My life in Haiti - Aug '04 to Feb '06

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

made it home

Well I made it to BC on the 17th of February! I was in Port from the 13th - 16th not able to do a whole lot because of demonstrations in the streets. I ended up taking a bus from Port to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and catching a flight out of there! It was an adventure to say the least! This will be my last post on this blog. From now on, you can find me at

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What a day!

Okay - so the day started off fairly well! I repacked my suitcases and I think that they are both now in their limits. Then I went and spend the day with Ronel in Borel - more fun, taking photos of the neighbourhood kids, playing the "Voyage game" (some little tiny game - it was interesting!) Then I showed Ronel how to play the Frog Hopping game, ate some yummy food and then came home. Decided to check my emails and it was good I did - email from my mom saying that she had gotten a call from American Airlines saying my flight to Florida on Tuesday was cancelled. So, panic starts to slowly set in, try to call my mom - no answer, so next best thing - call your big brother and tell him to call mom and email me more about the cancellation. Well - turns out there wasn't a whole lot more to tell!

So amazingly - I was able to call the 1-800 number from my cell phone here ( didn't work when we tried to call in October for my cousin Lynn!) and spent a long time and lots of gourdes (Haitian currency) to find out that American Airlines isn't flying from Port to Ft. Lauderdale before March 1st! Well - that wasn't what I wanted to hear and so I asked what my options were - the lady said that they were still flying twice daily into Miami from Port and there was room on the 11am flight on Tuesday - so I quickly grabbed it and then called the next airline to change the rest of my flights home. (cause the Miami flight (arrive 1:10pm & then go through customs - min 1 hour plus find transportation to Ft Lauderdale) wouldn't allow me time to connect to my current flights scheduled to leave Ft. Lauderdale!)

So wait on hold for Continental only to find out that even though my flight in Continental airlines and I have a Continental confirmation number and I can see my itinerary online at - I don't have a Continental ticket!! It is an Alaska Air ticket - so 3rd call - and I get the most helpful & wonderful lady (insert tons of sarcasm here!!) She said that the only option she saw for the 14th would cost me $300US minimum! & that there was no way she could let me change the flight without change fees -even though this isn't my fault at all! American Airlines cancelled all flights into Ft Lauderdale - what do you want me to do!

Now, my original ticket with Alaska/Continental was $228 Cdn - a really good deal from Floriday to Vancouver! Then, after I almost cried asking her if there was any other options available to me, she tells me that there is a flight on the 16th (2 days later!) that would only cost me the $50US change fee.

Now, I really don't want to have to spend 2 days in Florida! I want to leave Haiti and arrive in BC - all in the same day! This departure is already emotional enough - I don't need two days to sit in Florida and think about how much I miss Ronel and also how much I want to see family & friends in BC. I do have a friend who I can most likely stay with for the two nights (though it is now Sunday morning technically and I would arrive Tuesday and I haven't gotten a hold of her yet - If I decide to do this - I'll have to call her tomorrow cause she doesn't check her email often)

The lady at Alaskan Air said my other option was to search for a cheap flight online with any carrier and then just eat the price of the current ticket with Alaska (though I think I should be able to get a credit for it - or something!) If it worked out to be anything less than the $300 US - I'd be saving money . Well - after searching, and searching, and even more searching - this "travel agent extrordinaire" (one of my many titles here at HATS) was not able to find anything for less than $300Cdn - well that is not that much of a difference than $300US!

And as tempting as it is to want to see Eileen & leave on the 16th (and save money!)- that also means I don't get to see my mom when I arrive in BC and that isn't cool to me! I want to see my mom - I need to see my mom! She is flying out on the 15th with her mom to visit my aunt & uncle in Curacao (some island off the coast of Venezuela) She will be gone for 3 weeks returning the 9th of March - that is too long to not see my mom while I am in BC (especially since I haven't see her for 3 months already!) I want to be home on the 15th to go to minichurch, to see my sister & my nephews, to see my friends!

well I am going to go sleep on this and make my decision in the morning!

Good night!!

Friday, February 10, 2006


well, I am going down to the kids home so that we can have fun and then I'll sleep down there with them - for the first & last time :( We're going to move all the mattresses into the big room and get out the CD player and music and have fun!!! Maybe I'll even get my hair braided! (can do that cause I dyed it this afternoon ;) no more roots and no more grey hairs!!

