Heartache

Wow… where to even begin. I’ve made it home safe and sound, the trip home had some hiccups but over all not too bad. I spoke on my last blog about not wanting to go home and just staying. I have to say that feeling hasn’t left. As the plane started the decent into Fort Lauderdale my emotions started to stir up and the anxiety hit hard. I started to come to the realization that I found myself a new home and that these people now have a piece of my heart.

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The security at the airport was check point, after check point in Haiti. Once I hit Miami things got a little smoother, but my flight was delayed an hour or 2. The 8 hour lay over was spent mostly watching movies and attempting to ignore the conversations that I could actually understand. In Haiti I had picked up a fair amount of Creole and I could understand random conversations if I took the time to pay attention, being on The Main Land I could understand everyone; to be honest it’s a little irritating. After arriving into Detroit Julia and I found out that our bags didn’t make it to Detroit and were still in Miami. When I originally flew to Haiti all my bags were automatically transferred as the agent had told me they would… naturally I assumed that they would do the same for the way back (same airline, same destinations). I “investigated” what the process of the bags were, apparently if they are not claimed after being cleared through customs they are turned over to Spirit (my airline) later you are informed… My issue? I had an 8 hour lay over and they didn’t message me at any point in time. My bags are supposed to come in today so I have to drive to Detroit and pick them up. I messaged Spirit kindly explaining that I was upset and hoping to settle some kind of compensation. So I’m not bad mouthing Spirit but keep tuned to see what type of assistance they will offer.

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I forgot to mention a few things the last post, I was supposed to explain a certain picture… well those of you on my Facebook Page were expecting an explanation to the following picture haha.

Bill & Emily

Bill & Emily

This is Bill and Emily with the new water purification system that we installed! Bill if the founder and CEO of Fountains Of Hope and received a donation to have a system installed at the orphanage, how awesome. Bill was a super great guy to meet. These systems are great, the one that was put in at Ke Kontan is 400 Gallons and can be purified in approximately 10 minutes. After purifying the water you might want to wait 6-12 hours to drink it though… Kind of tastes like pool water until the chlorine evaporates. Julia and I dubbed this water anytime we drank it as pool water, some conversations would go like this:

  • Hey I’m thirsty can you get me something to drink?
  • You want some pool water?
  • That all we got?
  • Yup
  • Pool water it is!

So if anyone knows of any projects or places that could use one of these systems or you want to help donate towards the organisation here’s the website FountainsOfHope.org

Another thing I forgot to mention in my last post was about heading to Montrouis for a Beach Day with the kids. We got to swim in the awesome ocean again where the Jelly Fish were last time… and many, many sea urchin’s. At one point I was trying to get out and pushed my hand onto a rock which felt too soft to be true and what do ya know I got Pricked/Stung by one of those ugly-looking black spike balls of death(Sea Urchin, not actually deadly) . My hand was burning for about 15 – 20 minutes but went away… Good story though!

Sea Urchin                                                                        (Not my photo, will be updating it with mine later today)

I think I got all the forgotten stories in now haha. Anyway I got into Detroit as I was coming down the escalators I saw my mom and best friend once I got down I dashed to Krystina and gave her the biggest hug and started to cry because I missed her so much; she proceeded to ask if I was okay and I said no, at that point I was on the verge of balling my eyes out and collapsing realizing I just left one of the hugest parts of my life back in Haiti. The memories flashed by in an instant and just remembering the kids saying goodbye before school and before I left stole my heart. Jenny (the oldest child -14) as well as Tattoumine (the nanny) told me the day before I left that they were going to miss me and that right there is when is really started to hit me.

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Me – Jenny – Emily+Norens – Tattoumine

Since I’ve been home I’ve felt a real un-ease that I can’t shake, I woke up at 5AM this morning having a panic attack not knowing where I was, scared and didn’t know what to do, I curled up in a ball observing everything for a bit then realized I was back “Home”.

Life is going to take some getting used to but I’m going to keep my head up and start planning for my next trip/ endeavours with Emily, I can’t wait!

See you again soon Christine!

See you again soon Christine!

