Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Random Road Trip

So, funny thing happened yesterday. We went into town to fill the truck up with diesel and found out that all the pumps were out and they did not know when fuel was coming. So, seeing as my friends needed to go to the airport the next day, we realized we had to figure out something. After discussing our options and driving around Mirebalais trying to find out where the closest fuel was, we realized we were going to have to go about an hour away to fill up. The thing was, the fuel gage was just above the "E"! So, one of the male workers and I and Melinda's 3 year old son jumped in the truck and headed out with very little fuel and a prayer! Did I mention I was driving...very few of the workers here know how to drive, and so I've been doing a lot of driving as there is always a need for someone to run for water and such. Anyway, we set out on the main road west of here, which I had never driven on's really nice and paved....except for the huge potholes that your truck suddenly falls into!! Seriously, they come out of nowhere!! I have never geared up and down so many times before!! Not to mention the donkeys and kids and big huge trucks that don't like to share the road! Along the way we stopped to pick up a big huge truck driver who had run out of gas on the way to get gas, and I shortly discovered why God had put him in our path. In the middle of nowhere(at least it seemed so to me) I felt the truck give out....yep, we had run out of fuel!! "Conveniently" the driver we had picked up had some "jerry cans" (old empty vinegar containers) and he gave us one to use. So, Lunto (the Haitain worker with me) jumped on a motorbike that was passing by, and said he'd be right back as the town was really close. So, I found myself sitting on the side of the road with a 3 year old, no phone, fully expecting to be there for at least an hour. People were appearing out of nowhere, looking at the "blan" stranded on the side of the road! 10 minutes passed and I could not believe my eyes when I saw Lunto returning with our "jerry can". Minutes later we were on our way again, and sure enough there was the gas station, literally around the next corner!!! We filled the truck up and then headed home. I was so relieved to have made it safely so far though a story Melinda had shared with us recently kept coming to my mind...apparently in Haiti if a driver hits someone and kills them, people will chase them down and burn them alive in their truck....nice huh?? She did say that if that happened to us we likely would not be killed as we are not Haitian...however, we've all been a little more careful!! It's things like that that help you remember you are in a foreign land, especially as sometimes you get so used to things you kind of forget where you are!!
How's that for an ending to a tale??

Friday, November 23, 2007

A little catching up

So, I could hardly believe when I logged on to update my blog and realized I have not blogged since the 5th!!! Sorry!!!

Things have been really busy, more than usual if you can believe it, and sitting and waiting for photos to load onto blogger(which takes FOREVER!!) has not really sounded to exciting at the end of the day!!
We had a bunch of kids get sick at the same time with colds and fevers, and there was a lot to do. Then in the midst of all of that one of the young men that works here came down with what we think is Typhoid, and things were pretty scary for a couple of days! He's on the mend now though, thanks to many prayers and Melinda's know how!! In the midst of all that, there was/is pink eye of sorts going around Haiti, and workers have been missing work due to this, and that always makes things busier, making sure things are being covered!! I even managed to get another weird infection on my and Amoxycillin are becoming best friends!!
Things seem to be quieting down now though...our group of volunteers is starting to dwindle down now though, and I'm gonna miss a lot of great people(and all their help)!! Two girls left last week, then another this past Tuesday, and Louise and Julian are leaving next week!! That will leave us two long term girls, as well as another girl leaving on the 7th...then my friend Kristy arrives on the 14th!!! I'm really looking forward to that!!

Joanna, Wilclair and Wiltosso with their "bling"!

Story time!! So, last week Louise and I headed down Goat Mountain(the terribly fun smooth mountain road!!) along with two gals who were leaving. After dropping them off we spent the day running errands that for some reason took way too long that day, and didn't start to leave Port-au-Prince until about 5:30, which means that by the time we actually got out of the city it was 6:15 or so, and we hit the bottom of the mountain by 6:40, which was way too late, but there we were!! I had called Melinda to let her know we were a bit later than usual, and she said if we wanted we could stay in Port, but I said that we'd be fine...silly me!! Tiblan, a guy who drives for us a lot, and is known far and wide by any volunteer that has ever been here as a fast driver was driving that day, and we headed up the mountain fast enough to make my eyes widen(his driving usually doens't bother me too much)!! After a few exclamations by Louise and I as we hit and flew over some bumps rather hard, the other Haitain guy in the truck(my friend Jojo) proceeded to let us know we were going fast because we were in an area where once dark hits bandits like to stop trucks and rob people and other such niceties!! We continued to go quickly!!! After a few more sections of the road being passed at a very fast rate, our progress came to a halt behind a long row of trucks all stuck behind a huge truck stuck up to its wheel wells in mud!! Unbeknownst to us, we would be sitting in that line for the next 6 1/2 hours, thankful for the groceries in the back of the truck, but wishing we had stopped to buy water at the half way point!! There was a good deal of laughter and groaning that went on, as well as some interesting trips to the "bathroom" conveniantly located right beside the truck, with too many spectators to count. The funny thing was, after all of our driving quickly past the not so safe spots, we got stuck in the line up right behind a police truck...interesting, huh...definitely got someone looking out for us!!