I'll try and take some photos of the activities tonight to post!


I don't know if I have ever been so sad to see a Friday arrive! It means that I only have the weekend left oh - and Monday - which I know will be filled with lots of last minute stuff and making sure I am fully prepared to leave (which will include basically taking apart my bedroom - clock, lamp, curtains, bathroom stuff - all must either be down at Ronel's or in my suitcase by Monday evening!) Monday I'll be sleeping in a bare room - with my bed & my alarm clock - I will leave out my toothbrush, toothpaste & hairbrush for Tuesday morning and then they will get tossed into my carry on. Last night I went up to pack and was exhausted! So this morning I took out some time and went and packed - Well, I got everything into my suitcase but when I weighed it - it weighed 90lbs! I am allowed 50lbs and had thought of paying to be able to take 70lbs but either way - my suitcase is way overweight! ARGH! So it looks like I am going to have to do some rearranging and see if I can get everything into my 2 suitcases and 1 carry on and not be overweight - looks doubtful but I'll try! Also looks like I am going to have to be tougher on leaving stuff behind! :S I don't like that idea at all! :(

I'll let you know how my packing goes!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

This is a shot of the jam that was made from the "peel" of the grapefruits I used for juice last weekend. It isn't made from the outside peel but from the white part that is between the outer skin and the actual fruit. Ronel's mom boiled the white stuff twice, then mixed in sugar and boiled it again (between each boiling -she squeezed them and also cleaned them) Then she added tomatoes, cinnamon sticks (the brown bits in the photo), guava (the orange bits), and more sugar. (she would have also added cherries if they were in season and available but none to be found at this time of the year) This boiled for a long time and then it had to cool. Today, she then added in essence of vanilla (after it was cooled) and then put it into two jars. We sent Olritch to buy some bread and we all tried it. It is sweet and lots of chunky bits in it (which I am not a fan of!) but Ronel just piled it onto his bread and he loved it! He also ate some right off the fork! It was just another reminder to me how smart Haitians are - nothing that can be used, gets wasted. I would have just thrown that part of the fruit away! (I wouldn't have even peeled the grapefruit before juicing - I would have just cut it in half and squeezed the fruit half - or if I was so lucky - used one of those hand juicers things that you just twist the fruit on and it gets the juice out!) One more "Haiti first" for Theresa before she leaves!


I did it - I emailed off the financial reports for 2005 this afternoon! A whole day earlier that I had thought! I am so happy!! This means that I basically have 4 days to just enjoy myself here in Haiti {and say goodbye to everyone! :( }

I still have my last suitcase to rearrange - I know what needs to go in it - it is just making it all fit and be under 50lbs. I will work on that tonight and hopefully be 95% finished with that ( there are some things that can't go in till Monday night cause I need them till then!)

Spent the afternoon with Ronel and he was very quiet and not himself. I think me moving back to BC is harder on him than it is on me, cause I am the one starting something new and he will be coming to work everyday and NOT seeing me - everywhere he goes he is going to have reminders of me, while I won't have the same problem in BC - I'll just be wishing he was there with me!

Trying to get all my important emails into my new account - I have alot of emails I want to save and so it is taking a while to redirect them all to my new address! But atleast I can do other stuff while I am waiting (like post this!)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alexandre - way to go!!

Alexandre had great fun this afternoon. Rose Martha had set up all the marbles for chinese checkers on the tin lid. Alexandre was lying on his stomach on the blue pillow that is in the photos. He was facing away from the lid but managed to work his way over and then start banging on the lid with his foot! He was making lots of noise as the marbles hit the tin lid and he was enjoying himself! As you can see in the photos, he managed to spread the marbles quite a distance! (they were originally all in the points of the star in their places -waiting to be played!)

Good job Alexandre - as long as you're working at getting yourself mobile - you can cause all the "dezod" you want!!

