Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Video

video
By popular demand, I have downloaded a snippet of Fery (left) and Biondy (right) doing the ever popular Soulja Boy Dance. Maliste is filming... and obviously needs a little practice... but you can get a taste of their performance. We will be sure to make a better one to upload later on... maybe even post on youtube?

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Look Inside a Child's Room

Serool gave me this picture the other day. He is twelve. It is a picture of his room. All the boys that live with him are twelve as well. His room has four beds. There are ten boys that sleep in that room. You can do the math.

Help us help them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

United Nations Day

On Wednesday we had the Uruguayan UN come to Castel Pere to celebrate United Nations Day. They brought with them some pictures children from Uruguay had drawn in order to help our children better understand their country. In exchange, we sent home some Haitian drawings for the children in Uruguay.







After the exchange, a large screen was set up, and the children (look at all of them) were able to watch a film. They really enjoyed themselves. We hope to do it again soon!

Pierre Rino


Every afternoon, when working under the mango tree with the metal workers, I see Pierre Rino wrestle with the bull. His job is to take care of him, but it seems so difficult at times.








In a way, I think Pierre Rino and the bull are a metaphor to Father Marc and the project. This is his job, and he loves it, but a lot of the time he is doing a lot of wrestling.

Biondy's Blog


Biondy has started a blog of his own. I have linked his page under my "Places of Importance". Check it out! Toss him a comment!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jean Wilson Update


Today Jean Wilson moved into the quad. He has been sick for more than two weeks now, and nobody can diagnose him with anything. His back is hurting, he aches all over, and he continues to get paler and skinnier. He had moved back into his room, but obviously that is not helping. Hopefully putting him under "Paige watch" will get him feeling better sooner. Here he is in his new room, right next door to me.

Please continue to pray for him.

Sunday BBQ


Yesterday we had a delicious American/Haitian BBQ thanks to these two boys... and a little help from Kevin. Wilgins and Ti Boss (with the help of Kevin) made a BBQ out of a metal drum, like the one my Artists use to make their metal pieces. Father Marc will be posting a picture on his blog of their masterpiece. Man it sure did make some great chicken! Thanks boys!

My Biondy













This is my Biondy. He is as American as you can get without actually ever visiting the States. Look at him. He is a little gansta. I love it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Sweet Micky Adventure

Last night Sweet Micky held a concert in Aux Cayes. Knowing that Micky and I are now "best buds" the kids all knew that I was going to the concert. Some of the older boys asked if they could go with me... hoping that I would be able to get them in VIP. Feeling pretty confident that I could, I told them they were more than welcome, and last night we all piled into the car and headed to the concert.

Problem- all day I could NOT get a hold of Micky. He had said he wanted to come out to the farm, because he is going to be working with us, but I couldn't seem to reach him. Knowing that he is basically nocturnal, I waited until early afternoon to give him a call, but to no avail... so off we headed hoping to get in.

Outside the Marabu, I still couldn't get Micky on the phone. "Let's but a ticket, and then go in and tell him you are here. Maybe he will get everyone else in," Tigre says. Smart thinking. So he and I purchase tickets, and walk in.

Right away, Micky runs up to me hugs me, and then asks me why I haven't called him?! Oh man. After a "he said, she said" convo, he gives the ok for, "My sweet Paige to let in all her friends."

All my friends think I am really cool. I get to walk up to Micky when I want, walk onto the stage when I want, and get to let in whomever I want. Who is the celebrity here... me or him? I kind of like this treatment. So now, not only do I stick out like a sore thumb, I am being called "Micky's madam"... way to blend in Paige.

Around 2:30 in the morning, realizing that the party is still just getting started, I beg Tigre to go. A little bummed that I can't hang like the rest of the Haitian community, toddlers included, we gather our clan. "Aren't you going to say goodbye to Micky?" Tigre asks me. "Ok, sure."

So I walk up to the bodyguard standing next to the stage, and motion him to open the gate. I walk up on stage in the middle of Micky's performance and tap him on the shoulder. "M'ale..." I shout into his ear as he stops his song.

