40 on Friday (part 1)
Ok. I feel like a total blogging failure. We are more than halfway through March and I have blogged only twice. In my defense, I have had more internet problems than I care to go into or relive right now. I’m currently writing this post in Microsoft Word hoping that by the time I finish my internet will have loaded the blogger page. I have written numerous blogs in my head and started a few on the computer, so maybe someday I’ll catch up. Today I decided since I have missed two 10 on Tuesdays and numerous other blogs I have decided to introduce this a blue moon special, “40 on Friday.” So here goes… This is all the fun you have missed! This will be a 2 part blog. (it actually was going to be the 10 on Tuesday, but the internet didn’t work… then it was going to be the 30 on Thursday, but again… internet troubles. So here goes part 1 of 2 in the 40 on Friday.
1. On Friday, March 4th we had almost 100 people here at camp for the retreat. They stayed until Wednesday, March 9th and, I believe had a lot of fun. Remember, my job was to find and secure beds for all of them? Yeah, I was planning on having 46 people and then found out there were 81 coming… which quickly turned into almost 100. Needless to say, it was a stressful few hours/days for me. The camp went well overall. It was full of challenges though. The staff of the camp was not open to using our program or hearing our suggestions. I think it was a little frustrating for all of us. Finally, on Monday, they asked for help and after that camp went great. We got to do our activities and play some camp games, as well as have a really special time of campfire. Overall, God was glorified, which is always a victory.
2. We had a few days of rest and then Daniel Frantz and Hudson Stone arrived from Texas on Saturday, March 12 to spend spring break here at Jacob’s Well and get some work projects done. It has been so refreshing for them to be here. After the crazy week with camp and the stress of having 100ish people on our campsite, I needed a change of pace.
3. This past weekend marked the midway point of my trip. That brings up a lot of emotions and thoughts, both sad and happy. Its almost impossible to believe that I have been here for two and a half months already, in some ways it feels like it has flown by. In other ways it seems like its been a long, long time. I have learned so much. It has been so different than I was expecting, but in a lot of ways exactly what I expected. I have accomplished some of my goals for being here and that is so encouraging, but in some ways I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything at all.
4. This past weekend also marked the year and 2 month anniversary of the earthquake here in Haiti. I have done a lot of thinking and praying about it. God has done an incredible amount of healing in my heart and mind over the past year. I am, at times completely overwhelmed by his total faithfulness to me. It has not been an easy year, but I have been far from alone.
5. Its mid March. This means we are entering the phase where I will be hearing about an acceptance decision from the Nursing department at Texas A&M Health Science Center. As much as I am loving not having school this semester and not having to worry about tests and homework, I am starting to get excited about going to school again. I am learning so much here, but a lot of it is learning what great need there is. I’ve mentioned Christina (the baby with the burns) and Lèlène (with the motorcycle accident), and this week I have added a few more patients to my list. I am so glad that I have been able to be here to help them, but every day I see the need to go back to Nursing school. I’m praying (and you can too!!) that I will get accepted to the Nursing school in College Station at the Health Science Center. Due to various circumstances that occurred last minute, I ended up only applying to this one school. I very strongly feel that this is where the Lord wants me, but then again… God is sometimes so full of unexpected surprises.
6. Speaking of new patients… My newest patient is the tiniest little man in the village. He’s so adorable. But don’t be fooled. He is THE toughest guy in the village. Maybe it comes with being small. Gersan told me he has a reputation for running Americans out of the village. He has always been anti-American presence here and doesn’t appreciate us. On Monday he was doing something and fell on his machete. Thankfully he only sliced his hand, but it is a pretty serious cut. Guess who he came to for help? Me. I was able to help bandage and clean his wound and he has come back every day since. Remember how I said he was the toughest guy in the village? If you saw this guy’s hand you would know. He has calluses equal to those on my feet. He watched me clean and dig grass and dirt out of the flesh in his hand without so much as a flinch. It would be great if he could get stitches in this hand, but I don’t have access to them and I know he won’t go to the hospital. Today Daniel and I put some butterfly closures on the most serious parts. I’m very optimistic about the way its going to heal, its already looking good and staying infection free. Did I mention he is the most adorable man ever? The man is probably 4 feet and 7 inches tall and super tough, but so cute. The first day he came with some family that brought him. I asked him his age and he honestly had no idea. Today he came all alone, knowing what Gersan told me about him and how he feels about white people I was interested to see how it was going to go. I walked up and asked him how he was doing. He launched into telling me about his family and his wife and kids and his life. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a match box and took out a tiny piece of paper with, “74” written on it. He handed me the paper telling me he found out how old he was. I can’t wait to see how his hand heals, and maybe continue to change his view of Americans.
