Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Months ago (it has been a long time, I know), our friends from Ft Myers, Mark and Brandy, had a great idea of organizing a donation effort for Haiti. I remember them commenting many times about how many “team” jerseys their kids had in their drawers from years of playing youth soccer. They got the idea to organize a donation drive within the the Christian Soccer Association in Ft Myers, FL. They called it Jerseys for Haiti. When the season was finished, all kids were encouraged to donate their jerseys, and any other jerseys sitting in their drawers from teams past. A private school in Ft Myers, The Canterbury School, somehow heard about it and donated all their older team soccer Jerseys as well. The result was 5 large barrels of jerseys!
It took me a little while to sort through them all and decide how and when to distribute them. I had some good “help” too!
When all the sorting was done, we had enough soccer Jerseys to give to 14 young adult and adult teams and 4 volleyball teams (thanks to the Canterbury School), 14 kids teams teams, scrimmage basketball Jerseys for a youth camp, and 2 barrels full of random jerseys to donate to individuals locally to use as everyday clothing (thanks to kids from the Christian Soccer Association.)
I didn’t get a chance to get many pictures of donating the random clothes, but here are a few ladies “shopping.” It’s kind of neat to see kids and adults in our little village of Simon, wearing CSA shirts and Jerseys they received (somehow!) from this endeavor! My gardener, Ramon, has a pink CSA Team Mom shirt he loves to wear. Truthfully, most of these shirts, especially the coaches and team Mom shirts, were hardly worn, so they are in great condition!
One of my stipulations for distributing the Jerseys to teams was that we wanted to be able to come to the games, take some pics, and cheer the teams on. We’ve just started having the opportunity to do this! Here are two local young adult volleyball teams that benefitted from these donations.
On Sunday, we had a chance to go see one of the soccer teams that received a new set of uniforms. This was a team of young men, aged 15-18, who play in a youth league through their school. We picked up 3 of the players and drove to the school they attend. We waited outside with the players for a little while, then the administrator of the school came and opened up a half-finished school building. We all walked thru that and out the back door, over piles of trash and up a long winding, hilly path where we had to dodge two unhappy pigs then up a bigger hill. Rob and I kept looking at each other saying “where are we going?” At the top of the hill, we saw the field.
We sat on the hillside and rooted for the blue team! They won 3-2!
The kids weren’t that into the game, but they sure had fun running around and making new friends. Such a fun way to get involved and be a part of the community.
Overall, a very fun experience! We look forward to going to more soccer games, volleyball games, and checking out the kids teams. When we do, we’ll be sure to take pics and share.
Thanks Mark and Brandy, Christian Soccer Association and the Canterbury School, for making this happen!
Monday, April 11, 2011
A year ago, we were experiencing our first week in Haiti! We slept at RMI’s guesthouse this week and went to our house during the day to work on unpacking and setting up our home. I barely knew how to greet someone in Creole, so that week was full of smiles and gestures with the ladies who work at our house. Once a day Amy had to come down to translate for me for the day!
For the kids, everything was new and exciting. They had never been to Haiti before so it was a fun adventure. In fact, I remember Drew getting angry with me when we went back to the guesthouse to sleep. He just wanted to stay at his house! We had lots of visitors as many of the other missionaries stopped by to welcome our family. Lots of curious missionary kids checking out the newest family.
The week was full of lots of “firsts”.
They all had to have turns sitting on the motorcycles:
Drew had his first ride on the 4-wheeler:
They climbed anything they could figure out how to climb:
We bought shrimp for the first time from the “shrimp guy” (who is also the lobster and fish guy)
And enjoyed Rainbow Beach for the first time:
The first week and month was full of adventure and exploration! It was all new and not hard yet. We have lots of wonderful memories of that time!
Now, the kids ride motorcycles and 4-wheelers as a regular part of life--- it’s how we get around locally. We enjoy taking family moto rides on the weekends and exploring new areas right around where we live. The kids still climb lots of things, and Drew can easily scale a pole like his friends. Drew still loves to “help” the lobster guy when he cleans the lobster. And the beach is still a fun treat.
I can’t help but look back and realize how far we’ve all come in speaking and understanding Creole. We knew next to nothing a year ago. I still have a lot to learn, but I can converse and say what I need to say with ease now. It’s still harder to understand what people are saying, especially if I don’t have the context of what we are talking about. But I’m getting better every day. The kids amaze me! Just this past weekend, Drew was teaching his Haitian friend to play UNO in Creole. Braden comprehends both languages and when he talks he uses them interchangeably. And Tessa has overcome some of her shyness and can almost keep up with Drew’s ability to converse.
The home that we were setting up, feels like HOME. Haiti is our home now. And as hard as it can be to live here, it sure has been a fun adventure! We’ve learned and experienced so much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I guess this is where the nostalgic posts begin! Tomorrow is our one-year anniversary living in Haiti. We plan on posting over the rest of the month our thoughts on this first year and looking back at pictures with you. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. It’s gone by fast. It sure hasn’t been easy. But we made it and are still smiling! There is such joy in knowing we are right where God wants us, serving Him. Hope you enjoy the posts that follow over the next few weeks!
Here we were a year ago today, all packed up, 2 rental cars packed and ready to drive to Miami. We stayed over night in Miami and flew to Haiti the next day. I can’t believe how much the kids have grown since then!
I missed posting yesterday, but didn’t want to forget to mention it today. Last year, April 6th, this picture was taken where we were staying at the Reynold’s house. The kids were having fun playing outside while we were packing up ten 50-pound bags, getting ready to move to Haiti.
Later that night, while sitting around a bonfire, Drew was listening to the adults talking about someone who died recently and he started asking questions. Rob took him aside and talked with him and Drew decided to give his heart to Jesus. I’ll never forget it :)
Happy Re-Birthday Drew!