jueves, 22 de enero de 2015


Facebook photo: 

And caption: I have always found this photo to be the most beautiful product of Krystle Marcelus' photo journalist class she did years ago. Emaz was pregnant in this photo and now has 3 boys. Unfortunately, her husband just passed away after weeks in the hospital. He fell off of a third story building while working construction and the family has found no help from his employer. I am hoping we can sell some prints to help Emaz and family out. Please comment if you are interested in helping with that.

New info: We raised a few hundred pesos at the event where we put up this photo in Cabarete on December 12th. I visited Emaz a week or two later and paid her landlord one month rent, which is 1,500. I also gave her 100 pesos to help her make food. In the past, we (Project Esperanza) have tried to help a widow out when her husband dies with 3 months rent. I talked to her about cooking and cleaning for an upcoming volunteer group, and she said she can do it! So we will give her a chance. Hopefully it goes well. 

Is anyone interested in trying to sell these prints?  Again, this photo has always been my absolute favorite. It was Isuna, our art shop seamstress, who told me about Emaz's husband when he fell, about her struggles caring for him in the hospital, and then when he passed away. She immediately requested that we take in her oldest son, who is 9. This would mean bringing him to live in the group home. Yesterday Isuna mentioned this to me again and said that Emaz is hopeful that we will do that. Does anyone have thoughts? 

I promised Emaz at least two more months rent after paying the first... but she was already backed up 3 months when we paid the first month. 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."    - James 1:27

martes, 13 de enero de 2015

I Still Am a Grandmother! Surprise!

So, yesterday I went to the Haitian consulate in Santiago to check up on some documents for some parents in our school.. these are documents needed to make their passports. It has been almost a year since we entrusted a consulate employee who came to the school, to receive the funds, fill out the paperwork, and get the job done. He told me they were all there ready and he would bring them to me on Dec. 11th, 2014 and then did not show up but disappeared to Haiti for his vacation. One parent contacts me at least weekly as he needs his document to enroll in a regularization program here that is very cool and should allow many people to get residency.

Anyway, I did not realize the date until I was leaving the consulate fairly unsuccessfully and waited on the porch for the rain to stop before running to catch the M car back to the bus station. I noticed there on the porch a table with a beautiful bouquet of white flowers. I wondered what they were for and got near to read the card. In memory of January 12, 2010. The earthquake.

That day was so shocking. But ironically, the hardest part for me was not what happened in Port-au-Prince, but a loved one we lost while visiting his mom and family in the mountains of Northern Haiti, unaffected by the earthquake. We had been buying insulin for Anol and giving him donated insulin for over a year at that point. But he still had problems managing his diet and the diabetes. He left for Haiti before Christmas so by January 12th we were expecting for him to come back any day. But even before we heard about the earthquake, we were told that Ti Anol died. This caused us to pack up and go to Haiti for my first time with our six month old. What all went on on that 16 day trip.. well.. I'll publish a second book of journal entries with that in it at some point, and share with PE's monthly sponsors beforehand. But I'll just say I can't believe some stuff I did due to my crazy faith. I think I made quite a reputation for myself at the Grisongarde cemetery. I was taken over by loss but learned to be strong through mourning. Bad things kept on happening in the months to follow, more deaths, and it seemed as though Satan was winning in this part of the world.

Well, that was five years ago yesterday.  As I looked at the flowers, I thought about whether it was a day that would be remembered for God's glory or Satan's. Finally got home around 5pm and sat down with my kids at the table, eating the fruit I brought home. Jeres came in the door with a little girl and led her to me. She looked like Angelina. But I knew Angelina had died. She had been recently buried. "Who is this?" I asked Jeres.

"It's Ewode's daughter," he replied. I refrained from believing what I was seeing and jumping up and hugging her until I understood. Had Ewode just really needed money and made up the story of his daughter dying to request the funds for her burial, while using them for something else? That was a possibility... 

"I thought she died," I said. 

"That was another one," he answered? I questioned. "They had another one." I then believed it was her, jumped out of my chair, hugged her and kissed her, and announced to the kids that Angelina had not died after all. I then remembered that I had never told them, not wanting to break the sad news to them, so they were confused as to what was going on. But I squeezed her and coddled her like a grandmother. I don't think I told all of the details of Ewode and Jilande's time with us. After a number of months, I had to cut them off. Ewode had left the group home voluntarily before his time arrived and made a baby, so I couldn't be rewarding that by caring for him and his family. What example would that set for the others? I was so glad that he brought his girlfriend to me when she was pregnant, came to me when he was nervous at the hospital during the birth, came to me when they had troubles and when her mother rejected him, etc. I was so happy to provide care for Angelina and validate him as her father, when he was being treated like a disposable person because of his difficulties in bringing in an income.. but they grew too dependant and I eventually had to cut them off. After all, they began sending Angelina to spend most of her time with Jilande's mother, so I was not even helping her anymore, but them as a young couple. 

Ewode was a bit ungrateful at this and lashed out. So when he came around after that, I kept a safe distance and was intentional to not speak with him much. So I didn't ever know that Jilande had become pregnant again, or that the baby who passed away was a newborn.. NOT Angelina! I know the life of one child is no more precious than the life of another, but of course it was an amazing surprise to see Angelina alive and well before me when I had thought she had died! And by the way, Jeres didn't realize they had had another baby either when he reported the death to me. 

As I played with Angelina a bit, her daddy stayed outside. Jeres eventually led her back to him and I hugged her and kissed her good-bye. I didn't talk to Ewode for the same reason as before... wanting to keep a safe distance. But Jeres told him that I would give him an antiobiotic cream in a few days. I wish the world for the little girl and will always do what I can to help with her when needed. As for Ewode, it seems like Jilande's family has fully accepted him now and as a couple they have proved themselves. So he is okay. Still struggling like most Haitians tend to do in this country as well as their own, but his family situation is much better. 

So January 12, 2015 was a day of God's glory here. I got a sweet surprise and thank him for that. God's will and human suffering.. is there a harder topic? This is what Gemma, Chantal and I have been looking into in our Saturday morning bible studies. All explanations seem to contradict something about his character, or make him seem flawed... but

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Nonetheless, I'll keep trying to understand.