Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kontan! (Happy)

I just got done taking the children to school this morning. Our Kabota is currently having the oil and filtered changed so I walked with Guilliume and the children to school. The walk there was great, but on the way back I do have to say I was a little tired! Wow I am out of shape. It did feel good to be walking and active!

Both of our children that have been having fevers did not have any this morning and both felt well enough to go to school! I was very happy about that, but still want to watch them closely.

Chrisaline is finally getting better! She has been sick since I arrived here! I am so relieved that we have figured out what is wrong with her and treated her with the right medication now. Things are a little more difficult in Haiti…not knowing the language and it taking a whole day to get to the doctor. This really can slow things down. Anyways no more pustules on her head and her stomach is not hurting. She still has about 4 days left on her medication, but on her way to recovery!

I received an email from Kristina last night. Kristina is the one who monitors the children’s nutrition and extra supplements they are getting. She said that six of the children can stop taking the medika mumba and all of them are improving. It was such good news to hear and I know the children will be happy to hear that tonight.

Each day brings new adventures and challenges. The children have improved tremendously at getting ready in the morning, but have struggled with listening during meal time and getting to bed on time. I continue to work with Guilliume and Fanfan to try to improve this! However with 42 children, I do think overall things are going well!

I just finished reading the book Restavec by Jean-Robert Cadet. If you have not read it I would strongly recommend it. It is incredibly sad but explains so well the life of child slavery in Haiti and how terrible it truly is. I now look at every child I see differently, wondering what their story is and what their life is like. As I pass children carrying water, not in school I wonder about their parents or lack of them. It really reiterates the fact of why this orphanage is here and how God is working through this place to give these children hope for the future.

As I get to enjoy my day here, I know my husband is at home doing taxes. Thank you to him for continuing to take care of everything at home. It is such a blessing knowing all of that is being taken care of!

Trying out all the new bandanas we got! Thanks to everyone for all that you sent us this past week. We are truly grateful!

Ironing the clothes.

Picture with Jovany in my room

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Preparing to Leave!

We are busy in our preparations for serving as the Host Family for Grace Village with Healing Haiti. We feel so blessed by God with this amazing opportunity.

We began praying as a family in January 2011 about if God wanted us to serve as missionaries. Then God brought Robb and other pastors from Rockpoint Church to Haiti in November 2011. From there God pressed it on our hearts to pray specifically about Haiti, Healing Haiti and Grace Village! And now we find ourselves preparing to move to Haiti in July 2012 for two years!

We serve an awesome God! More to come... keep praying for us! Robb, Jenn, Morgan & Ben

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wonderful Friends

We have been having some problems with the internet so that is why I have not updated the blog frequently!  So sorry.  On Friday I went to the airport to get Lisa.  She arrived safely, but of course it took the whole entire day to get her!  It has been a huge blessing to have Lisa here.  It is comforting to have another American to bounce ideas off of and uses her nursing knowledge.  She has also become very good at Creole and it has been great to talk with the children.  She will be leaving this week and the children and I will truly miss her. : (

Saturday was filled with activities and work.  We stayed busy and worked on some new schedules for the children.  My friend Shirley came by to visit for a couple of hours which was so much fun!  It is crazy to think that I am in Haiti, but have not seen my wonderful Haitian friend until now.

Sunday we had church which was great.  Children came from the community and we had a great play time with them.  Trying to implement new rules, watch over the children and workers, and spread God's love over this place!!!

Today the children are off from school.  Lisa and I played some games with them like hide and seek and thumbs up 7 up and had a great time with it!  I had one of my favorite times with the children today!  I played soccer with the children and some of the girls played as well!  I had an absolute blast and it was a great way to connect with the boys.

Chrisaline's eye is okay, but she still has some infection on her head.  Rose is on some antibiotics.  The two little twins tested negative for HIV!  Please pray for these children and praise God for all he is doing here!

I LOVE it here and LOVE the children!  I cannot imagine leaving them.  They are a huge blessing to me and I am so thankful that God lead me to Healing Haiti.

