Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 7

Sunday! The gospel is the same in Haiti. I love our church. I love that no matter where I attend, Hawaii, Utah, Israel, Washington or Haiti - the doctrine is the same. I loved that even though I couldn't understand what was being said I still felt the truth and the faith the people around me had. 
The church building is probably one of the only buildings that has generators and FANS. The fans were incredible. 

Nerlande and I. 

This spot was used as a clinic after the earthquake. Last year it was just a pit it dirt with needles and syringes everywhere. Now it's a beautiful garden on the side of the church grounds. Sustain Haiti helped in making this happen. 

The five of us sang As Sisters In Zion to the congregation today. Nerlande wanted to learn it in English so we all practiced during the week and sang today. 

This boy is incredible. He was invited to church by his English teacher last year and has continued to come since then. He hasn't ever had the missionary lessons so today we talked with missionaries and had them get his contact information.  

He loves Ashley. 

We visited an orphanage after Church. I was super excited to be able to play with the kids. But it was a weird experience. I felt helpless. I didn't like going and then just leaving. It's hard to describe but I felt terrible leaving the kids. I just wanted to be able to do more. 

This little boy has Down syndrome. He's so sweet. 

The kids at the orphanage eating. 

He made sure to give us all kisses before we left. 

Squeezing four onto a Moto. Colson the boss Moto driver. Who is also taking the missionary discussions! Everyone here is so open to the church. 

