In One Haitian Camp, Life Offers Hardship and Little Hope
It’s only ten-thirty, but when you wake up as early as we do, it feels like it’s already 2am. Once the kids and babies are all asleep, Josh, Hannah and I have time to talk, read, write emails or blogs as we wait for the water to filter. We sit around the kitchen table as we enjoy the only time of the day that we can finish a conversation or a task without interruptions. Tonight we are overwhelmed by the many noises coming from our neighborhood. There’s loud pop music coming from one direction. The church located behind our property somewhere is having their weekly revival(that sometimes last until 3am on Fridays). There’s loud yelling and wailing which Sue said was probably because someone has just died, and so this is their form of a wake service. Their cries and shouts are the saddest thing, each one breaks my heart. And to top it all off, there’s really scary-sounding dog fight on the other side of our wall that involves at least five dogs.
Two of our girls, Mislanda(8) and Bebej(5), are leaving us on Sunday. They came here last August or September after living in Cannon city, which is a tent city a few miles away. (an article describing Cannon’s conditions was posted online this week( the link is attached at the bottom of this post). Their mother has had very little contact with them or with Sue until a few months ago when she came asking for Bebej back. Sue told her she couldn’t just take one daughter and not the other, she would either have to take both girls or leave both girls. She came back earlier this week to let Sue know that she’s decided to take both girls. Because their school finishes on Monday, Sue told their mom she could come get them on Tuesday. But their mom messaged Sue today and said she would be coming on Sunday. We don’t know where they will be moving to, but there’s a huge possibility that they could be moving back to Cannon City. When she came last week she focused most of her attention on Bebej and ignored Mislanda most of the time. I’m afraid this was a foreshadow of what their life will be like with her. I pulled Mislanda aside yesterday to talk to her about how she felt about leaving. I told her we were all going to miss her and Bebej so much. Mislanda is such a sweet girl and I’m going to miss her terribly. Pray for her and Bebej as they leave tomorrow with their mother. Pray that God would protect them and comfort them in this time of change. Pray for them as they say goodbye to their friends here who have become like brothers and sisters to them.
After reading the article, I was able to better understand how many of these kids lived prior to Sue’s. I’ve read articles like this before but it seems so much more real knowing that two of our girls lived in Cannon city and could be moving back there.
The past few days have been difficult with the twins. They’re both getting their two front teeth. Their naps have been short, they’ve been fussy, and they’ve had fevers on and off. Not only is Noah teething, but he has a really bad cold/cough that he’s been fighting. He’s miserable. He’s really congested which makes it hard for him to breath and he’s had a fever for a few days now. Sue said that you can’t get a prescription for cough medicine for babies in Haiti, so we’ve only been able to give him Infant’s tylenol to help with the fever… but that hasn’t been helping much. Pray that he would start to get better soon and that Jackson’s minor cold wouldn’t progress into what Noah has now. Please pray for the rest of the kid’s health too! Some of the girls had ear infections earlier this week and a few others have had colds. It’s so easy to get sick here, the air is extremely dusty and dirty and there’s 18 children who are constantly passing germs to each other.
The kids will be finishing school this week and Kindergarten graduation is next week Sunday. Juliette and Betchina will both be graduating. Sue took the two girls to buy graduation dresses last week. Hannah and Josh went along for the shopping experience. They somehow managed to find the girls beautiful dresses despite the chaos of the outdoor market. I find it ironic that a country with so much poverty would have schools with such high standards for their students. The kindergarten graduation cost $100 US dollars for each child and $50 Haitian dollars for any student that wants to participate in the party that follows the ceremony. That’s an expensive party for the average Haitian and we have nine children in school which makes it even more expensive. The children all have to wear a specific uniform everyday. The school doesn’t sell these, parents have to find their own tailor to make them. They also have a specific dress code for the graduation ceremony; fancy white dress, white tights, and funny green-colored socks. I don’t understand why schools make it so expensive for parents who already struggle providing the basics for their children.
Currently we are planning to move to Christianville sometime next week. Christianville is a ministry located near Leogane where Sue used to teach English. They have a school, a church, a guesthouse, an American doctor, and a community of people serving Haiti in different ways. We will be moving into an old guesthouse that where Sue and the kids will live until the construction of their building is finished. We are all so excited to move to a home with more space to play and grass to run around in. We are really looking forward to having clean water that we won’t have to pump or filter, electricity that we can depend on, and possibly refrigeration! Sue is ready to move out of the house she’s lived in for three years now, especially after one of our bathroom sinks fell off of the wall the other day and broke!
Living here in Haiti with all of these kids is starting to feel very normal. Yes, there are so many things I miss from home and life in the US but I can’t imagine leaving. I’ve had to make some adjustments, but I’m attached. I hate to admit when I’m attached to someone or something, probably because it takes away my sense of independence or something silly like that. Whenever I sense myself getting to close to someone, I hesitate and start to retract. But here God is teaching me to give my all and love to the fullest but it scares me to death because I know that my time here is temporary. I hate that word, it haunts me. It scares me that I will have to say goodbye and leave in about 5 weeks. Just thinking about leaving the twins and the kids puts butterflies in my stomach and makes me want to cry. So I’ve resorted to avoiding any thoughts of leaving as much as possible. But there are moments when I miss my family. my friends, getting a good nights sleep, and many of my favorite foods. I miss my church and talking with my friends. I miss having time to myself and having a schedule that I control. I’m excited to go home for my brother’s wedding in August and I’m excited to have a few weeks of summer at home in Wisconsin. But all of these things seem so far away and everything here is so real. I am so thankful to be here and I want to make the most of the second half of my time here.