Friday, October 23, 2009

Haiti 10/23

Our morning started like all other mornings. I awoke before everyone else. I grabbed the computer and sat at the restaurant to write on the blog. A few minutes later the waiter politely said our coffee was ready (I hadn't even asked for any). So I sat at the table and had a cup of coffee, it's delicious coffee!

Nathan and the girls joined me a few minutes later and we all ate breakfast together. T and I had omelets with no cheese and no ham. Nathan had one more round of french toast! We then took our showers before the power turned off and took a walk down by the beach. We went to an area we hadn't been to before, not sandy, but overlooking the ocean. Of course the haitian vendors flocked to us, most of whom had sold to us for the last 2 days, a couple of new ones too. We are completely out of small change, so that helped a little. Nathan talked to a couple of guys inquiring about shark diving. The younger one said Haitians are terribly afraid of sharks, so he wasn't sure if N8 could find anyone to take him to purposely find sharks. Nate had a good chat with them.

After awhile, we all headed to the room. I got real sick, so N8 took the girls for awhile. he fed Charlene who then fell asleep, so we stayed in the room together resting (I was awake!) while N8 and T ate lunch. After a couple of hours and some medicine, I was feeling a little better and good thing because Vera was on her way to pick us up! I had to be able to make it an hour w/o getting sick again...and I did! I did a lot of praying!

It was a cloudy and eventually rainy day, but not bad weather. Very nice and soothing actually. We were still the only patrons of the resort at that time, but there were about 5-6 visotors when we left. n8 and T checked out the upstairs rooms and he said they are 100xs better than the room we had...wish we would've known that sooner! Ours was okay, but soooo dark. He said the upstairs rooms are bright with white tile and high ceilings.

We left the resort and drove back to Port-au-Prince. We were going to stay at Zack's house, but had a change of plans last minute, so Vera made us reservations at a hotel in the middle of PAP, but then the Visa Lodge finally called her back saying they had a room, so here we are. It's nice. The room is nice. It has a nice a/c, tv, kleenex(!), high ceilings with a ceiling fan. Charlene was instantly in a better mood in that room. We noticed that right away. She hasn't been very happy the last 3 days or so. I was even looking through my pictures and she doesn't have that natural smile like she did at the first hotel. We know it's partly due to teeth coming in, but we think it's because the room is brighter. Lesson learned.

Charlene has been very crabby and has cried A LOT. She wasn't like this last time, but she didn't have teeth last time wither. Her bottom 2 teeth have really come through a lot the last 2-3 days. I've given her Tylenol a couple of times, I know she's hurting. It was fun to see her smiling and happy again this afternoon in this hotel room. We even had a little game going where she'd crawl up the the pillows, plop down at which point I would grab her feet and drag her to the bottom of the bed and tickle her. She'd crawl up again...etc. We did this over and over. It was so fun. She hasn't been that playful since we left the first hotel in PAP.

Vera had to drop off her truck to get fixed, but came back with her friend Margorie (Zack's sister). Margorie fed Charlene and held her. She just loves Charlene. Margorie seems like such a nice gal, wish I could get to know her better. When we met her the first night, she called Charlene "Charleena". I love it. Taylor has started calling her Charlena , too, it's so cute. I asked if that was how it was to be pronounced, but it's not, that's just what she calls her. I asked her if that was a common name in Haiti and she said it was.

Well, the pizza showed up, but Nate and the girls disappeared. N8 wanted to take Charlene back to the room to 'run around', but of course, the pizza showed up 2 minutes later. I may have to dig in, although i hope and pray I don't get sick. If I do, i'll only have to go about 24 hours w/o eating before I'm in the comfort of my own home. No fun being sick away from home :(


Haiti Thu 10/22

This is our last full day at the beach. We decided to not go snorkeling, but just hang out. I'm at the restaurant with the computer while everyone else is sleeping (6:30am). The rooster crows like clockwork about 6am. Then I walk outside and hear the workers sweeping.

Charlene slept all night. She did start coughing about 1am. I even moved her up to the propped up end of her crib, but it didn't help. Finally her coughing woke her up, she cried and stood up. I was right by her crib again, so I rubbed her back and spoke and she calmed down. She stood as long as she could, even briefly falling asleep :) She eventually layed back down and slept (w/o coughing) the rest of the night.

