Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back in Action

We're baaack.

Flew in yesterday around lunch. All 4 bags arrived. The airport is in better shape than the last time I was there- more organized, more secure.

Driving through the streets, there were a few noticeable improvements. Some, just some. Some streets were clearer, tent cities still everywhere, but I think they looked less ragged and trash-filled. It is hot as all get out- the car said 120 (slightly suspect number, but it's hot as fire nonetheless).

Our apartment looked fine. We had removed all food, even canned veggies and salt, and then we packed the tiny space with no less than ten rat poison packets. We laughed about finding 5 dead rat skeletons on the floor when we returned, but no luck- just one giant dead spider next to our bed. There was a deep layer of dust on everything. It is much quieter at this apartment.

The apt is really coming together. To recap, we have had three apartments here in PAP- an original one we stayed in for a week in January (and where we were during the actual earthquake), one on campus after the quake which we shared with 6 people (and where we held class in our living room), and this new one, a 1 bedroom directly across the street from campus. It has three rooms: fire engine red kitchen, lemon yellow living room (really those two are one room), turquoise bedroom. Did I mention all three rooms have Skittle yellow tile?! Quite the color combinations. I've been hunting for packable, cheap, non-nail/screw-requiring (walls are cement blocks) decorating solutions this summer. Big winners so far- paper lanterns from Ikea for the bare bulbs and many yards of pretty fabric to hang on the walls, tapestry-style (all hung with Command hooks, just like in the dorm years).

The water was working, power was on. Now we just need gas for the stove, someone to re-key the front door lock, and to fix our little window unit air conditioner (it's shy, or broken, or something).

The school looks great, too, having received a fresh coat of paint. We met some new friends- Ben and Heidi, Aaron, Rod the new principal and wife Brittany who works at Lighthouse orphanage (with baby son Asher), Trisha (wife of Tariq, who was here last spring with us, mother of baby Lucas), Jean, Phaedra who teaches Pre-K, Joelle from Burundi... I am so excited for quality friendships with them all. Some of us on-campus teachers got together for a feast of MRE's last night.

We ate the ol' classic post-earthquake meal again for lunch today- beans, rice, broth, grisly chicken leg. Somehow there was a rosy glow around many things I whined about last spring. I think I was just so happy to be back on campus.

I get to keep my classroom from last semester. I brought packing tape and poster putty, hopefully I can get some posters to stick to the cement walls in this humidity with those. I fixed up one bulletin board today. We got a school year calendar today and the tentative class lists- 275 kids signed up so far! There are over 20 in each high school class, including 28 juniors- I'm nervous to have so many altogether after last spring where I felt taxed with 15. New teacher transition, I suppose.

Bearded Tony was already back. Jaime and Katie, who returned to the Midwest after the quake, are now back at Quisqueya again. Art and Miquette are back, and Principal Tony, and Jodie, and Ruth & Steve. Three families are not back- three decisions made over the summer to not return. I am so sad and will miss them. Each family that isn't returning had a big area of responsibility (plant/building management, all tech/computer/web stuff, and student activities), so please pray that our director Steve finds great, competent replacements for each, as well as a few other openings we still have in elementary, art, and music.

If you know anyone who might be interested in coming and teaching with us at Quisqueya, please direct them here.

Tomorrow through Monday will be extremely school-intensive as we prepare lesson plans and classrooms. The novels we have ordered in May have mostly not arrived or are stuck in customs, so it's back to the drawing board. One week til school starts!

Pray for all 275 kids preparing to enter these (wet paint) walls. For the teachers, new and old (you know, because six months feels like a lifetime of friendship when you went through an earthquake together).

For filling of open positions, for finishing all the construction of new teacher homes, for families flying in from all over the world to be at Quisqueya in the next week. For our marriage, for the million homeless Haitians in tents in the rain, for the Presidential elections coming in November, for the TeacHaiti school opening October 4. 

Katie

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