Thursday, 27 August 2015

Backpacks, School Supplies, and Hundreds of Shoes!

Well, it's been a little over two weeks since we've returned to Haiti. We went back to Canada for a short trip because my (Kristen's) best friend was getting married and I was the maid of honour- something I most definitely did not want to miss. A little taste of home was refreshing and filled with much gratitude. Family, friends, love, Tim Hortons, green grass and the taste of Canadian pizza were all much to be thankful for.

This past while back here in Haiti has been so busy that it seems like we never left. We had the pleasure of having a missions team down here our first week bck, consisting of Tim, Gretchen, Chelsea, Sara, and Tate, who are all from the States. They were here to help us with a wonderful job called Distribution.

Distribution is an event that Mission Haiti puts on every year to hand out hundreds and hundreds of shoes, backpacks and school supplies to students from the surrounding schools. On Monday our job was to bring all of the supplies to the new school to set up Distribution in the classrooms. We had a registration room, a backpack room, and a shoe room. Kristen and I were put in charge of shoe distribution, along with Gretchen, Chelsea, some of the youth boys, Samuel, and Junior, who was our translator. We spent ALL day organizing hundreds of pairs of shoes into shelves of the correct size. If we ever can't find a job teaching in the future, someone should probably hire us to work in a shoes store.

The first two days of Distribution focused mostly on high school students, which was interesting, thrilling, challenging, and joyful. It's worth a mention that Haitian high school students are extremely intimidating. They have this resting face that looks angry and sullen and unimpressed with the world. Add to this a language barrier and the fact that they are fashionistas, and let me tell you it was not a walk in the park to try and interact with them. On Thursday most of the elementary students came, and Kristen and I were just melted puddles at the cuteness of them, all smiles and wide eyes, and full of so much joy at their new pair of shoes. It has always been a dream of mine to participate in some form of distribution, so I was ecstatic to be a small part of something so large.

We had someone measuring the size of the people's feet and then our job was to pick out two or three pairs of shoes for them to try on. As easy as this may sound, and sometimes it was, for the most partit was far from that. There were times where we had someone that was thoroughly unimpressed with the options that we gave them and had to tell them that they had to choose one of the three pairs because if we gave them more options, we would have never gotten through everyone. I have to admit, sometimes this could pull my heart strings in the wrong way because every ounce of me wished I could give them the shoes that they would love, and sometimes it just didn't sit well with my soul and I had to try another pair because at the end of it all, the smiles and the endless thank you's are what make it all worth it. Our Distribution days were filled with loads and loads of shoes, spontaneous dance breaks, ear to ear smiles, gratitude, attitude and lots of hand sanitizer.

This week, Cassie and I have been getting things ready for school. We are starting to feel the craziness of school preparation. We finally have the furniture in our classrooms set up the way we like them. We have been slowly going through the curriculum that we will be teaching from, but it is all in French so it takes us twice as long to understand and fully grasp. Let's just say we take a lot of frequent breaks to not go crazy. We have also started pre-testing with our students, which consists of asking them a variety of questions such as basic numbers, colours, and alphabet to preassess where they are at going into the school year. ,It's crazy to think that school starts in about two and a half weeks We still have to put up decoration in our rooms, and make it look like a classroom rather than just a cement room with furniture in it. There is still so much to do. We are both excited and nervous for the school year to begin. We know that it will be challenging but we are excited to see how God will work in the hearts of our students as well as the both of us.

So much has happened since writing this blog. Our Internet has been so bad lately that we've had this blog written for probably over a week. Stay patient with us as we do our best to post as often as we can!

Sending love from Haiti!

PS. School is starting on September 7th. Next week is filled with staff meetings, parent meetings, more distribution of backpacks, school supplies and shoes, and lesson prep. Kristen and I so desperately need your prayers for strength and wisdom as we head into this busy school season!