We all ate breakfast: Taylor had an omelet with ham and cheese, I ordered an omelet w/o the ham, but got it w/o the cheese too :) and Nathan had french toast. He normally really doesn't like french toasat, but he loves how the haitians make it. It is crispy and so delicious. They also gave us a platter of bread, peanut butter, jelly, coffee, real creamer, and fresh orange juice.

We then got readyf ro the beach. T. got in the water right away, swimming and playing. N8 went out to the floating dock and saw jellyfish! I just held Charlene. The sound of the waves puts her in a trance almost. I even waded out in the water where she was wet, too and she fell asleep. this happens every time, so soothing for her. N8 came back and took Charlene then I swam out to the dock. I layed out in the fabulous sunshine for a while, dipped my hand to splash water on felt so good. Did it again and my hand hit the top of a jellyfish. I sat up, looked around and saw a few. I was able to pet them some more, such a wierd feeling. I tried to get T. to swim out. She started, but then spotted one and turned around and swam back to the beach. There were only about 5, so it would've been easy to navigate. I swam back to shore and Nathan took T. out to the dock b/c you can stand on it and see them good. She is the only one with goggles, so she had to tell N8 where to swim to avoid them. They did great, stayed out there awhile, then swam back to shore, b/c the snorkel guy had brought us snorkel gear for us to borrow for the day. So, N8 and T put their gear on and went back out. I was having fun holding a sleepy Charlene. She loves being held and listening to the ocean. Normally she is scrambling to get down and move around, but not at the beach. Nate then went over by the stone wall and saw some really neat fish. He said there was more fish there than at the reef. He even saw a Lion fish! I've only seen those in aquariums. Taylor was over with him and long story short..she all of a sudden starts panicking and swimming for shore. I knew she had been stung. nathan swam to her and Isaac (a Hatian vendor we had befriended) ran to her also. He said she needed lemon. I went to the restaurant, they didn't have any. He then went somewhere and came back with a lime (his English isn't was a lime we needed). He and Nathan rubbed lime all over her, but she got stung on her bottom and her back. She was crying and screaming. Isaac said to wait 3 minutes, then give her a shower, so nate ran her back to the hotel, gave her some Zyrtec and a shower. How we had running water in the middle of the day, I don't know.

While this was happening, the guy had some buy with our lunch. Nathan told him to come by at noon. he did with fresh, fried chonch, fried plantains and about 4 coconuts (for the cocunt juice). I also had 'ordered' 3 coconuts and that guy had come by too. So I stayed at the beach with Charlene, all our food and all the good we had purchased and Isaac. We are still the only patrons. I drank one coconut and part of another b/c they leak and I didn't want to waste any. I sat down with Charlene and Isaac had started eating his lunch...a fresh avacado and some bread. He gave us a large slice of avacado and some bread. Charlene ate it all. the avacados here are much different than the ones in the stores at home.

Nate came back and helped carry our stuff back to the room. We ate the lunch there. He loved it. I didn't like it, but I don't like seafood like that...lobster, etc. It was spicy, but good. I ate the plantains, and so did T. She loved those and the coconut juice. Coconuts are really heavy!! I poured out all the juice into a cup for her.

Nate said her bottom and back had swollen, but by the time I got to the room, she was calm and the swelling had gone down and it just looked like about 300 bee stings. She watched her science videos to get her mind off of it. After awhile, T and I walked around (it was naptime for Ch.) and we noticed the pool was looking much better, I could actually see the bottom! So, T put on some shorts and a tee and we went to the pool. After Ch's nap, she and N8 came too. I kept Ch. on the chair with me and she snacked on ritz crackers and N8 and T played in the pool Taylor wanted to pretend they were sea mammals. She chose to be a Green (sea) turtle (as opposed to a loggerhead turtle--and she had her reasons. She listed several differences thanks to her science videos). When I was in the pool, I chose to be a blue whale, N8 chose to be an Orca. They had fun. The clouds rolled in prob. around 3:30 or so. We finally left around ?5pm and got cleaned up and went to supper.

