Hiking Haiti

hike: an extended long walk for training, pleasure or exercise across rural country or wilderness; to rise upward and out of place; to increase

I know most everyone knows what “hike” means. But I found myself pondering this word and thinking about how much its definition explains our experience in and with Haiti.

We still have a long way to travel on our extended long walk. We sometimes feel out of place. But I think we will always feel out of place until we are in our true home country…Heaven. Our prayer is that whether in training, pleasure, or exercise across this land and in this life that our thoughts will rise upward, that we may decrease so that the One who created us for this hike will increase.

One of Eric’s favorite quotes is “The most important thoughts you will ever think are your thoughts on God because they will determine everything else you will ever do.”

We pray our children will learn this earlier than we did.

Sunday we took at hike in the hills behind our house to get some exercise, breathe the fresh air, be together, think thoughts on God, refresh our perspective, pray and listen.

It was a good hike.

We started walking down our street rounded the corner a few houses up and began our hike.

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El Shaddai Learning Center

Here is little sneak peak at El Shaddai Learning Center, the school we moved here to work with in St. Marc. El Shaddai has been growing since its founding in 2001 by Pastor Gary and Dr. Carolyn Walker whom we came to help and work alongside. There are over 150 students from Pre-K through 12th grade and a growing waiting list as positive word about our school continues to spread around the community. Tuition is kept very low so that non-wealthy Haitian families can afford to send their children to an American English school–a growing interest/demand.

El Shaddai provides employment to Haitian teachers that are adequately experienced and trained in English. Part of Eric’s ministry is to work with the Haitian teachers each week in continuing education classes helping them to become better teachers. Many discipleship opportunities arise. There are a few American teachers presently at El Shaddai as well. Foreign (non-Haitian) teachers come for a semester or longer and volunteer with the school. If you or anyone you know may be interested in coming to work with us in the future, you are welcome! We also welcome visitors!
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Another T.I.H. Typical Day

“T.I.H.” is the term used to explain pretty much all the hard to explain time and energy draining beyond frustrating experiences that most everyone experiences daily here in Haiti. Here is my all too typical day so far. And yes I am venting, but not expecting sympathy because after all This. Is. Haiti. 

I wake up at 2am. The batteries died an hour early leaving us without power. The small fan I shared with Esmée in our twin size bed was no longer keeping the mosquitoes at bay. I fumble around in the dark to find the mosquito repellent. Eric meets me in the kitchen with a flashlight. He is after the same thing. I innocently ask why he thinks we lost power early. I get the usual answer, “because we used up too much electricity too early!” I give the usual response which is, “we haven’t used anything!” We dispute about what house members have issue with keeping our tiny refrigerator open longer than the 2 seconds it should take to grab desired food target and of course someone has turned on the cold switch on the water dispenser and heaven forbid everyone wanting to sleep with a fan. I think to myself, I really want a large freezer so I don’t have to go to the grocery store so much and Eric really wants a washing machine because he thinks it will help with laundry soap waste/costs and appease his frustration with that. I wonder how exactly we would run such appliances if we are running out of power on a mini freezer/fridge and a water dispenser? This is 2am talking. 
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Haiti Hospitality House

We have been reading about the life of George Muller with our family the past month. Tonight we read about how George Muller prayed for yet more money to be raised for another house to meet the needs of those in his care. God had already provided so much more than he could ever imagine and yet here he was asking for more. But he had seen God provide over and over and over again and George knew God could do it again. We believe that too and pray that we will continue to learn to have that kind of faith.

Honestly my prayers lately have come from a place of weariness and desperation more than faith, but I know God understands that too. We moved several times in Haiti (um. exhausting.) in the past four months while waiting to move to St. Marc in January. We are still living out of suitcases. None of us really want to unpack because we do not want to have to repack–again. We are living in the house that was previously the elementary school building before the new school building opened in January. It needs a lot of work and we have found that this house isn’t working very well for us and the Haitian family that moved here with us. We thought there were three bathrooms. There are three. One is an outhouse, one does not work, and the other is the one that the 8 of us are sharing and also where all of our laundry is washed daily. This doesn’t work out well too much of the time. Today the girls came and reported (in a humiliated tone) that Evan had resorted to Haitian style peeing on the street outside.

However, we are truly thankful for this house and to experience what it is like to use an outhouse! Landing here has provided an opportunity to get to know our community and live as inexpensively as possible while scoping out other options before the rent needs to be renewed for the year come April. We do not desire to renew the rent. My frustration with utter disorganization, tons of dust, millions of mosquitoes and the many dogs that are very drawn to this house led me to almost immediately start searching for an alternative. Nothing seemed right. I sensed God saying, “think about where you are, who you are, what I have called you to do, and what is best considering all these”.
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