Sunday, March 27, 2011
3-25-11 Written on the plane to San Francisco
Up until 1 in the morning organizing, then up at 5:30 to get ready to leave for the airport.
Nancy went to social services for 6 hours. They never made it inside the building and did all of their business outside in the courtyard and on a side street. It was interesting to watch the process of negotiation, it resembled bargaining for prices in the market. They talked, gestured, and got emotional working out a problem. All this done in the presence of our lawyer to make it legally binding, even though no papers were signed.
We did a photo project with the girls. Each girl made her own pages. Now they have a family album to spend hours pouring over.
I started physical exams and got through 3, before we took the girls off to the first play date of their lives. The kids were shy for 2 minutes and then they were a family. As Nancy says, Marie and Yves have the “little fellas” (boys!). Marie has asked us to join forces with her.
Everyone (Deborah, Hearthstone Board, my husband Bob, Charlucie, etc........) are going to react when they find out that we have fallen in love with 17 new little boys and girls who need our love and support. Brace yourselves, and blame Hadley and Nancy too, because all three of us are cooking up something (we can’t help it). I am trying to stay calm and thoughtful, but try meeting those beautiful children and their loving new Mother and Father and say no when they tell you they need help. They are a block away from our girls and both Marie and Lucie had a vision to start with 35 children. We have 18 and Marie has 17 and that equals 35. You have to be careful what you pray for. Lucie is the Queen Mother of RMOF, I shared this with her and she is going to go in to deep prayer about this so stay tuned, and please pray too.
We had the most incredible puberty talk of my life with 10 of our older girls. Hadley lead the class with Jean Wesley as the interpreter. Teaching them that their bodies belong to them, that they have the choice do anything they want with their lives (they came up with the example of Obama!), that education, marriage, sex and babies come in that order. I committed to them for as long as I live and promised if they work hard we will help them go to university. Jean is a gifted teacher, kind and gentle man. I wish I would have had a man like him to tell me about such personal matters. At the end of the class he had the girls stand up and sing to us; Lord, I give you my Heart. It was an emotional moment as we guided our daughters toward womanhood in a most beautiful manner.
Saying goodbye was heart wrenching. A sea of little girls in my arms with so many tears. Wisland sobbing with her hand over her face and two gushing rivers of tears running down her cheeks. I had them sing to me, "I give you my heart", as I blew them kisses and backed away. I love you, I love you, I love you.
Help us for we are changed. Love Lynn, Hadley, and Nancy
First Picture: Yves and Marie with their babies, Nancy to the right. Second Picture: New friends playing at Marie's Village, their first play date. Third Picture: Nancy and I voted Hadley the most photogenic, at the beach with her babies. Fourth Picture: Finally there are some new houses built for people living in tents!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Imagine taking 18 beautiful girls to the beach for the first time in their life. We hired a bus and as we rode their eyes were glued to the windows seeing their country bustle through the ruins. We passed the crumbled Presidential Palace and they began to know their history.
We bounced along for 2 hours and finally made our way down a country road (loudly scraping the bottom of the bus) to our sandy protected beach. Shallow and calm, they made their way into the water with apprehension and a tight hold on our hands. Gradually they gained their sea legs and took off. Oh my goodness it was a churning, jumping, splashing, pod of dolphins in their element. They sang to us as they swam. Joy Joy Joy. I was smiling so much my face hurt.
It does not get better than that. Once again I could feel my heart vibrating and expanding in my chest. Thank you, Thank you for the priveledge of serving you.
We visited Marie at the orphanage next to the internet cafe, she has been there 2 months and has 17 boys and girls. Her dream was to start an orphanage, another soul mate for us. Today we have a play date there, another first for our girls to have friends. We will walk down to their house after the midday meal and bring our balls and jump ropes.
Rome was not built in a day. Today I will give all of the girls a physical exam, do watercolor painting with them, look at land to build on, do a photo project, have a staff meeting, and send you this blog. Some projects will have to wait as we return to the United States tomorrow.
Sometimes it is hard to explain what it is about Haiti. Why we have so much love for this country and all want to come back. It is dirty, stinky, crumbled and poor. I know the answer. It is the people. The gratitude, the singing, the smiles. It has been said that anyone who lives to adulthood in Haiti has good genes. That would explain why Haitian people are so handsome (especially the men!).
It looks like Ms. Jackson has let us down as she does not call us or meet with us. We have already moved on to look for land to buy. We must build our own orphanage where the girls have some soil to grow food and run free.
Love Love Love Lynn
First Picture: The hungry birdies chowing down after a long day at the beach.
Yesterday I clicked on the wrong button and lost the blog. I am so busy that I had to control my emotions and let it go.
For the last 40 years Bob has tried to teach me to say please. Yesterday I decided to brave it and go play with the girls by myself. I took sidewalk chalk and sat down in the shade. I wanted to model a drawing for them and had to work hard to get them to move back and give me some space. I looked up and there was a tree full of coconuts so I dove into capturing the coco. When it was their turn I made it into a game of colors, manners, English.
Try saying that 200 times and it sinks in. The girls smiled each time and even gave a little bow. They created butterflies and flowers all over the place. Success!