N8 and I ordered grilled fish and T. ordered spaghetti noodles. Charlene threw 2 fits during this meal. N8 walked her around once and I took her to the room to calm down once. Finally, I just took her to the room to go to bed. She gets real tired about 7pm. She did fall asleep no problem.

Charlene likes to throw temper tantrums when she doesn't get her way...about anything.

She slept good though.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haiti Tue10/20 & Wed 10/21

...Tue 10/20
When we arrived at Wahoo, we weren't too sure about staying here. The room was less than ideal and we were the only ones here. I hadn't seen one other woman and it made me nervous. We agreed to stay only because they'd gone to a lot of trouble to bring us here, plus Vera offered to come pick us up if needed. Nathan and I grumbled about our situation for awhile, then decided to spend the night (had no choice, Vera never would've driven out here at night) and see how things went the next day. We barracaded the front door and the sliding glass door to feel more secure. While we were grumbling, the front desk guy knocked on the door and brought us our change from paying for the room...ok, maybe they weren't so bad after all. So, we went to the bar area and enjoyed the fresh air. We ordered a fruit punch which was made from real, fresh fruit and was absolutely delicious. I learned later from Vera they usually put rum in it, so I clarified that it was sans alcohol. The haitian guys hanging out (workers) just sit and watch the tv--usually soccer, sometimes a movie. All was okay.

Wed. 10/21
Nathan had told a snorkel 'tour operator' we'd meet him at 9:30am to snorkel on a coral reef. I was a little leery of getting in a boat with our 2 girls, but decided to try it. It was wonderful. It was the 'captain' and his 'first mate' who rowed us down the beach ways to a coral reef. This boat is so primitive and hand made of whatever wood they could find, but it's sturdy! The oars are the same, worked great, but handmade of whatever was available. Nate and Taylor got in first. I stayed on the boat with a sleeping Charlene. I could hear Taylor's excitement over what she was seeing. The reef does have some color and some fish, but it's not like other reefs we've seen. Still, to an 8-year old who has only snorkeled in the lake, it was exciting. She saw lots of sea urchins, some cute and unusual fish and lots of different corals. Nate came and switched with me, so I could snorkel as well. Taylor then wanted to take off her life jacket and dive down like I do, so we let her. I stayed right by her, showed her how to do it and she did! She didn't dive down real far, but far enough to have to blow out her snorkel. She felt so free w/o her life jacket. The water was so clear and shallow that I wasn't concerned (plus, i was holding her hand most of the time). The captain would then take a stick and smash up some urchins which would bring the fish in to feed. It was neat. There were also some hatians spear fishing and we got to see their string of fish. The fish are small, but it will make a good meal.

They rowed us back to our beach (5 mintues) and we continued haggling (sp?) with the vendors that came out just for us. I had picked out some stuff, but we had to go snorkeling, so they waited for us. Silly us, we didn't bring small change, so one guy said he's bring us our change tomorrow...we'll see. The other guy said we could trust him to go up the street and get change, so we gave him $100 and he came back 2 hours later with our American change. He even left all his goods and his ID with us to prove that he was trustworthy. These are neat people.

One haitian came by with a live crab. I wasn't sure what he wanted, so one older vendor translated that for $12, he would cook it over a fire around the corner and b ring it back for us to eat. We would've if we had any small change. Later on, I was laying out on this floating dock and a boat with 2 guys came over wanting to cook fresh conch with coconut. Again, I couldn't b/c I didn't have any money. Later, he came by and Nathan told him to come back tomorrow and we'll eat his conch, coconut and bananas at 12pm. Hopefully that happens. What an experience.

We played at the beach a little longer before going to eat lunch. We arel still the only people here. Usually missionaries come over for the day, but not today, we have the whole beach/resort to ourselves. I feel more comfortable as I've interacted with some people and I'm starting to recognize faces. Our lunch took probably 2 hours. I think they went out and caught the lobster and fish right then to cook it :) It was delicious, but Taylor's vegetable soup was spicy this time, so I ate that. That is made fresh as well.