"Ok, I will give you a call tomorrow. Thanks for coming." He turns back to a crowd of fans waiting for him to resume his performance. I walk off the stage.

The night was a lot of fun. Micky really can get a crowd going. Lots of singing and dancing. Needless to say, I am exhausted today... we didn't get home until 3:00 this morning.

"I told you not to go, Paige. I knew you would be tired today," says Jean Robert as I lay in the hammock in the middle of the afternoon... you're right Jean Robert... one of my 600 brothers looking out for me.

Soulja Boy

This post is for Jill, Lynne, my Mom, and Adrian...

So one of the biggest influences I have been on these children, aside from trying to teach them English, compassion, and manners is... introducing them to new music.

I downloaded the Soulja Boy video on my iPod, knowing that it is huge right now in the States, and the kids instantly fell in love with the silly song as well. Here is Fery- aka Soulja Boy- with his hat, towel, and shades with writing (or in this case stickers) on them. He has also become an expert at the dance, as he studies the video.

He writes Soulja Boy on his schoolwork, and answers to that name. I love these kids!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Acceptance

"Ok, Biondy, get out of my hammock and go home. I want to get ready for bed now. You've been lounging all day."

"Ok...but... um... Can I borrow this pillow?..."

"What? Why?"

"Well, since the new rooms opened up in the other neighborhood... I lost my pillow and sheets."

"That doesn't make sense. What does the new neighborhood for the boys moving from La Madonne have to do with your pillow and sheets?"

"They chiefed mine. They didn't have any... so the chiefed mine."

"Yeah... and they chiefed my bed."

"WHAT?! Nesley, they stole your whole bed? Where do you sleep?"

"Don't tell... he shares mine with me."

"That's just wrong. That bed barely fits one person. I'm telling Father Marc."

"What is he going to do? There's no money to buy any beds... why do you think they chiefed ours in the first place."

"Oh man... Take my pillow. Take my sheets. If I could walk down there with my bed, I would give you that too."

"A pillow and a sheet is fine. Thanks, Paigey. Goodnight."

Accepting what is.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Devastatingly Beautiful

If I had to describe Haiti in two words, they would be "devastatingly beautiful". For a country that is so rich in culture, so beautiful in scenery, so alive, so vibrant- it is devastating to see it crumbling around it's inhabitant's feet.

This photo was taken at Gelee Beach. The coast is littered with garbage- trash, clothing, food, feces. Old, dilapidated boats rest on the shore. Corners of buildings hold what's left of their heads up after being torn apart by Hurricane Dean, accepting that they will never be repaired.

And yet, amidst it all are the merchants pacing the paths- selling their coconuts, sugar cane, and corn. Children rummage through the trash hoping to find a treasure to call their own. Mothers bathe their young in the sea. Teens cool off in the water with their friends.

They are blind to the destruction they are impeding on the country they call their own, but at the same time, are astutely aware. They add to the garbage- throwing their own bottles and food into the masses, but then look with disgust as their neighbor does the same.

Where does that leave us? What do you do for a country that is so beautiful that you want to become fully submerged in it, but at the same time is so devastating that your heart can barely handle a peek?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ti Chat

This is Ti Tim, or Tiny Tim. He is one of three in the newest litter of our quad cat. This morning, Ti Tim's sister fell off the top of the stairs of the quad onto the ground below. She is paralyzed and cannot move her hind legs. She is trying to wobble around, is trembling and crying.

Jean Robert was in the quad when it happened, and immediately his "tough guy" image dissolved when he saw the pain the cat is in. He brought the cat upstairs, made a bed for her, and tried feeding her milk.

"Jean Robert. The cat is in a lot of pain. She really needs to die. She wants to be with God now," I said to him.

"I can't. Let me watch her."

An hour or so later I found him, eyes closed, laying in my hammock outside my door.

"Jean Robert. She really is sick. We need to let her die now."

"No, Paige. I can't. I don't have it in my heart to let that happen."

With tears running down both our faces, we laid the cat in the bed to fall into a trembly sleep.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Truth

"Good morning, Jonas. How are you doing today?"

