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 ;-)