Bad Timing

The last week just flew by and a couple of weeks ago I would have been super glad. Remember that blog where I said I was home sick and wanted to home etc? I was really in a rut and wished I hadn’t booked my flight to be in late January. Since Julia got here and starting filming the closing of the documentary I guess things really started feeling real, that it’s all coming to an end. I feel like my timing is off and I shouldn’t be leaving.

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Emily recently asked me to stay, whether jokingly or not I really wish I could, but there’s a few things that need to be handled back in the cold land Canada. I’ve really grown an attachment for this country and the kids… and just everything Haitian. When the kids and even the nanny told me that they are going to miss me it kind of stuck a cord… I felt emotion. I’ve never really experienced emotion on a continuous basis it’s usually extremes, so Sad or Happy and only for short periods of time. This last week has been a long tug at my heart letting me know that I’ve grown and learned so much.

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On the weekend Emily, Julia and I went to Jacmel/ Bassin Bleu, it was so beautiful, long trip but worth it. We go to see Haitian beauty, stuff that you don’t see on the news it was so refreshing! I fought some fears jumped off a waterfall that was huge and swam in some cold but stunning blue water.

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Haiti has made a dent in my life and changed me for ever, I was a Dad, Nurse, handy-man among many other things. I think this chapter of my life will be one that is forever bookmarked and shared as long as I live.

This will probably be my last blog until I get home or maybe until my lay-over tomorrow since it’s 8 hours. I just want to thank everyone for the support and encouragement. I look forward to the continued support in the future when I decide to come back to Haiti… My second home <3.

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Try new things, experience life, regret nothing… just be happy with the choices you’ve made.

~Justin Parkinson

Closing In

So I guess I’m overdue for a blog post… Thanks for the heads up and honesty Lauren :P. I think everyone should check out Lauren’s blog/ book it’s an awesome read… I don’t read, and I loved it, she’s got an amazing writing style! Her book and blog were very inspirational and a reminder to a lot of lessons I’ve learned in life. I think her words definitely helped me in my journey to Haiti (No she didn’t ask me to advertise for her haha).

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Anyway back to the blog. So like I’ve said before my journey is slowly coming to a close and I’m super excited but sad at the same time. Haiti has provided so much for me; from learning experiences to upsets to just pure joy. There’s lesson’s from here that I will take with me for the rest of my journey through life and I’m sure I’ll be back to Haiti soon… that’s the plan anyway.

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Tomorrow Julia is supposed to be arriving in the morning where I’ll be meeting her at the airport, as for Emily I don’t think she’s coming back…   Just kidding she’ll be arriving later in the afternoon she took a different airline to come back than Julia did. It’ll be one big happy family again soon! It’ll be nice to have some blan’s around… That sounds terrible but I mean it in a sense that I can relate with them with some things (1st world things) and speak proper English without having to try and explain myself. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks without Emily here but it was a real adventure and experience to partake in; no regrets.

So everyone is sick, I talked about how it’s pretty much world-wide… I think I talked about it on my other blogs. Well a few of the kids are sick, I’ve been taking care of them, the nanny is sick as well. I’ve been filling everyone with Vitamin’s especially Mr. C. Hopefully everyone gets better soon. I woke up this morning with a bit of a scratchy throat… like seriously I spent 2 months here with everyone around me being sick and me not a Hint of sickness! The last week I’m here I get sick, I hope not! So now I’m shoving my body full of fluids and vitamins praying not to get sick because when I do it’s usually horrendous bad.

If you haven’t seen the Facebook updates Jodnice is now standing on her own… but she’s not walking. I honestly think her sister could probably stand as well, but if you try and stand her up she just lunges herself at you and laughs. Another thing they like to do is laugh at you from upstairs through the bars like they’ve done something wrong.

Cheering she can stand!

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Cheering she can stand!

Val held a class the other day “Kids Opinion Club” or something of the sort and they all talked about what they are good at etc… Val also talked to them about Cholera and the facts about it, it was a very educational weekend!

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Here’s some pictures of the kids when they get a hold of chalk.

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Thanks for keeping up with the blog if you’re not already subscribed to be notified by email just set it up on the side bar                                                              <—————

Enjoy your current moments, they make you who you are and where you’ll be in the future.