"I am doing great, Paige. God has blessed me."

"What do you mean? With what?"

"With life."

Friday, October 12, 2007

IMPORTANT


Father Marc recently posted this on his blog. I felt it was important to post on mine as well, as without finances, we can no longer help the children. Currently we are cutting back on things that should not need to be cut back on: personnel, food, clothing. All of which is causing Father Marc, the man this would not be possible without, to face the return of his migraines, and lose even more sleep. Please help us.

Quotes Father Marc:

Our financial situation is not good and we need all the help we can get. Kids are going without beds and linen. We can't afford to buy all the clothes they need so they go without. We can't help the poor who come to our door and they are desperately poor. Would you like to help us on a regular basis with almost no hassle? Go to www.freethekids.org and click on a donation button. You can make a monthly recurring donation in any amount you wish. $30 a month covers almost all expenses for one child per month. $15 a month covers school expenses for an elementary student and $25 a month pays for a secondary school education. Make sure you give us your email address so we can update you on what is going on. Your support is greatly needed and appreciated. As the children say-- Bondye ap beni ou. God will bless you

ESPWA Update

I cannot believe it has taken me almost a whole week to add a post- I am so sorry. Here is the busy week update:

Rain? Yes, still everyday, although the sun has made himself seen for short periods each day.

Tuesday: Dan and Connie left for the states. Connie will be back in January, and Dan sometime at the end of October.

Wednesday: I made a commercial. Produced by Kevin. It is on Father Marc's blog. Father Marc will also be sending it to Katie in California to put on the website, hopefully it will be seen other places as well. Check it out!!

Thursday: Father Marc left for Florida. He is speaking in a parish, and he will be back on Tuesday.

Today (Friday): Finally updating my blog.

Between all the "special activities" I have been visiting Jean Wilson in the hospital-spending time with him there. He is doing much better- thank you for your prayers. I have also been observing English classes, teaching Dan's English classes, done some grocery shopping and errands in town, taught some private English classes, had some meetings with the artists, met with the UN, kept up communications with people in the States, and taught the kids how to play ultimate frisbee.

I will make a greater effort to keep you all up to date though! Again I apologize!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jean Wilson


This is a photo I took of Jean Wilson back in March. I always said that if there were to be a student body president of Castel Pere- it would be him. He is overall just a good kid. Polite, thoughtful, responsible, and he has an awesome smile!

Recently, Wilson has been getting sicker and sicker- Father Marc said he thinks it's a parasite. This morning he went into the medical care facility. He is doing even worse. He is pale, he cannot eat, and I would guess that he weighs less than 80 pounds now.

Please say a prayer for Wilson to get healthy soon. He does not deserve to be feeling the way he has been feeling.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Christmas Card Project

Yesterday after school, with a small group of children, Connie started a coloring project. She asked the children to make pictures of Christmas things or Haitian things, in hopes of finding a great picture to use as the Theo's Work Christmas card. These boys worked so hard, Connie ended up with a wide variety of pictures to choose from. They were so cute, working so diligently.



Look at the updates Connie has made to her blog since she has been here. (I even make a camio appearance... although it looks as if I do nothing down here from her photo.) There is a link on this page, or you can go to konnyskorner.blogspot.com





Connie is so great, and is going back with a lot of ideas and projects she has given herself to help the arts and crafts program. Not only that, but the kids down here love her. She works hard with the artists, loves the little kids, and works in the kitchen right along side Dino and Sonya. She is leaving in five days, and I sure am going to miss her.

Lightning Strikes

On Wednesday morning, around 7:30, Connie, Kevin, and I were standing outside my room gaping at how much rain we once again had. Right outside my window is a mango tree. Well, as we were standing there, we heard the loudest clap of thunder, and we all ducked our heads. We look up, and see the mango tree spark up, and then a brown cloud of dust come out the top of it. Come to find out, it wasn't thunder at all, but lightning striking the tree. Luckily it was raining so hard, the sparks immediately dissipated.

