Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Slice of life

We were in Haiti for exactly 2 weeks and Robin needed to fly to the states for a board meeting. Of course the night he leaves there is a huge storm and we wake up to no water. I didn't have to do anything but as I saw the crew of men take off (on the Mule which is what it is for) I was so relieved to know they had the experience and expertise to fix it. By noon the water was back on. Yeah. 

I didn't think I would be able to use a crockpot here so I didn't bring mine but no problem because one is here and so far I've used it to cook batches of meat. Then I can add the pre-cooked meat to other dishes. Very handy for me. 

We shipped our desktop computer by Fed-Ex to Florida and then it was flown over to Haiti. After a few weeks, it made it to our little island. Yeah. Glad to have it.

There aren't a lot of kids around for our kids to play with, but we have managed a few get togethers and our kids are always up for a games night. 

Saturday is still a good time for hair day. The hair is down and being deep conditioned.

But then a donkey came to visit. Such a surprised. The family was given this donkey and they don't have a large yard for it. They walked it 30 minutes to our yard and the donkey had a great time with the grass. 

Gaëlle loved it but I think the girls gave Fiona a bit too much attention and she went a little crazy towards the end of the day.

On the same day the donkey came, the yellow butterflies returned. I don't know if you can tell, but the tree at the back of this photo had one spot where the butterflies stayed. They just hovered. They were here for a few days and then they left again. 

There are 2 families who are here on La Gonave and their kids are being homeschooled. They have a classroom in a local school so the 2 moms can also teach a few classes during the week at the school. We went to visit their school. Their class is on the 2nd floor and there is a constant wind. So nice. 

They also have a great view.

One Sunday afternoon we went out on the Wesleyana to a sand bar so we could go swimming. The kids picked up a few conch shells and some Haitian boys took them for the meat.

Admiring the shells.

The younger kids had a great seat on the way back in.

The homeschool class we visited in the local school invited us to come back during the school day during recess because a local vendor sells pate. That's fried dough with different fillings. So we did and we all had some pate. 

We sometimes eat at the guest house even though there aren't any teams. It's always delicious. 

They said good-bye

So,this is the outside of our house. One of these days, I'll try to give you more of an idea of what the compound looks like. The house has a screened in porch that runs along the entire front. That is nice. 

It was great to have Beth and Barry with us but unfortunately, they needed to leave early for family reasons. As they flew off the island, I felt so alone. But I know we will be alright. We will make mistakes and not know how to do everything, but it will all be ok.

A family that has been living here 2 years, invited us to their house for some praise and worship. We went to the roof which had a great view and also was nice and cool. 

Gaëlle is always up for a ride on the vehicles. This doesn't happen often but is nice when it does. The house behind them is the 2 bedroom house on the compound. 

We have not been running once since we've arrived and have only taken an exercise walk once. I don't see it happening much. The roads are just so bumpy and it's hot. But we can try to walk more, just not so fast. 

I made bread a couple of times. The trick is to put the bowl in a closed garbage bag so the ants don't get in.  

Even though we are surrounded by water, there are not a lot of beaches to swim at. We went to a mangrove area where local kids go swimming. It was educational. First, you have to walk through the  roots and try not to step on them. Then you have to navigate all of the naked boys who are curious about the white people. I don't think we'll go swimming here.

Another new missionary family arrived which made our 2 kids happy. They have been watching too many movies but Robin and I are out and about. Once school starts more formally this will taper off.

There is a big market 1 hour up the mountain. Somehow I got elected to drive the mule vehicle. I had a seasoned missionary next to me and she helped with encouragement and instruction on how to take the big bumps and sometimes non-existent road. When we got to the market she encouraged us all to try a bread treat. I don't know the name, but they take a type of flour and add sugar. Then put it in a pot over the fire. The heat binds the 2 ingredients together and makes a sweet warm flat bread. It was so interesting and fairly good. 

I think everybody who passes a market with all of the donkeys outside takes a photo. It is so cool to see the donkey parking lots. 

Just a photo of the Mule. It is convenient to drive here because it can go anywhere and can carry several people and there's space for items in the back.

A few on the way up the mountain to the market. It's hard to really get perspective but the view was stunning. But I don't think I'll be a regular at the market. The journey is just a bit much.

