Saturday, January 29, 2011

Almost 3 weeks in!?

Teaching English?

This is crazy. This week I started teaching English. I teach at the Institut Nouvelle Vision. Max, the director of the organization told me that if I help teach English, they will help me learn Haitian Creole. Let me walk you through my first day.

It is 3:45 pm and I am 15 minutes early. I am told to follow the secretary into a classroom. At least that is what I think she said. There are only a handful of people that speak English at this place. I have no clue how big my class will be. I walk into the room and find 2 people. Sitting on one side of the table was a boy around the age of 12, on the other side was man around 30. Oh boy. I sit down and try not to freak out. A few minutes later the secretary comes in and gives me a marker and an eraser for the board. Am I the teacher? Is this my whole class? I start opening my notebook and acted like I had notes to write. I then stood up and started writing the alphabet. I then had them repeat after me. I said each letter. I then wrote CAT on the board and BAT. They repeated again. The secretary came in one more time. I asked for Max, but she doesn’t speak English. She struggled to say “Max coming.” I sat back down and tried to relax. When Max comes, I can communicate with him. Thank God.

Before Max got here, people started piling into the room. Men and women, young and old. An older gentleman comes in and introduces himself to me and says “I am the English teacher.” Hooray!!!

Max comes in and all is well. I now understand I am just an assistant teacher. I learn that these classes are 3 times a week for two hours at a time. This class, the teacher stars with previous homework. Then he asked me if I wanted to teach. I tell the guy that I have no clue where to start. He then tells me “Start anywhere you want. They are beginners.” I teach them adjectives. Do they understand me at all? I think so.

This school is so unstructured it isn’t funny. It is a mess. The English teacher does not even speak English that well.

I went in the next day to use their internet and do some research on teaching English. Then Max bought me a coke and a nice lunch at an extremely nice restaurant. Max was just sucking me in. I am now part of this school. I taught again yesterday and I taught for an hour and a half straight. I actually think I did pretty well.

The Coffee Project

Today I am supposed to be in Baptiste, but the plans did not work. What I will be doing up there is buying fruits and vegetables and coffee in bulk for cheap and bringing them back to PAP to sell. I will also be trying to contact the head of the coffee growers and talk to them about starting a co-op. I have been talking to the head of a coffee company and he is willing to help us out and grind and roast coffee for us. I think we are going to even export this stuff to the US, so if you are interested in some high quality coffee, keep checking out the blog. I might be able to hook you up.

Things were going slow before, but I am starting to get a lot busier. Other than teaching, I am doing coffee project stuff, discipleship with 8th graders at the local school, and Discipleship program Bible studies multiple times a week with Haitians. When I am not doing this stuff, I am making connections with Haitians. I have talked to business owners, lawyers, and directors of NGOs. I was told by a wise man that it is all about connections in the Caribbean. The more people you know, the smoother things go.


Thanks to all the thoughts and prayers. A special thanks to Salem Baptist, David Saetre, Stacie Furia, and Andy Goyke. Music has also been helping me out along with books. Thanks to John Piper, The Afters, Brandon Heath, This Beautiful Republic, Timothy Keller, Shawn McDonald, Lecrae, and Wes Pendleton.

Shout outs

I want to give a shout out to Lighthouse Cru, Baynet, Salem Baptist Church, Grace Miner, Northland College, and my man Jacob Sorteberg.

So, this blog post is not 100% yet. I will take pictures to post on here. Check back in a couple of days.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adventures in Haiti

I am not really sure where to begin, but here goes...

On Monday Jemmy, my main man, and I went downtown to do a few things. We took a tap-tap to Petionville and then a bus to downtown Port-au-Prince.

For those of you who do not know what a tap-tap is, I will explain. A tap-tap is like a taxi. Most tap-taps I see are small pickup trucks like a Ford Ranger. In the bed, there are 2 benches. One on each side. There is also a cover for the bed in case of rain. Now each bench is supposed to fit six Haitians. Notice I say Haitians here. I am much larger than the average person here. I have a love/hate relationship with tap-taps. I love that I am immersed in the lifestyles of lower to middle-class Haitians, but what I hate is that there is barely room to breathe. It is weird to be so close to everyone and very awkward getting in and out.