Shortly after that, Tipa came over to the quad, completely drenched mind you, to tell us lightning had struck anba- in the children's neighborhood. Come to find out, lightning had struck the black water tank at the children's showers. Here is a close up of the tank. You can see how its leaning to the right, and how it has kind of melted off the side of he stand.






Here is a picture of the two tanks. If you compare the white one to the black one, the black one is definitely leaning over. Father Marc, Connie, and Kevin are admiring the handy work of Mother Nature.

The Infamous Boots


After many requests to see the pink plaid boots- here they are! Wait, you can't really see them? Well, that's because I am walking in the river... no, no, not the river, the pathway to the children's neighborhood. Yup, that's right. This photo was taken on Wednesday morning. The rain was still not letting up. You can also see Connie walking in the background in Portia's yellow bumblebee boots. She didn't have enough room to take them home with her, so I was holding them for her... Connie says thank you, Portia! They came in handy!

By the way, do you like my pink rain slicker? I have a really nice brown one, but Biondy borrowed it because this pink one stinks- it doesn't work at all. I think Biondy has permanently borrowed it though, as he is still wearing it... oh well! At least it's getting a lot of use!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Evans and Biondy


Here are two of the most fun kids at Castel Pere. Biondy (left) and Evans (right) are two of the dancers. Evans is so good it's scary. In this picture he just cut his hair. He likes it; apparently it looks cool, but I think he looked so much better with a normal cut. Looking stylish and cool is a big thing for the older boys. They do a pretty good job with what they've got. I don't know many kids back home that could pull of the looks they do.

We need an ark.

"I think I saw some animals walking two by two this morning," said Harold as we ate breakfast in the dining room to the sound of rain pouring down.

It rained for 24 hours straight. The rain started on Sunday night, and finally stopped on Monday night. Last night we had a dry night, but first thing this morning, the clouds opened up, and down came the rain.

Everything is wet, or at least damp. Here are some pictures of the walkways turned rivers that leads from the children's neighborhood to the dining area and quad. Some of the kids are up to their knees in water. The dry night was not dry enough because today we are still flooded.

The best investment I have made, my pink plaid rainboots. Not only am I super stylish, but my feet are super dry!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chub and Church

I woke up this morning to clouds in the sky hinting at rain. By the time it was time for mass, the rain was pouring down. I made my way to church, found a pew that was relatively dry in the back next to a couple of friends, and sat down. Shortly after, my little Chub (actually he is getting quite big) came up to me soaked and wagging his tail. Tigre and I laughed at him, as he curled up underneath our pew and fell asleep.

Halfway through mass, as Father Marc is about to begin his homily, Tigre leans into me and asks, "Kote Chub?" "Mpa kone..." I respond. As I say this, a couple children a few rows up look over at me. Chub had awoken and made his way to the front of the church. Because all the children know he is my dog, they look at me like I am an irresponsible parent. I ignore them, and the dog, and try to focus on Father Marc.

"Ruff!" Chub responds to Father Marc's words... "Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!" Chub is sitting at his feet looking up at Father Marc as he speaks.

In the midst of Father Marc's homily in Creole I hear, "Paige! Your dog is being a pain!"

Now... ALL the congregation is looking at me. I stand up and walk to the front of the church, as Chub decides to make his way to the exit. An older boy grabs him by the scruff and throws him out in the rain.

I quietly walk back to my seat...hoping to go unnoticed... knowing all eyes are on me, and not on Father Marc.

Hard at Work


Even on a Saturday, Andy, Kevin, and Dave stay hard at work. Here they are with some of the Espwa kids working on the electrical line. Andy is back for a week and a half, Kevin for six months, and Dave for a week. Keep up the good work, and be careful!

Dr. Cynthia

On Friday we had a Spectac honoring the visitors that have been down here helping us. We especially wanted to honor Dr. Cynthia for her hard work with keeping the children up to date on their shots. Dr. Cynthia has known Father Marc for years- since he had only 80 children- and is an asset to Pwoje Espwa.

Sammy, Jean Remy, and some carpenters made a special plaque that says, "Mesi Dokte Sentya". Thank you, Dr. Cynthia!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fery

Mom, this post is for you.