Day 6

Day 6 

Boy oh boy did we have an adventure today. 
2 people got up with the chicken nugget disease. Great way to start the morning ;) 
After chores and breakfast, 10 of us piled into a truck. We rented it from Dodo's (our full time employee) friend. Dodo was our driver. Driving in Haiti is not like anywhere else. They don't have stop lights, they don't exactly use lanes, I'm not even sure if they have speed limits, they definitely have no laws against people and/or animals hanging off moving vehicles and they use their horn as a warning that they're coming around a blind corner, they're passing you or they're driving through what should be a four way stop.  
I had piled in the bed of the truck with 5 of the volunteers. And the other 3 were sitting in the truck. 
The 2 hour drive to Jacmel was definitely an experience! 
We drove past a Moto driver with a large hog tied up and hanging off the back. We got yelled at by someone saying, "I hate you all crackers!"  Another man politely told one of the other volunteers to, "Sit your ass there!" As he pointed to the bed of the truck (Michael had been sitting on the edge). We drove through a river where some local showed us the most shallow way to get through. When we refused to pay him he through a rock at us! With every pot hole we felt as if we were being tossed up  in the air and dropped on the very soft, very comfort able bed of the truck. Our driver stalled on a vertical cement and gravel road. As he put the the break on we skidded back down the hill just barely stopping before hitting a cement wall. This happened a few times before he slammed on the gas in first gear. The truck started to grip the road beneath the tired. We could smell the transmission dying as started moving upward. We were just glad to be passed that hill!
We finally made it to Jacmel! We took a very short hike, with a bunch of locals guiding the way and offering to carry our bags (most likely just expecting money). We had to climb down a short rope and we got to a beautiful waterfall! We jumped in and swam around. It wasn't even that cold! In Hawaii sometimes the water falls would be really cold, but here it felt nice! We climbed up, went behind the waterfall and jumped off into the pool of sea foam water.  It was so beautiful! 
Some young local boys started climbing a lot higher and jumping from way above us. A couple of them got a sprinting start from what must've been 50ft up. It started out less steep from that high up and slowly went into 180 degree angle. They ran down this incredibly steep slope until it became too steep and they ended up jumping. It was scary to watch. If they tripped or lost their balance or anything they would have a huge rocky fall. 
I tried to climb up to the middle spot. There were some natural foot holes and hand grabs a couple inches to the right from where the water fall was coming down. I fell after my first attempt. It was pretty pathetic. Luckily there was a rock ledge I fell onto so I didn't smack my body all the way down. I scraped up my knee a little. In the water it always looks worse because the blood is mixing with the water. So it looked like I was bleeding a ton when it really wasn't that bad. The locals yelled at me to not climb but I got some help and made it up the second time. I love waterfalls. And jumping off rocks into water. It reminded me of the water fall from Tuck Everlasting. But this one was greener and sunnier. 
The local boys were fearless the whole time. There was one completely naked boy who must've been around 7 years old. I have no idea how he was able to climb up (the climbing holes were far apart) but he was jumping off the second spot into the pool. I jumped off the second spot but definitely did NOT attempt the top spot. I could just imagine myself changing my mind mid sprint and tumbling down the rest of the way. 
When we got back to our car all the locals who had been with us expected money. It's always so awkward refusing to pay someone but we didn't have any money and we didn't ask them to come! 
We went to a beach to eat lunch and hang out at. There were tons of people covering the beach. Playing soccer in the sand, wading in the water about waist deep, people everywhere! And we were most definitely the only white people for miles. As soon as we sat down people started coming near us. Laying down artwork, holding out jewelry, holding baskets of snacks towards us. They weren't as aggressive as people in Israel but they definitely were not subtle either. As soon as we got into the water people started flocking toward us. I talked with a couple as best I could for a while. One guy knew pretty good English. He said he was very happy he got to swim in the ocean with me. I think that must mean or have something to do with having sex because as soon as he said it he got very embarrassed and said, "No, no, no, no! I do not mean that way..." Ha! I just laughed. We continued to talk as I moved out a little deeper into the ocean. The guy I was talking to said, "excuse me, I cannot swim."  As I looked around the beach 
Our group of volunteers separated from the rest of the people at the beach but there were a couple young men who stayed about 6 ft away from us for a very long time. It was quite strange and funny. They kept trying to talk with us. They were obviously just following the girls around. And I'm pretty sure they couldn't swim because anytime we went out passed where we could touch they didn't follow. They're all surrounded by the ocean and yet so many of them still cannot swim. 
