Back to School: BOOKS!
First of all, we know many people have been asking about how we are after Tropical Storm Erika came through this past weekend. The short answer is that we are ok, the long answer is that we are so ok that our kids still had soccer practice the Saturday morning after Erika hit Friday night. We got some rain and we got a little wind, but that is all. Thank you for your prayers and your concern. The map made it look a lot worse than it was for us, but we do know that there were parts of Haiti and the Dominican were hit hard and need your prayers.
I also wanted to give you an update on school. As of now, school will still start this coming Monday September 7! This is a huge praise because the kids here really need to be in school. However, last year, we found out the Sunday night before school started the next Monday that school would be postponed for 2 weeks, so there is still the possibility that it will be delayed. Please continue to be in prayer that the stated start date of September 7 will be the actual day that school begins for our children at Christianville School.
With school approaching, it is very important that our kids have books! This is common sense to everyone, but it is also a source of frustration here sometimes. I think the last update we had on books is that the closest bookstore said that they would have “most” of the books “soon.” So this past Saturday, we heard that the books were in. We sent Lener up to the bookstore to pick up the books only to find out a very bizarre story…The worker in the shop put our books away for us in a box so that it would be easier to pick them up, but that same worker forgot to write down which books we had, how much they cost, and which books they still needed to give us. So, Lener came back with nothing and said that he would have to wait until Monday to go pick up the books so they could find out how much to charge us.
So, we went back to the store Monday, and a little less than half of the books were there. Receipts were written for all of the books (even the ones that were not there) and we paid for everything at the same time to make things easier. All-in-all it was a quick day and we were happy with the results. Until we got home. We were looking at the cost of the books compared to what we paid last year and we thought for sure that the bookstore was ripping us off. So, I had to make another trip up to the store with Lener to get mad at the shopkeeper and ask her why she charged us double on some of the books. (In case you did not know, if you are not paying attention, people here will take advantage of you because of your skin color). We got to the bookstore, and to my surprise, every price that they gave us was the exact price listed! We had not been ripped off at all, but every person in Haiti who is buying books this year for their child is spending almost twice as much as they did last year. For us, it is not that big of a deal (specifically because the dollar has strengthened significantly to the Haitian Gourde) but for parents, they will truly feel the effect of the rise in prices. I was shocked to see the differences and I hope that this does not keep more children out of school than usual.
All in all, we are doing well. At this point, we have about half of our books and a promise that the other half should be here on Friday (which is good because school starts Monday). It is so funny that every Haitian you talk to here says, “I hope that school starts later this year.” And when you ask “why,” they reply, “because I haven’t had time to get ready for school yet…” I always want to reply, “Then just start earlier!” But that is not really how things work around here. Those of you who are reading this that do not like to plan things out in advance, who run late to everything, and in general are ok with clutter and chaos…You would fit right in. As for me, this is one of the difficult things about living here. I just don’t understand why you would not plan for things in advance. But another thing that I have noticed…Even when things are frustrating (like the book situation), they seem to work out. It is a test of patience, it can be a test of faith, and it is definitely teaching me to go with the flow more. One thing that is important to learn here is to slow down and enjoy life, enjoy relationships, and enjoy the struggle. It is a tough lesson, but it is a lesson that is important to learn I think for everyone. We were not created to be frustrated about every little thing that happens, or to worry every time something does not happen the way you think it should. We were created for GOD’s glory, and I do not think we accomplish this if we cannot enjoy Him and the life He has given us.