our life in Haiti is filled with fun, different, and crazy things; often we joke we live in a zoo as almost daily we watch the mama chicken and her four chicks get chased by “munesta”, the one-eyed mama dog and “blue eyes”, the puppy. Seconds later mama goat and her two babies run around our house amongst the lizards and enormous rat. (Thankfully I’ve only seen one.) We also get to watch black hummingbirds, mosquitos, and droves of tiny ants and bees.

There are so many fun foods to explore; we buy most fruits and veggies on the street, as this is typically the cheapest compared to the indoor grocery stores. It’s so crazy that in the States it’s so expensive to buy local and organic. In Haiti this big bunch of produce was a little over $10!!!!

Here we're pitting cherries for cake and jam.

Most of our food is made from scratch as it’s cheaper and tastes better! If we’re ever in dire need to buy a cake mix or anything boxed it gets extremely expensive! One cake mix and can of frosting is around $8, a gallon of ice cream is over $20,  a box of cereal is around $6, while a very small carton of milk is over $2.

I love that we drink our coke out of glass bottles – it costs around 30 cents. It’s fun and makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time. We can buy two fresh homemade loaves of bread for 60 cents.

A typical day for the girls and I consists of school time, crafts, play dough, tea parties, cleaning, naps, occasional outings to the store, and activities. We are enjoying a life spent mostly outdoors as the weather is always gorgeous.

When life gets frustrating we always go back to remembering how life is so different and crazy but all the while so much fun!! It’s quite an adventure and I’m SOO happy I get to experience this with my best friend and amazing little girls.

More than Enough

It all started as I bit down on a piece of bread; it had such a weird taste.

I looked down as I felt little feet crawling all over my arm. I spit the bread out as I realized I just ate a handful of tiny ants. I began opening the bread and found hundreds more.

I became so frustrated with the place where we live! Why can’t I even enjoy a measly piece of bread without difficulty!!

I began my day on the wrong foot; it continued to spiral down as the day went on.  After hours of meltdowns from the kids and another day in which I feel like I have nobody to talk with about my situation, Hannah picked up Matt’s iPhone and dunked it in a glass of water. Our beloved compound dog “Blue Eyes” came by our home covered with fleas, which makes me squirm since the girls love to play with him.

At one point today, I was standing away from the girls in tears, just getting so angry with God. I was frustrated as I prayed, “I’m not strong enough, I’m tired and I just don’t get it!!! Why did you have to send us here??”

I’ve had more than enough bugs, more than enough tears, and more then enough frustrations with life.

Instantly I felt this battle-like mentality come over me. How could I let such small things like ants, fleas, or kids misbehaving change my whole focus? God is doing amazing things and we are part of it. We are HERE, we aren’t going anywhere until He sends us home. The God of this whole universe wants us here in this little home, fighting to be content in every situation. We are learning to love one another as we deal with our own struggles.

My little 2-year-old Hannah is going through her terrible twos, and I do mean TERRIBLE! We purchased a book that discusses how to be patient with a strong willed child. HA, I think my child could fill a book with examples. It’s so hard to look into her big beautiful eyes as she cuddles and hugs, then in the next moment look into those same eyes as she grudgingly screams in my face.

My 4-year-old Abigail struggles to find friends since getting out to meet people is a constant struggle. She worries often about the Haitian people and how we can help them.

My husband Matt is learning to deal with difficulties at his work place, as Haiti is a difficult place with constant setbacks, and culture and personalities make life even more difficult. He continues to stay strong and has embraced our new life here in Haiti. On a side note; he is really enjoying the crazy driving “skills” of Haitians… maybe a little too much 🙂

I am struggling to learn to be content. I am used to having friends and making them quickly. Here, people are busy or just live too far to have a relationship with. Compounding the problem is the fact that we have been without a car for so long. I keep thinking that this is a season of life. I’m learning to trust God first before any human relationship. It’s something I’ve always needed to learn!

Yes, we’re fighting, we’re fighting hard to stay positive and keep going… We’re fighting until we have nothing left. We are confident God will continue to fill us because HIS love is more then enough!!

Will Justice be Served Against Baby Doc 27 Years Later?

