Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bon Fete Valentin, and Other February News

It's been 10 days. This is the longest we've gone in a year without updating. We've been crazy. With what, you ask? Well....
We joined in a Haitian worship service/concert in downtown, the plaza adjacent to the National Palace, which is still cracked and crumbling a year later. To my eye, it looks identical to the way it did in early February 2010.
Basketball games. The only two sports we offer are high school soccer and basketball, and there are only about 3 or 4 other schools around with teams. So there isn't really a "season", just kind of randomly scheduled games. They are so fun. I help the seniors sell concessions, and Ben runs the scoring table.
The first weekend of February the whole staff of Quisqueya was whisked away on staff retreat to a hotel owned by one of the families close to our school. It was such a dream. Only two nights, but truly a rest for my heart. The gorgeous tree is an almond tree, with huge ripe almonds hanging off. The sunset boaters above are Ben and Bearded Tony, returning from paddling around. Did I mention it's 90 degrees here?

The next week I made the "rookie teacher" mistake of having final draft research papers due- for 3 entire classes. I graded all night every night, and after reading multiple drafts of 40 papers on illegal immigration, I never want to read another word on the subject. I will only say that approximately 95% of my Haitian students believe in the passage of the DREAM Act. Listen up, Monsieur Obama.

This past weekend was Ben's birthday! The same night was a staff dinner given by the student council up in the mountains above Haiti at a student's home. It was quite an adventure getting there- on the way up Ben had to go Bauer when we came across a just-occurred accident, and on the way down the Jin Bei van got stuck on the just-rained-on rocks and gravel. It was a nice night, but almost immediately afterward Ben got scary-sick (he thinks he had giardia again- same symptoms), so that was a very long couple of days.

Student activities have been time-consuming; I've been very busy as the senior class sponsor. They're desperately trying to raise money for their end-of-year activities, and lately have been selling snacks as well as roses/serenades for Valentine's Day. Ben and I are only two weeks away from the Washington DC history trip with a group of 10-12th graders and we are very, very excited. We just found out wonderful news- we got approved for the White House tour! The kids are all wishing for snow, which they've never seen. I am just hoping for no lost luggage, no sickness, no lost passports, plus massive spiritual and intellectual growth. Ben has just re-chartered the National Honor Society at Quisqueya, so he's organizing a lot of service projects and initiated 7 kids today in chapel. The medical system is so different here- many of our high schoolers have been medical translators, often being up close and personal with medical procedures and even surgeries. Can you imagine letting high schoolers in an OR in the States? The HIPAA people are rolling in their graves.

We've begun planning for the summer. We're committing to many of the children and youth ministries as usual (friends, begin brainstorming family group names and Big Show choreography now). We turned down a spectacular internship because it would've required living overseas (not in Haiti, elsewhere) for over a month- trying to learn to protect our "resting" time. It is looking very promising that Miquette, TeacHaiti founder and director, will be coming to Dallas this summer! We are strategizing ways to best maximize her time to share the word about this life-changing program.

We're grieving the loss of some friends who won't be returning, and also grieving the tough moments of teaching. Students in crisis, students in grief, students in rebellion, students in divorces, students in apathy....

I have got to 1) pray more, 2) trust more, 3) take a long-term view, 4) take their dezod (Kreyol for naughty) teenager characters less personally, and 5) remember that I made a lot of terrible decisions but somehow made it out ok. I came home yesterday and just cried to Ben that I was "mean mommy" all day long, docking points and busting kids' chops for late work, lazy work, disrespect, not following directions, etc, etc. I hate being mean mommy. But I keep remembering what a former coworker said to me: the most important thing I can impart to students is not subject content material, but a sense of personal responsibility. Is it true? Does it make me feel better?

Our discipleship groups are meeting again. We spend all night writing lectures, kompa music blaring in the windows from the street-side bar outside my gate. I live for those little moments with students throughout the day, when they listen, when they love learning, when they tell you the book you made them read is now their favorite. Join me in praying that they grow up loving Jesus and the people of Haiti enough to grow up and make real, lasting, deep changes.



  1. Ross & I got to see your sweet parents at Annie & Jeffery's wedding! I straight up wish you had been there, but am very happy to know we will get to see you again soon- and even happier to know you are right where God wants you to be. I mean seriously, you are about to combine Haiti & D.C. All you need now is to see some Baylor Bears there and eat Mexican food- and all of your happiest worlds will collide :)

  2. I know, I wish I could have been there! My mom was sending me pics from her phone throughout the night, including one of you :) And don't you worry- lunch after Supreme Court tour? A Tex-Mex place called Tortilla Coast!

  3. This is my favorite post you have written in awhile. I think because it just sounds like you talking about your sweet life. Thanks for sharing. I'll be praying. Love you both!!



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