After playing in the ocean I played "soccer" (we were just kicking a plastic soda bottle around) with a couple little boys on the beach. 
On our drive home we pulled over for a potty break. Our driver wasn't even phased. That's completely normal here. People just pee literally wherever and mwhenever. A couple min after we started driving again we began to go up a steep hill again. Dodo (our driver) tried to shift down to be able to drive up the hill but the car wouldn't shift! He turned the car off before we started to roll backwards. He said something to Matt in Creole. Matt then jumped out of the car real fast and started searching for something. I asked him what he was doing and he said we needed to find rocks to put under the tires. 
They then lifted the hood of the car and started trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Because of the transmission smell coming from the car earlier that day and the problems shifting I was pretty sure we weren't going to be able to fix the problem right there on the side of the mountain. 
Not too long fate we had stopped the car an empty taptap pulled over along with another car. I couldn't understand what they were saying. I just assumed that they wanted money because they saw a bunch of white people stuck on the side of the mountain. I felt a little bad about assuming that when they pulled out a chain and started hooking up the little truck to our very large truck. They somehow thought that their little truck would be able to pull ours up the mountain. I don't want to say I had a lack of faith... But I did. They had the majority of us sit in the back of the little truck while it tried to pull and then they had a few of us (myself included) get in the other car. The truck tried pulling for about 3 seconds before the both started rolling backwards. They quickly detached the two trucks from one another and then started attaching the car I was in to the very large truck. I had just watched the two cars before begin to slide back do again I was lack faith that this would work. Especially since the car we were in was smaller than the truck that had just attempted to pull! We didn't budge more than a few inches forward before we started rolling backwards with the truck. It wasn't going to work so the driver quickly breaked and then unattached us. 
It was all quite strange. The man whose car we were in didn't speak English. He, Dodo and the other taptap driver kept communicating but I had know idea what was going on. I was sitting in a random Haitian mans car with three other sustain Haiti volunteers. About a min later the driver of our car got in, shut the door and started driving away... With me and the other three volunteers in the car. I couldn't communicate with him and I had no idea why we were driving away or if he had communicated with the other members of our group. None of us had a phone. Nathan, the only boy with us, speaks French and tried to ask if we were going to wait for everyone else. The driver didn't respond. Nathan tried again and the driver pulled over to the side of the road so we assumed we were waiting for the rest of our group. We looked and saw the taptap, that had all the other volunteers in it, driving up the hill behind us. But as it drove past us we saw that it was empty. The rest out group wasn't sitting in the back anymore! Our driver began to follow that taptap anyways. We were quite confused and our driver hardly responded as Nathan tried to communicate. We gathered that he was driving passed the city we were staying in so he would just drop us off. 
Before we got to Leogone there was a police checkpoint. They stopped us and asked the driver to show us his papers. Apparently his registration was over 2 years expired. There was a lot of yelling back and forth. I had no idea what was going on. I was just chilling in the back of a strangers car, with cops yelling at him while in a foreign country. Rhiannon, one of the volunteers, took a picture through the window. One of the cops saw her, opened her door and told her to give him get phone. He angrily started telling the other cop that she had taken a photo. The other cop grabbed the phone walked over to us and said it was no problem, we could take as many pictures as we wanted. I knew he was being sincere but it almost sounded like a threat. The cop then explained to Nathan, in French, that they had to confiscate the car so we would have to find a different way home. 
Luckily the taptap driver had stayed and waited through this whole process. We ended up jumping in the back of the taptap and getting a ride back to Leogane. They dropped us off in the city center, we had hardly any money so we only gave them a tiny bit but they were happy with it. I felt a little bad for thinking they were only helping us for money. We then walked the rest of the way home. Stoked to make it to food and water. 
The rest of the group made it home about an hour and a half later. They had quite the adventure as well. They ended up getting pulled out by another truck. Dodo's friend who had loaned us the car wasn't even mad about his truck! People here keep surprising me. 
We were very glad to have all made it home safely! 

