Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bracelets on Sale - 100% Proceeds to TeacHaiti!

Friends! We're back from Spain.

Our friends at (a site like Groupon for kid & mom stuff)
are selling TeacHaiti bracelets, made by the kids themselves.

100% of the proceeds to go the TeacHaiti program, putting money aside for a college fund.

Want to see pics of exactly how the jewelry is made?
Want to see a rather bossy small boy named Enoch run quality control all over a bunch of adults?
Yeah you do.
If so, read here about the TeacHaiti art day we visited.

To buy a bracelet, go here to visit BitsyBug's website. You'll be benefitting them:
or any one of them:


Monday, December 12, 2011

Ruins of the National Cathedral

Haiti's National Cathedral
and post-looting.

Ben posted his photos; these are his sister Taylor's with my editing. 


Chalk = Nail Polish, or TeacHaiti Art Day

 On Saturday before Thanksgiving we went to TeacHaiti to see their weekend art program. The kids paint, make jewelry, and have even learned woodcarving.

They call a bead a "gren", like "grain" in English. That makes sense conceptually to me- a bead, a grain, like an individual grain of salt. I love it when Kreyol and English work like that.
Rolling beads

I have no beadmaking talent; I do this instead.
Touching Ben's "syrup hair"
QCS music teacher Katie Zook shows off her creation
Ben's sis Taylor gets in on the bead-making
I was playing with some little girls. I had on red nail polish. They looked around the discovered that purple chalk can give a similar effect.
Beads drying in the sun. A boy named Enoch, probably about sixth grade, was "monsieur quality control" of the bead-making. He was marching around, very protectively, correcting everyone else's beads.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Unneccessary Post That Proves I Care Too Much What People Think

I'm writing this post because I care approximately 100% too much about what people think of me. Well. Here goes.

Ben and I are doing something really exciting next week. We are going to attend the wedding of my dear Baylor friend Sarah in Madrid, Spain. The timing works perfectly, since it falls at the end of the semester, yet before Christmas. Spain! 
Sarah and Sergio listening to her dad's toast at their engagement party.
Twice in the past, we have gone on little trips, both in Haiti and just over the border in the DR, and have received ugly anonymous comments on this blog calling us "vacationaries". Really, I don't care too much about the occasional cowardly comment (that's a semi-lie... I was actually pretty upset)... but I do care about the legitimate questions that could be raised about this, due to the fact that we live on support. When we were invited last summer I raised the issue to a few friends, who also happen to be supporters. They both said I didn't need to explain this publicly... but I want to.

Ben and I worked in Dallas for a year before moving to Haiti. In that time we took the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace" class and got seriously "gazelle intense" about our money. We started a special savings account for a dream we had- going to Europe together. This was the trip we were going to take before having kids. We saved for a year and got together a nice chunk of change. Then we decided to move to Haiti, and just put the money on the back burner. Now, two years later, we have this amazing opportunity to attend Sarah and Sergio's wedding.

So we're going. And we're using old money that we saved from Texas. And not current support money.

It's not that we don't budget, in our normal Haiti budget, for R&R. It's just that support money is, in our "we're rookies overseas" current conceptions of things, to be used for normal life- providing for needs (not only bare bones either), but just not exactly for extravagances. For example, we use support money to fly home for Christmas. Just not first class. We use support money to buy new clothes. But mostly at Target. Do you see what I mean?

My friend Tara, a Haiti-dweller with a fantastic blog, once wrote a funny story about getting randomly bumped up into first class by her airline, and feeling that she almost needed to hide in the Miami airport so nobody saw her boarding first class. As if they would immediately think she was "living large" and betraying her supporters' trust. It's a funny story, but hits a nerve- I think we feel that way sometimes. I was blessed last summer to receive a French manicure and pedicure as a gift by a bride whose wedding I was in, and every compliment I received afterward I felt I needed to follow up with, "It-was-a-gift-I-didn't-pay-for-this-I'm-responsible-with-my-donations-I-swear-I-swear-I-swear!"

Something about that is right, and something about it isn't right.

We need to think more on this. Or possibly guidance from those who've been doing this awhile. In any case, we take very seriously the responsibility of being given donations on which to live by a group of friends and strangers. We believe that in addition to wanting to honor our supporters' trust, we will have to answer to God for our use of that money. Further, we're open to legitimate and sincere questions.

So, I just wanted to say publicly, that yes we're going to Spain, and that no we're not using supporters' donations to do it.

There. Whew.


Monday, December 5, 2011

thank you for telling me no


i love them

sasha, virgloty, axel, christina, krystelle, anais, valerie

(if you want to say them like a haitian,
put the emphasis on the last syllable..

"chris-ti-NA"    "sa-SHA"

you will find us thursdays at three
  • centering prayer
  • reading
  • experimenting
    (last week we washed feet)
  • praying for each other

dear god,
thank you for letting me do this
i thought i wanted to do a set of things- i had a five-year plan
you threw it out the window and brought me to haiti
and then 12 days later there was an earthquake.

but, this is exactly the job you made me for
all along
i'm convinced
it's just what i was looking for:
"the place where [my] great joy and the world's great hunger meet"

thanks for not letting me do what i thought i wanted
and for this instead

thank you for these seven girls

please, please, please teach me how to love them like you love me


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Watching 4-Year-Olds Do Laundry by Hand

Our delightful view for a large portion of a two-hour drive through the city.
"What Ben Did Last Friday Night".
Mud football. Ellos san locos.
 The week before Thanksgiving we visited TeacHaiti School of Hope. It was a Saturday; no kids were in class. I just love this place so much. This was in the first grade classroom- practicing numbers.
 In the fifth grade classroom, the students' birthdays were listed on a poster. I spotted one special birthday- Woodjina, my parents' sponsored child!

Miquette says most TeacHaiti kids don't know their birthdays. I asked if it was a lack of birth certificates; she said no. She said most poor parents don't tell their children their birthdays, because then the children won't feel the sting of having birthdays with no presents.
 I always like seeing what's left on the board at the end of the week. Learning French words and geometrical shapes.
 Ben was quite excited by the playthings in the Kindergarten room.
 Ti chat.
 Next door to the TeacHaiti School of Hope there is an orphanage. We walked down the stairs and found all the tiny kids doing their own laundry by hand.
 They were none too sad to have a laundry break and play with Ben.
 This little boy said he wanted to show me his ninja pose. How did I know the Kreyol word for ninja?

Well... it's "ninja".
 This little girl sticks out to me every time we visit. I think she is so beautiful and full of life.



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