Monday, October 14, 2013

Transitioning Thoughts

The past nearly three weeks have been a struggle. A struggle to understand, accept, and come to terms with what happened and why. I don't want to think of myself as God's puppet. As if He plays with us at his every whim, but sometimes I'm angry that that's the way it feels. I felt God calling to do mission, to spread the Gospel not through critical words and harsh judgment but with acts of love and understanding. But with everything that happened, God scooped me back up and took me home. Calling me home.

I sit here now in my room, my comfortable room, with my familiar surroundings and amenities. I remember one of the first nights back I ran into my parent's room exclaiming, "I have electricity, I have electricity!" and becoming emotional that I will not have a apprehension that the power will go out just because. And while I live on a busy road, the silence of the night echoed inside me as the fan noise was no longer there.

Sometimes when I'm alone with my thoughts I think of her, Haiti. I reason that I can go back and I'm going to call up the Mission Office and say I want to go back. But alas, that is not the happen. It can't happen. I have already begun to look ahead towards employment and graduate school, I'm so eager to undertake.

I would like to share a poem I wrote soon after I came back. Much of it came from my raw emotion at the time, so it may be a bit harsh but it's from the heart.

Unfinished Business

It didn’t work out

I need to be there

I didn’t like the food

I didn’t like the heat

But I need to be there

I never liked the Caribbean

But I need to be there.

My boss and I weren’t a good match

My students didn’t like me?

But I have unfinished business

I miss the place

This place that gave me grief

Maybe I let it give me grief?

Maybe if I took a stand!

But the school

Those kids, that culture

And the church!

So hot

The pews were hard

No fellowship

Peace: Just handshakes

No peace said

Why do I want to go back?

I left a friend

I left a project

I left unfinished business


My unfinished business

Haiti will always have a special and dear place in my heart. Perhaps one day I will return. But until, then the memories will keep me company, good and bad. The good ones will keep me happy and the bad ones will remind me of my mistakes.


Monday, September 30, 2013

What Happened

Hello everyone,

This post will come as a surprise for many of you. Due to cultural and personality conflicts between the placement and I it had been decided that I return home. I returned home Wednesday September 25th. As many of you might know I was struggling at the beginning due to my grandfather’s passing, however as soon as I moved on from that, new issues arose. I will forever to grateful for my time there and indebted to Pere Kenser Ajax and the people at BTI and indeed the people of Haiti for their open doors and showing me their lifestyle and culture. I have been forever changed. 

I also had to say goodbye my housemate Robert and the other young adult Americans who I got know. Luckily though, I’m sure I will see them again eventually, especially Adrianne who lives 45 minutes north me! See you in the winter, Adrianne!

I learned so much within one month. One is to be happy to with what I have and not jealous or needy to what I don't have. Some people don't have that luxury; they live within their means and use every resource available to them because they can't go out and buy new. A second thing I learned is to be joyful that we are even alive. That God created us represents that we are all uniquely special in His eyes and until he calls us back, we must continue to seek Him and His will for us. Another thing is that motorcycles/scooters are awesome. 

Thank you to all who supported me and know that I will be in touch with everyone soon. I just need a period of transition and re-adjustment.

Your fellow servant of Christ,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Photo time!

Cinq Cent Ans (500 years). A monument when you enter/leave Les Cayes.

Down time at the beach. I'm drinking from a coconut!

A crab on the beach.

I was told this was an old French plantation house and then a presidential summer house. I am NOT Ansel Adams, don't complain about my photo taking abilities!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday, Monday...


Monday, Monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da)
So good to me (ba-daba-da-da-da)
Monday mornin, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin, Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee (ba-da ba-da-da-da)
That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me

~The Mommas and the Papa, 1966

Well it's been a little over a week since my last post. This past week has been full of classes, work, and adventures as well!

I am teaching, for the record, English 2 and English 4. Teaching, while fun, hasn't been that interesting because I've been going over grammar and in English 4 I was teaching them the history of the English language and why it's a funny language. (Grammar is very Germanic, but alot of the vocab we use is French and then we have a lot of "I don't know why we do that, we just do, just accept it.").

This past Saturday, I went to Children of Israel orphanage in Torbeck, about 20 minutes to the west of Les Cayes. Adrianne lives there and helps out when she is not teaching. Her family's church supports the orphanage as well. It was decided to take the little ones to the beach! About a half-mile walk down through a farm and BAM the ocean. I didn't take my camera. I'M SORRY! I know, I feel bad but Haiti, while there has been many photo-ops, isn't exactly a touristy nation so I would stand out greatly. Anyways, the waves were larger which made for a better second time in the ocean, but I still can't get over the salt. The little ones were very happy because even though they live so close, they can't go all the time.

A pi ta!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Children's Class

Today was the first day of the children's English class. Alongside Robert and Sara, another American teacher from Connecticut, we drew pictures of what he had done this summer and showed them to the class.

Afterwords it was playtime. Jump rope goes a long way. I even partook, which was a mistake because once I do something physically demanding, I start to sweat. In the States, sitting down and drinking a cold glass of water does the trick. But no, here once I start I can't stop. I'm a hemophiliac, but with sweating. But all is well now. Even fixing up the mosquito net while I'm trying to go to sleep and with the fan on me, I break a sweat.

Robert decided to teach the boys and I a new game in English called Ninja, but they didn't understand that so he called in Karate instead. It really is a boys game. We also did tug of war.

Also we have a tarantula on our property which is not at all a bad thing, even though I strongly dislike them, but I strongly dislike cockroaches even more. And that's what they eat.

I also briefly met Adrianne. Who is from where? Oxford, Michigan. 40 minutes north of me. And what school did she go to. OAKLAND UNIVERSITY!!!! I swear we probably passed  each other many times on campus.

This is Gretchen.

Robert teaching the boys Ninja Karate

One of the boys in the class is reading French. He is at least 10, maybe 12.

My drawing of New York City.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Two White Guys and BET

While the title of this post is funny, in my opinion, I must start out with some somber news.

Yesterday I received word that my grandfather had passed away. It wasn't a surprise, he's been sick off and on ever since my grandma died two and half years ago. And though I said my goodbyes, being away is still hard.

Upon learning of this, Robert my housemate, decided we need to go out and we took taxis to the Hot Spot, which is most likely the only Western-esque restaurant in Les Cayes. We feasted on cheesburgers! It was delightful. The dining room we were in was air conditioned and had a TV. BET was the channel that was on. And it was in English. It was a good way to get my mind off of my grandpa's passing.

Anyways, school has started and classed are underway. Being a student most of life, teaching is something foreign to me so it has been an awkward first week but progress will happen and by the end of the semester I will better equipped for next semester.

Last night, on my walk to my room last night I spotted a tarantula! They rarely move, so I wasn't concerned but it was still a sight to see! Robert took a picture, my camera is buried in my bag.

I will be more diligent about taking pics.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

An End Cap

A little over a week since I've been here. The sights, the sounds, the people, and the food. It's all been a roller coaster of sensory overload. How are you? That's the question you want to ask me. Don't worry, I am fed, I have people around me, a bed to sleep, and a shelter to keep me dry. I am still, psychologically speaking, adjusting myself. It's hard. It's very hard. For this Westerner to come here, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, and experience this. And it's only been a week. Haiti is lush and green and full of life in nature and amongst her people, but it is nothing like one has ever seen before and nothing one could imagine. I am currently typing from my school and I believe I am going soon, so I will leave you all with this: I have taken a step into the unknown that is Haiti and in one week I have been forever changed more than anything else has before.

Good night.