Moyiz & I hanging out in my office - he loves to see photos of himself!! We took a bunch of photos but this was the best of both of us!

so this is a look at my burn on day 12! It hasn't really scabbed over yet and every time I shower the "scab" goes all soft and the wound starts oozing again! Very frustrating cause it isn't like I can skip showering! I haven't been able to keep it covered cause that also keeps it from scabbing and then it oozes and I think the oozing is so gross! The red has spread to the left (right oin the photo) and I am a bit concerned but I will be visiting the doctor as soon as possible after I get to BC! It is still very sore and I can't lie on my stomach without propping that leg up on something - I forgot about it last night and went to turn over to write something down and quickly remembered as soon as my leg hit the bed! So I lay there with my one leg bent at the knee sticking into the air! You do what you have to to keep the pain down!

Mushrooms - Haitian style! This is jhon-jhon that Martha just bought at market so she can make some delicious rice with jhon-john & pwa congo! It is dried mushrooms and they boil them and then take out the mushroom bits and use the mushroom "juice' to cook the rice in! Delicious!!


Okay - So I really find this cluster map thing cool! I saw it on someone else's blog and had to get one for my blog! It shows me in the form of dots on a map where the visitors to my site are coming from! (the funny thing is it looks like I never visit cause for some wierd reason my satellite service seems to be coming from somewhere in the middle of the US - so no dots on Haiti)

I had originally just put one on my new blog for when I get home (which has already had 71 hits - I am sure the majority of those are me but I know there are others who have checked cause I see their dots! - but hey - leave comments!!) and then decided I wanted one for this blog too! So I put it on today - wish I had known about it when I had started the blog but such is life! It'll be interesting to see how many people visit the site and from where.

129 hours 33 mins till I leave Haiti - can't believe it - I've got a lot to do in those 129.5 hours!

last Wednesday...

craziness has started to set in! I had wanted to have everything done by Friday afternoon so I could not worry about any work stuff my last weekend here. Well - that is looking less and less likely! I have not been feeling well today and yesterday evening so that is cutting into my productivity! I stayed up working till about 1am last night since we had electricity and I am not yet finished with my reports! Getting the Visa stuff straightened out took awhile since we recently switched credit cards for HATS and so I have to combine visa statements from two separate accounts! and figure out which expenses are HATS charges still going on the old card! It's been a learning experience!

If I have to stay up all night again tonight I will cause I want to be able to have fun this weekend!

Today was the last time I will prepare funds to send Cecile & Martha off to market!

my life next Wednesday will be very different from today!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Well - the voting stations have now been closed for a couple of hours and I haven't heard any news! There was report of an incident in Liancourt (about 15 mins away) where two voters got into a fight because they were backing different candidates - an innocent by-stander is now in hospital here in Deschapelles after taking a bullet because of the fight between the two voters (but neither of the people involved were hurt!!)

Here's praying that things calm down tomorrow and I (& Karen) will be allowed off the compound! I don't want to spend the last few days I have in Haiti being locked inside my own yard!!!


from front to back:
Joanne - Ronel's neice (she is 4 years old)
Dayana - Ronel's sister (she is 7 years old)
Olritch - Ronel's brother (he is 9 years old)
They had come to the door of Ronel's room to see what we were doing (going through and junking out tons of stuff!) and they looked so cute all lined up and so I took this photo - they LOVED getting their photo taken and I took many more the next day! and I am sure I will take even more this coming weekend when I am down there!


a photo of the three of us hanging out tonight. ( this was taken by placing the camera on the edge of my desk and using the 10 sec timer - I'm impressed with the results!)

Rachelle & Alexandre

Rachelle & Alexandre - sitting next to me watching me do financial reports (not the most exciting thing!) The kids LOVE to come in and just sit watching me do whatever I happen to be doing - Occasionally if I have time I try and show them photos - especially ones that they're in! Yesterday I had 5 kids up around my desk looking through all the photos that were taken while Sandra, Dickie & Don were here in January (that is over 800 pictures!) I love Rachelle - she is so adorable and sweet. She comes up and will just sit beside you and then slowly start rubbing your arm or playing with your hair. She is extremely helpful and loves holding Alexandre. I am going to miss all the kids here but there are some that hold an extra special place in my heart - Rachelle is one of those!


Okay - so this is me just getting out my frustration and since I am alone in my office, I am posting this!