The boys I played with at the beach. Matt gave them some water. 

Stuck on the side of the mountain. The black car in the front is the one that "kidnapped" us. 

The police security checkpoint. 

Riding in the back if the taptap after being stopped by the police. 

Dropped off in the city center trying to find our way home. 

Watching the sunset from the roof. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Day 5

Day 5 
Today we got started a little slower. We were asked to teach a lesson at the nursing school. The NURSING SCHOOL. I haven't even been to nursing school or had any sort of medical training for that matter. Another example of how much they trust us! They told us to just pick a topic to inform them on. We'll be teaching the lesson on Monday so we tried to get our presentation put together today. We decided to prepare several different topics which include; cholera, hypertension, anemia and malaria. 
We then headed out to teach at a school in the community where we're living, Leogane. We set up a program with them where they go through a certain number of classes with us and we give them a certificate stating they have completed the health education course. When we got to the school it was completely empty.  We talked with the equivalent of the principal and he said that it was some catholic holiday so school was cancelled. Miscommunication seems to happen a little more often when you're communicating through translators. 
Rhiannon, Stanley, Matt and I went and visited the last community in our program that I hadn't met yet. On the bus I sat next to boy who was reading a book that was translating French words to English. We were able to communicate a little bit. The remainder of the taptap ride he practiced the pronunciation of his English words with me. I loved hearing how well he was doing. I am so impressed with people that speak multiple languages and more so with those who work and study it on their own. He boy was also working on learning Spanish. Matt speaks Spanish so it talked back and forth with the boy for a while. 
In the community it was supposed to only be the chosen community health educators that we were meeting with somehow that hadn't been communicated. Half the people were there for a health class and the other half were there for an English class. Rhiannon and I did our best to incorporate English into a health lesson. Rhiannon was translating everything into French. I was so impressed that she was able to do it on the spot. Their English level was a lot higher than we had expected. We kept teaching words, thinking they didn't know, and they would respond in complete English sentences. It's hard to teach a class when they are all at different levels, especially when you're unsure how much they are able to understand.
It sounds a little unorganized but in reality I have been so impressed by the organization of Sustain Haiti. They started from scratch this year, making contact with different community leaders, getting classes set up, scheduling days to teach, teaching the the first core lessons of health to the community and from those classes picking good leaders who would then be able to go on and teach their community after we did one on one training. It has taken an incredible amount of (unpaid) work. I am constantly in awe of their dedication to this organization! 
We then went straight to the community with the voodoo priestess. We were running a little late so we had to speed through the English portion to get to the health section. Today was our last lesson before picking community health educators. 
I reviewed the digestive system with them and then Rhiannon and Liz taught about the reproductive organs. Before they started the adults actually had the young kids leave - I was a little surprised by that. Liz and Rhiannon did a really good job teaching. They explained the woman's organs, what was happening, when it happened. They involved everyone, asked them questions and everybody in the community asked lots of questions. It seemed like they were grasping the concepts. One man asked why women sometimes don't want to have sex when they're pregnant. They talked about hormones a little and then Matt jumped in. Before answering the question he asked them where the baby grew in the woman. Someone in the community confidently answered, "the ovaries." Without correcting her or making her feel stupid he then asked her to take him through it step by step. He drew a body with ovaries, fallopian tubes and a uterus on the board. We had literally just gone over it with Liz and and Rhiannon teaching yet somehow they weren't able to grasp the concept. Matt was able to gage their understanding and backtrack to where they were lacking understanding. Again he teaches so simply that everyone can understand. After he answered the mans question they flooded him with more questions. One of the questions was something like, "how do woman get pregnant without having sex?" Instead of completely shutting the question down he listens to them. He asked if the man knew someone in particular whom this had happened to. The man brought up Joseph and Mary and then he also said it had happened to people he had known. The man asked if seeman  got in a river and floated down and into a woman could she get pregnant? Matt didn't shut him down but rather told him he would do some research and get back to him. He had me answer a couple questions. I answered one about c-sections, which is hard because those are situational. And one about babies that go longer than 9 months - they were telling me it was common to carry babies for up to 16 months.  
I really like this community. I like how many questions they ask. I like how interested they are. Communities like this motivate me to become more knowledgeable. And to become better at teaching. 
After dinner all the volunteers laid on the roof watching the stars and listening to music. It was one of my most nights yet. The music was all very chill and calming. I felt so peaceful and happy (cheesy I know). I felt excited about my future, like my hopes and aspirations could actually happen. They're not all just far off dreams.
I thought a lot about my future. 
And about Rachel. I can't describe how much I miss her everyday. I can never put my thoughts about her or our friendship into words. 
Tonight was wonderful. I'm grateful for memories like this. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Day 4

