April 13, 2012

All Good Things

Eleven days left.  Holy cow.  I’m sitting here, under the balcony, in complete darkness, listening to the sound of pouring rain, and trying to process it all.  I’ve been trying to remember the mindset I had when I came here three months ago... all the thoughts, goals, anticipations, and how my experiences have reflected them in the past three months.  It is hard to separate yourself from them when you’re in the midst of it, but I imagine after I get back to the States I’ll have plenty of time to formulate my thoughts and see a big picture.  Right now I’m just trying to soak up every minute.  I was talking to my sister about it the other night, and I realized that other than the people at home- my family and friends- I don’t miss anything about the United States.  None of the comforts, culture, distractions.  I haven’t watched TV, gone shopping, or sent a text message for three months, and I totally love it.  I was surprised at how easily and quickly I was able to adjust to life here... now I’m wondering how and if I’ll be able to adjust back just as smoothly.  Honestly I sort of doubt it.  All good things come to an end... the Weepies song is playing in my head.  
We had another medical team come right after I wrote my last entry a month ago, and that was my favorite week so far.  Heidi, an amazing nurse I’ve worked with on each of my trips in the past, was here with a team from Montana.  She and her daughter Jessa let Leslee and me share their room at Auberge, a beautiful hotel in Carrefour that I stayed at last summer.  While they were here, we visited two of the other Hope Alive clinics, on the other side of the Island.  We drove for five hours, on winding roads, past mountains and the Caribbean, until we turned onto a dirt road that we followed for the next hour, past farms and remote villages, through a jungle-like landscape.  The clinic appeared out of nowhere, along with a crowd of villagers, dressed in their best clothes to come see the doctor.  We worked for a few hours and had to leave early because it looked like it was going to rain, which would make the road we came in on impassable, possibly for days.  We loaded up the back of the truck with coconuts from the clinic’s palm trees, and headed back to the Mariani clinic.  The rest of the week we were so busy seeing patients, and I LOVED it!  I got to give a couple shots and help stitch some pretty bad injuries.  I really hope I’m as good of a nurse as Heidi one day, and it was such a privilege getting to learn from her.  On the last day there were so many patients, so Jessa and I got to set up our own station.  We’d see the patients, take their vitals, then get their histories and information.  Most of the time it was fairly simple to diagnose their problems, but we’d write down the information and send them to the doctor to prescribe them the medication they needed.  After the last clinic day was over, we hiked up into the villages surrounding the clinic.  We passed the houses of many families that come to the clinic or the school-children who pass me on my runs every morning.  And the view from higher up in the mountains... oh my gosh it is incredible.  Mina, our cat, ran away for four days, which was a traumatic experience, and I cannot express to you the extent of my joy when she returned.  She’s still just as lovable and feisty as ever.  
After the Montana team left, one of my best friends came for a week!  It ruled.  We spent the days painting the clinic, working with the Haitian medical staff, and going to the beach.  And the nights, we spent in the kitchen cooking dinner and listening to music, on the roof talking under the stars, or in the newly finished guest house watching movies.  It was so refreshing and restful.  We’ve had two teams since then, both of them really quality groups, with people who it was a privilege to get to know and who helped the clinic so much.        
The clinic has been very busy, even without any American medical teams here.  I’ve been working with the Haitian nurse and doctor occasionally, and have learned most of the the Creole terms for the common maladies here- cold, cough, fever, worms, infections, etc.  Even though they are exceptionally strong people, there are so many health issues because of the living conditions.  Kids get worms from eating mud cakes, a concoction of dirt, water, flour, and sugar... terrible, but unfortunately common for many poor families living here.  People live in tents, have little access to clean water, and labor in the hot sun everyday.  So even with their strength, their bodies are constantly fighting to stay healthy.  The clinic is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, but for the past couple months, every Wednesday and Friday without fail, there have been people, waiting outside our gate, in need of medical help, many having walked from great distances.  And we have to tell them that there are no doctors here.  Hope Alive is one of the only medical organizations in the area, and the only one providing free medicine to patients.  People even refer to it as a hospital.  Two weeks ago, we were out in the village when a woman collapsed and clutched her chest.  Even though there were no doctors here, we brought her to the clinic and gave her a place to rest and some pain medicine.  Last week a little boy came in with a knife wound.  He had gotten into a fight, and another kid had slashed his head.  Luckily one of the girls on the team was an EMT, and she was able to clean and bandage the wound, but he desperately needed stitches.  Yesterday after my run, a pregnant woman was waiting outside with her two or three year old son.  The little boy was obviously sick, and she told me he had a bad fever.  It broke my heart to tell her that there were no doctors here and that she would have to return the next day.  Leslee is praying about opening the clinic another day, which is a huge financial commitment and therefore step of faith, but its so obviously needed.       