~Justin Parkinson

1st Leaking Into 3rd

1st leaking into 3rd

Things are going pretty well here at Kè Kontan; the days are starting to come to a close faster and faster as my trip is nearing its end.

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Most recently I’ve had some first world problems starting to leak into the 3rd world I’m in. It’s nothing of major concern for anyone but me really. I have to get my emissions test (Car) done for when I come home and with the work that’s been done on my car it may not pass… especially because of the newly implemented “Drive Clean” Program Ontario has set up.  I had saved some money for when I get home just so I can take a week or 2 off to acclimatize back to the 1st world. It looks like I’ll be spending most of my savings just getting my car in condition to pass the test; or fitted with the right parts rather. My car is newer and there’s nothing wrong with it, but the new testing is failing a lot of cars. The new margins for testing are 1.5 margin error compared to the approx. 4.5 it was before; that’s a rather substantial gap. I don’t want to bore people with car talk just wanted to throw my frustrations down for other people to hear :). A lot of it has to do with getting things working and having to try and do it over the internet and with my mom, who by the way is handling it very well. Her not knowing cars makes it somewhat of a challenge.

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I attempted to get on the internet to start writing this next blog but of course something is wrong… nothing new here. I’m writing in Word trying to solve the issue at the same time. Fingers crossed it works… I suppose if you are reading this I got it working… if not it’s creepy you’re able to read this *Glares into the sky*.

There was some snafu’s that happened with getting some kids into school (kids not in the orphanage) but it seems we got most of them ironed out. Unfortunately things are still shaky and trying to get sorted for one child who was blamed for something he didn’t do, so we may not be able to place him into school as of yet, keep him and I guess all of us here in your prayers thanks! Oh the English classes have resumed since the Holidays and I see new faces here and there as well… I see a lot of potential and it’s a lot of fun. There are a few kids not really getting the grips of it though… it’s like I’m speaking Chinese… or English haha.

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Lately there have been some new faces around with the kids from the outside… Starting to call it that as I don’t get to leave the walls of the orphanage/compound since Emily’s been gone, not very often anyway. There’s been a lot more screaming and surprisingly less scrapes… less Dr. Justin.  It’s a bit more of a chore keeping an eye on everyone and sorting things out but I’m managing.

As my trip draws near to the end, I anticipate once Julia arrives on the 22nd the time will FLY. I’m excited! Despite being back home and working the grind as usual. I’ll be back with people I’ve missed and sharing my silliness and sarcasm with them.

Tee and I

Tee & I

Jules & I

Jules & I

Guess what I fixed the internet… oh I love how good some things work out sometimes, especially in Haiti.

Just wanted to throw in a quick blog for everyone… because I’m sure some of you just sit at home waiting for me to post right….?

Be believing, be happy, don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.

~Gordon B Hinckley

Perception of Life’s Lessons

Today I spent some time in the hammock because I was rather tired from being up really early. I figured while I tried to fall asleep I would ponder some things I may have learned while I’ve been here in Haiti.

Priceless

Priceless

I don’t think this next paragraph will be agreed upon for a lot of people but remember it’s my perception you don’t have to like it 😛

One night I was out with Val getting some food and drink when most of everyone I saw out was young and thriving, then I saw 2 older gentlemen walking around but with no discontent or judgment for the somewhat rowdy youth. When I think about being back at home and lets say you’re in your car listening to music a little louder than “they” would like, you tend to get a bad look/ glare or you have tattoo’s… something a long the lines of that. I started to think that maybe these people are to close minded and un-cultured who are judging (I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times don’t judge other’s until you know them… bet you probably still do it; I know I do sometimes). By no means am I saying all “older people/Elders or supposedly mature people”  are this way but I just think they might be lacking exploration of different things, all the way from different culture around the world to seeing life’s necessities around the globe. I am absolutely not saying that I’ve been exposed to way more and learned a lot more but I still feel I’ve had a lot of experience especially from Haiti alone. If some of these people have… maybe they just weren’t open to learning or changing from it.