Day 4 

I cannot believe I've been here for four days. I want time to stop. 
Today we took a taptap to the most rural village I have seen yet. I don't know if my pants made me extra hot today or if it was just extra humid but once we got off the taptap my body was literally drenched. Like all the way through my clothes. I thought my water bottle had leaked on me while on the taptap but nope! Turns out it was all just sweat. Lovely. 
We then hiked down into the valley tucked between a circle of mountains. The mountains were each covered in corn, mango trees, avocado trees, bread fruit trees and I'm sure hundreds of other tropical plants I don't know the names of. The dirt road we hiked down was pretty steep and there were a lot of loose rocks. I don't think any motor vehicles would have been able to handle the trail, although in Haiti I'm constantly being shocked by what they can get there vehicles to do. The hike down took about a half hour. We got to a little village tucked back in a tropical forest. They had made a "school" out of wood, rope and tarps. 2 of the volunteers taught English classes while Matt, Rhiannon and I went around with a local girl who had been trained to take people's blood pressure. In this specific community Matt knew someone in charge of another organization who had been in contact with the community. He had agreed to help carry out what the organization had started while they were away. The girl we went through the Community with had a few people she was responsible for taking and recording their blood pressure. It was so interesting to go around and see how these people were living. 
After she took the first mans blood pressure Stanley, one of our full time employees, noticed the man had what I thought was just a spot of dirt on his foot. Turns out the old man and gotten a stick stuck in his foot a couple of weeks earlier. He hadn't been sure what to do about it, so he rubbed dirt in it. He did what he thought would be best for getting rid of the wound. This was such a huge eye opener on the lack of education. Matt cleaned it and bandaged it. He also tried to explain to the man what he could do in the future when something like that happens. 
Next we visited a woman who had just had a baby 7 days earlier! She was so far from any hospitals it made me think she must've just had her baby at home! She let us hold her baby. 
We taught a class on the cardiovascular system, blood pressure and hypertension. We had Michael, one of the English volunteers translate into French with us. I felt more comfortable with him as a translator. It didn't feel like the audience was losing any information in translation. I really enjoyed teaching this group. Even though we weren't speaking the same language, I felt like one girl in particular was very dedicated to learning the information. 
I love watching the other volunteers teach. I'm able to recognize what is working and what the community is having a hard time understanding. It helps me see what I need to focus on while I'm teaching. 
The community provided lunch for us. It was some sort of pasta. Everyone here is so kind! We at in her home. It was one room, with a bed, a kitchen table, chairs and a cabinet. 
Once back at the house Matt and I went to Bosea - the first community I went to on the day I got here. Matt set up days to educate the health leaders in that community. The three community leaders we had chosen had a couple very good questions. We told them that at the end of our training we would give them a certificate that stated they had been trained as a health educator. One of them asked if the certificate would help him get a job. Matt told him that it would. I didn't know this but apparently certificates from organizations are very useful here for a resume. The locals really love Matt.   He takes the time to communicate with people in a personal level. He is also able to teach in a way that makes hard topics seem basic and easy to understand. He breaks each concept down until people can apply it to knowledge they already have. I learn a lot when I watch him teach - not only about how to teach but also about concepts that I thought I've understood for years. 
There was another incredible lightening storm at night. I watched lightening bolts strike across the sky and light up the night. I love laying on the roof and watching the stars, the clouds and the rain. I like getting drenched in the rain.  
I got into a conversation with one of the volunteers about humanitarian work. He asked me what I wanted to do with it. I didn't know how to answer, if he would have asked me a few months ago I would have told him I wanted to teach abroad about health. Exactly what I'm doing right now! This has always been my dream! I told him that career wise - I was starting to think about doing my internship more locally so that I could find a job more easily. Even as the words came out of my mouth I didn't like what I was hearing! I've never worried about convenience. It got me thinking about my future. I don't want to dread my future; I want to look forward to it and be excited. I think that somehow the pressure of providing and security has started to subconsciously effect me. It left me thinking about what I really want in the future and what type of life would make me happy. I want to teach health. I want to teach people who haven't had the opportunity to get an education. These last few days have made me so incredibly happy. 
Matt and Stanely on our hike down to the community. 