Today is election day here in Haiti - that means no school, no work, nothing is open today. Ronel just called me (just cause he wanted to hear my voice and know that I'm okay) on a friend's cell phone. I asked if he was going to come see me tonight (since I am not allowed off the compound today!) and he said No, cause "they" would take his moto if he tried to come up here or even just go on the road. "They" would be the police or UN. Only authorized vehicles allowed on the road (ones that are transporting people to or from the voting centers) - trying to keep the chance of violence down. I only have 6 days left in Haiti that I can spend with Ronel and one of them we have to be apart because this country is so filled with troublemakers and so its unsafe to come see me because of the elections happening! ARGHHHHHH!

One more thing on my list of things I am not going to miss!


Things that I will miss in Haiti
  1. Ronel!! (my fiance)
  2. devotions every morning with the kids & staff
  3. Martha's good Haitian coooking and Ronel's mom's delicious pates (a fried dough thing with yummy stuff inside)
  4. the sun and its warmth!
  5. my kids
  6. the friends I've made here
  7. walking the canal
  8. the beautiful scenery outside my door
  9. the night sky - with such an abundance of stars visible!
  10. the Creole language
Things I won't miss in Haiti
  1. roosters crowing at all hours!
  2. trucks laying on their horn at 3am
  3. Needing security 24/7 (and having them need a gun!)
  4. standing out because of my skin colour
  5. repetitive meals! (though I LOVE the food - you get tired of the same thing over and over again!)
  6. not being allowed out after dark (which is 6pm!!)
  7. the need to shower multiple times a day because you're sweating so badly!
  8. being called blan
  9. cockroaches, tarantulas, mice, and any other unwelcome animal!
  10. being HOT almost all the time!
Things I'm looking forward to in BC
  1. hanging out with my friends & family
  2. playing with my nephews
  3. speaking English
  4. not standing out in a crowd because of my skin colour
  5. food - so many different foods that I have missed! - lasagna, 7 layer dip, chicken breasts (in any form!), steak, a BBQ burger from Cactus Club, nachos, .....
  6. minichurch, Sunday morning services in English - and PT's sermons!!
  7. the ability and option to go shopping (if and when I want) without a 4 hour drive and the possibility of not finding what you need.
  8. playing a good game of Canasta with Stacey!
  9. Being able to go out WHENEVER I want! Being allowed to drive alone, after dark(or after 6pm!)
  10. following God as He leads me in a new direction and into a new adventure!
Things I'm not looking forward to in BC
  1. being cold!
  2. having to prepare my own meals - all the time! (Yes, I'll admit I've been spoiled!)
  3. the possibility of snow
  4. being apart from Ronel
  5. being cold! (have you got the idea - I don't look forward to being cold!!)

6 days left...

Monday, February 06, 2006

7 days.....

The countdown is on - I have a week left in Haiti - that means I have 7 days to take in as much as I can. I know that come next Monday night at 8:30pm - I am NOT going to have as big of a smile as I do in this photo! I'll have said goodbye to the staff, friends, the kids and Ronel. Tuesday morning I'll leave the compound at 4am and head to Port au Prince with Nicolas. He'll drop me off and that's it - I'll be on my way to BC. It seems so unreal to me, but everytime I open my bedroom door - reality hits! My bags are almost all packed, I have given away almost all of my clothes that I either am not bringing home or don't see purpose in keeping here at Ronel's, I have brought everything down to Ronel's that I want to save or am giving to him to use. My room is very bare and almost depressing! Ronel and I had another good long talk and a good cry on Saturday. It isn't going to be easy saying goodbye but as we keep telling each other - We know that this is God's plan and He has something great in store for us! I keep telling myself that nothing worth having in life is easy! and I think that we're worth it!

I am very thankful that I am going home to some great friends who I know are going to be there for me - friends who will be there to listen, give advice when needed or just a shoulder to cry on. As much as I am looking forward to seeing family and friends again, the thought of not knowing when I am coming back to Haiti is very hard. Ronel & I have only been apart once when I didn't know when I was coming back and that was when I went out ill in Sept of 2004. That was only 2 months after we were officially a couple and things were much harder then first cause I was really sick and we didn't know what the doctors were going to find and also because Ronel didn't know how to email - thank God things have changed since then!! This fall, before I went out in Nov, Ronel asked me to show him how to email so he could get in touch with me himself and not always be dependant on others. He was a quick learner and we were able to email each other while I was out in BC. It was nice to be able to keep in touch and I know it is going to be a blessing while we are apart this time. Knowing that I am talking to him (and only him!) makes communication much easier and more open! Sending emails to someone else to print off - you are never as open and I know Ronel was more reserved in his letters too as someone else had to read and type his letters to me. I am thankful that people were willing to be the go-between for us but much more happy now that Ronel has learned to email on his own!


