Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Learning to Hold a Burger

 7-21-12 I wrote this one month ago on my way home from Haiti:

Juanita Joy and I are in Ft Lauderdale between flights home.  Finally a charging station.   It is a record that we had no power our entire visit to Haiti.  A bit of an inconvenience, but who cares.  The graduation party was inspiring, hope for the future, beautiful, poised, the girls were transformed.  Their brains are developing, being stimulated to stretch, thanks to Mama Gina, their life in the closed compound is expanding.  We felt the promise of their future.  Our Graduates from left to right: Marceline, Fritzchina, Rocheline, Kentyna, Belove

It was an opportunity for all of the girls to show what they are capable of, the possibility of being ambassadors for their country is phenomenal.  They will have the opportunity to give back, bless the world, they could not have done that before they were safe, healthy, loved, and educated.

A visitor at the graduation complimented on how confident and well educated the girls appeared, they looked like they were from a "wealthy family".   That richness is seen for who the child is on the inside, vibrant, inspiring, from a happy family.

We had "Puberty class" focused on the precise knowledge needed to be a confident, clean and comfortable menstruating woman. Wow was that fun, they were so cute and had so many questions. Once again I love having Jean Wesley for our interpreter because they learn they can discuss these important personal maters with a caring and sensitive man.  Thank you so much to Kathy Davidson for making the 6 sets of reusable well designed kits of cloth pads, right for our budget and the environment.  Now we must brace ourselves for a house full of beautiful young girls as their bodies make the transition to womanhood.  Can you imagine the household in 3 years?  Pray for us!!

Our girls speak English, no kidding.  They talk to us, they understand us, they are growing in their ability by leaps and bounds. They are trilingual French, Creole and English.  Spanish is next at the private school the 5 graduates will attend this fall.  Jean Wesley is teaching his way out of a translating job, (that's ok he can direct our vocational school of the future).

After searching for over a year, we are hopeful that we have found a piece of land to build our permanent children's home in Haiti. There is plenty of room for garden, house, school, and playground.   It is in a safe place near the US embassy.  With a little help from our friends we will be able to pay for it!   It will take time and lot's of work to get through the paperwork and details to purchase the land, just know we are working on it one step at a time.

We decided that our graduation present for our 5 graduates was to "take the girls out to eat".  It was the first time in their lives to go to a nice restaurant.  Days in advance we began making napkin rings for the cloth napkins. Then we had manners class with details on use of the napkin, proper conversation, what is a menu, bring your food to your mouth not your mouth to the plate and shovel it in as they have done in the past.  We planned the graduation to inspire the younger girls to desire what the graduates had, so the 5 privileged girls went off with us to a beautiful museum and park next to the embassy.  A nice outdoor restaurant with tablecloths and live Haitian music!   Shyness almost got in the way of making a menu choice,  Juanita Joy took over with all the confidence of a teacher, and they all ended up ordering burgers.  Sounds pretty simple, but surprise surprise when the burgers come, all tall with bun and lettuce, they had no idea what to do with it.  They started to take it apart piece by piece then good ol' Juanita Joy did a demo with her sandwich of the "two hand hold",  and bring to the mouth, they started off slow but soon got the hang of it.  The portion was so much more than they were used to, some asked Mama Lucie if they could wrap their food up to take home to share with their sisters, (warms my heart).

 Juanita Joy brought the makings for pajamas and spent the whole trip measuring, cutting and never got to sew!!!  No power, so much for our hopes of teaching the girls to sew.  It will happen.   Lily introduced the hacky sacks and set up the Internet!!!!!!!  Yes we have a stick thing to plug into the computers and get on line, wow it works off the cell tower so no need for power,  just a charge (entering the modern age).

Love to all of you our loyal supporters.  How amazing that we can feel the joy that our girls are safe, healthy and happy.  Thank you so much.  More to come.  Lynn

Pictures: Cake cutting ceremony for the Graduates,  Family portrait at birthday ceremony for staff Eddie and Mama Gina, Girls presenting a song at the graduation, Juanita Joy surrounded, Lily and Belove out to eat,  Our incredibly beautiful and fabulous graduates, Kentyna,  Marceline, Rocheline, Fritzchina, Belove.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We Have Turned the Corner!