Some people may say “well I’ve been around the world, experienced culture etc“.  For a lot of the people I’m not talking about “hey I went and visited family in Europe and then we went to a shopping center and saw some museums and historic places” or “hey I went to Cancun for spring break… it changed my life!“. I’m talking about getting into the community doing things with neighbours living in the culture not just visiting family.

I think that was most of my thoughts a lot people may not agree with.

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Mixing cement Haitian Style

Hmm… I really need to keep a recorder with me because I feel so incite-full during the day and then think I’ll remember what I’ve learned or thought of but it seems to escape me. Well here’s  stab at it anyway:

  • I think a lot of people need to pride themselves in a lot more of the little things they do… it’ll bring up your spirits and confidence. Just the little hammock/lounge area Val and I build, I feel was something minor, but it’s something to feel great that we completed and I’m proud of it.
  • Feel good about yourself, of your appearance be happy that you woke up and the fact that you can smile and breathe air.
  • Be happy with the people who are in your life, they will be the ones that give you the hardest time but get you through the worst of times.
  • Just be open to life, hold no expectation and be willing to learn… even if you think you’re a pro, there’s always something to learn.
  • Bring enthusiasm into the world every day (today I was tired and ugh was it a chore to get up the stairs… I forces a smile said “Yuppie” and what do you know my climb was so much easier!). Try slapping a smile on during the hardest crap you’ll tell yourself “this is stupid” but I bet it’ll probably get you through what ever it is.
  • Time passes things get easier you become comfortable or you find somethings that guides the time along and to cope with the negatives. If you’ve been following my blogs you’ll notice I tripped on a rough patch… well sort of, but look at me now, I’m ready to go for another 6 month’s… haha just kidding but I’m good now I have a smile on things are dandy! 
  • This ties in with my last point, FIND SOMEONE TO CONFIDE IN! Find some one you can trust that you can talk to, they don’t have to have any answers… they just need to listen. You’d be surprised what a difference it is to share your squabbles BIG or small. (Honestly everyone wants to be heard. If you don’t think so it’s probably because you don’t want to bother others… but trust me you want to be heard)

I took this in Stratford, Ont.a good "Wisdom" picture.

I took this in Stratford, Ont.
A good “Wisdom” picture.

I really just wanted to put pen to paper or… letters to screen on a lot of the “Wisdom or Insight” I feel I’ve gained and maybe share it with others to hopefully take away from it :). I’ve kind of known all of this before it was there, but I think Haiti was the cement that solidified these thoughts.

I’ve decided to leave out the “be happy with what you’ve got, avoid complaining” for one I thing it’s been shared over and over and I’ve definitely touched on it already if past blogs. If I had to sum everything up I guess I would have to say “Greet the world with a smile, breath in life and share your love. Only you can bring yourself  up so why let other bring you down.

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Hope everyone enjoys this read I’ll try to write my lessons down when I think of them, I’m lazy though… oh yeah throw on a smile and just do it right?

 I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts and input feel free to comment, email or post on my Facebook Page.

Upgrades for Cheap

The past week or so there’s been a lot of work around the house little bits at a time. Today my self along with Val and his friend did an overhaul on the backyard. The day started off nothing to difficult. We received our new power source from a different project a couple of days ago… finally semi reliable power… for now. Val though that it would be good to install some lights around the back yard perimeter since it is pretty big and would be safer (The backyard is pretty huge). We picked up some light sockets and set a few up around the yard and wired them up!

Val turned to me while in the backyard and goes “Do you want to try and make a hammock?” I replied “You mean with the mosquito netting I suggested and you thought would not be strong enough?” (The company that donated the netting suggested hammocks with spare netting). Needless to say we went ahead and started to engineer some magic and voila we created an awesome hammock.

Val relaxing

Val relaxing

After we completed the project I turned to Val and made a comment about the garbage in the backyard that was near our nice new relaxation station; if you read one of my past blogs it talks about the layers upon layers of garbage. Anyway he said yeah no worries I’ll clean it even if I’m here all night.

Our genius engineering

Our genius engineering

The next endeavor started as the 3 of us began raking  and clearing the garbage as well as cutting off extra limbs from all the plantain tree’s and many other vegetation.  I won’t get into how we managed to dispose of the garbage let’s just call it Haitian Style. The yard looks amazing there’s still much work to do but it looks great.

