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!