For the past three days Leslee and I have been speaking in Creole only.  It’s been so difficult!  And I haven’t had too much to say as a result.  :)  But I really wish we had started doing this sooner, because it is helping so much.  I’ve learned a lot, but most of the staff can speak English fairly to very well, so I’ve become somewhat lazy in practicing.  Today after clinic, the pharmacist Martine and the nurse Marice taught Leslee and me how to make Labouille, a Haitian porridge.  After I learned, I told them that I am almost Haitian.  They told me I need a Haitian husband first, haha.  
Tomorrow morning I’m flying to Jacmel, a village on the Caribbean side of Haiti, to see the Hands & Feet project.  Hands & Feet is an orphanage ministry started by the band Audio Adrenaline awhile back.  I don’t know much else about it, but I’m excited to see that part of the country and another ministry.  My next (and maybe last?) update will probably be after I get back to the States, unless I find time for a quick update before.  N a wè pita!  

Patients waiting for the clinic to open

After stitching up a man's foot injury
Sweet little honeys at World Harvest

"We are Friends" Love this.

One of my running pals, Cristophe

The view from above our clinic

March 11, 2012

Making a Way

I’m a bit overwhelmed as I sit down to write this entry.  It’s been over a month since I last wrote, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve lived here forever and experienced a million different things.  My thoughts and stories might be a bit choppy, so I apologize in advance. : )  But i’m beginning to know the carpet of this place, as my Dad says, and that familiarity is a really phenomenal thing.  Strange bugs and no electricity have become the norm.  10 pm is considered staying up late and 6 am is sleeping in.  By now I know most of the kids at church and the orphanage by name.  I’ve gotten blisters from hand-washing my clothes, and I’ve watched the night’s dinner get bought and slaughtered in the yard.  I’m still getting used to the heat.  Some nights are so hot in my room, that I drag my mat out to the roof and sleep under the stars.  I’ve never slept completely out in the open before coming to Haiti, and I’ve never seen stars they way they look here.

I’ve started running here, which is the greatest thing EVER.  I leave at 5:00 or 5:30 each morning, and head to the hilly pasture near the clinic, greeting the group of people already gathered outside waiting for our doctors who come at 8.  By 6:00, all the children in the village start passing me on their way to school, and in the last week or so they’ve begun to run with me, laughing and racing me down the dirt path.  Eventually more kids joined and now there’s usually a procession of them running alongside me for 15 or more minutes every day.  
I’ve also been playing a lot of soccer when we go to the beach each week.  It was super intimidating at first, because it’s me- a little, white, American girl... playing with a bunch of big Haitian, crazy-good soccer players.  My pride has definitely taken a beating, but i’ve never had so much fun being completely humbled. : )      

We’ve had three teams here since I got back: a small dental team, a youth group from Georgia, and last week a medical team from South Jersey, along with a nurse practitioner from Oregon.  All these different groups of people come and go, and each time I learn a little more about what it means to live a godly life.  I’ve been so lucky to get to know such awesome and inspirational people.
I spent my 22nd birthday here last week.  I woke up early for a run, and when we got back Willio showed me a baby cat that had wandered into our clinic during the night.  We named her Mina and she has become the little clinic pet and the best one we could wish for.  She’s really playful and cuddly.  When I’m stretching after a run or reading or writing in my journal, she’ll come and sit on my hand and stare up at me.  I’m not usually a cat person, but I LOVE this little guy so much.  :)  

