Last entry was late October and now its already mid-November…How did that happen??
After our guests from Chicago left I got busy catching up on the work that piled up during my last US trip. The biggest job was the AIDS program mid-year budget revision. We had done a “rough draft” revision at the end of September but then I needed to go line-by-line to put all the details on the two forms they give us. It was a big job and I put it off as long as possible…I finally finished it and got it to the oversight office by Oct. 30th. Now they are coming out this week to go over it before making any adjustments before approving it… I guess that means that it isn’t really finished after all and I will have to go back to those two forms again.
We’ve been kind of busy with Rotary. This year I am the club secretary. We are working on a club project to plant 1,500 tree seedlings. As many know, Haiti struggles with environmental issues due to the trees being used for cooking fuel. We are hoping that working with a local community we can get them involved in planting the trees, caring for them (making sure animals don’t eat them right away!) and hopefully protecting them from being cut down.
We were supposed to do the planting on Oct. 31st but the organizing took longer than we had expected. The new target date is Nov 18th, which is a holiday here. The planting site is accessible only by foot so I will probably be staying at the staging site while Felix goes up with the others. Hopefully we will get some good pictures that I can post later.
On Oct. 30th, Matthew and I rode into PAP with our staff transport vehicle so that we could attend our friend Savary’s wedding. We stayed in the small apartment on the SA compound and were ready in time the next morning for the wedding.
I went over to the corps 15 min before the start time and there was no one there! I was a bit worried since I didn’t have a vehicle to get around in or enough time to try to find another location. I was able to get someone on the phone who explained that it was going to be held in the DHQ conference room in the next compound. Matthew and I hurried over and found a few people, which was very reassuring. However, there wasn’t a real reason to hurry. In good local practice the 10 am wedding started at 11:10 am instead. We had a 20 piece brass (SA) band and it was fun playing together. Many of us will be playing for the General’s meetings here at the end of November.
Since the Rotary event was postponed, Felix drove in to PAP, hoping to catch the wedding and do some shopping for the clinic. The shopping got done but he missed the wedding. We returned to FDN in the late afternoon. Sunday and Monday (Nov 1 & 2) are holidays (All Saints Day and All Souls Day) so we just relaxed on Monday, making up for the stress of the PAP trip.
Halloween isn’t celebrated at all here. In the past I have helped Matthew trick-or-treat around the clinic offices by explaining it to the staff and giving them a few little things to give to Matthew when we came around. This year with it falling on Saturday and with us being away, we did a “token” event with Matthew coming to the kitchen door several times with me giving him some candy I brought back from the US. I wish that we could, at least once, be in the states on the 31st so he could experience it.
We were just in PAP again this past week. Felix went in Wednesday afternoon in order to be on TV. The DHQ has been doing some interviews to increase awareness of the SA in advance of the General’s visit (Nov 27 – 30) and for the Christmas season. Last year was the first year for our Christmas kettles and DHQ does a limited mail appeal. After the last interview they wanted to know more about the clinic, so the DC arranged for Felix to be on with him. It went really well although Matthew and I couldn’t watch since we only get one channel out here.
I went in on Thursday afternoon in order to participate in a Rotary Retreat for incoming District Govenors for the southeastern US states and the Caribbean. It was an opportunity for these people to learn more about one of the areas that benefit from Rotary projects and for us from Haiti to present some of our projects we would like funded. I was able to put together a few photos in a powerpoint presentation on our tree planting project and our baby formula project. Hopefully someone will want to help with one or both of these ideas.
Saturday the group went to a local high school and helped paint four classrooms. It was fun working side-by-side with the visitors and some of the young Rotaractors and to see how much we could get accomplished in just a few hours. I think the local club will be going back to do a second coat and maybe more rooms.
Felix and I returned to FDN Saturday evening in time to participate in the corps Harvest auction. This is our biggest fund raiser of the year and is preceded with a week of revival meetings. Usually I help make baked goods to contribute to the sale but since I was in PAP, Mayotte and Gernita agreed to do it without me. All but the bread, which didn’t rise, turned out good and sold well. Felix was the speaker today for the Harvest Ingathering and he spoke on “Reaping What You Sow”.
Well, that is about it. Today is my 14th anniversary of going overseas. I still remember the panicky feeling I had as the plane headed out over open water, “What have I gotten myself into??!!!” But God has been faithful through it all and has provided more than I ever could have dreamed…a husband, a beautiful little boy, a new language, and many new friends around the Caribbean and the world.
Thank you, Lord!