We have staff meetings at night and talk about the ten commandments of discipline (no hitting), health, bedtime rituals, nutrition. The staff has been through so much stress, and now they are gelling as a loving team. They are thankful for the guidance. The Mommies each told us that they love their jobs, love the girls and they are grateful for the opportunity to learn how to love and care for their own future children. The beauty trickles down, trickles up, trickles out and Haiti will have healing.
Love Lynn, Hadley, Jay and Nancy
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sitting on my private balcony again, refreshed from my bucket shower. Not quite so cool this night. Smokey air, I guess it is the coal fires they use for cooking. We are in a tight neighborhood, all homes are gated with high walls enclosing the compounds. Somebody near by has dogs that fight real bad once or twice a day and it is blood curdling.
We walked to the internet cafe with three of our girls. It is our plan to take small groups of girls with us as much as we can. The girls need to get out to the world to learn how to operate. Tomorrow the Mamies will take 2 girls shopping for food, then we are renting a bus to carry us all to the beach!
It is challenging to have 18 daughters between the ages of 7 and 11. They out number us and get so excited when we present a project; it is like a stampede. We played ball jump rope, bubbles, journaling, painting, cards, singing.......... We retire to our room to take a breather and plan the next activity.
We are trying every learning trick to call them by their names. The Mamies redid their hairdoos today and changed the styles. I was counting top notches for identification and now I am back to the start.
Their personalities are coming through, Fritzchina the translator who understands our English, Yvertha, the shy one who stays to herself, Guerlande who ran to get me the first aid supplies and wants to be a nurse, Dorianne and Kevly who love to write, on and on. They write us love letters and kiss and hug us all day long.
They ask me if I know Jutta, Laura, Marilynn, Leanna, Becky, Chris, Shauna, Jack. Yes these are all my wonderful friends who have come to serve the girls and work to keep them safe and healthy. We are showering them with our love but I wonder today what it must be like to love someone so deeply for a week or two and then loose them.
Will they be resilient, will they thrive and be able to save Haiti? Will they be able to form deep bonds? How can we help them through puberty and beyond into adulthood????
We had time today to go on an outing to buy art. Hadley encountered an emaciated young boy who was begging for money. He lifted his shirt and showed her his chest, caved in with a big belly sticking out. She gave him a few dollars and is resting easier right now knowing that he had the money to buy some food.
Lucie is the president of the Reveil Matinal Orphanage Foundation and the Queen mother of this orphanage. She sent her husband Jay to be our man and he is doing a great job!
I have yet to meet the allusive Ms. Jackson, maybe tomorrow.
Love to all Lynn
First picture: Yvertha, Hadley, Chineca, Fritzchina in the light of God. Second picture: the city is still in ruins and the tent cities abound. Third picture: the Mamies love their scrubs: Daphne, Jay, Michaella, Daniella, and Cassandra.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Trauma Queen is with her Girls! 3-20-11
Today is election day in Haiti. Jean sent me an email and said don’t come no one is going out on Sunday it is too dangerous. The airport was open so Hadley, Nancy, and I went for it and here we are in Port au Prince. Jay Jaboin was brave enough to meet us at the airport and we made it to our girls. Home at last.
I expected the regular throng of people bombarding us as we exited the airport with our ton of luggage, instead it was a few guys and Jay calling our names. Wow. Then we drove through the narrow streets and there was no traffic. It was incredible. Try to come to Haiti on a day everyone is afraid to go out. It is great!
Our orphanage is located in a large house on a hill over looking the sea, the city, and the mountains. The full moon is now up, the girls sang and said their prayers, calm is settling in on our first day. We purged all the junk and set up our room with air mattresses. Hadley says it feels like a college dorm. I am sitting on our private little balcony with a cool breeze blowing over the lights and sky, it feels great.
My heart has been warmed to the core many times today. Reading the piggy toes book together and playing with their brown and my pink piggy toes. All mommas love their babies piggy toes!
Cramming my chubby 60 year old body into their low lying childrens table to share dinner time. They were so careful and quiet with me there. Wondering and then opening up, then carefully spoonful by spoonful sharing my extra food so all girls got a bite, it was the fishes and loaves all over again.
Reading together the new books we brought. Some from Asha in Creole French, some in English that Fritzchina was reading like a native speaker. We went over Goodnight moon and they learned the words so fast.
They hang on us, I love the feel of their smooth warm skin, holding hands, resting their heads in our laps. They write us love letters.
I know you are not going to believe this but I am sitting on this balcony getting cold. It is a chilly night in Haiti. It is not humid. It is perfect weather. I have to go inside and get under the covers. We met with the Lawyer today who is going to help us make a contract with Ms. Jackson. The kind sweet woman who has offered us land to build a permanant home for the girls (and future boys). Perhaps tomorrow will be the day we meet. Let us hope that she follows through on her promise.
Love to you all. Thank you to everyone who loves and supports our girls. Stay tuned.
Love Lynn, Hadley, Nancy and Jay Jaboin
First picture is of Eddy a houseparent. He voted in the election and they marked his thumb with indelible ink. Second our beautiful girls. Third Hadley, Nancy and Lynn drinking sweet coconut milk out of the coconuts they wacked out of the tree in our yard.