So that was a great start to the day, and then at breakfast they sang to me and gave me a birthday card that everyone had signed, along with a package Frank brought from my parents, and my first pair of scrubs from Charmika, the NP from Oregon.  Then I got to spend the day in the clinic, seeing patients, which absolutely RULED!  With this last team that came, getting to work with them in the clinic every day, i’m realizing more and more how incredibly excited I am to be a nurse.  I wish i could start right now... It’s like I finally know without a doubt that this is what i want to do with my life.  
We had already finished for the day, when a 12 year old boy came in with a soccer injury.  The story was that he had fallen onto a jagged tree stump and split his face open from above his eyebrow to below his lip, although in all honesty, the perfect slice down his face looks more like a knife wound than anything.  We brought him into an exam room and Dr. Doug, who is head of an emergency center in a hospital in Jersey, got him ready to be stitched up.  The lighting wasn’t very good, so I got to hold the flashlight on the area being worked on and blotted the continuous blood flow with gauze.  I got to stand inches away from the kid’s face as Dr. Doug put in 28 stitches and explained to me the process.  It was SO LEGIT and the kid was very brave.  We only had enough anesthesia for his cheek and lip area, so he wasn’t even numb when the Doctor stitched his eyebrow and lid.  
Later that night the cooks surprised me with a birthday cake and afterwards we went for a walk, bringing a new soccer ball to a group of kids who always play in the field near us, and then we stopped by a fruit stand, buying out their entire stock of mangoes.  Such a memorable birthday. :) 
We ran out of water one of the days we were here.  Our well dried up completely.  And apparently the same day this area of the country ran out of gas.  We couldn’t get any to put in our generator, so we had no fans, lights, internet, showers, or flushing toilets.  You learn to do with less , that’s for sure.  But the Hope Alive staff takes such good care of us.  By the end of the second day, Renaud, Francois, Willio, Libertin, Carlos, and a few other guys made quite a few trips back and forth to the well down the road, carrying back these ten gallon jugs, racing each other up the steps to fill the tank and then heading back to get more, all the while laughing and joking around with each other.  It may not sound like a big deal, but when you’ve gone two days without a shower or water to wash your hands and face, those guys could have been angels to me.  Its crazy because I came down here wanting to help them, but they do immeasurably more for us.  

Another thing Leslee and I were talking about is how we come down here expecting to be missionaries, whatever that means, but they truly put my faith to shame.  I keep asking people here about how they survived, not during, but after the earthquake.  Like, how did they possibly cope with the pain and trauma that came with all of the deaths.  Literally everyone who survived lost people they knew and really cared about.  Instantaneously.  Lost their homes and everything they owned.  Their moms who cared for them.  Their dads who provided food and safety.  Their precious children.  We can think about that kind of pain in our heads and sympathize with it, but we can’t possibly feel that level of complete anguish in our hearts.  We have bad things happen to us in our lives, and a lot of times I think we blame God for them, or question His goodness.  But with everyone here I’ve spoken to about it, I’ve asked how they not only didn’t fall apart, but emerged-not bitter- but strong.  And each person I’ve talked to has brought it back to God.  They’ve relied on Him for everything, and they’ve really pulled through for each other too.  When the youth group team from Georgia was here, we were talking one night about how easy it is to come to Haiti and help the people here, but its much harder to show that same selfless love to people at home- at school or work or in our family.  We asked my friend here what it was that made him care so deeply, not only for us but for his own people too.  He talked about how when you are a Christian, that is what you do, you help them.  And when you help someone, but do not tell them about Jesus, you’ve made a mistake, because the blood of Jesus is precious.  He said, “The first day I met Jesus, He made a way for me.”  That is how they survived the earthquake and the many hardships they’ve faced.  And that’s what God does for each of us when we give Him our lives.  He makes a way for us.  I thought that was the coolest way of putting it, and that phrase has really stuck with me since then.
I waited too long to update this, and I know I crammed a million different details in.  I promise I’ll be quicker with the next update.  Still appreciate your prayers and hearing from you all SO much!  
love, Katie

With Nanu, one of the orphans, at church on Sunday

our pet Mina!

A quality stitching job

On my birthday, with all the mangoes we bought at the fruit stand.  I'm practically Haitian!

