|Conducting a census in Muñoz with VT Punta Cana study abroad group. Photo taken by Crystal Fox.|
I mentioned in the last update that my friend who runs HHI had sent me club foot links for me to check out for Elisenia. Well CURE is a winner. Tomorrow we will take her to Santiago to start her series of casts! Since she is under 2, she will still likely react well to this treatment and not have to have an operation! Wow! We don't have any funding for transportation... teachers need to be paid... how do I juggle meeting obvious needs on too little funding? Just keep swimming. Keep working toward things that generate income and also do good. My brother who is visiting just criticized me for about four hours on such things... as well as my life in general, etc... but he doesn't know half of what I have up my sleeve. Just keep swimming. Thank you Lord more monthly sponsors are coming in! Please keep them coming! Please also may we reach the student sponsor goal!
Also, my mom visited, which was so nice. When she did, we took Elisenia to a woman in Muñoz who I met when we did a census with the VT Punta Cana medical geography class led by teacher Stacy Boyer. Several people suggested that we take her to this woman for her bloated/distended stomach as she knows how to make natural remedies. She gave her a tea, passed something on her stomach and prayed, and laid her on her stomach, squeezing along her spine. And by golly her stomach has gone down! We then went to SunCamp where we ended up talking in a group with some residents there. My mom mentioned that she imagined Elisenia's friendly flora had been erradicated through antibiotics for her pneumonia treatment. One woman in the group pulled out some yogurt like product she makes just for that reason - replenishing the friendly fauna. Katya, Elisenia's caregiver, began giving it to her. Well her cough has gotten way better as well! She did have some diarrhea there for awhile but it has gotten better. So our little girl is looking better thanks to some natural remedies! But she still needs more attention, more food (we have such limited funding), her foot treated.. and what else? Oh yeah, parents!!! Everyone who is interested in adopting her are couples living together but not married. I e-mailed the lawyer contact a friend gave me for Haitian babies living without paperwork in the Dominican Republic to ask if the Haitian government would accept this (the official documents say no, but that doesn't fully mean no), and I have not heard back from him yet.
Elisenia's three siblings still at home are not doing so great. They are living with the oldest's godmother who recently lost her 15 year old daughter in a motorcycle accident. She does not cook for them, they cook for themselves for 100 pesos a day which Derryl from SunCamp donates to them through a system set up with a local colmado - brilliant. But when I saw them the day before yesterday while paying artists... it was hard to not take them home. I told Alexandra I would ask Jireste about it.. but I already knew it was impossible. I don't like when my heart and reality collide like that. I want to speed up time to a time where we have more money, more space, more maturity, etc. I know we will one day Lord... just keep swimming. Oh, they also have not been going to school or really caring for themselves.. they are 9, 6, and 5.
Alexandra told me that people told her that her mom had died. I asked who. She said people. I asked how they knew. We concluded that they were talking crap and didn't really know. I told her that I assume her mom was very stressed over losing her husband, owing lots of money, etc. and was taking a break with family either in Esperanza or Haiti, hopefully to return. Of course, I don't know, but this is what I said. She then said that people say her mom has SIDA. I asked her what that was. She kept saying, "they say my mom has SIDA". She never gave me an answer of what it was so I gave her some explanation. I didn't confirm or deny that her mom has it but I said that if someone who has this sickness (HIV) does not take their medicine, they can perhaps pass away quickly. But if they do take their meds, they can live a long long time, 20 years or more, I don't know! I even heard of a man who was cured from AIDS and gave his testimony at churches. I always believe in miracles. I forgot to tell her this (the miracle account) but have told many people it. We then went and talked to the colmado lady because she was confused about how much money was left on her tab, what food she was allowed to get, etc.
Junior and Enelbi - two new boys in the boys' home - are both doing well. They did fight night before last because Junior found two of his beta fish dead and accused Enelbi of making them fight to the death, but we had a group talk and settled it. (I am not saying that Enelbi didn't do it as he very well could have, but Junior settled after we talked about the way to handle something when you don't see someone do something. You can let them know your thoughts but God is all-seeing and some things we have to leave, ultimately, between the person and God.) By the way, it's beta season. In Muñoz the other day, about 25 men and boys gathered so closely around a table. I knew what they were doing before I got close enough to see the little jars. Enso and Bob (older fellows who live with them whom we met in 2006 during our original street census..older now.. littler then) led them to my door after the fight and let me know what happened. Enso had already given them both 5 smacks with a belt and then Junior 3 more because he continued to want to fight. This is their second fight. The first was because Enelbi took Junior's rooster and put it with another to fight. Junior cried, wound up, and punched him. Claudion was there to separate it quickly. I yelled at them from a short distance with Maraya in my arms.
I have to write all about Ebo... I think he deserves a separate post though. I hope to get to it soon. Again, he is the 2 year old we foster but hope to bring to his grandmother in Haiti before too long. Let's see, what else is going on? I called a list of 7 tour operators to see if they will bring their tour buses by the art shop in town. Many gave me e-mails to send a proposal to, etc. So we are still working on setting up these relationships to get more traffic.
Also, we're preparing for summer volunteers. I think we will divide into two English camps - the one in town same as last year and another in Muñoz with volunteers doing some other projects in the afternoons in the batey, like building human compost toilets and container gardening. This will be great follow up from the census. Oh! A Rhodes College fellowship student will come for two months and help out! I'm looking forward to it. This was a placement by Peacworks. Thanks again! SunCamp also has some new volunteers who are doing English lessons in the grassroots schools. I took them around and introduced them last Thursday and that is looking good. One teacher got quite mad at me when I argued with him because he had tried to get them to give him and other teachers a lesson during the school day on Friday. OOhhhh discipline!
