Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Well, I feel like I reached a milestone today. As I was walking back from the classroom after a long, full day of art, surrounded by kids we have to practically kick out for dinner, I realized today is the first day that I have really LOVED being here. Many of my days have been pretty good and sometimes fun, but never have I finished the day feeling that I loved being here at Canaan and in Haiti. Today was a great day in many ways:
-I feel like I really taught the students some art skills that they probably didn’t know. Watercolor techniques: Wet on wet, wet on dry, color washes, how to use Mr. Brush :-), horizon lines, and filling up the page with color. On to the details tomorrow!
-Having kids so eager to get into art they beat on the door or wait outside for more than 30 min.
-Having to practically drag students out of the classroom at dinner time because it is so dark from the brewing storm.
-I am feeling much more connected to the students and getting to a point of being able to joke around with them.
-Getting lots of hugs or smiles and laughs.
-I am finally getting used to the slower, relaxed pace of this community.
-Most importantly, I am really loving pouring into these kids.
The day was full and despite kinks in our schedule (that becomes a norm around here with the pace of Haiti!) we were still able to see tons of students and get them started on watercolor paintings. It was neat to see which students took off and didn’t really need much guidance while others needed a TON of motivation to paint a landscape, one color and stroke at a time. We will finish up on these landscapes tomorrow and I can’t wait to post pics of them! Right now FB via my phone seems to be the best avenue for posting pics with our internet service…so check often! It takes a really long time to upload anything through the computer. I am trying to post 2-3 pics a day from action in the art room! I cannot wait to post more pictures, I think they will just astound you!
We are feeling a lot more settled in our little house of 6 six girls! We moved to a different house before the huge team came down to consolidate. With the water pumps fixed (thanks to the team!!!) We have running water for the sink and shower, hurray!! We have internet in our house (spotty most of the time, but better than nothing). We are getting to know our sweet housemates better and better. We are still with two girls from NC, Robin and Amy, who are teaching reading on a similar schedule to art classes. Our other two housemates are of the medical persuasion. Katie and Stephanie have both spent lots of time here at Canaan so it’s nice to have some seasoned friends around. Katie is a med student in Birmingham and runs the Medika Mamba clinic for the malnourished kids that come to the health clinic. Stephanie is a pediatric nurse from St. Louis and she assists in the health clinic. Both of these girls were the stand in vets last night if you saw my Facebook post!! A dog that lives here at Canaan (one of prob 50) had a very badly injured leg that was going cause it to die if not helped. So, the girls used what medical skills they share and amputated the leg! It was a horrific happening of the evening, but it was successful even after the dog escaped a time or two. She is still hanging in there today! And in Haiti with no emergency vet (or vet at all for that matter) you do what you gotta do ;-)
As for the rest of the week...it should be a very different week. Without a team of 40 people buzzing around the community playing soccer, working on thousands of projects, packing out the cafeteria, and the constant high energy it will be pretty QUIET! We are halfway through our trip and I imagine now that we are in somewhat of routine the two weeks will go quickly. Bethany and I planned most of our remaining art teaching days, focusing on three major projects with the kids. We talked through our goals we want to accomplish in the time we have left in this community. We really want to be instruments of God in these kids’ lives. We want to be filled with joy and energy and live life to the fullest with every moment we have left with these kids. We are here to teach them and serve them. The possibilities of what to teach them are endless, but we have to do the best with what we have. I really want to teach them art foundations that they can continue to build on even after we are gone. Please pray that we can be well rested and inspired to teach our very best. Please pray that we can show God’s love through our every action and word.
We are excited to see what the next two weeks will bring!!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
getting the art classroom ready...
visit to the malnutrition clinic....
More of Canaan...
view from where we live :-)
lizard in our house :-)
trip to the beach! great relief ;-)
views from the walk back
hurray for water!!
collecting water from the rain
our guides for a morning hike
a dinner out at a local resort
good first week :-)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We are finally feeling a little more settled here at Canaan. It is has been an interesting few days as we are getting to know the staff and the kids and our roommates! Bethany and I are living in a house with three other girls from NC. We all arrived on the same flight and they are doing a reading program just like we are teaching art. Two of the girls leave in August and the other is only here a week. Our house is at the very top of the hill that Canaan is built on. Currently we are going on 2 days without a shower because there is a water shortage! Before that our showers were from buckets of water poured on our heads. Our house is so high on the hill the pump cannot get the water all the way to our house. Hah, this has made for some interesting times already! Our house has 2 bedrooms, a main room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Bethany and I are sharing a room with one double bed, so we’re roommates and bed buddies for 4 weeks! Haha. As you can imagine we have had a hilarious time in our little room. Just picture really hot sweaty days (and nights!!), electricity only between 6 and 10 pm for our electric fan, completely surrounded by our mosquito net battling the bugs that have snuck inside, head lamps on the ready for when the power goes out, it’s a pretty ridiculous sight as you can imagine! This visual may help:
The weekends here are VERY slow paced with everyone taking it easy, enjoying rest and recreation. This was quite a contrast for us from the busy schedules we left of finishing school and getting ready for this trip! The Haitian pace of life is slow anyway, but the weekends are even slower. It has certainly taken us (or at least it has for me!) a few days to settle down. For most people who know me well, I have a hard time slowing down, a hard time not having a plan, a hard time not being in contact with people. So, this has certainly gotten my attention to CHILL OUT!!! When we arrived no one really gave us much instruction or general explanation of how things run around here. We have been trying to figure out what in the world we need to do. After getting to know some other staff girls here, we feel a little bit more in the know and are getting excited about what is to come.