Playing & teaching UNO at Ronel's. I bought Ronel UNO cards for Christmas (another visiting blan had taught him and some others but they had no cards) and yesterday he wanted to play. So, Marie-Berth, Manouchka, Oltrich, Ronel & I all played (Dayana & Joanne just hung out and watched) - Manouchka (girl with pink pants & red top) caught on really quick! The others did well too. Everyone but Marie-Berth won a hand and she was a good sport about it! (but I have to say I won the game - I've been losing at every game lately so it was a nice change!)
It was nice to hang out and play with kids outside the compound. Gave me a glimpse into "normal" Haitian life and having just anyone pop over and visit - here everyone who wants to enter has to first check with security and they check with us if we want to see them -it isn't the same!
There were probably 3 0r 4 neighbourhood kids who just stopped in for a short visit - I think some of it was cause the blan was there -but fun none the less!

look what I did!

< This is 6 cups of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice I squeezed all by myself! (that is 6 cups of pure juice - before I added water!)

I was proud of myself!

Friday, February 03, 2006

just a little enthusiastic!

Okay - so maybe "Hello" isn't the best program for me to have on my computer right now! I have a ton of photos I wanted to post and it is so easy with Hello and their BloggerBot (I find it way easier than Picasa's Blog This if you are doing more than one photo. Well, once I got started - I couldn't seem to stop! I think I posted over 50 photos in like a 45 min window -all while still doing my financial reports for 2005~~

Anyway - I still have more work to do on the reports so enough blogging for today - it is so easy to procrastinate and blog! but I only have 10 days left in Haiti and still have lots of work to do, and I have been spending lots of "extra" time with Ronel these days! :)


Pharlie - a friend's daughter. She is so adorable and is slowly warming up to me. She has her name stitched into the front of her uniform (on the blue part - on the left side of the photo) She walks over to Ronel's all the time - by herself and she just turned 3! (she does only live 2 houses away but still)

Alexandre - smiling for the camera

Mirlande - watching Martha at work

Mirlande - watching Martha peel and prepare vegetables for our dinner

Ronel & I - all smiles

Ronel & I - all smiles after a fun day at the river

having fun with the camera

Mirlande and I having fun with the camera while Maudeline braids my hair

good place to sit?

Mirlande thought I looked like a good place to sit! I was on the floor after falling over trying to sit "haitian style" squatting with your butt way down and your feet flat on the ground. Not as easy as they make it look!

now, can you carry all that on your head??

rice fields

me and my boy - Moyiz! Gonna miss this one a lot!

rice drying

huge truck filled with sacks of flour

quick - take the photo - I'm starting to fall over!

busy life and it's not even 7am

field prepared for sweet potatoes

dozens and dozens of eggs waiting to go to market to be sold

yummm. Bananas!

Moyiz - singing I have the joy, joy, joy


what a beautiful sight - I am going to miss walking the canal.

pushing me around.

Ronel "pushing me around" - literally! He rolled me out of my office into the living room, we chatted with Sandra and then he rolled me back to my desk!

seeing double

this was hilarious - Dickie & I were in matching outfits all day and no one noticed until like 9pm when I came into my office to help Sandra with that night's blog update.

Rachelle showing off her new outfit

Sandra and I with our Haitian hairdos!

Avocado fun

these are three shots we took today with this HUGE avocado Martha bought at market.

Mirlande holding it - cause she is so little it looks like a small watermelon.

Ronel trying to show the size of the avocado

me showing how enthusiastic I am about eating it!

look at me - i'm getting there

gazing lovingly at the woman he loves (ME!)

are these not the cutest little feet!

Ronel & I

Rachelle took this photo of Ronel & I (just today actually while we were getting our lunch ready

having fun at the river


boy, he loves the camera - as soon as you take it out, he breaks into a big smile

he totally knows when I am taking photos!

Ronel & I - November 2005 (with my extensions in)


Joanne - Ronel's niece, she was just lying there and I snapped this shot.

I see you too~

Haitian boat


aww - my Poppa Dickie came back to see me!!