I want to say... I love my family so much. I love my parents, my siblings, my husband, and my kids. I feel stressed from balancing this family.. especially with there being language barriers, distance barriers, cultural barriers... oh my. I love the other kids I have seen grow up... and they're not kids any more. I even love Jonel who stole my camera this week... but it breaks my heart that he did that and is denying doing it although he is the obvious culprit. I hadn't seen him in almost a year and he came, visited, and did that. Funny how a thief used to living with thieves can step into a house/environment with non-thieves and think that there could be any confusion as to who the thief is. But Jonel always was the most obvious thief... Lord, please give me strength and wisdom to maintain a distance from him and call the police or take it seriously if he comes near, although that breaks my heart and I may not really do it. Just show me what is best to do. I love him so much more than the camera, although the camera served me so well. I love Claudion who I have had to kick out because he had his girlfriend sleep in the house (where he and Willy lived) with him and was therefore untrustworthy in that manner.. if he were my son I would've ran that girl off long before. (By the way, the landlord told me touswit the next day - Lord, you always have a way of making me find out what I need to know. Thank you of course, your Highness.) She had been after every guy and was coming after Claudion like... like a hunter. I was too sheepish and not quite in the right position to run her off. And then it was too late. My dad always said that guys call girls, not girls calling guys. :) She seemed to have ulterior motives.. but he is an adult and can make his decisions. And there are consequences to his decisions. Lord guide him. Lord make me see it as you do.
I love my Ilayas and my Maraya who grew in my belly and now grow before my eyes like little miracles. Lord, please hold them in the palm of your hand. Little Ilayas has seen a lot that I wouldn't have wanted him to see.. a lot of violence. That was the way things were for some reason. Well... because things were less settled I guess. I once got pushed down a hill with him in my arms by a crazy watchman who then proceeded to smack Alex repeatedly with the flat side of a machete in order to impress his corrupt Swedish home owner boss who was later shot in the leg probably by someone he trusted and shouldn't have. This crazy watchman was arrested twice since for rape and also assaulted a German man in his home, stole his really nice car, and wrecked it in Cabarete. Ilayas drove through the crazy pot holed no guard rail cliff mountains in Haiti to Port au Prince with us.... actually Jireste drove.. Ilayas rode. Ilayas was in my arms when our car almost fell in a huge hole while visiting Babi in Grizonguarde, Haiti. The first two tires were in the hole. Those danm horrible roads. Ilayas cried when Bebe fought with Chinaider and Chinaider went crazier than we expected..breaking bottles, using razors and such.. as we (Jireste, Bebe, Willy) tried to apprehend him... so that he would return a camera that he also stole. Yes, our little grapiya turned into serious thieves in the streets. I told them to drop me off at the police station and go get him without me and Ilayas in the car. Oh, he wasn't gonna do anything. But Ilayas saw a lot more than that, unfortunately. Don't judge him. Do you know anything about the little man? My little prince. Why the heck am I writing all of this? It's spilling out of my heart. I can't even not write it if I wanted to. Obviously it's because my brother judged him and he broke my heart. I'm going a little crazy in these late hours.
Haiti is a land of abused. Abused people abuse. Lord help them. Lord please help them. And please help me who has been abused by them a lot too. And please help my little man who has seen too much abuse already in his 2.5 years. And please help Jireste who is a crazy Haitian man who does lots of things that don't make sense at all. Please no one judge him. Let's just find a little more love, okay? Let's encourage, let's be brave, let's be honest, but most of all, let's be loving.
And please help my family in the US who can't understand why I love this place and this work so much. I can't change my heart. I can't control it. I don't feel as though I have any choice. And I wouldn't have my little miracles anywhere but in the palm of God's hand. In the center of God's will. Maybe the education you think they need is not the one He thinks they need...
Lastly, let me say a word about support. I'll paste the usual and then put in my word, actually:
If you would like to financially support my family and I, the way I prefer you do that is to register as a customer here and apply for this VISA credit card. If you're in Canada, you register here. If enough people do this, it will generate an income for us. You'll see there are many ways to support as a customer, but for the purpose of focus, I ask that people get the VISA card. This is also a great gift option I suggest you try out. Lastly, if you or someone you know is raising support for missions/humanitarian work, you can help yourself and help me by registering as an IBO here and requesting that your supporters become your customers. Please e-mail me with any questions about this. Thank you & God bless.
So, my oh so supportive brother who was just here tonight let me know that no one uses credit cards any more. He then said that people use ones where they can get points for frequent flyer miles, which I understand. He then said that people get a thousand credit card applications a day and no one wants to fill out the application...
I said that I don't use a credit card because I don't have any money but people who do have a little something to manage do, I believe, often use them. If they like to get the frequent flyer miles, they could perhaps get one of the ones I request and just dedicate it to buying their gas and grocieries... as an intentional, yet still simple, way of supporting. As for the effort of filling out the application.. well.. effort shows value soo... gee thanks. I am, yes, asking for support in this way, and believe I should continue to ask for support in this way because I believe it has potential and is not asking much of the supporter at all. Please do sign up for and use the credit card if you support the work because an empty sack can't stand up.
Oh yeah, forgot to say that I got the scholarship for online law school and finished the application. $2,500 off of a $10,000 per year tuition that is available each year as long as I reach a certain grade level. Will this become a reality? I don't know...