February 5, 2012


     Well I would never have guessed the events of this week, but who ever knows these things?  We had to make a sudden trip to Florida for a few days.  Leslee had been feeling sick, and on Monday she had a severe allergic reaction, which left her feeling weak and which was very frightening because she had no idea what caused it.  After much prayer, we decided it was best to go to the States, where she could rest, see a doctor and find out what was wrong.  It was definitely not something we anticipated, and I know it was very difficult for both of us to leave Haiti, especially because she did not know if she would be able to return.  I’ve realized in the past few days, that this is where trusting God begins.  When you don’t know what to expect, or what you want, except that you want God to work everything out.  It’s hard.  So this unexpected week... I need to trust God and make the best of it.  And count my blessings.  I have so much to thank God for.  Thank You that I am healthy.  That I am able to spend a week with my grandparents.  That it is so easy to get back to Haiti from Florida.  Thank You for Your strength, love, and protection.  For giving me this opportunity.  For being able to be around people like Leslee and Renaud and Polly and the rest of the team that was here this week, to learn from their wisdom and godly lives.  That we can trust You with EVERYTHING.  Thank you that when all seems to go wrong, You are still in control.  The shadows prove the sunshine.  
So after a few days here, Leslee is doing much better and has found out that her allergies are treatable and unrelated to Haiti... which means that we can both return in a few days!  Needless to say, I am so excited to get back.  But this week I’m resting, taking advantage of the Wi-Fi to fill out some nursing school applications, spending time with my grandparents, and running and biking a LOT.  In Haiti, people don’t run.  Isn’t that crazy?  No one does, except for little boys who have too much energy, Haitians playing soccer, or somebody running from danger.  There’s no such thing as gyms or treadmills either.  The concept of exercising to stay in shape or to keep a good figure doesn’t really exist, because the daily grind of life in Haiti is so physically strenuous that any added physical activity is only performed for its enjoyment.  So they play soccer.  
Anyway, other stuff happened in the past week that doesn’t involve sickness or fleeing the country, so let me try to recap some of the those events.  
The first team came and went, a group of fifteen from Pennsylvania.  They were amazing.  They took care of the painting, plumbing, and electricity for our new guest house, along with the kitchen and two new bathrooms.  There were also four teachers and a children’s pastor who held a youth rally at the clinic and taught English at the orphanage everyday, and two photographers who documented the trip for a missions conference.  During the youth rally, we saw a Haitian mother who is always at our clinic asking for formula and diapers.  She had her three youngest children with her, all with yellow hair (a sign of malnourishment), and when we saw the baby, it was shocking how tiny he was.  After pulling the mother (Bridgette) aside, we found out she is deaf, has nine children, and has been feeding her two month old mashed up bananas because she cannot produce milk.  The two month old, Jhany, looked like he would not survive two more days unless he quickly got help.  Martine, the young pharmacist at our clinic grabbed the baby and started feeding him a bottle of formula.  As she fed him, Leslee leaned over to Martine and said, “Why don’t you adopt him?”  Martine looked shocked and actually laughed, looking at Leslee like she was crazy.  But she thought about it and I think she realized the baby might not survive unless someone took care of him, so she prayed about it and talked to the baby’s mother.  Hope Alive agreed to sponsor the baby and Martine decided to take care of him.  Just like that.  It’s amazing to me that in a few hours someone can agree to change their life so drastically.  To make a decision like that, one that will change her life in many ways and that will give the baby a chance of survival.  Those are the kind of people I always seem to encounter in Haiti.  People of strong and selfless character.
While the PA team was here, we went to World Harvest twice.  World Harvest is a mission that consists of an orphanage, a school, and a church, run by Pastor Elli and his wife.  On Sundays, the church service goes on for probably two hours, but you don’t really notice because there is so much singing and laughing and everyone is genuinely happy to be there.  After church and then again on Tuesday, we got to talk and play with the orphans, who are honestly the most loving people you will ever meet.  I’ll probably bring a few back with me when I leave Haiti in May.  : ]  I’m posting a bunch of photos to facebook soon.        
I’ve been practicing my French and Creole, and getting to know some of the staff at Hope Alive better as a result.  Breaching the communication barrier with someone has to be one of the most relationally rewarding experiences... the people I’ve met here are so much fun ,and even from the few conversations we’ve been able to have, I know already that they are so full of wisdom and good stories.  It has allowed me to learn more about Haiti too, to ask questions about religion and cultural differences, that I wouldn’t learn from just being here for a week or two.  Some differences are obvious though.  It seems in America, poverty is often linked with misery.  It’s not that way here.  Maybe its because they’ve never known anything else, or because they seem to rely on God for everything, but people here are so full of life.  They laugh and joke around ALL the time, it’s so refreshing.  And the music.  People here love to dance.  In church, at the beach, in the street, to reggae, techno-American pop songs, and pounding rap.  I have a refreshed love for Bob Marley.    
The last two nights before we all left, Leslee and I stayed at the hotel, La Lambi, with the rest of the team.  Lambi is down the street from the clinic, right on the ocean and totally authentic.  The first night, we swam under the stars, as a Haitian man in a rowboat tried to sell us fresh Conch he was cooking right there in the middle of the sea.  The second (and last) night, we arrived back to find notes on our doors, inviting us to a party they were throwing for us.  We followed the pounding music down through the beaded curtains to the open-air bar and restaurant, looking out over the water, and lit only with twinkling lights strung around the dance floor.  Everyone danced all night, our team and the Haitians, and when the Americans got too tired, the locals performed for us, incredible Latin and Salsa and belly dancers.  I quickly learned, the Haitians know how to PARTY, and I’m way jealous of their ability to dance.  Even though the party was hosted for us, it continued on long after we left and I fell asleep to the sound of music pounding through the walls of my room.  
On the flight to Ft. Lauderdale, I met a Haitian woman named Angie who lives in Miami, but returns to Haiti every three months to do missions work.  She is a nurse and travels throughout the villages, walking to the areas inaccessible to cars.  Her stories were incredible, especially because I’ve been thinking recently about how much I’d love to travel around the country at some point.  She said she would be glad to come help us out at the clinic at some point, so we exchanged information to stay in touch.  
We’ll be back in Haiti in a few more days, arriving with the next team... a small group of three dentists and two carpenters.  I’ll write another update after we return.  I’d love it if you would pray Colossians 1:9-12 for me... Thank You All !!!