From 1971 until 1986, Haiti was governed by a dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, who took over his father’s position as head of state when he was just 19 years old. During his time as dictator, Duvalier, or “Baby Doc” thousands of Haitians were killed and tortured, and hundreds of thousands left the country.  He made millions of dollars by participating in a drug trade and even selling human body parts of dead Haitians. When he was ousted from power in 1986, he fled to France and tried to gain political asylum, which he was denied. He lived there for several years as an illegal immigrant, but returned to Haiti in 2011 saying that he wanted to help his country. This caused an outcry from the Haitian people, who still remember how despotic and terrifying his reign was for the Haitian people. The day after he returned, he was arrested by the Haitian police for embezzlement.

On Thursday, February 28th, Jean-Claude Duvalier, or “Baby Doc” faced a hearing for his financial crimes, having had charges dropped  for the acts of terror, violence, and the hundreds of people who went missing during his 15 year rule over Haiti. With the international publicity that has come with his trial, there has been talk of resuming the charges against Duvalier for his human rights abuses. This was his fourth trail date, as he had been avoiding it for months by checking himself into the hospital for unspecified illnesses.  During the trial, Duvalier denied any involvement in the deaths the occurred during his reign, saying that he did not intervene in the activities of the police. Many Haitians say that there will not be a fair trial against Baby Doc because he has become friendly with Haiti’s current president and the corruption that is still prevalent in the Haitian government. In fact, Duvalier’s son serves as an adviser to President Martelly, and the administration has granted him a diplomatic passport. However, the mere occurrence of the trial is a step in the right direction. Most Haitians thought that Duvalier would never see the consequences of his actions.

The decision of the court will most likely come out over the next couple of weeks, but it is most likely that the decision will be appealed.  Do you know anything about Baby Doc’s trial? What is your opinion on the trial of such a wanted criminal? Comment below to let us know!

What to do with Our Blessings

Broaching the idea of poverty while living among it has proven to be burdensome. We are constantly mulling over how to truly help; this topic is so fresh on my mind as we recently came across a sad situation. We were driving to visit some friends when we saw a man scooting on his bottom on the side of the road. He was using his hands and feet while sliding on his backside to move down the side of the road. He was very close to moving traffic and looked as if he had not eaten in days. His clothes were hanging off his emaciated body while the sun beat down on the hot pavement.

We drove past and then a few minutes later Matt all of a sudden stopped the car and said, “We need to do something.” He turned the car around, stopped near him, and gathered the food we had in the car.  He walked over and handed him some bread and bananas, the man graciously said “mesi” (thank you). As we began driving away I looked out the back window and watched him scarf down the food. It was heartbreaking driving away not knowing more about him. When was the last time he had eaten? What kind of physical issues did he have? And…….why, why, why was he all alone? Why was he taking this journey that seemed endless, alone???

We remained silent in the car as we didn’t know what else to say. All of a sudden nothing seemed as important as the man we had just seen. We felt so helpless not knowing if we should have given him a ride or given him money. Would it have made more of a difference? Matt was unwilling to bring him in our car as both little ones were with us and we didn’t know if he had any mental issues that would have made it dangerous for the kids.

It’s people like him whom we long to help, the silent ones who are in SO much need but whose voices are not heard. He could have been sitting on the side of the road begging for food but instead he was going somewhere, he was on a mission.

A few minutes passed when our four-year-old Abigail began to cry, she was hungry and realized we had given our food away. It made my heart crumble as I watched the confusion on her face. She did not understand why someone had no food and why he ate ours? It was a moment for her to express outwardly what we were all feeling inwardly. We were all so confused and frustrated with how someone’s life could be so completely different than our lives.

We had an hour in the car before we reached our destination, which gave me a lot of time to think and pray. I thought about how we have been blessed with SO much and began to ask myself some questions.

What are we going to do with our blessings?

Will we keep them all for ourselves?

Will we only give to those we know and love?

No, we are called to love and help others. God has NO walls; he wants us to bless everyone. When we choose to love someone and be kind to them we are glorifying our Father, whether the gift is only one piece of bread or a million dollars. It’s not about us “feeling” good, it’s about showing TRUE love, it’s about sharing our blessings with others and becoming a blessing to someone in the process.

I ask you, what have you been given that you can share? What treasures are you hiding that could change someone’s life…