Playing soccer, I guess I was serious?  Not really!  More fun

Me with Sherlunda

Sunset with Lisa

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mwen renmen ou (I love you)!

So today was of course filled with new adventures! After having such a great day yesterday getting ready, we had a really bad one today. They went to school, but it was "party" day for them. I am still not exactly sure why, but it meant they wore other clothes besides their uniforms. I am SO SO SO happy that they have uniforms. Even though we got the clothes ready the night before, we still managed to have issues with the clothes and changed so many times. They scampered into the cafeteria and ate at the last minute. I now know why my husband gets so frustrated when I can not seem to pick out the right outfit and hold him up from leaving!!

There was an accident in Titanyen in the middle of the night last night. A truck drove into and hit six homes and left an older person and child dead. One of the people who works here knew the person who died so she did not come to work today. Please pray for them! No one knew exactly what happened since there was no driver there this morning. From the top of the village we could see all the cars. Such a sadness for the people of Titanyen.

On a better note we had some visitors from Sanneh Foundation visit today. Tony Sanneh is a retired professional soccer player who has started this foundation. He works in the Twin Cities and helps at risk youth by focusing on teaching them soccer, sound fundamentals, character, and fun! He came to see Grace Village to see what Healing Haiti is all about.

Since the children did not actually have school today, this meant that they did not have the tutors so we spent more time playing! The children loved it. It was nice because we started showers earlier which meant not rushing through everything!

Last night we welcomed a new boy to our home! His name is Loody and is 15 years old. He lived with his grandmother and does not have a mother or father. I got to go visit his house and his grandmother. I am so happy that we could bring him here, but so sad to see him have no parents, and a grandmother unable to care for him. The houses here still always amaze me! They are so small and so many people live in them. This one in particular did not have any electricity. Loody was happy to come and so now we have 42!

The children are the best part of each and every day. They are so full of life and are the light that makes this place shine! They have so much energy and just roll with everything that life presents them with. They love God with their whole heart and they have opened me up into their lives with open arms. They are the most resilient and loving children! I enjoy getting to know each of them and am trying to give them as much as I can because they have blessed me so much! I have learned all the names which has been a hard thing. I still slip up, but getting better. If I could take them all home with me I would not blink an eye about it!

Oh and to let you know my friend Lisa Richards is coming to visit me!! The hospital that she was working at in Milot, is currently closed. She is doing her mission work for one year in Haiti and is going to return when it opens. Jeff and the wonderful children here have opened this place up to her and I am so grateful for that. She will be a huge help to me and I know she will be a great asset to our home here at Grace Village.

I am off to give the children their Medicka Mumba!

Much Love, Gretchen

Playing a lot today!

Where the children eat and worship.

Loddy on the far right with his Grandmother and brother Gedeon (who is already here) in their old home

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We Love because He first loved us!

After taking the children to school today, I spent some time reading my bible, my bible study book, and just relaxed!  It was so nice to take some time and just sit and reflect on everything that has been happening here.  It has been one week since I arrived to Grace Village.  It seems like I have been here longer then that.  Last night I was so tired and today it was good to get refreshed for the week. 

The plan for today was to take Rose to see Dr. Sem, but of course we are running on Haitian time and were too late to take her.  It worked out okay because I think I am going to take another child to see Dr. Sem as well, so now we will be able to take both in one trip!

During the children's play time I had them make Valentines Day cards and gave them each a piece of chocolate.  They did so good with it!  One of the guardians here can sort of speak English, but I really had no interpreter with me.  I had made a card earlier and showed them what it looked like.  I was worried that they would try to take the scissors or crayons, but they did not!  There was no fighting and things went well.  We still need to work on picking up after themselves, but it was defiantly a success!  I think they are becoming more comfortable with me and how things work.

Tomorrow hopefully I will be going to see Dr. Sem with the two children!  Please pray that it will go well!

Pray for the children's health, our safety and my health as well!  Thanks so much!

Some of the Cards!

We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Monday, February 13, 2012

God is among us!