Taking his blood pressure, notice the dirt spot on his foot. 

Treating the wound. 

The laundry room. 

The 7day old baby. 

Taking another blood pressure, this is their home! 

Matt teaching about blood pressure and hypertension. 

Beautiful view on the hike out of the community. 

Typical taptap ride, so full someone's hanging out. 

Beautiful sunset from the roof. 

Day 3

Day 3. 

I woke up at midnight feeling like I had been tossing and turning for 8 hours. I was ready for the night to be over. When I looked at my clock and realized i had another 6 hours to sleep... I was kinda dreading it. First because I didn't think I would be able to fall asleep and second because I just wanted to get up and get started with the day. I have a problem when traveling or on vacation. I don't like down time. I feel like I'm just wasting time. I'd rather stay out doing things until I'm about to crash. Eventually I fell back asleep.
In the morning I was awakened with the song, "oh what a beautiful morning." blaring on Rhiannon's (we share a room) phone. I feel like I'm normally pretty even tempered, not too much makes me angry (my family may disagree...) But for whatever reason, when I heard that song, I wanted so badly to chuck my shoe at her phone. I didn't. I just listened to it for what seemed like an eternity. It was probably only 15 sec but it was the longestttt 15 seconds. Ever. 
I've wanted to go running the last couple mornings but apparently there has been a problem with running in the mornings recently. The past couple times the volunteers have almost been attacked by dogs. Probably not  a risk we wanna take here with the wild dogs... soooo no running here. I was pretty tired this morning anyways. 
After my warm shower, that's right we still have warm running water, we ate and packed snacks. We were taking a trip to a community that took quite a while to get to. 
During breakfast Matt got a call from one of our Moto drivers. He said that his son was sick and he needed Matt to come help him. It was interesting to see how much the people here trust him. Matt ended up taking them to the hospital. He said the little boy was about two, had a fever and was throwing up. Always better to take extra precautions especially when they have so much faith in him. 
We all met up with Matt at the Moto drivers house. From there we walked to the taptap station. Here they had many different types of taptap's. Busses, vans, trucks. We squeezed about 17 people in a large van. Since it wasn't open, like a truck, it was quite hot and sweaty.  The views on this drive were incredible. We were driving up the side of a mountain. Everything was so lush and green. A lot of the scenery today reminded me of Hawaii. We got off the taptap and took a Moto the rest of the way. This views on this ride were even more amazing! We were riding motorcycles on dirt roads, on the side of a mountain! The view was into a wide open valley of Trees and plants and flowers. I'm not even close to doing it justice so... **see attempted picture while riding the Moto. 
In the community, we got a tour of the school and church. While walking through the school we were almost like celebrities. The kids just stare at us and wave. Today I was able to ask the kids what their names were and then I was able to communicate my name. I know in Tarzan it looks like it would be a simple task to communicate with someone who does not speak the same language as you. That is not the case. But! I was able to communicate a little today. It was 
The church was kept very clean! It had bench seating through out the whole room. They even had fake flowers hanging for decoration from where I think lights would normally be. In one of the fake hanging flowers birds had made a nest, so the church had a couple "visitors". Matt had been making contact with the pastor of the church there so we were able to hold class in the church. 
Today was sustain haiti's second time there. So Matt explained what the goal was and he explained give we would reach it. He's really good and bringing analogies into his explanations. Today he talked about the phrase, "If you give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish he'll never go hungry." Matt changed this a little to a seed and a mango tree. He told the class (which consists of mainly elderly) that we would pick three motivated  leaders from the group whom we would teach more in depth than just our weekly courses. And after we left they would be able to continue teaching. He also told them that we were training the people who were working at our home with us and that they would also be responsible for continuing education.  We then gave them a 3 page pre test which took a couple hours for them to complete. It was mainly just to figure out where they were lacking education and what our curriculum needed to focus on. As they took the test I tried to play with one of the woman's babies. The little girl was probably about one. She let me take her for a little but the whole time she seemed a little scared of me. She had a permanent pout face on while I attempted to entertain her. Apparently she was not amused. I should probably work on my entertaining skills... Or maybe just my Creole.  
The pastor was able to help us set up a Moto ride all the back to Leogane so that we didn't have to take a taptap back. The ride was, yet again, so beautiful. My Moto driver was TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. You thought texting in the states was bad. Try riding on the back of a Moto while your driver is texting! And yet I still felt completely safe the entire time - not sarcasm. He was even able to somehow hookup his phone to some speakers that played, it was pretty fancy. 
We got home and hung out for the rest of the night. We saw a rainbow. Saw our neighbor collecting mangos off his roof. We tried communicating with him and he handed us a mango from across the roof. We went to the "American market".  It had Gatorade, soda, different cookies and candies. And it also exchanged our money. 
We also watched a lightening storm. And then!!!! Matt fixed my MOSQUITO NET. He's a genius. I had my fan on as well. I pretty much got the best sleep I've ever had. 
These beautiful little girls kept saying "photo, photo!"