PA Team!
Baby Jhany and Martine

La Lambi

January 28, 2012


The Mariani Clinic

Bonsoir!  Love from haiti.  
I don’t even know where to start, except that I LOVE it here.  In the past few days, I’ve gotten used to no electricity, felt an earthquake, killed a couple tarantulas (alright, I had someone else kill them), started to learn Creole, and met and worked with some really lovely people, both Haitians and Americans.  
Some of my first few impressions:
Haiti is improving SO much.  We drove from the airport to the clinic, and then back again a few days later to pick up a team that had arrived.  I was talking to some of the people from the team, and they said this was the poorest country they had ever seen or imagined.  Which is true.  It is still extremely poor.  But honestly, to see the amount of progress that has taken place even in the past six months is incredible.  Many of the tent cities are mostly cleared out, and they’ve actually installed traffic lights in some parts of Port-Au-Prince.  Everything seems a little less chaotic.  Apparently, the new president is a good man and has been making a lot of great changes in Haiti.   
Living is basic.  But over the past few days I’ve realized I love the simplicity.  There is no electricity, except sometimes during the day when the generator is on.  I’ve been getting used to not having a cell phone or constant access to the internet and its actually somewhat freeing.  While the guest house is being built (it will be a long room attached to the downstairs kitchen/eating area), I am staying upstairs in one of the rooms where they usually see patients.  Its a small square room with concrete walls and a floor, where I have my mat and mosquito net set up.  There is a long table that I keep my suitcases on, a small sink, and a window that’s always open to a blue sky and palm trees.  I’ve set up pictures and a couple other things, and I’m actually getting quite attached to it. : ) The building has a roof, but it is very much open to the outside.  From one of the rooms and the balcony upstairs you can walk onto the guest house roof.  That’s one of my favorite places so far.  It’s a beautiful place to watch the stars or the sunset and you can see la Mer, the ocean, from there.  
We wake up around 6 each morning, cook breakfast, have devotions, and wait for the teams to get here.  This week there is a team from PA, and they have been working on the guest house and teaching at one of the local orphanages.  I’ve been sorting through about forty big boxes of medical supplies and donations.  The clinic is usually open three days a week, except when medical teams are here from the States.  I haven’t done much medical work yet, except for today when I cleaned and bandaged a bloody knee of one of the team members.  Straight up first-aid haha.  But we will have a medical team coming soon, so I’ll be able to work with a nurse or doctor then!  However, I did get to hold a lot of cute Haitian babies and talk to their moms as they waited for their turn to see the Doctor.  The team stays until after dinner, and then heads back to their hotel.  The sun goes down by 6 each night, all year long, and because there is no electricity at night, we rely on lanterns and flashlights after 6.
Leslee and I stay here at the clinic with Willio- our security guard and a friend from the last two summers.  After the electricity goes out and the sun goes down, the three of us usually hang out on the roof for a while.  We just sit in the dark and talk about life and whatever else, in a mixture of Creole and French and English.  Willio has been teaching us Creole.  Then by 8 or 9, I usually get ready for bed, zip myself into my mosquito tent, and read or write about the day.  I’ve probably written over 30 pages in my journal already, of all the stories and observations from the past five days.  
The animals are wild here.  At 8 PM the roosters start crowing, and the dogs, chickens, donkeys, and other creatures all act up at random times throughout the night.  If you know the scene from 101 Dalmations where every dog in the entire city is howling at the top of its lungs, you can imagine what I am talking about.  Also at around 8, you hear loud singing and music coming from the Catholic church nearby, and around four in the morning every day the city of Mariani has chanting and singing for about an hour.  
I’m learning to make peace with the bugs.  Or at least accept that they are everywhere.  We killed nine large cockroaches the first night and a few more since then.  I woke up one morning to Leslee calling Willio to come kill a tarantula.  Then I saw one in the bathroom yesterday morning.  I made Willio kill that one too, but I’m thinking pretty soon I’ll be brave enough to kill them myself.  One of the mornings we were there, the clinic shook slightly.  It was a small earthquake, and apparently they occur somewhat often.  There is so much to get used to, but its pretty cool how quickly you can adapt to a new environment.   
Honestly, it is impossible to describe life here adequately.  I’d have to be a much better writer to do that.  I wish you could all come here and experience everything... the natural beauty of the country mixed with extreme poverty, the simplicity of life here, and the kindness of the people.  It’s a completely different world here, and in many ways its like breathing fresh air.  Alright... I know I just wrote a book about my trip and I’ve only been here for five days.  My other entries will probably be much shorter, but there’s just so much to talk about.