7. Since Daniel and Hudson have been here we have been able to get a lot done here around camp. In the states, Hudson is a Petroleum Engineering student at Texas A&M (whoop!) and indoor soccer lover. Daniel is a Biology/Psych student at DBU and a barista at a local coffee shop in Dallas. When they are here in Haiti they become our “professional consultants” on all things plumbing, construction, maintenance, etc. So far they have installed a new hot water heater, built and roofed a house or two, laid pipe for a main water line, fixed the plumbing issues in the kitchen and consulted on numerous future projects here around camp. Its only been a few days and we have gotten so much done.
8. We received word last week that we had an anonymous donor that donated enough money for us to finish our cistern. We are going to be starting work on our cistern very soon. The hardest part of hosting groups here is our lack of water. Without a cistern we are very hard pressed to provide water for our teams. Praise God for His provision.
9. I have almost finished the child sponsorship program for the school. Please be praying for me as I try to finish preparing and try to start this program. It would be such a wonderful opportunity to be able to provide the village with a better opportunity to have some education. This program will give the parents an opportunity to send their children to school, but will give them a sense of ownership and give them opportunities to get involved in their children’s life and education.
10. As I mentioned before my two friends Daniel and Hudson are here doing work and bringing some sanity and English conversation into my life. Its been such a blast hanging out with these two guys and even though we are working we are having loads of fun. Because they are here I’m going to take advantage of them for a second and have them help me write this post.
Thanks for having patience with me (or really my internet). I’m going to be doing the best I can and praying for God to work a miracle and make it move faster than frozen molasses.
Meet Daniel Frantz:
I first experienced Haiti, and Jacob’s Well January of 2010. As a part of the FC team that left the island about 40 hrs before the quake. Back then Jacobs well had one building, a bathroom/storage depot, but as Matt Raines would say, if you have good staff, a field and a ball you can have camp. That is what Jacobs Well used to be, today it is unrecognizable from just a little over a year ago. God has blessed this land, and the ministry of Jacob’s Well. And I thank Him for letting me see His hands at work here.
1. The spring break trip – Hudson and I were here with the last trip, Haiti 6, and both decided we would love to come back, and the Lord blesses us by granting that wish. As Noelle has said getting things done in this country can be difficult to say the least, and traveling is rarely an exception. We had to leave the states on Friday, meaning an overnight layover and almost 24 hrs total travel time from departure to arrival at JW. We spent a pretty good amount of time wondering if our bags would make it all the way to PAP or weather we would be picked up from the airport. But God is good and after a tiring day of travel we arrived in CAP and were warmly greeted by Noelle, Betty, Gersan, and Bos Varis (and a Toro!) Home sweet home.
2. This is my fourth time to come to JW since Jan 2010, I am always astounded by God’s glory as the camp continues to expand. Yet, as much growth as there has been, the plan for the future dwarfs its current state. I cannot wait to see how the Lord will bless JW and pray I will be allowed to be a part of the growth.
The following are some of the newest additions to Jacob’s Well.
3. The windmill, after some stressful moments regarding the mill, it seems to be an amazing tool and will hopefully save a ton of money on gas for the generator.
4. New plumbing, an ongoing process, we are in the process of running a new main line that will provide a more reliable water source for the time being. Improving the current “cistern” (two cubic meter water tanks), repairing leaking drains on the kitchen sinks, and hopefully repairing a drainage problem at the shower house.
5. New water heater (well old heater new installment) it is quite an expensive propane powered, heat-as-you-go heater, and has been sitting in the depot for at least a year now (the current heater is a standard 40 gallon electric heater). We haven’t purchased the propane yet but hope to have it running within the next few days. Switching to propane will also lighten the load on the generator and reduce the amount of electricity needed to run camp.
6. Cabins, we are helping finish the last of the two rooms cabins and put up two more one room style cabins (same style as Tancred’s new house that was finished today! Noelle is planning on posting pictures when the internet isn’t as big of a disappointment).
7. A few days after we arrived we were introduced to an amazing new trail to the “upstairs” that is much better than the old ankle breaking path.
8. Another beautiful addition is the Jacob’s Well mosaic. It used to be a gravel platform used as a meeting/eating area in the past (and under where the Haiti 6 interns, Jack, Greta and myself hung our hammocks).
9. One thing Hudson and I were able to do is bring some new tools to Jacob’s Well (thanks to “the Man” Richard Stephens for buying/providing them!) Some of the tools we brought include a stellar Dewalt Table saw which I have yet to use, but hope to work on a few projects with Bos Tchaly and get some use out of it. We also brought Tchaly a new tool belt, every carpenter of his skill needs a good tool belt, and some seeds for Guerline’s garden.
10. Finally, another item we brought with us were mouse/rat traps (they deserve their own number). When I was here with the other interns over Christmas break Greta and I saw a massive rat in the depot, and Noelle has seen a few herself recently so I figured we could put an end to these rodent shenanigans. So far the traps have been set for a little over 24 hrs and the body count thus far is 4. Three of the slain were rats and one mouse, but we’re hoping to kill off a lot more before we leave (and Noelle will then have to empty and re-load the traps, she doesn’t seem thrilled to do that)
... stay tuned for part 2.