Saturday, 9 January 2016

A New Year in Haiti.

It's crazy to think we've been back in Haiti for a week already since our Christmas vacation in Canada. A lot has happened in the past several weeks. We had another report card period and parent conferences just before we left for Christmas vacation, and of course our school Christmas party. I think our Christmas vacation is worth a mention too- simply for the fact that it was awful. Kristen had a fantastic vacation, and got to spend time with her much-missed friends, but I got seriously ill... first of all, I got myself dehydrated from travelling and then not drinking enough water once we got home because it wasn't hot. Then I ended up getting the flu with a fever, and combined with the dehydration, I ended up in the ER. I spent almost a week and a half in bed. I'm not going to lie, I felt really frustrated with God, and didn't understand why He would let me get sick when I hadn't been home in 5 months. It sounds crazy, but God had some really important lessons to teach me, and I don't think I would have listened if I had been healthy and running hither and yon with all of my vacation plans. Plus, I'm so thankful that I was sick in Canada and not Haiti, where any health concern is ten times more stressful.

January is going to be a month of crazy busyness; that's the only way I can think of to describe it. We have three Education students from Sioux Falls, South Dakota doing a month-long placement at our school. Krist and I get to be their "den mothers" as they jump into life here in Haiti and try to navigate the language barrier and a completely different school culture.

 In all truth, we have been anticipating their arrival for months. As many awesome things as there are about living here, there are definitely some big challenges, one of them being the lack of fellowship with friends. Even though there are times when we are surrounded by people all day long, being able to talk to people who fluently know your own language is something that we miss a lot, especially because we haven't had teams since the summer. It's also encouraging for us because as hard as we try to explain our life and what school is like to other people, if you don't live it you don't quite understand what we're going through, and these girls are going to get a good taste of what our life is really like. 
This week has been non-stop busyness as well. We traveled Saturday and Sunday, had a teacher meeting on Monday, and started school on Tuesday. [We definitely need some down time that doesn't really seem anywhere in sight]. We've definitely had some funny moment so far as well, especially with five white girls at the school now, instead of just two. The other day we were all getting off the bus, and one of my students didn't remember any of their names so he just shouted in Creole, "Bye all the Cassie's!!" Close enough buddy, close enough. On Tuesday after school we took the girls to Cayes and stopped at our favourite grocery market to stock up on some food necessities and fix our Internet. They certainly got a good taste of the chaos that is Haiti- on the way back we had to stop for gas, and there was such a long line up that we ended up waiting for almost an hour. On Thursday Kristen and I took them for a walk through the village, and we went to the soccer field to watch some of the guys play. Their field is right by the ocean, and there's a small pool of water right behind the one goalie net. When the ball fell in the water, they would have to take the top pole off the net and fish it out. Some of them were also playing on a rocky field in completely bare feet. I'm sure Haitians are born with three inch callouses on their feet.

All in all, I can't complain because we made it through our first week back, and anytime school starts after a vacation, it's always a little chaotic. The kids have adjusted really well to having three new white teachers at the school. For the most part they remember the girls' names, and are loving the extra attention as well. Kristen and I also gave the girls a Creole lesson the other day to help them get by, which made us feel kind of good, because it made us realize how far we've come with the language in the time that we've been here.

Kristen and I also have a really big decision to make soon, and would really appreciate your prayers. We need to figure out if we're supposed to stay in Haiti for another school year, and we have to know this month, because if we don't stay, Mission Haiti has to find teachers that speak French to fill our places. Ultimately we just want to do what God is calling us to, no matter how hard or daunting it seems. We've learned a lot of incredible lessons since moving here, and we know that the only thing that matters is that our lives glorify God and further His Kingdom- loving the people that He wants us to love and sharing Who He is with those who need to know Him. Life is not supposed to be easy all the time- if it's easy you're getting too comfortable, and if you're getting too comfortable you're missing the adventure that God is calling you to. Adventure doesn't mean sunshine and rainbows, adventure means walking the unknown road and trusting God to provide for what you can't see.
Thanks for all the love and support! Sending love from Haiti!

PS. Yes, Peterson is wearing an O Canada hat.