By this time it's about 3pm and the clouds are rolling in. N8 and T went back to the beach and Ch. and I went to the room. She fell asleep, so I picked her up and took her down to the beach as well and she napped there. N8 and T played in the sand and made a sand wall and made up stories. Taylor is such a little fish and thoroughly enjoys the beach, the sand and the water. Charlene didn't get in the water this time, but she just let us hold her and she just relaxed listening to the waves crashing softlyon the beach. We came back to the room about 5pm--it gets dusk at 5:30 and dark at 6pm. Our electricity was on, so we all were able to take showers. I took Charlene's hair out of her ponytail and she has a LOT of hair, but just on top of her head! I gave her a shower in cold water and she didn't care at all, I'm sure she's used to that. i washed her hair and she just hugged me and acted like she liked it. I then handed her to N8 and she just cried and cried. Sometimes, she only wants mama to hold her. How sweet.

It had started raining, but we ventured to the bar/restaurant so Taylor could eat. She ordered spaghetti, but all Charlene wanted to do was crawl/walk, so I took her back to the room. I mopped the floor with the towels, but by the time I was done, she was falling asleep, so I got her ready for bed. She fell asleep at 7pm! We had a huge thunderstorm. I have never heard lightning/thunder that loud before--it was scary. The last big crash, T and N8 came running to t the room. He thought it had hit the hut where the bar is. It finally calmed down. I wrote in my journal, T and N8 watched an animal documentary and fell asleep. We were all in bed by 8:45pm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Haiti October 2009

Sat. 10/17
Left home at 5:15am, a little behind schedule, but our plane was late, so it didn't matter. Got through all checks okay. We checked 6 bags loaded with donations. I bag was 50lbs exactly, the other was 48lbs. The others were 40-some pounds. Good thing I took out the gigantic can of formula and put it in my carry-on!

We made it to Dallas about 20 minutes before the next plane was to leave, so Taylor and I literally ran to the next gate (got to take the cool am-trak deal too). They kindly waited for Nathan to arrive with our carry-ons (we had to valet-check them in Springfield). But, that plane ended up having technical difficulties, so we sat for about 45 minutes before leaving.

Made it to Miami okay with about an hour to spare, so we grabbed some sandwiches and waited. We then waited 2 stinkin' hours on the plane. The excuse: Someone was supposed to be on the plane but they weren't but their bag was and the bag crew had to sift through all bags to find it. this was the same excuse as last time. I asked a stewardess about it. She said a) the bag wasn't on the plane b) this is common b/c they are extra/super cautious about any bags going on a plane without the owner. So, we arrived in Port-a-Prince 2 hours late at dusk, so by the time we got our bags and met Vera it was dark. I was nervous about that, but it was actually quite nice. After getting chewed out by Barbara for not informing her we were coming (we only informed Vera, didn't know we had to tell Barbara too), we headed for a hotel where I thought we had reservations. Nathan got to hold his baby girl for the first time! She had been waiting with Barbara for about3-4 hours, so she was asleep.

We got to that hotel, discovered we didn't have reservations, they called another hotel who had room, the Habitation Hatt hotel. It was very nice. Nice clean rooms, gated, a/c, running water, tv, fans and a gorgeous pool. We all slept good that night!

Sunday 10/18
We spent the day at the hotel. Taylor swam in the pool a lot while Charlene and I watched. I thought she was ready for a nap, so I didn't get her swimsuit on. That afternoon she didn't go either, it started to get stormy looking. The restaurant there is wonderful. It is bright and airy and the food is delicious.

Charlene is much more active at 10 months that she was at 6 months. She can crawl everywhere, she can walk holding on to things--she wasn't even using her legs at all last time. She talks a lot, grabs everything and has one huge honkin' tooth on top (top right). She has one bottom tooth (left) you can see and the right one just broke through. So cute. She cries more, gets mad more and doesn't sit in the Jeep very well anymore. She has to be moving. Last time it took her 3 days to smile at me without being prompted. She was doing that the first day this time. She loves being around us, loves being held and LOVES these little sweet potato baby snack things I brought. Should've brought cases of that!

Taylor loves playing with her little sister. She enjoys giving her little pieces of food, toys to play with and making her laugh. Charlene responds to her name, so Taylor would call her name when we were at the pool and Charlene would look and Taylor would jump in the pool real funny. Charlene loved that!