Moving to Haiti

We finally have some reliable internet, so I am trying to catch up on September happenings, starting with the big move. We decided to spend the night before the airplane flight to Haiti in an airport hotel. That worked out well for us. I drove Robin to the airport with all of our hockey bags and then drove back to the hotel. I woke up the kids and when we were ready we took the shuttle. Allison is storing the van for us, so he drove up to Halifax later on and picked up the van and drove it back to Yarmouth. I love when plans come together.

Robin had no problem getting our bags checked but we did have some issues with our carry on. We had been living out of a suitcase for 6 weeks, so all of our hygiene products were full size. In the bustle of getting our checked bags to be 50 pounds exactly, we sort of forgot about the carry on restrictions. Anyway, security gave us a little grief but we finally got on the plane. 

Our plane landed in Montreal and we caught up with Jim, from Norton, NB. He was on his way down to work on the Breezy Sea, as he is a mechanic. When we arrived in the Port au Prince airport, we had a bit of a wait for our luggage. We think it had something to do with a dignitary who also flew in. It looked like they were searching for his luggage and so wouldn't let any of our luggage in until he was in his car and out of the airport. Just be patient. 

The big truck picked us up from the airport and we didn't have any problems with the drive to the guest house. The week before there were several demonstrations and so travel was difficult. We're thankful that it was smooth for us.

We had a great night at Ortlip Guest House and were supposed to leave on the boat first thing Wednesday morning. It was a bit late, so we had a bit of time to swim. It was so warm.

The crossing was good and a couple of the boys on the boat spent some time talking with Peter. In this case, he was trying to read Peter's book. 

Beth and Barry Gould were on hand to greet us and get us all situated. They had been in country for a week and so were all ready to pass things over to us. All of our lunch meals were spent at the guest house with meals cooked by Madame Foglas. It was a treat to have all of that taken care of.

We are all doing well with the heat but it is hot. There is a thermometer in the house and it is never below 90. There have been days that it is 95. Gaëlle does seem to mind the heat more than the rest of us. Or at least she voices it more than the rest of us.

For the first week Peter was out in the yard doing something active. Here they are throwing the ball around. He was also playing soccer with some of the workers. Robin asked him to stop that until the work day was over, at least. 

We had already celebrated the 10th birthday but we did have a cake for her on Sept 11. She's always up for cake.

I have discovered how much I like cold coffee. I take strong coffee and add ice, milk powder, and sweetened condensed milk. Then put it in a blender and it's nice and cool. 

In the front of the guest house there is a tire swing. Gaëlle is spending lots of time on that which is nice. And she's always up for a photo and a smile. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Jersey 2015

This past week we have been in NJ visiting my parents. It turns out we need a US bank account for convenience and what bank do you suppose we chose? TD Bank. They are everywhere. It was super easy to do, too. "The most convenient bank in America". So far, we agree. 

The puzzles came out during the week. Peter worked pretty much alone on his puzzle.

Gaëlle was also working on a puzzle. She had a bit of help. I think Grampy did more than half of it. 

Gaëlle and I went into NY one day. Waiting for the bus.

Gaëlle was on the lookout for photo ops. This statue is in the bus terminal in NYC. 

Outside a knick knack store. 

A pretty cool fountain.

This was a display in a store window. 

Rockefeller Center. See, I was there too. 

A turtle statue. 

Finally, inside American Girl Place. Gaëlle used her money to get her doll's ears pierced. 

Mom didn't have to hold the doll in the bathroom. There were doll hooks on the walls. 

We had a reservation for lunch. It was packed and so the excitement was high. 

Don't worry if you don't have your doll; you can have a loaner doll for your meal. 

We loved the lights decorated with pink flowers. 

Our appetizer. The cheese dip was devoured by both of us. 

Gaëlle ordered the Bitty Bites Meal. Little samples of everything. 

Our dessert. Isn't that cute? 

There is a new historical American Girl. Maryellen lives in the 50's. Her outfits were super cute. 

After hours in American Girl Place, we walked up 5th Avenue. We stopped in St. Pat's Cathedral. Gaëlle was pretty confused by all of the people there and the candles. 
So, we went to the Apple Store.  

We loved the round glass elevator. 

Instead of going up to the store, the elevator takes you down below the ground to the store. Very fun. 

We walked to the Plaza Hotel where the Eloise books take place. We went in the lobby and had another picture taken.

Not quite sure what this is but we took a picture. We had a great day together and I'm glad it worked out that we could go to NJ and go into the city.