So today I again drove the children to school and I actually knew where I was going. Laikia did sit right by me just in case I needed her help. Fanfan helped me a lot today with getting to know each worker, who they were and what they did here. He also helped me go over some rules and expectations for them.

Maycko stayed home from school today. He was not feeling that well in the morning. He has had no fever today and will be going to school tomorrow. He is eating again and running around like his old self. Chrisaline’s eye is almost all better. There is a small scab, but that is it. Shersunny has persistent ringworm and we are trying to get rid of it! Please continue to pray for all the children!

I went with Andy and HenryClaude today to deliver the monthly food to the elders. That took a good amount of our time! They are some of the most grateful and appreciative people that I have ever met. One elder reminded me to pray for him, so I prayed over him before I left! It was so cute. One elderly is 102!! She came running towards us and I was laughing so hard! The elderly team was so wonderful and gave Creole Bibles that you can listen to, to everyone. One of them was walking in the street listening to it, it was great to see! When I asked what the elderly did before Healing Haiti started working with them, the response I got was God took care of them : )

Today was so incredibly busy and I am still not sure what all I did! The children are wonderful and it is obvious that God is present here.

I am truly blessed to be here and so thankful to God for giving me this opportunity. It is the best feeling to see God’s work at hand!

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100:5


Turkey, for my dad, Joey and cc!

The excited Elderly

Having fun : )

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Saturday

This was the first day that the children were here all day.  It was good to figure out what they do on Saturdays and it was nice having everyone here all the time to figure things out.

I organized some things and started to see what supplies we need and what is running low.  I also took heights and weights of the children who are taking additional supplements to increase their weight/growth.  I emailed the results off to Kristina, who is absolutely wonderful, and she said that she has seen improvement!  It was so exciting to hear that.

I find myself learning how to parent the children?  It is funny because I have never had my own so my first time being a “parent” I have 41 children!  I am learning what works and what does not work….I get exhausted just with repeating the same things over and over…lol!

The children helped clean this morning, which was great!  It is so good to see take responsibility and care for their things. 

We played a lot today which is always so fun!  Tomorrow they have church and here in Haiti it is a really big deal (which it should be).  They get out their best outfits and shoes and iron them for hours.  They only wear these outfits on Sundays so we have to get them out of the storage closet.  After I took my shower tonight they helped me get ready.  The girls blow dried my hair and I showed them how I straighten my hair and brush it.  They got a huge kick out of this!  They spend so much time doing their hair, but it is just so much different then mine.  They also helped me pick out an outfit for church and then Blondine ironed it for me. It was great because I held up certain outfits and they were like “NO NO”.  I guess there is definitely a standard here!

As my nursing role, I am mainly just doing first aid things.  Children with bumps and bruises, workers with headaches and stomachaches.  Simple things like that.  Chrisalines eye is improving, but it is still swollen, I think in the next couple of days it will be healed which is awesome.  Keep praying for her. 

Maycko one of the little boys is not feeling well tonight.  He was running a fever, so I have been caring for him tonight.  When one of them is not feeling good, they usually have another child they turn to.  Gerno is being that person for Maycko tonight which has been a huge help and it is incredible to watch!  Please pray that he will feel better tomorrow and that it is nothing serious.

We are going to be talking with the all the great supporters at the Healing Haiti Sweethearts Ball tonight.  The children are excited and so am I!  I hope skype works, because you never know here!  If you are at that ball thanks so much!

As I write this they are practicing their music with Fanfan for church tomorrow!  I am just listening to them and it is so great!

They will be finished soon!

Much Love, Gretchen

The Amazing Sunset!

Me and some girls

Guilliume, the one who started the orphanage and some of the boys

Friday, February 10, 2012

Trying to love the children up!

Yesterday we did not have the internet for too long so I was not able to update the blog.  We again had a very busy morning.  I finally had them on time to eat and then they had to switch all their shoes and socks because it was Friday and on Friday they can wear any shoes and tennis shoes they want.  Not the best time to find this out, but they always keep you on your toes!

I am getting more comfortable with the children and their routine.  I drive the cabota in the morning with the children who are anemic and small and then the other children walk with Guilliume.  I also learned on Fridays they get done with school earlier! 

