Yesterday here in Haiti was one of those days that when we got to the end of it we turned to each other and said “Can you believe we got all of that done today”. So I figured that is worth a blog. Here is our day yesterday…
Woke up at 6:00am. My goal was to sleep until 7:00am which has been my goal for the last 2 weeks and I have yet to make it. We pushed back the kids breakfast time to 8 to give some of the older kids a chance to sleep in a little (and us too) but I just can’t make it past 6:30. The sun starts to come through, roosters start to crow, and our kitten starts to run all over me.
Got up and my first goal every morning is to read my Bible. Matt and I have been doing a chronological reading plan since March and if I even get a day behind it is a lot of reading to catch up on. This sounds simple but right now we are living in a room in the guesthouse of Hope Rising so we are sharing a living space. Our cook, Marjorie shows up about 6:30 every morning and typically starts asking questions and talking to me. If there is a team here they start to wake up and move around the guesthouse. And the last 2 weeks 3 of our older boys, Chinaider, Nysthonne, and Kin Kin have been coming to help put the trusses on the new girl’s pod so they usually begin talking to me. This can be challenging!
The kids came in to eat breakfast at 8 (spaghetti and hot dogs-a very common Haitian breakfast) and after breakfast I made ANOTHER market shopping list for Lener because we still did not have all our school supplies. Just when I think I am getting close, I realize someone doesn’t have their socks, barrettes, ribbon, or fabric. We got ready to send Lener into the market but had to wait for Matt to get back from a meeting at Nythsonne’s school. He was going to pay and also get a small fabric sample so we would know what fabric to buy. Matt came back much sooner than I thought he would and the reason was that the school raised their prices by $150 a kid from the previous year! Matt did not pay and came back so we could discuss. We both agreed we could not afford to pay that much more. In comparison to other schools in the area, this school was double in price. We very quickly brainstormed and decided to send him to the same school Angena will be going to this year (assuming they would accept him…Nythsonne is 18 and in 7th grade for the 3rd time…be praying this is the year he passes!). We quickly made a copy of Nythsonne’s report card and Birth Certificate and Matt went to the new school to enroll him. While Matt did this, I was working on employee contracts. This week and next we are meeting with all employees to do job reviews, go over job descriptions, and sign new contracts. This is a very slow process because the contracts have to be typed in English then translated into French. Then when we do the employee meetings, we have to use a translator which makes them twice as long. Matt made it back to the guesthouse by about 11:30 which was good because we were taking our older kids out to lunch!
Herbison, Woodly, Kervinson, Apolon, Tony, Gueline, Misthafa, Yolmenda, Matt, and I all piled in the truck to go down to Eva Market for sandwiches. This is something they have been working toward with good behavior. When we do this, it is always interesting. Most of the kids don’t say a word. It’s as if they are just soaking everything in. Eva’s is a little bit different in that it offers some American choices for food like hamburgers and chicken nuggets. All of the kids but Apolon ordered a chicken sandwich. Apolon was the bold one and decided to go for a hamburger. He took about 2 bites and I realized he hated it but we were proud of him for trying something new. After lunch we all went over to the “convenient store” and the kids got to pick out a treat. Most got Pringles which are very popular here. We piled back in the truck and headed back to Hope Rising.
When we arrived, the people we had hired to sew the kid’s uniforms were waiting at the gate to give them to us. We had them come inside and I told them both that I wanted each child to try theirs on so we could be sure everything was good. This started a VERY long process of having each child come out one at a time, try on their uniform, and me and the House Moms gave each the once over and pointed out any issues that needed to be fixed. We have 1 woman we hired to sew the girls and a man we hired to sew the boys. These each went very differently. A few of our girls had skirts that were too short and needed to be fixed. The woman argued with me about this. We also hired her to make 3 uniforms for each child and she had returned with 2 for each child which we had told her was fine initially but that we would need the 3rd uniform as soon as possible. I asked her when the 3rd would be ready and she told me November. I told her November was not ok and that we needed them by the end of September. She kept telling me she had a lot of other things to sew to which I replied that was fine and that we would get the fabric back and find someone else who could do it by September and that’s when she said “October 10”. It was then I realized we were actually haggling over the date she would get the uniforms to me! It was exhausting amidst everything else we were trying to do. We told her September 23 at the latest or we would not be using her next year (which we probably won’t anyway because of the arguing). She finally agreed. On the flip side, the man who sewed the boy’s uniforms quickly agreed to September and quickly agreed to fix any mistakes he had made with the boys uniforms. The boys were very funny as I would make them walk out in the uniform, tuck in their shirt, bend over, and turn around to make sure it all fit well. They acted put out by it but I could tell they loved having someone there who cared enough to make them do all of that.
After all uniforms had been tried on, we managed to do 3 job reviews with 3 different employees. Then, came the best part. I had been promising the kids that they would get all of their school supplies that day. I have been holding onto them since we got back because I didn’t want anything to happen to them. We took their school supplies down to their house and gave them all a talk about taking care of their things then they were allowed to open them up. I cannot accurately describe the excitement these kids have at getting new backpacks, undershirts, underwear, school shoes, pencils, and pens. They were ecstatic! I do think their favorite thing was their new water bottle. They LOVE these and were already talking about taking it to school with them everyday. We made kids try on shoes and show us and their House Moms all of their supplies and then made them put everything away (not an easy task).
At this point in the day it was about 4:30 and the kids go outside to play everyday at 4:30. We almost always go out and play with them at this time too. We played outside for a little while and then some friends who work at a nearby organization came by for a tour of Hope Rising so Matt showed them around. We came inside, ate a quick dinner, showered, and got back down to the kid’s service at 7:15. This is when we sing, pray, and read the Bible together every night and kids take turns directing it. By far the best part of every day. We typically stay down and hang out with the kids after service as this seems to be their favorite time for us all to be together. We are now at the point where we spend one evening hanging out with the girls and the next evening hanging out with the boys because they will tell us it isn’t fair if we do 2 nights in a row in the same house. At 8:00 we tucked the little ones in. I made my way around to each of our younger girls and then got to Hiwerli. Hiwerli was not living at the orphanage where the kids were before we moved to Hope Rising so this is her first time having sponsors and getting school supplies. She was laying in bed hugging her new backpack and supplies. When I asked her why she said “because I love them so much!” It was pretty great. We hung out for a little while longer then came to the guesthouse to try to get some sleep so we could start it all over again the next day. All in all a very productive day!