So we arrive downtown right by the palace. It looks exactly the same since the earthquake. It is weird to see their white house in ruins. So I am following Jemmy around and just gawking at everything. We come up to the end of the sidewalk to cross the road. Jemmy is still leading and he steps over the curb I then follow. What I did not see was a puddle. Now this puddle was
not full of water. I am not sure what it was full of, but I kid you not it was the exact same color as the asphalt. My foot is soaked in this grey sludge. I cannot think of a time I was more disgusted. We went to the other side of the street and I used my bandana to wipe my foot. My sandal reeked. A younger Haitian than ran over to me and said he wanted to clean my sandal for me. He took my sandal and went to a faucet and washed it for me and then started to wash my foot, but that was too weird for me, so I told him to stop. I then gave him 100 gourdes ($2.50), which made his day.

So, I picked my project that I want to do while I am here. I will be working in the town of Baptiste or maybe a neighboring town. I will be working with them to start a coffee co-op. This would help with jobs, which are very few in Haiti. This area is just amazing.

The thing about Haiti from what I have seen is that things move a lot slower here. I need to work on my patience here. I want to go do things very fast, but there is much to be done. I am still in the Delmas region, but hopefully next week I will spend a couple of nights near Baptiste.

I have been doing a lot of things for Shane this week. What you all need to know is that Mercy League's ministry is just kind of starting back up again. As of now, it is not self-sustainable, which means he has to work other jobs to get income. This means he is not always doing Mercy League stuff. When we get this coffee project underway, hopefully this weekend, he is giving me a lot of room to just go and do.

This week I have been with Jemmy looking for an office space to rent in this area. It has been very interesting having to just go ask random people if they know of a place to rent.

I also hurt my foot the other day. It hurt a little when I was walking, but now hurts all the time in a different spot. I couldn't sleep last night because it was aching. It is definitely a sprain or worse, but don't tell my mother that.

I am realizing that I am only one week in. I feel like I should be accomplishing more, but there is still a lot of time, like 3 months.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I made it.

Here I am in Port-au-Prince Haiti. It is good to be back. I absolutely love it here. I fell strangely comfortable here. Thanks again for the prayers.

The flight was great and the airport was a little hectic, but I made it. I am now situated in my

It is always super hot here.

I am at a loss for words right now. Haiti is an amazing place to live. It is hard sometimes to look at all the poverty, but I feel God moving here.

So far, I have been kind of just getting situated right now. I have been spending a lot of time at a school that is called an American school. Everyone here speaks English. The kids are mostly wealthy Haitians with a small amount of missionary kids thrown into the mix.

Yesterday was AMAZING. We went to Baptiste, which is a town near the Dominican Republic. It was so beautiful. Shane is looking to buy land up there to start a coffee co-op. I loved the people there. I might be working up there with this coffee stuff and churches.

I have many stories to tell already, but I am in a bit of a rush. I just wanted everyone to know I am safe.
I will write more soon as to what my main project is for the next 3 or so months.

Here is a picture to prove that it is I, Sean Kavanagh. I am well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Less than two days away

Here I am sitting in my living room. I love my house. I am so used to being able to go to my house whenever I want. In two days I will no longer have that luxury. I leave for Haiti Wednesday the 12th at 8:15 AM.

Speaking of luxuries, this is not the only one I will be giving up, but I am ready this. I am not coming in to Haiti with a "superman" mentality. I am not going to try to change Haiti. Haitians are beautiful people and I come to learn from them try to help out anyway I can. I just talked to Shane Mattenley who is in charge of my trip. The first week I am there I will meet my potential Haitian partner that I will be doing bi-weekly Bible studies with and choose which option I want to choose as far as my "job." The jobs that I know I have to choose from are working at an orphanage, working at a school, or working with a coffee company co-op. The first week I will be able to take a tour and see which job fits me best. Shane told me that on Saturday we are going to the Central Plateau area, which is beautiful country. We will go to meet the coffee farmers themselves. He said I may even ride a donkey. Sounds very interesting.

It is only 10:30 pm, but I already know I am not going to sleep much tonight. I cannot deny that I am nervous, but check out that Romans 8:28-32. That is what keeps me moving.

I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been supporting me financially, through prayers, encouragement, wisdom, or even for just thinking about me. We all know it is not about the money, but thanks to Salem Baptist Church in Ashland, WI, Faith Reformed Church in Cedar Grove, WI, countless friends and families, and of course BAYNET, the youth group I help out with in Ashland, for helping me reach my minimum goal plus some! I am so incredibly grateful and am blessed beyond belief.

This will be my last blog post before I leave. The next one will be explaining my first few days in Haiti. I should have internet connection once a week or more feel free to email me at or write me on here or facebook.

See ya late USA

I will be back in late April!

Peace and Love