The little peanut(Jessica)

I got to go on a mini holiday!!!
All of us volunteers got together and decided to take 30 hours or so and spend some time at Kalico Beach. It's a "resort" by Haitian standards about 3 hours from Mirebalais, where for 2 half days and one night we were able to escape. It was the first real break I'd had since arriving and it was wonderful!! We swam in the ocean, drank cold CocaCola, almost got stung my jellyfish(that was exciting), soaked in the sun(don't worry mom, I put sunscreen on this time!!) and just enjoyed hanging out!
Here's a few pics of our time there...I'll put more on facebook...or maybe try this flickr thing people keep telling me about so they are right here on my blog...we'll see how that works out!

Louise and I...and there was a sunset somewhere back there..good old self portraits!!!

It's hard for me to believe that on the 7th I'll have ben here for 4 months...I have no idea where the time has been going!! A couple arrived here last week that was here this summer and the lady said that she relaly noticed a change in the kids since they were last here...that was really great to hear! It's hard to see changes when you are in the midst of things, so it's really nice to know that the efforts we have been making are becoming noticeable noticable (whatever!) in the kids behaviour!
We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday...a month late or so for us Canadians but the turkey was awesome!! Yes, we managed to get a turkey, and even had all the fixings including pumpkin pie and that kinda nice yet slightly uncomfortable full feeling at the end of it all!! So Happy American Thanksgiving to you all!!
I've been realizing that many of you have no idea what this place looks like, so I'll try and post some pics to give you an idea...
Hopefully you feel a little caught up, cuz as of now my alloted time on the computer is over!

Monday, November 5, 2007

After the rain...

So much has happened since I've last blogged, I'm not even sure where to start!! We had a four day non-stop rain storm that made travel and communication here quite nuts, and we were not even really affected by the water as people were in Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti as well as in the Dominican.
As you will see in the pics on this posting, our numbers have grown again. Last week we welcomed two new children...a brand new baby girl who was born one morning and dropped off at her fathers by her mother who then took off, and was brought here by a nieghbour lady who happens to work here. Her name is Lydia and she's doing quite well, and seems huge compared to Evan and Levi who are still so small!!

And a girl makes three!!

Say hello to Lydia!!

This is Richard(pronounced the same way as our famous hockey player!!). He came to us just over a week ago, a 15lb malnourished, neglected little fellow. However, it has been very intersting to watch him slowly come out of his shell and turn into a very cute interactive little boy. He is quite popular around here, and continues to surprise us every day with his antics. We still do not know what is going to happen with him, as no family member has shown up to either sign him over or let us know what they are going to do with him. This means that at any time someone could show up and take him...we are all praying this does not happen!

The first day Richard smiled!

A couple weeks ago something really...well..funny I suppose is the right word, happened to me. Three of us girls and a Haitian man and our driver took 5 children down to Port-au-Prince to get Canadian medicals done. After a fairly uneventful morning of doctor visits and errand running, things suddenly took a steep turn. We had just finished buying some groceries and I was taking a toddler out of the cart, when the surprised looks and exclaims of the staff in the store grabbed my attention. As I had taken the child out of the cart and swung him on to my hip, diarrhea had literally flew out of his diaper and made a two foot stream on the floor of the store!! Not only that, my side was covered in it, and there was a pile of the stuff in the child seat of the cart! Everyone around was either laughing or looking at us in utter shock, and I was laughing and trying to absorb what had happened. Somehow we got out of the store, though not before the man that came and took the cart clearly showed by his facial expression that this was NOT IN HIS JOB DESCRIPTION!!! The stench was amazing, and I was covered with it. Thankfully I had taken my own advice and packed extra clothes, but then I had to go back in the store and walk by all the smirking people to go and change! Oh the utter hilarity!! The day by no means stopped there, as I was doused again later that day, and while waiting in the bathroom at another grocery store, I realized just how horrible I smelled when one lady who was also waiting suddenly gasped and "Ki bagay se santi konsa?"(What thing is smelly like that??)...she was unknowingly referring to me!!! After I finished in the bathroom, I proceeded to march up and down the aisles until I found my saving grace....a bottle of Febreeze!!! There was a lot of laughter and tears that accompany hard laughter...and everytime we talk about that day, the waterworks start again!! Oh the adventures!!!