It’s been a while since I have written, so hello there, hope you didn’t miss me too much!
Last month I traveled home for two weeks to get to work on all the wedding details. Webert and I are getting married January 4, 2014 here in Haiti and we are very excited, my mom however is probably more excited. My trip home was nothing short of wedding madness, as mom and I got nearly everything bought and planned for the big day in two short weeks. Now here’s to just waiting until our date!
Luckily though, we are staying very busy and don’t have much time to sit around thinking about our big day. Vi Bella just launched all of their fall designs this past Monday
It’s actually a must that you go and check them out: www.vibellajewelry.com
So, we have been very busy at our center getting all of the fall designs finished and back to the states.
As for the school, we spent the month of July registering all of the kids and taking in new students. Our census is now around 900 children! Some people shake their heads at this number, but we are excited.
We are adding ninth grade this year and have 45 new preschool 1 students. We also had 45 sixth grade students go to national exams this summer…for those of you who don’t know what this means, after sixth, ninth and twelfth grade, students in Haiti are required to go to a national exam and if they pass they are then nationally recognized as a graduate from that grade. I have learned quickly that you do not take these exams lightly. The students actually spent a month in summer school for extra preparation before going to the exams. I’m happy to announce though that out of the 45 students, all but 5 passed, which we saw as a huge success! Adding a ninth grade classroom will now mean that we will have two grades preparing for national exams this coming year.
Another addition happening this year is morning and afternoon sessions. Morning classes will be more traditional and afternoon classes are for students who are further behind and non-traditional. For example, the 15-year-olds who are still in second grade will be attending afternoon classes. Students who failed this pass school year will also be in the afternoon classes. This will also make our staff members more full-time and will create more opportunities for employment.
Over the summer we have repainted all the buildings, which brightened the place up! We are also building a basketball court and a cool hangout gazebo for the kids. Truly, I love the atmosphere of our mountaintop and can’t for classes to start again! I miss rice and beans for lunch everyday and playing tag at noontime with the kids.
As for my kids, I’m ready for them to be back in school. Jeffte and Loveson have spent their summer days playing at Tytoo orphanage or in the village, but I think they’re ready to be back in school too. Jeffte will be in first grade with a new yellow and grey uniform and Loveson will be in the Preschool 3 classroom.
Miss Wishla, our newest addition, has been spending her days with Webert’s sister, Pascal, while I work at ViBella. She lives right across from where I work, so it’s nice having her close by but being able to work without having to worry about her. Pascal has been starting to feed her and of course her favorite food is rice and beans, what a typical Haitian child.
Yesterday we had her monthly appointment at the AIDS hospital and the doctor is amazed at how well she is doing so we praise God for that! She will forever be on AIDS and preventive tuberculosis medication and at this point will always have to be seen at the hospital once a month. I have always hated taking medicine and have never been good at taking it regularly when I’ve had to, so it’s been an adjustment but we are on a good schedule and medication will have to become a norm for us.
The amazing transformation that has happened to her in this short period of time still astounds me. I make the medication sound like a bunch of work, but she has already brought so much joy to our family that it’s a minor detail. The boys love playing with her and helping me give her bottles. And at the end of the day, when I’m putting her to sleep with a bottle and my eyes are falling asleep quicker than hers, it just feels right being her mom.
A month ago I doubted myself and God, not thinking I was capable of caring for this baby, but somehow it just works. And I’ve begun noticing this pattern on this journey of mine. Whenever I’m worrying and doubting the circumstances and happenings in my life, things seem complicated and way too hard. But when I begin to trust in God and see it as His plans and His workings, things seem to work out okay.
There really is no logical reason on this planet as to why I’m a mother of three children who have all overcome malnutrition, severe sickness and awful living conditions and watched them come through to the other side. There’s no explanation as to why we are administrating a school with 900 children nor can I give a good response to all the people who need help. I guess as a result the only reason, explanation and response I can give is that we are to praise God. Give him the glory. Trust in Him.
To trust in His calling. His plans. His whispers. And the desires He puts on our hearts.
Well I started this blog just to give an update, but things just got kind of deep there. But, I guess things right now things seem chaotic but yet they feel just right. That’s not to say I haven’t cried too much this week, out of both frustration and joy. Or that I don’t have the slightest clue as to what I’m suppose to do next for some people I want to help…. but when the end of the day comes, the babies fall asleep and the fan hums in the background I somehow fall asleep feeling like everything will be alright.
At this time, I would like to tell you about my new friend Philippe also. I first knew Philippe only as the “bead guy” because him and his wife make these fancy and unique coin purses with small seed beads and sequins. After learning about his art, we found a way to take his talents and incorporate them into a few ViBella fall pieces (Germina, Lenska, Phillipa or Yolanda are all necklaces on ViBella’s website that feature his and his wife’s work). Seed by seed, they intricately sew these medallions and I can’t help but be captivated by the amount of work that goes into each piece. They are also the first artists I have been able to hire, working on a part-time contract, with ViBella that use their own unique talents. It’s been a wonderful experience to take artists straight from the village and give them an opportunity to become involved with our ministry.
However, behind the beautiful art, there isn’t much left for them to show. Philippe, his wife and two daughters live up in the hillsides of Source Matelas in a small house made of assorted plywood containing nothing but a dirt floor, small table and a sunken bed. It is mind boggling how such beauty and craft can rise out of living situations such as these. But there is pride no doubt in their work.
Last Monday, I went to visit them in their house to pick up some final medallions and for him to sign the contract saying all the work was finished. As I was walking away, Philippe followed me with an envelope in hand. Inside the envelope I found a small New Testament bible written in Creole and a hand written note. He explained to me that the three most important things in his life were God’s word, his family and his art. The last line in the letter said, “thank you so much for this job you gave me, now there is always food in my house for my wife and kids.”
That line brought me so much joy. One of those little things that make me think everything is going to be alright when I lay my head down to sleep at night.
So, why am I telling you all of this? Well because the newest burning desire on my heart is for us to build him a new home. A real house, one with a concrete floor, a sturdy table, maybe a new bed that doesn’t rise off the dirt and with a big new porch for them to sit on and create their beautiful art for years to come.
Want to donate to Philippe’s new home?
Send your donation to:
Touch of Hope, Haiti
205 Old Mill Lane
Rock Rapids, IA 51246
*remember that Touch of Hope is a recognized 501(3)c non-profit organization!
Also support his work and all the other ViBella artists’ work by shopping at http://www.vibellajewelry.com
Love from Haiti.