Pictures snapped while on the Moto**

Driving on the side of the mountain. 

Mango from the neighbor. 

Rainbow/view from our house. 

That's lightening lighting up the sky. 

My mosquito net! Woot woot, no longer a blanket. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 2

Woke up this morning with my lovely net covering me. Crap. It's now dark outside and I am realizing I still didn't figure out a way to hang it. I'll probably be using it as a blanket yet again. 
Anyways. I got up around six and showered. The water was cold and then to my surprise started to get warm. Who knew we'd even have hot running water in Haiti?! Not me! Hardly even a third world country... Kidding. I brushed my teeth with our bagged water, went to the bathroom, started my period. Cooool. Of course that would happen. Had it in Israel and got it in Haiti as well. Glad we taught the female reproductive system yesterday. A nice little review of what's happening in my body. 
We had breakfast prepared for us at 8. The way the organization is set up is so cool. Depending on how long you stay it costs anywhere from $2,400 - $3,600. That money goes directly to our cost of living and flights. We have a house with running water, clean water provided for us all the time, guards (who stay at the house throughout the entire day), translators (who come with us most everywhere we go), drivers (who pick us up from the airport), a lady who prepares, cooks and cleans up all three meals 6 days a week, a lady who does our laundry once a week, and money for transportation. I'm basically living in paradise here. The volunteers that are staying here the entire summer are not paid. Their costs are taken care of but they don't make any money. How incredible is that?! Ashley works all year with this organization, planning meetings, scheduling meetings, figuring out the money and living situations and she isn't paid at all. I am so impressed with each of the volunteers who have out so much time and effort into making curriculums and gave up their entire summer! 
Back to breakfast. We had mangos, cookies, pineapple, pastries, hard boiled eggs, toast and cheese (that was for you dad). That mangos here are incredible. They grow in trees just in our neighbors yard. 
After breakfast the health volunteers got together and taught a couple of the workers at our house. If the goal of sustain Haiti is to help educate those living here so that they can educate themselves what better way to help than to teach those around us?! Plus. Nerlande and Stanley are both so very smart. They could really contribute to their community. Stanley is one of our drivers (he picked me up from the airport, is in the bishopric here, his wife cooks for us and is just starting to learn English) and Nerlande is wayyy good at English! During our lesson with them we talked about the different jobs of arteries, veins and capillaries. We were able to go quite in depth with them. I feel like I'm learning just as much as them.
After our lesson we headed to an orphanage. We walked to where the "tap tap" (A truck with two benches, one on either side of the bed with a tin roof which you "tap" when you want to get off. They hold about 15 people crammed in there.) picked us up. The "tap tap" had been parked for a couple min when we got on so it was insanely sweaty. We only sat there without driving for about 2min but those two min felt like I was in a sauna. While on the taptap a woman told Matt in creole that she, "wanted to bathe with him in her bikini in the ocean.." Matt didn't understand what she said so he responded with "wi wi (yes yes)" and "anfum (awesome)". Nerlande started cracking up at his response and once we got off the taptap she explained what had been said. Quite funny. We walked about 20min to get to the orphanage.
Right when we walked up many of the young kids were not wearing any pants and none had diapers. We each got sent to a class to teach. I had no idea what to teach. My class was about 25 kids and they were all about 8years old. Nerlande came with me and translated and helped come up with what to teach. We ended up going over the alphabet, learning "head, shoulders, knees and toes", learning the names of animals and having  a mini health lesson. I was probably teaching for about an hour and a half. If anyone has teaching ideas/activities for young kids - help me out! It was really fun, but I still want so badly to be able to communicate with them. Nerlande was the best translator! And she recommended that we teach them head shoulders knees and toes! The kids were all excited to learn anything in English. I wish there was a way to help them remember things. We'd go over things a million times but it was still hard, I know that's how it always is when learning new things. But my lack of communication probably gets in the way as well.
After class was over I went and hung out with the young kids. One of the girls looked like she was about two (from her face and hair) but her body was the size of an 8month old and she couldn't stand. At first I thought she should be walking and running around but it was like holding a young baby. The kids were so wanting of love and affection. I let a few if them drink out of my water bottle. The one baby girl downed it. She was sooo thirsty. 
We took the taptap back to out house and had lunch. It was about 3 in the afternoon. We then prepared a lesson to go teach at 4.  We prepared to teach about hypertension and cholera. 
We took the motos for about 25min to get the cement building that we taught in. The lady we had contact with in that area was a voodoo priest, pretty interesting.
Yet again the turnout for out class was larger and more interested than I would have expected. The age ranged from 2-70. 
We ended up teaching a real quick lesson on English. And then taught about the digestive system and the immune system. You can tell when they begin to understand because they have so many questions when things start to click. The 70 year old man had a couple very interesting questions. The first one was if we don't get enough nutrients does our body start to run out of blood? I had never even thought about that. How lucky am I to have been raised somewhere where education was provided to me?? His other question was  why alcohol affected people. He was 70 and didn't understand alcohol. How crazy is that? We grow up thinking things are common sense but it's because of the opportunities provided to us. Being here is quite humbling. 
We rode the moto's home. Nerlande took the time to go over some creole with me. She's the best. And quite patient cause I'm sure my attempts at pronunciations are quite comical. 
We had dinner which consisted of rice with pinto beans, a vegetable beef goulash, carrots, beers and potatoes. Yet again it all tasted incredible! 
The power just went out so I'm on the roof watching the stars. It's pretty amazing here. 
The orphanage class we taught today. 