It is amazing how they have no toys, but are always playing games and have things to do!  You never hear that they are bored.  I feel that in America you hear that all the time and the children have so many toys.

The hardest part for me right now is trying to balance everything.  I wish I could just be a mother to each individual child.  I wish I could give each one of them all my attention and time.  I would love to just lay in bed with them and read to them.  I want to just be able to sit and talk one on one with them and hear all they have to say about the day.  I unfortunately cannot right now due to the language barrier and that there are 40 children.  They all deserve the best and sometimes I do not feel that they get that because they were robbed of a mom and dad.  I think back to my childhood and how different it is from theirs.  I got more attention than I could ask for and I had people in my life to spoil me rotten!  They are amazing children and I just want to give them more!

The exciting part of the day was when the Healing Haiti team to visit the children.  They taught them all about China which was so cool.  They dressed in outfits, spoke the language, discussed their culture.  They brought chopsticks and had them eat popcorn with them and gave them fortune cookies.  It was a blast!

I tried pite tonight for the first time.  It was so good!  The children loved it so I shared some of mine with them so they could have more.

Tomorrow is Saturday and not really sure of the routine?  I guess I will figure it out then. 

Sorry for such a short update.  The interent will be down soon and I have to kiss the children goodnight!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creating a "new" home

This is my second day at Grace Village.  The fist day was a little overwhelming, but good.  I was immediately greeted by the cutest children and they were very excited to show me everything at the place.  They sang songs for me and showed me their new place!

Jean (a man who works for GV) got me all settled and then left for the day.  He speaks English and is very good at his job. This meant when he left I had to try to communicate with my very little creole.  FanFan arrived around 0900 back from school.  He is going to school to be a youth pastor and does a fabulous job with the children.  He speaks English and was very helpful when he got back.  He helped me figure out some things and got me hooked up on the internet.  Unfortunately the internet only worked for little while so I was not able to do anything on the computer.  I am also waiting to get a phone from my friend Shirley this weekend, so then hopefully communication will be better!

The place here is truly beautiful.  The facilities are incredible and the view is breathtaking.  I will post some pictures of what it looks like where I am staying. 

I started my day today by waking up at 500am!  I could not believe how early it was.  To my surprise I started smiling right away because I could hear the children and FanFan worshiping and signing in the feeding center.  It was so amazing to hear them sing so early and have that be the start of their day.

I got up, got ready and then started getting the children ready for school.  It is amazing that they are up at 0430am, but still have trouble to be ready for breakfast at 0700am!  I was hurrying all of the up and looking under beds to find missing shoes.  I got to take them to school today and it was great to see where go to school.  One girl Chrisaline, had a really swollen and pussy eye.  I put some ointment on it the night before, but in the morning she had trouble opening it.   I was able to take her to the clinic and get some medication for it.  It was fun taking her out!  We had fun taking pictures of everything and trying to teach each other creole and English. 

The children are done with school around 0100.  I went with Andy, another Haitian to pick the children up.  I had spaghetti for breakfast with the children and rice and beans for lunch!  I am really trying to eat what they do to see a little more with what they eat and what they get for nutrition.

After lunch we had tutor time for the children and then play time. I ran until I could not move my legs anymore!  And I thought I would not get a workout in here!  I also taught the children how to do spiders on the swings. They got a really big kick out of it!

I am starting to get to know the names of the children, girls are a lot easier then the boys. 

I ate dinner with them which was chocolate which is boiled, sort of like hot chocolate, but Haitian style and bread.  The children had so much fun teaching me how to eat it.  I think I was just amusing them, they laughed so hard!

I am not going to have electricity much longer so goodnight!

I have updated my prayer request so please look at them and keep the prayers coming!
  • I will transition into my new role
  • That I will have a good impact on the Children
  • For the safer of me and everyone at GV
  • That Chrisaline's eye would heal

My room!  I love it! 

Outside where I stay with the girls!

Chrisaline and I at the clinic

The amazing view, too bad my camera cannot capture its beauty.