Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm at a lack of words for how much this hurts.

I wake up at 5:40. I am scheduled to meet Mr. Max at 6:15 about ½ mile way. I brush my teeth, take a shower, get dressed, and get everything in my Nike bag. I was running late, but little did I know that Mr. Max was way behind me. I got to his office around 6:30 and Max arrived at 7:15. He said it was very difficult to find a tap-tap.

We leave immediately and meet with Pastor St. Cyr. This man speaks great English, but what I love about him most is his heart for Haiti. He has the opportunity to move to the US and live there with his family, but he chooses to pastor a church in a tent city. Now, I should be more specific here. This tent city is THE tent city. The largest one in Haiti with 55,000 people! I met Pastor St. Cyr yesterday and asked to see his church. He said whenever, so I asked about tomorrow, now here I am.

This day the Pastor’s car was in the shop so he was renting a tap-tap. This tap-tap was stripped inside was the worst rental I have ever seen. The only way for me to get out of the front seat was to roll down the window and open it from the outside.

Entering the tent city was something else. I don’t know how to describe this place. My heart hurts just writing about it. I told someone that being there made me want to cry and puke at the same time. 50,000 people who lost their homes, living in tents, with no place to go, this is heartbreaking.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Ups and downs

So, someone recently asked me if things are going smoothly here for me. I hesitated on that one. According to my plans, no, things are not going smoothly, but I have to roll with the punches here.


After about 2 weeks of trying to get a ride up to Baptiste, we finally get one! On our way to Baptiste, the car breaks down. Perfect. We were about half way there. So we start looking at the car and it takes less than 10 minutes before we have a crowd of 20 people surrounding us. Renald our translator hopped on a bike to find a mechanic in the nearest town. We were stuck for at least a few hours and our hope of reaching Baptiste was lost.

The great part was we got to take a tour of the area. We were way out in the country and we went for a mile or so walk down to this very large lake. It was magnificent. The people in this area called Jaumpas were beautiful people. I had a great time playing with kids and talking to the few people who could speak English.

At first I was very discouraged, but I honestly had a great day. By the time the car was “fixed” we just went back home not wanting to risk it.


During the week I am teaching 2 different English classes. Both classes are 2 days a week and 2 hours at a time. I really don’t feel like I am the most qualified, but I try my hardest. I can see they are learning and the majority of the students are very eager to learn.

The place I teach has also become Mercy League’s new office location. I go to our office about 4 times a week and I would say it is about a ½ mile walk. I love the walk though. I am used to almost being hit by cars on a regular basis and everyone staring at me.

There are two women on a street corner near the office who sell food and beverages who I talk to every time I see them. They’re very relaxed and love that I am trying hard to speak their language. They are very patient with me.


Last weekend I finally made it to Baptiste! We found a tap-tap driver who Shane knows to take us. We took his tap-tap pickup truck all the way there. It was a great ride. Once we got to Baptiste we immediately met a man named Pastor Hilio. He became our guide in Baptiste. The trip as a whole was excellent. I love this town. We came on a Friday and left Saturday afternoon.

On Friday, I had a bit of trouble. It was very hard to find the coffee and it turns out now I bought the wrong kind of coffee.

This trip was a learning experience for me. I did not exactly succeed in everything I did, but I tried hard. Shane even gave me a compliment that I am courageous to just go to markets with a translator and hundreds of Haitians who do not speak any English and negotiate and buy coffee. I don’t know how courageous I am, but I thanked him for the compliment.

On Saturday morning we had a meeting with coffee farmers. This went amazingly well. I will try to describe to you what the meeting looked like.

The Meeting

It was about 8:00AM and I am standing in front of Pastor Hilio’s house. The grass was still a little wet from last night’s rain, but the sun was going to dry it all up in a matter of time. “It’s time” Jemmy, my translator tells me. We walk back into Pastor Hilio’s yard where there are 2 wooden benches set up. On these benches are about twelve men aging from 22 to 60 who were owners of coffee farms. In front of these benches were four pink plastic lawn chairs. Two of these chairs were directly in front of the benches and two of them were off to the side a bit. The two chairs in the middle were for Jemmy and I. The ones off to the side were for Pastor Hilio and our Chauffeur, Wilderson. I sit down and immediately feel their gazes. All eyes were on me. We started the meeting with a prayer from Pastor Hilio. I then introduced myself and why I was there. I told them about the coffee project and about Mercy League. Jemmy then translated what I said. They then asked questions. It felt like a fairly formal meeting. They seemed intrigued by my project and said they were willing to form a co-op. I know have connections. After the meeting, I shook every farmers hand and thanked them. This is the start of Kafe Revรจy, which is Revival Coffee in English.


Yesterday I heard some horrible news via facebook. My friend Caleb Acker was killed by an avalanche in Montana Monday. I was not incredibly close to Caleb, but I would definitely call him a friend. This news hit me hard. I didn’t know what to do or say. I skipped out of teaching my English class because my heart was hurting. I felt pained. My heart goes out to the Acker family and all his close friends. I also heard from my mother yesterday that there is a surgery date. On March 7th, my mother will be having an operation to remove a cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

I knew this day would come soon, but now I have a date. This is makes it much more real. I can’t help, but think about it.

These two pieces of news really made me feel horrible, but later last night, the 3 Haitian guys came for our Bible study and we had a great discussion about fellowship. I really feel like when we tell each other about our pains we go through them together if there is a tight fellowship.

I need to remember to keep taking it one day at a time. I cannot keep worrying about the future when the present has enough troubles of its own.


I am taking Creole classes 2 days a week. I cannot converse much with the locals, but I love to try. I am feeling very comfortable here. I love the people.