Riding on the Moto

Matt teaching in the cement building. 


Day 1 

I don't have much internet time. And I only have my phone. Sorry in advance about the terrible grammar. 
Made it to Haiti. 
Took a while to get through customs. 
Everyone tried to "help us with our luggage". They really just wanted money. 
Found Ashley, the only white person waiting for us. 
Two Haitians were with her and they took us to their car. 
We drove to our house, Indiana jones style. No lanes. Pot holes. Swerving. Lots of honking. This place is so poor. Soo sooo poor. People were lining the streets walking around everywhere. In the middle of the day. Who knows that they do. The building are all so colorful. It is poor but so colorful. Bright oranges, reds, greens and yellows. 
It took us about an hour and a half to drive 20 miles. 
We got to the house and everything was larger and cleaner than I thought.  It was behind a locked gate (I'm sure dad will be happy to hear that). We have guards on about 12 hours a day (members of the church). 3 story house. Similar to Hawaii style. Very open. 
Top two floors are our rooms (which consist of an open room and a pad on the floor) and bathrooms.  
We had a couple hours of free time. So we got set up. Made my bed, unpacked... 
I talked with Ashley about the organization and how it all started. It's pretty incredible - I'll have to go into that more later.  (Laundry, meals, water...) 
Eventually all the volunteers got back from teaching somewhere. They ran in and told us to get ready to go. We went downstairs hopped on a "moto" (a ghetto motorcycle we somehow squeezed 3 people on). We rode for probably about 20 min (Indiana jones style yet again). We rode on dirt roads, through dirty streams, passed huts and through what looked like little villages. We pulled up to a school to teach about the Reproductive organs. I felt pathetic. I didn't do any of the teaching I was just listening today - but I don't speak any French or creole. I wasn't able to communicate at all. I had a hard time even getting names. I'm going to try really hard to learn basic conversational phrases. 
Anyways When I say we pulled up to a school I mean we pulled up to a brick building that had a couple doors, a couple windows and each room had a few benches in it with a chalk board at the front of the room. 
There were a lot more people waiting for us than I had expected - probably around 25. Granted I had no idea what to expect. But they came to learn with no one forcing them. What teenagers would come to a class to learn on their own in the states. Not many that I know unless they were getting something out of it. But I'm sure many of the people here don't have the opportunity to attend school. In the class It was mainly young men who seemed to be between the ages of 11-17 and a few girls. 
I listened as the other volunteers taught about sperm, eggs, tubes, testicles, hormones and willingly answered any questions the students had. The volunteers started out as basic as you can get. They drew on the chalkboard the women's reproductive system. And said, "each woman has a cell, an egg..." We had a translator with us who translated everything. The students became very interested once they started to understand. They had so many questions. About everything. Twins, wet dreams, what causes an erection, masterbation, when pregnancy occurs. One questions was what makes you want to have sex... So we talked about hormones.  At first I was like woahhhhh the little kids. But then I thought it was better for them to get correct information than to never be educated in the topic.  
The class lasted about an hour and a half and then we rode back. We have a lady at the house who cooks for us so we all sat on the floor and ate together. Black beans, which I couldn't actually find any beans just a soupyness, white rice, chicken legs, and some potatoes in some sauce. It all tasted incredible! I'm not even joking, it was delicious. While eating the volunteers all shared stories about their day. 
Matt had to treat a 2nd degree burn today. Someone who had been given a first aid kit had tried to take care of it themselves. But had made it worse by pouring baby powder on and locking in the infection. We talked about how people want to be given all the materials (like it's some sort of magic fix) but don't actually have any real understanding. He ended up having to cut off a large portion if their skin which could have been avoided had they taken care of it correctly. (Prevention vs treatment)  
After we had FHE together and talked about gratitude. I am incredibly grateful to be here. 
Once that was finished I said up my mosquito net/canopy. Let me tell you. That was a process. It took so freaking long. I was climbing in the window sill and sweating like crazy trying to get it to stay up. Michael one of the other volunteers helped me and we finally, after a ton of duct tape, thought we had it. 
We then all got internet for a little, played card games and talked for a while. I tried to learn a little creole from Matt. 
A few of us went up on the roof and looked at the stars. 
I am now laying in my bed. Sweating like a pig because my damn mosquito net fell down and it's just laying on me. At this point I'd rather just take the thing off and sleep in the open... But being a public health major my pride keeps me from doing that. I've argued too many times that if people would just sleep with a mosquito net they could solve so many problems. In classes we've talked about whether it was better to give them to communities or have people earn them for themselves... What would have a more lasting effect? Welp. Now I understand. They just suck. If I didn't understand the risks no one could talk me into using this dumb thing that's basically suffocating me as I type. I always used to think it would be so simple to hang. Welp not with cement walls and nothing else. Anyways. First days was a great success. I already wish I could stay longer. Four weeks is gonna fly by. 

2 Things: 
We drink water from bags. 
Mosquito nets SUCK (as the last part attached to the wall fell on my head)

"Kijan ou rele" - means "what you called" essentially ---> what is your name

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2012 and most of 2013 Recap.

I do realize that it's already September of 2013. 
I just have so many things to remember and be GRATEFUL for. 
I was reading through my drafts and realized I never posted my 2012 recap. So here it is 9 months later.  
I have been blessed with the most incredible life.
These are just a couple of my favorite memories from each month. 

January 2012 - The Hawaii gang. Crazy Hikes.

February 2012- Slack lining.

March 2012- Flooding in good 'ol Laie

April 2012 - Goodbye Quiet house. Drea's wedding. The start of Super Saturdays. 


May 2012 - China Walls. Giselle's Birthday. Super Saturdays.


June 2012 - Dropping Aaron off at EFY. Culture Fest. 

July 2012 - Family VACAY. Spartan Race #1. 

August 2012 - Uncle Sam and Aunt Joyce came to visit :)

September 2012 - Hiking Koko Head. Kauai. 


October 2012 - Surf Comps. Halloween Party/Tsunami Party

November 2012  - Coaching.

December 2012 - Sunflowers. Marathon. Graduation. 

January 2013 - Moved to Provo

February 2013 - 21st BIRTHDAY --->FROYO

March 2013 - Festival of Colors

April 2013 - Hawaii with the Fam Bam

May 2013 - Ran into some old Roomies at T-Square

June 2013 - Wasatch Ragnar, Spartan Race.

July 2013 - K Hoffs Wedding. Kara's wedding. [CT and NY.] 


August 2013 - Rodeo. Timp. Vegas.  

September 2013 - Labor Day. San Francisco/Napa Valley Ragnar.