There is a huge tree next to us that is filled with a small fruit called a kenep. When you first look at the fruit it just looks like a green grape. I saw it on the tree and wondered what it was. A few weeks ago I asked some of the kids here what it was and all they would tell me was, “not yet, once it is ripe I will show you.” I was so curious and frustrated because I wanted to know what it was!! I couldn’t reach the fruit and so I just had to patiently wait until they were ripe. Did I know when they were supposed to be ready? Nope, but I was hoping it would be soon. Two workers here, Wisnal and Yvonet, live next door to us and Ivonet’s brother, Wilness, lives with them. Every morning I see Wilness on their roof and he yells my name and we say hi to each other. He doesn’t know English very well so all we really say is hello and how are you and things like that (the only things I know in Creole). One day, Wilness came over near the dining room and said “Katy, wait minute. I am your surprise.” I was so confused. I’m your surprise? What is he saying? I just nodded and said I would wait for him. A few minutes later he came back and had in his hand a huge pile of keneps!! He climbed the tree to get Lindsey, Tammy, Ashleigh, me and others more keneps. It was so sweet of him! I learned that day how special it is to get keneps. All of the children here love them and eat them like they are candy. I was kind of nervous about eating the first one and didn’t really even know how I was supposed to eat it! I brought over one of the boys and they showed me how to take of the peel and just pop the kenep in my mouth like candy. I was surprised because the fruit it mainly the seed in the middle. The kids told me I just had to suck on it until all of the juice and fruit part is gone. It was actually fun to eat because it looks like you have a huge jawbreaker in your mouth. All of the kids love the keneps and you see seeds everywhere on the ground from where they just spit them out as they walk around.
On Tuesday, Lindsey, Tammy, Josh, Ashleigh and I decided to walk to the coffee shop again to have lunch! The first time we went we only had drinks, but we saw they had sandwiches that looked pretty tasty. The road we had to cross on foot, however, was a lot busier than it was the Saturday we went. Edmund was kind enough to drive us there and so we didn’t have to cross the street YET. We eat ordered our lunch and I decided on a chicken teriyaki sandwich. It was good but so so spicy! I love spicy foods, but it took me a while to eat my sandwich from all the spicy. I thankfully had my frappe again and an ice cold water to cool me down. We hung out and talked for a bit and then decided it was time to head back. We walked out and noticed the road was still so busy! We had to cross it and there were no stoplights or stop signs. When we felt there was an opportunity to go and sprinted across the street. My blood was pumping as a crossed because it looked like a motorcycle was coming straight towards me. That was one of the craziest things I’ve done. I guess I can cross that off my bucket list: Running across one of the busiest roads in Port Au Prince… Sorry Mom and Dad.
Wednesday and Thursday were easy, relaxing days. There are a lot of donations that come to Christian Light throughout the year and so one way we showed the donors gratitude is by sending them a thank you picture! So for a few times we have had the kids draw a thank you sign and we take a picture of them holding it. I had the opportunity to make a thank you card for a group that sent tons of French books. I made an outline and let the children color in the letters; it was so cute because they were all so excited to color. I have learned that coloring is a definite hobby for most of the kids here, so I will be doing that more often with them. I loved telling each of them how great they are doing because their faces would light up and I could tell it made them feel good. I try and make it a point to tell them either how nice they look, how polite they are, how good they are doing, etc. because these kids need to know that they are special and are appreciated. They need to know they are loved by, not only me, but the Lord also. We had a lot of people come in this weekend and so it was a little hectic. The summer school director, Beverly, came in Thursday! She was the director for last summer too and so I was very excited for her to be here. Katelyn also came Thursday and she was here last summer for a week while I was here too, so it was nice to see a few familiar faces. Katelyn will be moving to the new orphanage house with the children and she will also be in charge of the Baby Feeders Program. She is so awesome and so I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for her during her first year here! One of my great friends, Megan, is finally here!! Two ladies from my church, Mrs. Shanda and Amanda, were on her flight and so that made things a lot less stressful for Megan. I made sure they talked before then so that they could travel together. We also had a team come Saturday and a team come Sunday. So I guess you could say we have a full house right now! It was stressful at first but things are working out so far!
I was able to see the new orphanage this week! I was so excited because I haven’t gotten the chance to walk down there and see it for myself. A few of us walked down there to check and make sure the water was running and the lights were working. It is right down the road from Christian Light, which will be good for the children to walk to school each morning. The building is just a temporary house for the children because Ms. Sherrie is planning on buying land to build our own! So right now she is renting this one for a year so far. When we got there I was surprised by how nice it looked on the outside. It just looked so brand new and pretty! We walked in and inspected each room and check the water in the kitchen and bathrooms. It all looked so good and really made me want to move in there as well! There are still a few small things that need to be done and so we are hoping to move in there in the next couple of weeks! One of the ladies I have hung out with since she has been here, Ashleigh, made headbands before her trip. She has been a good friend for me since I have been here and there was a group of ladies that really liked the headband I have gotten from her. She only had a few left but we thought we could make a few more with the pieces of fabric we have in the sewing lab. So Megan and I helped make a few extras and they all loved them! I even made me another one too haha. You will probably see tons of pictures of me wearing it so just prepare yourself. I will be wearing them all around Auburn when I get back too.