We all took a nap this afternoon. Nathan got the first chance at a nap, then we 3 girls all layed down on one of the beds. Charlene fell asleep on me and Taylor beside me. I slept about 2 hours and the girls about 3 hours.

Monday 10/19
We had an appointment at the US Embassy today at 11am. We got picked up about 8:30am and headed over there. I brought all the papers i needed, but we still had to fill them out. I've never seen so many people in one waiting area before! All waiting for Visas I guess. Charlene's birth mom was there, so it was great to see her. I was really hoping to meet her last time, but it never worked out. I have so many questions for her, but there wasn't anyone to translate for me :( She got to hold Charlene for a lot of our wait. We signed out papers, swore before some official that we would take good care of Charlene and answered some questions. The birth mom did her interview while we were there and took Charlene with her. All went well.

Barbara then took the 4 of us and Charlene's birth mom to the village (orphanage). We took some pictures together, toured the village, and ate lunch with LaWanna and all the babies. We then went back to the hotel.

Nathan took Taylor swimming while Charlene and I stayed back for hopefully a nap. Charlene napped a bit at the Embassy, but really needed a good long nap. Charlene wouldn't take a nap, but about 20 minutes later I hear Taylor and Nathan coming up the stairs and she's crying hysterically. She was trying to get out of the pool on the side and slipped and hit her mouth, knocking out 2 teeth. Fortunately, they were baby teeth. Nathan thought she only knocked out the front one that was super loose anyway, but when I looked, I noticed the one next to it was gone too! nathan's eyes gew wide. After about 10 minutes of calming Taylor down, he went back to the pool and found the 2nd tooth! (He had the first one already) Unbelievable. Charlene was so off schedule and so tired, that she fell asleep at bedtime, but without a bottle, so she awoke about 3am hungry! I fed her, but she didn't want to lay down alone, so she fell asleep on me and we all slept the rest of the night. Not the best night's rest, but ok.

The food at this hotel is delicious. There isn't many choices, but what we've had has been good. All I can eat is beans and rice, but it is sooo good. I was going to order a salad, but Vera warned that we don't know what water was used to wash the veggies, so I get beans and rice. Taylor also loves the beans and rice but has also gotten spaghetti. Nathan has tried various sandwiches. They have the best french toast for breakfast and the freshest orange juice.

Tuesday 10/20
We ate b'fst then Nathan and Taylor went swimming, then we got packed up, and sat down to eat lunch and Barbara showed up to take us to the beach. Taylor was complaining of a stomach ache, so we knew she had to eat. Barbara couldn't wait, so she called vera to come get us. She did and we went back to the village. We switched bags from Barbara's car into Vera's and headed to the beach. It's where we are now. It's been alright so far. Will write more later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Jack said 2 funny things this morning...
1. Kenai has some white splotch crusted on the fur on his back. I asked what that could be. Jack responded, "It's probably slug slime." The day before they had found lots of slugs outside!

2. (This is a little gross, but typical boy) "If you want a stink, then you can count on me, because I toot and burp a lot." Nice...

Homeschooling is going very well. We've pretty much got a routine, but also go with the flow. It's getting a little easier teaching 2 different levels, but still challenging. I'm also working on 'training'. That's something I've realized is incredibly important. This school year, not only do they have 'chores' to do in the mornings, some have to be done before b'fst now. That has helped. Having set times for some things helps too. Such as 8:30am the bus (kitchen chair) leaves for school (former dining room). Just this week, I've started 8:15am devotion time and they seem to like that. I've tried to eat at 11:30 and be done eating by 12pm (or else they will eat/play for ever). In the past I've done a 4pm 'pick up the house' time, but we're not always home at 4pm.

Today we went to Incredible Pizza for a Wonders of Wildlife show. It was about caves, so we learned about animals that live in caves and got to see some cool live animals. The kids did fun crafts and a scavenger hunt. 2 weeks ago, Mad Science had a class at Incredible Pizza. They learned all about 'matter'. Solid, liquid, gas, atoms, molecules, physical vs. chemical change. Awesome. Taylor is also part of the Conservation Kids Club at the Nature Center and last month they learned about snakes. Got to see/pet real ones and learned A LOT about snakes. It's fun doing field trips b/c I learn a lot too!

Time to go. 4 days 'til Haiti and still lots to do...