Monday, April 25, 2011

My B-E-A-utiful Apartment!

I was just looking through my old blogs and realized that I never updated pictures of my apartment once I got a bed!

I was on an air mattress for about a month, but when they got me a bed, they GOT ME A BED! It is awesome AND comfortable. Thanks to decorations from my friends Michelle and Jenny, my room no longer looks like a prison, but more like a home. I actually LOVE staying in here and reading or watching movies! Here are the pics.

My very own BED!!!! Isn't is beautiful!

Cute wall decorations, courtesy of Jenny C!

Cute orange bulletin board from Michelle!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sports Day 2011

Today was family sports day at Quisqueya. This is a day where families can come to the school and hang out and play various activities. It started at nine, but of course, I had to be fashionably late. I strolled down at 9:15 and went over to the basketball courts.

The high schoolers were playing the game that I knew of as "gotcha", but they call it knockout, or bump. Now I LOVE basketball, but when you put one in my hands, it is nothing less than comical. After they played a few games, they roped me in to playing with them. I think they just wanted an easy target to get out.

If you can't tell, the boy is shooting with one arm. He won. Crazy!

Shockingly, I got second place in my very first game. I am definitely not good at basketball in any way, shape, or form, but I held my own. One of my junior students finally got me out, but we played a hard game. From that point on, another student (who I had to give detention to) decided to make it his mission to get behind me every single time and get me out as quick as possible. He did. From that point on, I didn't really make it past the second round. It was still a lot of fun.

We all ventured to the field and played several games for all levels. There was a tug of war (which I somehow got roped into doing), a hula hoop contest, penalty kick showdown, and then a big soccer game.

It is really awesome to see families interacting with one another. It isn't very often that I get to see the students interacting with their parents, so watching little boys be so proud of their dads when they made a goal, or dads wanting to play games just so make their kids happy was an incredible sight.

One of my sophomores hula hooping. That is talent, right there.

They fed us awesome "ballpark food", meaning hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. It was so tasty! We played more games, er, I spectated. My fuel had about run out.

I HATE tug of war. I'm the odd ball that does not want to be there.

But I really did try!

I think I could've probably beat him.

I went to watch some of the guys play basketball, when one of my students plopped down right beside me. I could tell that something was bothering her, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. When I got to the bottom, it was all petty, stupid drama. After talking for an hour, I found my heart aching for her. I flashed back to some of the stupid things I had to face when I was her age. Very similar stories of heartbreak and backstabbing. I prayed for God to give me the words to say to her, and I tried to soothe her. I told her that I faced many of the same things when I was her age. We all have to decide who we are going to be, and be it. I might never know if anything I said got to her, but I know that the Lord was in the conversation.

After the incredible conversation, I played some soccer with a third grader and fifth grader. Soccer is really NOT my sport. I'm terrible at it.

Jaime and I were invited to dinner with The Hendrick's, so we went and ate yummy pasta then played this ridiculous game called "Scum" until late in the evening. I'm happy to tell you that I did not end up being Scum!

It was such a fun-filled packed day, and I was truly blessed through all of it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Imagine being at your comfy home, where you thought no harm could ever come to you. All of the sudden, someone bursts in, robs you, and takes you, all while pointing a gun at you.

Now imagine being a husband, a wife, a child, or a friend of that person. My heart is absolutely broken and torn in half right now.

While I was doing my morning routing at school, a middle schooler came up to me and said, "Kristina, (name removed for safety) was kidnapped last night."

My heart sank.

No other information, just that she was taken.

I met her when I came down for a week long trip in October of 2009. She treated me like I was her own and spoke truth into my life. She is a pastor's wife at a church where I've visited several times.

I taught English to Haitians under her, and she guided me when I realized I had no idea what I was doing.

She gives the best hugs, and always wants to know how I am doing, whether I see her for 5 minutes or 5 hours. She has been like a Haitian mom to me, and one of the downsides of moving to campus is that I no longer get to see her very often.

But now she has been taken. Ripped from her home and taken to a place where we don't know.

My head is scattered. My heart is burning.

I have not once felt unsafe in this country. Tonight, that changes a bit. I never fear that I will be kidnapped. It is extremely rare for an American to be kidnapped, but I never once thought that someone I know, a personal friend, would ever be in danger. Several of my students have had relatives kidnapped, or friends, but her?

All day I tried to push out the thoughts of discouragement and sadness and make it through my seven classes, while continuing to pray for her constantly.

I keep asking God why. Why her? Why now? Will you keep her safe? Will you bring her home? In the midst of all my questions, I only know one thing. I know God is faithful. I know that His will is way bigger than mine, and whatever he does with this situation, He will get glory from it. I won't stop praying for her, for her family, and for all those that she has affected, and I'm asking you to do the same.

I know that God will get glory from this situation, but right now, the vision is foggy. I have faith in my God and trust His decisions WAY over mine.

Please, please, please join me in prayer for this precious woman that I love so so dearly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tet Kale!

Haitian politics is an extremely frustrating subject. The search for a new President has been going on since November. It is finally nearing the end of the process! Instead of rehashing the entire thing in an extremely long blog, I am going to copy what I wrote down in my journal concerning the election.

April 5, 2011

Around 5 pm last night, the election process in Haiti came to a close… almost. Martelly was announced as Haiti’s next Prezidan. The election process started in November, with about 16 candidates craving the power. We didn’t have school for a couple of days because there were so many reports of fraud. Many of the ballot boxes were “pre-stuffed” with ballots cast for Celestin. Jude Celestin is the current president’s (Rene Preval) son-in-law. Obviously, Preval really wanted Celestin to win, so it made sense that he helped in the cheating process.

Pretty much everyone in Haiti knew ther would be a run-off election between the top two. On December 7, 2010, the CEP (electoral board) announced the results of the elections. Mirlande Manigat (former first lady) – 33%, Jude Celestin – 22.8%, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly (the people’s favorite) – 21.4%. From those results, Manigat and Celestin would be the top two in the run-off.

Port-au-Prince erupted in anger. People were crowding the streets, burning tires, trash and cars. Martelly and Manigat both challenged the results, and once the challenged results were in, Manigat and Martelly were the two that would face off in the run-off election.

Last week the Haitian’s voted and we all waited eagerly for the results. The results were originally supposed to be last Thursday (March 31), but they delayed it to yesterday.

I was taking quite the long nap when I was jolted awake by loud screams and gunshots (the good kind, of course). I raced outside and all I heard was MARTELLY! I knew exactly what happened. The people had spoken, and Martelly was announced victorious by 67%.

The teachers that live on campus peeked over the wall for about 30 minutes and we heard so many shouts of joy. Many of them were singing. Large herds of people were running down the streets in celebration. Everyone was so happy, and thankfully, they settled down by 8:30 so I could go to the White’s house to watch the Butler/UConn championship game.

There have been reports that the results have been challenged, but I do not think that the results were change. I am still waiting on the date when Martelly will finally be inaugurated as President. Then, and only then, will I finally feel like this process is completely over. My fears of missed days of school will finally subside and the Haitian people will finally get what they deserve… a voice.