Friday, April 12, 2013

Market Day Experience

Just before Easter our Market Days in Ouanaminthe (days where people can cross to buy things in the DR without a passport) were extremely hectic. People lost a day of trade due to the border being closed for Good Friday so there were double (it seemed) the amount of people in town. I had to get over to Dajabon in the DR on one of the days. An 8 minute ride took 1 hour. We (my motorcycle taxi and I) got stuck on the bridge. People were walking, carrying things on their heads (chickens, supplie etc), wheel barrels, motorcycles, trucks and 18 wheelers were all trying to get into the DR or trying to come into Haiti. I would guesstimate about 10 - 12 thousand people. Yes 12 000. It was CHAOS.

The officials TRY to have "lanes". Walkers, wheel barrels, motorcycles and vehicles. NO ONE listens and everyone goes everywhere which in turn blocks vehicles and motorcycles. Then the motorcycles rev and inch forward. Spreading so much gas fumes it becomes toxic.
Then the 18 wheelers decide to "inch" forward and almost topple the mottos (aka ME, the driver and others)
THEN the DR officials come along with batons and whips to "create" order. All it creates is a wave of anxiety that makes me prepare to jump and run if the need be. I actually checked for escape routes if things went sideways. It is bizarre to be in the middle of it and know that things could go very bad very fast.  And you can FEEL the panic and chaos. The feeling reaches you before you are able to see what is going on. At one point I had to hold the front tire of another moto just to keep him from ramming into me. And you have to watch for mufflers of other bikes. People get burned so easily on them. We got across and I waited hours before going back hoping things would dissipate which it did.

Lesson learned. If I can avoid crossing on Market Days I will do so................................................

Donating - Help It Grow

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm sitting in the office listening to the children singing at NEHLM. (Pastor Daniel's) Always soothing for some reason even when I cannot understand all of it.

I have settled in this past month at NEHLM after being home in Vancouver for my 1st Christmas in 5 years! Had a wonderful time with family and friends and got as organized as possible for 2013 in Haiti. Even got to see some hockey - thankfully the NHL came back while I was home. ;)

Landing back on the island I immediately had guests! The Budke family came down from ALASKA for a visit. It was so special because they adopted 2 children from Cap Haitian 9 years ago and this was their first visit back with the kids. Manny is now 14 and Halle is 11. I felt privileged to be able to be part of that experience for them. AND Chris and Manny built a wonderful gate for the 3 Acres! You can check out the photos at my Jen in Haiti facebook page.  Jen in Haiti
We took a trip to the Citadel which is always an adventure and spent some quality time with the kids at NEHLM.

On the 3 ACRES
The Moringa is ready to transplant onto the 3 Acres and we should be able to start harvesting by June! I have run into a few people since I have been back that I need to get some to so I have a list started! And as you can see we have tomatoes! The cherry tomatoes are doing the best so far and have been TASTY. Now we just have to figure out how to get them back to the house without eating half of them.
The boys have been helping to water. No rain since NOVEMBER except for about 4 days. We desperately need it. I have all the money for the well committed, waiting on cheques to clear and to figure out pump/generator and we will be set. I am so thankful for the support for this!
We are SLOWLY teaching the boys about composting and what is good for the garden (paper) and bad for the garden (plastic). As I sat this morning with my coffee looking out at the back garden at the boys house I started to laugh. PAPER thrown under a banana tree............. They kind of got it! I'll take it! We had originally talked about it going into the compost but we'll work with what we get.
Usually I take the older boys to the garden to water and plant seeds however I took the 4 itty bitties the other day. When I asked if they wanted to go they all scrambled as fast as they could and grabbed a "galon" - a plastic container to water with. I had to explain that they would not be watering. I have no desire to have the go to the river and fall in............ We composted some fruit scraps (which they thought was HILARIOUS) and planted tomatoes, eggplant and coresol.
Mango season is coming pretty quick. Already people are starting to throw rocks at trees to get them down or take sticks to whack them down even though they are green.
I've ordered 20 COCONUT TREES for the 3 Acres! I admit, it's a favorite thing. And they will help create a bit of shade to the area we will be using as a "starter" garden. Lots of work ahead! I'll do my best to keep everyone up to date!

If you would like to help:
Donating - Help It Grow

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

School out for summer?? Not at NEHLM!

I love that the girls love to learn! School may officially be out for summer but the girls continue to learn!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Someone sent me a video about installing coke bottle lights  into the roofs of tin houses. This allows for light to come into dark homes during the day! Chandalay's mother Tida is a beloved staff member at Hope for Haiti (Danita's Children) where I spent my first 18 months in Haiti. Chandalay wanted to learn how to do it when I told him about it. I was able to purchase all the supplies and he had to get the bottles. Keith Davis and I spent the day today helping him learn how to do it and installing the light in one room of the house! LET THERE BE LIGHT!! The goal is that Chandalay can start helping others in his neighbourhood and make a small business out of it as well! We talked about recording all the jobs he can do, costs and thinking ahead about collecting the bottles. We'll see how he does at the end of the summer.
You can check out the full set of photos on my website

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Helping where needed............

I wrote the main part of this blog over a month ago when I got back on the island.

Today I was out in La Vega (25 minutes outside of Santiago) again to hike up into the hills, visiting the homes of the girls in the NEW HOPE GIRLS ACADEMY. You can see some of the photos on my website :

Week of May 10th, 2012
This week I have been spending time with my friends who run the NEW HOPE GIRLS ACADEMY in La Vega. Joy and Vidal Reyes. I help where I can taking photos for their website, Facebook, publications and sponsors. Today, as I was taking photos of each girl for sponsors I became very reflective when I had a moment to pause. Some of these girls have seen more in these first years of their lives than I have in my 39 years. It's shocking. And infuriating. And so DISTURBING.

NEW HOPE exists for many reasons. A few that stick with me are because there are children in the DR who do not have birth certificates. If you do not have one you may not go to school. Their parents may not have one. Nor grandparents. It seems to say that if you do not have a BC you do not exist.
Some of the girls come from horrific living conditions that include physical and sexual abuse.  NEW HOPE houses 4 of their girls who attend school because of the extreme conditions they have endured. All come from extremely poor families. Homes that are considered shacks in any 1st world country. We visited a girl's home today whose mother is dying. So sad but to see the love she has for her daughter is inspiring. Another precious girl only gets to go to school occasionally as she is required to take care of her 4 younger siblings, haul water and do laundry every day.

NEW HOPE has built a very basic but beautiful school that has a kitchen and a dorm for those living there. They also have a branch of the Academy that is employing some of the mothers of these girls. Training them to make gorgeous sandals and handbags. If they can help empower the mothers they can help improve the lives of the girls they work with. It is devastating to think about what these beautiful young children have gone through. And encouraging to see the opportunity that NEW HOPE is providing for them as well as some of their mothers. I am honored to be able to help them in any way I can. I love New Hope Girls Academy and what they are doing.

 NEW HOPE GIRLS ACADEMY: “Dreaming for the girls in the barrio the same dreams we have for our own daughters.” - to take a look at the bags and sandals the mothers are making!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Transition........... I am heading in a new direction in Haiti! Or expanding on a greater scale the love I have for growing things in Haiti! You can read all about it on my latest update here!

Saturday, January 14, 2012