We did get into the school yesterday for a tour and explanation of how things run. They have recently done a lot of construction with some new classrooms. We are teaching in the biggest classroom and have tried to make it like an art room. We’ve made some posters for the walls and organized the supplies we have now. We have LOADS more coming Sunday so that is when the real fun will begin!
We are both looking forward to getting these art classes going. The kids here are sweet and precious, but they are hard to get to know. These kids see people come and go quite often- short term missionary trips, teachers who commit for only a couple months at a time. They are used to telling visitors goodbye. As great as these visitors are, it hurts the kids to say goodbye again and again. As a result, they don’t share too much, they are not quick to open up, they are a little harder to get to know. I really hope that when we start teaching consistently (beginning this morning) we will also be able to connect more with the kids.
One of the coolest things I have experienced thus far was last night after dinner. The kids have a devotion in the morning and evening after their meals. For last night’s devotion the kids were circled in a covered area singing praise and worship songs. Their voices carried all the way up to the cafeteria and even up to our house. They sang so loudly with praises to the Lord, accompanied by claps, drums, and a tambourine. As I wandered down the hill I realized most of their singing was in English. I decided to join them in their singing and sat by a little girl named Charma. The joy in these kids’ faces and the realization that they were singing these words so whole-heartedly almost brought me to tears. How incredible to be in this country that has such a bad history and wrap for being so filled with evil yet these children are singing so enthusiastically to the Lord!
We were also able to visit the health clinic today! Canaan has a health clinic at the bottom of the hill near the main road. People walk for hours to visit this clinic. One of the major parts of this clinic is for the Medika Mamba. This is a free clinic for malnourished children. Bethany and I were both able to see several patients and learn the steps of assessing their growth. Many children and their mothers came through that have been part of the program while we saw some new ones. Several were even turned away because they were not malnourished at all but just wanted to be a part of the free program. Canaan provides these children with Mamba, which is peanut butter with minerals, vitamins, and a few other ingredients. This has become an incredible program that has saved many children’s lives.
And this just in….we have water!!! Hurray! Thankful I don’t have to go three days without a shower ;-)
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Well, here we are! The journey of a lifetime has begun J Already the day has been full of stories and blessings. We left for the airport at 5am from Rock Hill running on an excellent night’s rest of 3 hours in a soft bed and air conditioning. I tried to savor every moment before opening my eyes. Reached the airport and successfully checked our 4 huge bags all the way to Haiti. Of course both of mine were packed ridiculously full and marked with a bright orange tag informing everyone around that they are HEAVY!!! One of the biggest blessings is that a short term group coming from Raleigh is taking 10 suitcases full of supplies down to Canaan next weekend! They have a group of 40 ppl and you do the math: Bethany and I with 10+ bags vs. 40 ppl to handle our 10 bags= very easy decision to let them take them!!! So wonderful to only have one bag in each hand….plus a backpack and a purse….and pillow J Us getting through to our gate with PLENTY of time to spare was awesome….and blessing #2 of the day we heard once we landed in Miami. Apparently shortly after we checked in all of US Airways computer system shut down!!! Lots of flights were cancelled and many delays began…but we made it through! I cannot even begin to imagine the insanity of trying to get another flight schedule figured out. So BIG PRAISE there!
The plane ride to Miami was just fine. Bethany and I were sandwiched between ridiculous this couple from DC who continued an argument across us. The girl fussed at her boyfriend via text, via mouthing curses, until she covered her head with a blanket and went to sleep. Haha, we finally insisted we rearrange so they could sit together! Halfway through the flight we made friends with the flight attendant named Bernard who was from “Chaaalot” (otherwise known as Charlotte). He asked us what made us qualified to teach art down there and then told us how amazing it was we were doing this by choice and not to make money. After harassing Bethany for not teaching in a real school since it’s private. But we got pats on the head and well wishes as we exited the plane.
After making our 30 min trek to our new concourse in the Miami airport we started talking to a family in the security line. They were traveling to Turkey as the 4 yr old little boy informed us. The woman asked where we were going and once we explained she started crying! It’s just amazing to see how this story and work in Haiti touches people so differently. We’re now sitting at our gate in a sea of people in green shirts. So many huge groups of youth group kids playing cards, singing, sleeping on the floor, and excited for the adventure ahead (boy does that bring back memories of HS!). We are so excited to be a part of this journey on which God has brought us. God is doing great things in Haiti. Despite the devastation his love is there and he has great plans for these beautiful people. I feel Isaiah 54:10 says it beautifully:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Our prayer is for God to use us how he needs us, speak through us, work through us to inspire these children, and exude his love and joy to everyone we meet.
Thank you all for your help in making this prayer possible and the honor to see it become a reality!