January 23, 2012

Treasures in Jars of Clay

January 23rd.  That’s one of those dates you spend so much time thinking about and anticipating.  And then it’s here.  This is the first time I’m in the air since my flight back from Haiti last July.  Except it’s so different this time.  I’ll be spending the next three months in Haiti, working with the Hope Alive Clinic.  The past week has been a blur and a mixture of emotions, mostly swaying between excitement and stress about getting everything ready in time.  Last night, I slept for two hours, said my goodbyes to ma famille, and made it through the airport and onto the plane.  After talking to Leslee about the trip, I am getting more and more excited, but I still don’t know what to expect.  I figure that if I go without expectations, but with an open heart to serve God and the people I am around, then I can’t be disappointed.

     I’ve been spending a lot of time praying about Haiti and and my time there.  The name for my blog, “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” comes from a Switchfoot song, and I was thinking about how it relates to Haiti.  The song addresses the darkness in the world and even in our own hearts, but explains that God’s beauty and goodness is displayed all the more evidently in the midst of that.  Haiti has seen lots of shadowy, dark times, but even in the two times I’ve been here previously, I’ve seen so much beauty and God’s hand all over the country.  And I’m really hoping that in the midst of the shadows in me, and the flaws of my sinful nature, God’s light will able to shine through me.  

I just read a verse, 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, that says, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made this light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have these treasures in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us.”  We’re not anything special, jars of clay... ordinary and unremarkable... but God can still use us to make a difference in people’s lives.  And I really want to do that while I’m here.

This country amazes me each time I go, and honestly, I can’t even imagine what it will show me in the next 100 days.  I’m going to try to research the history more, so I’ll write something up about that later.  But for now, I’ll explain what I do know.  Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and is actually considered a fourth-world country (which I had never heard of before).  The Haitians freed themselves from French rule in 1804.  They speak Creole, but are taught French in school.  We are in the same time zone as EST back home in Jersey, which is convenient.  The sun rises at six and sets at six all year round, and the climate is HOT.  It will be in the 90s each day, but since its January the mornings and evenings will actually be in the 70‘s and quite lovely.  

I’m staying at the Mariani clinic, which is about an hour drive from Port-Au-Prince.  Leslee Jacobs and her husband Frank started the Hope Alive Ministry about 20 years ago and now have 5 clinics throughout the country.  Leslee and I will be there for the full three months, and we have 8 or 9 teams coming at different points.  While we’re there, we will be finishing the guest house the 1st week, then working in the clinic and visiting different orphanages, helping people start up their own small businesses, and traveling to different parts of the country to visit the other clinics.  Right now the schedule is tentative so i’m not really forming many plans, except to just go with it!  I’ve come up with some challenges to work on while i’m there.  Spending time praying and reading the Bible every day is the first one.  Another is to maintain some form of exercise.  I want to learn as much French and Creole as I can while I’m there, and maybe pick up some soccer skills from the locals.  In the past, everyone I’ve played a pick-up game with there has been crazy good.  Alright, after I’ve arrived and get a chance to use internet, i’ll try to write about my first few experiences there.  
Au Revoir!