The title of the blog I guess I should kind of explain it. Pretty much we paid nothing for all the work we did, other than the light sockets. We used rocks, left over netting and cord, then we strung everything up oh yeah and a ton of manual labour for garbage clearing.

Very successful day I mus say and when I had a shower the water was black; that’s how you know you worked hard… or just rolled around in the mud (I didn’t roll in the mud. I did get pretty dirty digging muddy drainage lines though :S).

I’d say the backyard has had an %80 improvement, give us another 7 or 8 hours and It would look just lovely (^_^). To finish off the day we chopped up some sugar cane that was growing in the backyard and snacked on that… first time I ever had it, it was actually pretty yummy :).

First time trying sugar cane.

First time trying sugar cane

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

~Colin Powell

So?

So, I find myself every time I’m starting a blog inclined to use the word so. Why? I had some time to think about that today when I was taking a ride to Cabare (doing a favour for a friend). I think I use the word so to “continue my story that I want to tell every one… and when I reflected on it I was thinking what is the definition of so?… I’ll give you a minute to think about it

———— Okay so I really didn’t know the definition off hand but I knew the context in which to use it but here’s the dictionary’s definition of the meaning I was using it for “in that or this manner or fashion”. Well that’s my rant about that.

As I stated earlier I went to Cabare today to do a favour for a friend and took her loyal moto driver, it was a rather nice ride for a bit until my hands started to go numb from the vibration of the bike. Great thing is I made it back safe yay.

Emily recently posted a video on Facebook talking about her year in 2012 with a slide show

This video shows Hime For Help/Ke Kontan’s journey throughout 2012. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, sponsors, fundraisers & friends & family for making this year a successful year with stories that have impacted and changed all of us and have allowed many of us to come together. I am absolutely blessed. And most of all.. thank you to my kids for teaching me how to love unconditionally and for allowing me into your hearts and lives. I will never forget 2012- the year Hime For Help was created & the year my life truly began.(linked video below).


Since everyone is chiming in about their 2012 I guess I should as well. My 2012 was rather interesting, like a lot of people there were ups and downs but I feel I really ended the year on a good note doing something I truly enjoy… helping others! Despite missing Christmas and New Years back at home, I still got a chance to talk to family and friends.My New Years was not too exciting but to be honest my last 2 were pretty salami ( only some of you will get that quote but for those who don’t let’s just say they weren’t super enthralling). I’m pretty happy with how the year ended and I want to thank everyone who helped me get here and say I’m really happy with the friends I’ve made. Oh side note our new years day super was super yummy thanks to Chef Val P.

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A blog or 2 ago I was mentioning about always being tired or un-happy when I woke up the past week or so, well I think it’s for the most part past :). I had time to think about it while heading to Cabare and back… it was a long ride! Anyway back to the point I’m thinking that maybe it was caused by some srt of subconscious anxiety of Emily going back to Canada and me being here without her and her authority;  if that even makes sense. As the days have slowly gone by I’ve felt more confident and happy so don’t worry Em no need to rush back early. I of course still miss people but I don’t feel so much heart ache anymore.

The kids have been pretty good up to date while Emily has been gone and we’ve had a lot of fun… it’s amazing what fun you can have with a simple bouncy ball and a balcony. Who knew?!

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Making paper bag puppets!

The past few days when I wasn’t busy with the kids I was usually working on some sort of project whether it was cleaning out the second water reservoir or making a nice path to the generator at the back of the yard since our power is no longer working right… again! All this work is starting to take a toll and I think I’m taking a day or 2 break because I am sore and have a nasty blister on my hand. It’s hard work but satisfying seeing your results come to fruition.

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2013 is a new year and an open book… so cliche but what ever! I can’t wait to see where my life goes. If anyone is curious once I come home from Haiti what’s going to happen to my blog; I will be trying to keep my blog up to date not only with what’s happening here at Kè Kontan but also where my life adventures bring me… I hope you’ll still be interested in staying on board for the ride! We never stop learning so keep your eyes and mind open.

That one pesky mosquito will never bother me again!

That one pesky mosquito will never bother me again!