Almost daily the kids ask me if they can use my phone to call people. Erin, my sisters, Adrian, my Mom. This is a lot of fun for them, but a burden for the people back home trying to comprehend the Creole words of my buddies. Well, Fery absolutely LOVES my Mom. The other day he asked me if he could ask my Mom to be his Godmother. I asked my Mom, and of course she said yes.

Mom, here is Fery thanking you for the silver cross necklace. His jaw dropped when he opened his gift from his maron. He loves it, and wears it proudly.

Our Newest Visitor


Our newest visitor, Kevin, will be with us for six months. He is an expert at what seems like everything- from welding, to operating heavy machinery, to arts and crafts. I am most excited about his arts skills. He is anxious to work with the boys and offer his expert advice. We are excited to have him!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Arts & Crafts Workshop!

Arts and Crafts has moved to a new workshop! We are no longer in the neighborhood with the children, but in our own building, with electricity and doors and windows! This is such great news.







Each section of arts and crafts has a cabinet with a lock, a table to work at, and a wall to display their finished pieces for visitors that come. The boys are so excited, as am I. (I started jumping up and down and crying when I saw the finished product.) These boys work so hard, they deserve to have a place all their own. They sure have taken ownership of their new place as well.


As you can see, they painted "Arts and Crafts" above the door. (The "t" isn't finished because it is going to be a palm tree), painted the inside walls, and Sammy added a decorative border. We are thrilled with the progress the Arts are making.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Creole Lesson for Paige

On our evening walks I usually get some short Creole lessons. Here is a video of Tipa and myself naming our body parts... Tipa sounds much better saying them then I do!


video

Singing

I am so excited that a video attachment was added to blogger.com! Here is a video of Jeff and Tipa singing a VERY popular song by Belo, a local artist. Jeff is listening to the song on my iPod as he is singing. This was a typical evening for us. Taking a walk around the property, listening to music, taking pictures, and playing the "Ki sa?" game. What do you think?


video

Portia's New Website

Check out Portia's beautiful new website she has been working on now that she is back in the States. It looks great Portia! I miss you!

portiamills.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Day of School

School started this morning. Last night the children were telling me about their mixed emotions- excited because they love school. Bummed because they can't play marbles anymore. Excited because they get to learn. Bummed because their new uniforms aren't ready. Typical childhood worries.

This morning their was a meeting in the church. A welcome back to school song was sung, logistics were discussed, and children were lined up to go to their classrooms.

After today, I will give you an update. I will be making my way through the English classrooms checking out how everything is going. We had a meeting on Saturday to discuss the new program and the first couple weeks worth of lessons. The teachers seemed very excited about the fact that we will be meeting regularly to discuss lessons, plan together, and I will be around in case of questions- children or teachers. I really hope the program takes off, and is successful. Cross your fingers for me!

Baptism





Yesterday Kevinson was baptized. He is the son of James, a boy who used to live at La Madonne. Frankell and Matante are the godparents. Afterwards we all had lunch together. It was really sweet to see them together. Kevinson looked adorable in his white suit (bow tie included). It was a nice ceremony.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lawnmowers

"Fery, why is there a cow sitting in the middle of the kid's neighborhood?"

"Because he is eating the grass- it's getting long."

Haitian lawnmower.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Little Piece of Arizona


Yesterday we went to check on the progress of the earth bag house. Although the windows are a little crooked, and the door is slightly lopsided, it's really coming along. It looks really, really great- almost like an adobe house in Arizona! Father Marc said Arizona is his inspiration for the design of the house. Here is a picture of the front entry wall- Sammy and another boy designed and put this mural on it. When it is finished I will add more pictures. Pretty nice, huh?

Davidson

Portia just sent me this picture. This is little Davidson. He is about three years old. He lives in the orphanage on Ille a Vache. Sister Flora picked him up at a hospital in Port au Prince when she took another sick child there. Davidson was abandon at the hospital by his mother. Sister Flora couldn't leave without him. As she says, "I came with one, and left with two."