Lily Juanita Joy and I arrived in Haiti on Monday July 15.  There was terrential rain in Miami that followed us to Port au Prince.  At first I was thinking, this road looks a little better, maybe some repair has been going on.  Still the traffic was death defying, then we come to a standstill and our driver starts honking, we finally make it up to the corner to see these big trucks struggling through the new torrent of mud and trash running accross the road and taking the left hand side of the road with it.  I am relieved to say the our driver won my respect by turning around.  We lived to tell the story!

The storm took out the electricity, so we have none to this day.  So much for our sewing projects, JJ's cpap machine, charging our computers and ice!  Thank Niv for the fabulous solar lights from Ikea, we can still do something in the dark.  So I must make this blog very short before this computers gives up on me.

We have turned the corner!!!  Our girls are safe, healthy, and our home here is a happy family.  We have accomplished so much in two years it feels like a miracle.  Thanks to Niv our master teacher and her "teaching the teachers", bringing french books, computers,  and evaluating each girls progress. Thanks to Dr. Macias for doing physicals on the girls and getting reading glasses for the 2 who needed them.  Thanks to all of the volunteers who come each month.  Special loving appreciation to Mama Gina who is our Director par excellance who lives here with the girls and has raised the standards so high that the sky is the limit.

We have come for a graduation party.  Five of our girls have completed elementary school and passed their exams.  They will go to a private school this fall, with uniforms and a new life.  There is so much joy here we are coming apart at the seams!  More later,  Love Lynn

Pictures: Lily likes to sleep on the balcony under the mosquito net (she is actually alive and well), the Mamas making the graduation feast, our 5 graduates at the rehearsal for the ceremony at Marie's orphange down the street, we gave a birthday party and Lily brought capsules that melt to produce a sponge animal the girls were in a frenzy over the big pan of water.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank You Thank You Thank You

Thank you to every person who has thrown their love and support in this direction, we are “changing the world". Where to begin?

October 29, 2011: El Cardonal, BCS, Mexico. Gran Inaguracion de la Casa Communitaria y Clinica, Tu Hogar en El Cardonal. We realized our 7 year vision for a clinic, emergency shelter, and community building in our small Mexican Village on the Sea of Cortez. The whole community pulled together and we finished the clinic in one week. We had a team of more than 12 volunteers from Ukiah Valley Medical Center, painting, and helping create the parking lot. The Grand Opening Fiesta was a great party, with tons of local culinary delights including fresh fish! Three days later the government doctor came and saw more than 40 patients in one day. The building is so beautiful, it is beyond my wildest dreams. I cried.

November, 2011: Reveil Matinal Orphanage, Port Au Prince, Haiti. Niv spent days with the girls assessing everything and wrote a 17 page report that covers topics from staffing to individual reading and math skills. woo hoo!

December, 2011: Fort Worth, Texas. My loving sister Gail died suddenly of a stoke at age 68. She had depression and was a hoarder. Her mental illness caused her to chose her stuff over family. She did not take care of her diabetes and high blood pressure. My niece Heidi is Gail’s only child. After Christmas we all flew back to Texas and bonded with Heidi’s three teenage girls whom we had never met. It was Wild and Crazy and now I have 4 more girls in my family (and Heidi’s husband Brian). Some tears here too.

December 25, 2011: Reveil Matinal Orphanage, Port Au Prince, Haiti. Our incredible 17 year old volunteer Lily gave 20 had made quilts to our girls for their Christmas. All of the quilts were lovingly made by 2 quilters, Sue and Kathy!

January 14/15, 2012: San Luis Obispo, California. Grand first meeting of the Building Team for the Reveil Matinal Orphanage in Haiti. Dr. Rich Macias, and his wife Yvonne hosted 7 of us from Ukiah and New York. We were introduced to their Seventh Day Adventist Church and met with friends who are interested in helping us build a home for our 20 girls. We have joined forces and Yvonne volunteered to be the project manager. I cried again.

January 23, 2012: Ukiah, California. Today I harvested carrots, broccoli, lettuce, artichokes and eggs between rain showers. Finally we have rain. Finally I have had 2 days in a row on our ranch. Trying to stay calm, I have to make my life ready to devote to our vision for a safe, sustainable home for our soon to be 40 girls in Haiti.

Not to mention my full time job as a Hospitalist PA, my passion for the Palliative Care Team, my 4 grandchildren, my true love Bob.................... Thank You. Lynn

Pictures: Ribbon Cutting at the Clinic/Casa Comunitaria, Patients waiting to be seen by the doctor on first day of the clinic, My Garden Harvest today, Our joyous team in San Luis Obispo.