On Saturday, the group of us went up to the mountains for a little trip! It is always so fun to drive up there because it is a lot cooler and the view is amazing. I love seeing the city from up there. There was quite a lot of traffic on the way up there and on the way back so it was a long trip for us, but I think it was worth it. I always like getting out of the compound and seeing the surrounding places. Where we stopped at the mountain had a few vendors that really wanted us to buy stuff. It was overwhelming at first because so many kept coming up to me telling prices, but I just learned to say no and walk away from it all. I did end up buying two necklaces though which will be a nice addition to my collection of necklaces back at home. There were so many paintings that were all so neat to look at; most of them were oil paintings too and they were beautifully done. Each painting was unique as well so a lot of us just stood and looked at all the different paintings. After we were done with our mountain trip we stopped at a place called the Caribbean Market. It was my favorite place to go when I was here last summer, and so I was pumped to go back. They have a really good bakery that has awesome sandwiches and desserts. Me and Sam would spilt a sandwich and a dessert when we would go last year, but that day I was starving so I ate a whole sandwich on my own (and they are huge sandwiches too). It is also a grocery store, a very nice one actually, so we all decided to just stroll around and see what all is there. I ended up getting a chocolate bar because I really don’t eat a lot of candy while I am here. That night there was something going on with the shower tank and we thought we were going to have to take a bucket shower. What a bucket shower is is where we go downstairs to the cistern, fill a bucket up with that water, bring the bucket upstairs, and use a cup to shower. I have never had to take a bucket shower and so I was a little anxious about how well it would go, but when in Haiti right? Well I thought I would fill the bucket with the cistern water, and while I was filling it we got the shower tank fixed! So I ended up not having to take a bucket shower, which now I kinda wish I did so that I could say I did haha. Maybe another time.
With a big group coming Sunday, they needed both trucks to pick them up from the airport and so we did not get to go to Port Au Prince Fellowship. I was really sad, but some of us went into the sewing lab, got things ready for tutoring this week, and listened to worship music and an Andy Stanley sermon. It was fun getting things ready for tutoring because it felt like I was a teacher getting ready for the school year!! That night we had a small little devotion where the older boys in the orphanage lead us in worship and we had some prayer requests. I love when we are all just sitting around and singing together because it is neat hearing everyone’s voices singing along together. We are going to start having devotion every night so that we build a relationship with one another that is centered around our God. It will also be a time where we hear announcements and figure out what will be going on the next day. We are tutoring the kids every day this week. Each day there are four of us that will tutor the 4th graders in their math skills and then later in the afternoon we will do reading and reading comprehension with some of the younger kids. Today, we worked on division with the 4th graders and it was fun seeing how well they each were doing! We only did 3 problems, but there were only 5 of them and so we split up and worked with each kid individually, and I had two of them. After they completed the problems we called them to the board where they would work out the division problem and another student would check the work. I was so so impressed by them today and am excited to see how well the continue to go this week! Instead of working with the younger kids this afternoon, I went to a medical clinic with Allex. Allex was very sick last week and we wanted some answers about what was going on. He told me he had malaria before and that he thinks he is relapsing, but we wanted to be sure. Edmund took Allex and I to the clinic where he drew blood, and in 24 hours we will no whether or no he is positive or negative for malaria. If he is positive we will get medicine and make him drink neem tea everyday; if it is negative we will just have to guess that he maybe had the virus that has been going around. Please pray we get clear answers and can move forward to make sure Allex's health is better!
This week has been fun, fun, fun and very relaxing! I am thankful for the time that has been spent here. Willness is a boy full of surprises and gifts, and he surprised me with a pineapple. It was probably one of the sweetest things ever because it was such a kind gesture with a big meaning. He didn't have to give me anything at all, but the fact that he somehow bought the pineapple for me made my day. It just shows again how the people I have met here have such big hearts. God has blessed me so much by sending me here, but he also has shown me how much I continue to love this country. Some may not understanding how I could fall in love with a place like this, but for me this really is like a second home. The people I am surrounded by do nothing but lift me up and bring me closer to God. I hear and feel God everywhere I turn here, whether it is in the ravine, at church, in the truck, anywhere. I can feel Him in me and around me and I love that feeling. I hope it continues when I return home. I will be updating more next week once summer schools starts! Continue to pray for all of the summer school teachers that will be arriving to Haiti in the next few days! Also pray for the students and pray they will learn and grow more during their time in summer school!
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me"
-2 Corinthians 12:9