Now, he is the star of the orphanage. He and I became instant buddies. He was hanging on me the entire time, and wanted me to hold him, even though it was a million degrees out. In this picture he is laughing like crazy because he thought it was so funny that I kept telling him I was going to eat the tree. I wanted to put him in my backpack and take him with me, but Sister Flora wouldn't let me.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Three Little Biographies

I was looking through my pics, and came across this one. This picture was taken by Portia on the day we bribed children with candy to make sad faces. Even though we bribed them with candy, after reading their biographies, I am sure you will agree that they have reason to have sad eyes.

Fabian is the youngest after 3 sisters and 2 brothers. His parents moved to Port-au-Prince to find a better life and left him behind in Cayes. He came to Espwa to live and go to school. He is between 10 and 12 years old.

Ti Toma is 5 years old. He is from Jeremie. He has one 8-year-old older brother who lives at Espwa and one sister who still lives in Jeremie with his parents who are too poor to take care of all the children.

Eddie is from Les Cayes. His parents are dead. He has one older brother who lives in Cayes. He is 10 years old. He has been with the project for just over a year.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Choupy's Art Class


The art class Choupy began at the beginning of the summer for the younger children ended this week. With a big smile and a great amount of pride, Choupy brought his students' work to show me. All of the papers were graded. He also came with a request for a small candy treat as a reward to his students for their participation and hard work throughout the summer.


Here are a few examples of some of the pictures the kids were assigned to do over the course of the summer. (Notice the grade in green pen in the corner of each picture.)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Hair


Even after being here for almost three months, the children still do not tire of playing with my hair. They LOVE to find stray hairs on my shirt- tie them in knots, put them in their own hair, or simply watch them move in the breeze. Today I gave myself a haircut. That's right- I cut my own hair. How does it look? Good enough for a ponytail in Haiti. The boys were mortified that I would even THINK to cut my hair. As I was in my room trimming away, they were downstairs, staring up at my window.... waiting. Afterwards, they wanted to see it and touch it right away. I got the approval because I only cut off about half an inch. Jeff grabbed my hair and while it was still on my head, put it on his own. The kids thought it was hilarious seeing Jeff as a blonde. (Yes, my hair is getting blonder and blonder by the day. My arms hairs are completely bleached white from the sun. It makes them a lot more noticeable....especially since my skin is "turning Haitian".)

Farmers


While Fery, Jean Robert, and Dikenson were working on a house for the little orphan dog, Jeff and Johnny were busy working in the vegetable garden. Samedi, one of the boys that brought me flowers when I was sick, has recruited his peers to work in the garden for lollipops. Samedi is a true leader. Some may call him bossy- He yelled at Dan because Dan did not water his pumpkin plants enough while Samedi was gone on vacation- I call him a leader. I also try to pretend like I'm busy when he comes around so he doesn't put me to work too!

Saturday Project: Build Paris a House



Late this afternoon, I was beckoned by Fery to, "Vini! Vini!" He, Jean Robert, and Dikenson had build a house out of broken cinder blocks and mud. I asked who the house was for, and they told me it was definitely NOT for Chub, but for the little orphan dog that was born in the same litter as Chub. She, Paris as the kids have named her (She is about as skinny as the real Paris), is usually being picked on by the kids. It made me happy to see they felt some sympathy for her and built her a house. I wonder how long it will stay standing...


I had to include this picture of Jean Robert. Isn't he absolutely beautiful. Fery took this picture, and I am so happy he did because I like seeing smiling children a lot more than the sad eyed ones!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Pictures

I did not have a post for today, so I thought I would add a few pictures that I really love. The first one is of Fery. He is sitting right outside the quad with my iPod, singing Lloyd. Since then, my iPod has earned the name Lloyd because whenever the kids want to hear my iPod, the say, "Lloyd"... I think it's either because they don't know what an iPod is, or because they really think that's what its called.


The second picture is of a couple kiddos with "sad eyes".








The last picture is one that Angie sent to me. I love it. The kids are playing on the metal rods that are meant to hang the laundry out on.