Friday, August 21, 2009

Kim

Last night we met with Kim, a former Quisqueya teacher for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years. Read Kim's final newsletter, "Three Years in Haiti", as well as Kim's blog here.

Kim was so fantastic. She spent her first year in Haiti working in an orphanage she had previously visited on a mission trip, and then two school years at Quisqueya. She listened patiently as I grilled her with questions:)

Things I learned from Kim:
-I previously thought the only way to travel was Missionary Flights International (out of Ft. Pierce, FL), but Kim says she flew on American most of the time from Dallas through Miami
-She said buy sheets, towels, etc before you come, but many housewares will be included in a "furnished" apartment (such as kitchen items).
-Buy things in Haiti to stimulate their economy. This might include providing a job for a person supporting a family by hiring a housekeeper even when you don't need one.
-Off-campus rent is around $500 or $600. Water is through Culligan. Find an apartment that is furnished, has a generator and inverter, and has internet.
-QCS is located by the best grocery store in the country.
-QCS has cars you can request to borrow for short trips.
-Kim kept her car (including continuing to pay a car payment), her US insurance policy, and her US cell phone. She rolled her cell phone over to her parents' family plan and paid them $10 per month to keep it active.
-Buy a Haitian cell phone for $15, then use pre-paid minute cards.
-Come home in the summers and for Christmas.
-School starts January 4,5,6 ish, new teachers should come a week early.
-There are lots of pharmacies with brand-name US drugs, as well as lots of missionary doctors who will just give you meds. Antibiotics are dirt cheap.
-Classrooms have white boards, and the school is well-stocked. Hardly worth it to bring lots of school supplies.
-Fundraise through PayPal.
-Let the school be your bank. They keep account of you paychecks, unused sick days, etc and let you withdraw cash. In the summer, they pre-pay you for June & July.
-Curriculum is provided, unless its a new class. Outside experiences, college-style courses, and outside learning/articles are strongly encouraged.
-Staff is your community. Missionary churches are best.
-Kids are mostly Haitian in high school, but wealthy and largely not active Christians. Kim made the point that though dozens of missionary activities occur for the poor, no one ministers to the wealthy and therefore they are the least reached people group in Haiti.
-Relatively safe neighborhood. Tap-taps are safe and cheap (less than $1)
-Goude exchange rate is 40 per USD.
-Lunch is provided on-campus every day for teachers
-Tons of extra-curriculars, and you are encouraged to start anything you like
-Wear casual clothes (but not jeans) to teach
-The kids are your primary ministry, and outside of that there are so many ministry opportunities you will have to draw the line to allow yourself "down time". Kim said "the ministry never ends". :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thank you, Half Price Books

We're trying to prepare as best we can. Of course, we have really no idea how to adequately prepare for something this big, this life-changing. This weekend I read two books:Wess Stafford is the president of Compassion International. He was also a victim of physical and sexual abuse as a child at the hands of his teachers and staff at an international Christian school for missionary kids- exactly the type of children (for the most part) we'll be teaching in Haiti. This book made me weep. In addition to his personal story, it made an incredible case for the Bible demonstrating how God values children, and might even prefer them for his biggest, most important assignments.Francis Chan's Crazy Love rocked my entire world. As soon as my husband finishes it, I've got about 2349875 pages bookmarked to share with you. Stay tuned.
Kendall, a friend I met in Colorado Springs last weekend, is a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua and highly recommended this book to help us prepare for teaching.
Dr. Tran, my Bioethics professor in college, let me know about this book. I've been meaning to read it for years, but finally bought it today. It's the story of Paul Farmer, a rich and successful American doctor who went to Haiti to serve the poor. Everyone I mention it to is raving about it.
I don't think they have Creole for Dummies.... Today at Half Price Books they didn't even have a single Creole book in the Foreign Language section. In the "obscure languages" shelf the books went straight from Arabic to Dutch with no Creole in between.

This weekend I was out of town in Colorado at an old dear friend's wedding, and her father works for an organization that has many staff members in Haiti. He reassured me that the school we plan to teach at is in a good neighborhood, next door to the Canadian embassy in fact. He says we are on Delmas, one of the biggest streets in Port-au-Prince, and that we are "uphill", which is nicer than "downhill". I saw on the news today that Hurricane Bill is up to a Category 3 with 125 mph winds. It may curve north, but for now it is aimed straight for the Dominican Republic and Haiti (same island).

We're still waiting for the formal written offer....... prayers, prayers, prayers....

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'll fly away.

Right now, this blog is quiet. Our friends and family don't know yet that we're seriously considering a move to Haiti to serve. Until we have made our final decision and announced the good news to everyone, here is my place to spill.
What I Learned Today:

There are ministry airlines that make it their business to transport missionaries, missionary mail, and supplies.

missionaryflights.org
-flies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursdays from Fort Pierce, Florida
-will carry your items for $1.50 per pound
-fly to W Palm Beach or Orlando, then Hertz one-way rental car
-$430 round trip, $215 one way

agapeflights.com
-flies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti at dawn on Wednesdays
-out of Venice, Florida

It is only 156 miles from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (to the other side of the same island) to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is the same distance between Dallas and Abilene.

It is only 710 miles from Miami, Florida to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is the same distance between Dallas and Atlanta.

It is only 1806 miles from Dallas, Texas to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is nearly the same distance between Dallas and either Seattle or Vancouver.

Haiti is at the same time at Dallas.

The airport in Port-au-Prince is called Mais Gate and goes by the code PAP.

Metaphors.

Metaphors for what we're doing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Haiti: A Google-image-search-assisted Photo Essay

A child at Carnival
Thinking.
The Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince
After Hurricane Ike
Desperate for clothes after Hurricane Ike
Lucky ones in school
Gathering water
Quisqueya Christian School, late '90s
Ahh Haiti.

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