First week together in Haiti!
So far our first week in Haiti has been wonderful! It’s been VERY hot which makes things hard for us, especially walking during the day, but we are so happy to be together! Haiti is not an easy place to live in, especially with a baby, but we are so thankful for how awesome Bennett has been! He really is the best baby ever! So far he’s only really cried once, the first night, and that’s because he was tired from the trip. Since then he’s had many cold, yet awesomely refreshing, baths (we often don’t have electricity to heat water), looooots of hot days, and lots of fun with mommy and daddy! We started classes on Monday and it’s been a lot of fun. We teach kids from all ages and levels and they are so sweet and eager to learn! This week the kids learned colors, numbers, shapes, and the alphabet. We also practiced introducing ourselves to one another: “Hello, my name is Roxy! What is your name?” They learn so quickly and it’s been so fun!
Msye Beni cooling off with a bath in Daddy's suitcase!
We have also become somewhat famous around town, at least on our walking route. Everyone loves on Bennett and asks to hold him. In class, he is “Msye Beni” (Mr. Beni) and the kids just love him! We pass him back and forth as we teach in shifts and he is the happiest baby. We learn more about English teaching, the Creole language, and Haitian culture every day. The people here are so beautiful. They work so hard all day, nothing is easy here, yet they are so joyful!
One of my favorite moments here happened on our second day. After two days of intense heat, wondering how in the world I would ever survive, and how anyone could live in such heat, we heard the skies start to erupt. Thunder crackled across the clouds and seemed to split the sky. And out from the clouds came rain and wind and relief from the heat. The whole town seemed to exhale and be made anew. The lightning calmed down, but the rains continued, and people emerged from all the houses around us to fill the streets. I heard laughter everywhere. Teens played soccer in the road. Men, women, and children stood under the rain spouts that shot into the streets, enjoying showers without the need for buckets. With soap in hand, the children were naked and the adults fully clothed, washing their bodied and the clothes they wore. We did not have running water that day, so John went out into the street and joined the washing party. Bennett got his little feet and hands in the rain and watched in awe at everything going on in the skies and on the ground. Rain is such a beautiful relief here and we are so happy when it comes. I am in awe of it’s power to bring everyone joy and thankful for our wonderful God who sends it down. Whenever it rains I remember one of my favorite hymns… many of us know it:
“Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I see the rolling thunder,
And think oh Lord, my God how great thou art.
Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee
How great thou art
How great thou art!”
The Lord is so good and we are in awe of Him. We are so thankful for His love for us and for the Haitian people, and for the awesome rain he pours over us.
Despite the heat, and the difficult Haitian life, we are happier than we have been in months! Being apart was so hard, as anyone can imagine. We are especially happy that John gets to spend a lot of time with Bennett and can watch him grow up. Bennett also is very happy he gets to hang out with his silly daddy!
Thank you everyone for your support! We feel so loved and are so blessed. The funds are going to cover food and living costs for us and all the rest goes directly to the institute and another charity for orphans with AIDS in Port-au-Prince. This weekend we bought trash cans, hand sanitizer, school supplies and any other little things the school needs. We are so happy to be partnering with the people here and so proud of their hard work.
If you are interested in supporting Bennett and Roxana’s efforts in Haiti, you can donate here:
Family visiting waterfall... Benny is unimpressed
(July 11 Update: We are waiting out the Haitian civil unrest in the United States, until the U.S. Travel Advisory drops from its current “Level 4: Do Not Travel” level and until Haitian colleagues let us know all is safe. We have a blog post coming to describe more about the situation, and we will keep everyone updated on our new plans for returning, but for now please send prayers and thoughts to those who are suffering in Haiti.)