Flight

I’m finally back on the blogs… sorry for taking so long to post another, things have been hectic between power, accidents and kids haha. I don’t even know where I really last left off so I’ll start where I can remember.

A while back Emily and I decided to try out some Paragliding we were both really excited and couldn’t wait. The day finally came we got out to the mountain all saddled up… well Emily was, she was up first. They begun to take off and the conditions weren’t exactly favourable once they had begun to take off and the launch failed. Em went down and because the pilot was attached to her he landed on top of her and some bad gashes ensued. She was pretty shaken up and had some pretty nasty cuts and a hurting hip, we proceeded to bring her to the hospital, got her cleaned up and stable. In the end nothing too crazy was wrong, some bad cuts and a very sore hip. Emily spent the next few days in a Hotel to rest up to avoid the kids poking and prodding her. I made a trip the hotel to watch over her as she couldn’t walk, and spent a night or 2 as well… the food was pretty good I’ve got to admit. Emily came home a few days later and I was her personal assistant while she couldn’t leave her bed.

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At this point she’s walking with no crutches (just some aches) which is awesome! Now I don’t think I have to play countless games of Crazy 8’s anymore… it was actually kind of fun though. We also watched a whole bunch of “Lie to Me” a pretty awesome TV series… it reminds me of when I to investigation in college; I miss it.

I guess the past week or two has been kinda of event-less other than taking care of Em… although there was a night we went to Karaoke, oh what a blast that was… no alcohol was even needed.

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“Les Craazie Blancs” singing Barbie Girl

There’s a lot more in’s and outs while I was taking care of Em, like Lilly sleeping in my bed, calling me Papa and moto rides at night to go take care of Emily since no one was there to help her go  to the bathroom at night (I walked her in and closed the door).

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Recently the kids and I have been flying “Caps” (kites), I’ve seen them here and there travelling through Haiti but since the kids and I have started doing it, it seems all the kids around the house have started flying them… there’s at least 15-10 a day going up around the neighbourhood.  I guess we stimulated the Kite business in Haiti haha! When I think back I’ve never really flown kite’s before I mean I’ve handled them but never really got to fly them. This whole experience was such a blast because I got learn how to fly them well and how to make Haitian Kites!

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The other day I put the kids on the roof and we got the kites to a new distance something even I was really giddy about, I managed at one point to get one of them about 400 feet out… crazy right! Every few days the kids would run up to me and be super excited because someones kite got stuck in one of our tree’s and wanted me to get it down. Yesterday we went up to the roof and flew this awesome Cap we found in the backyard, well there was another guy behind us maybe 200 feet or so on top of another house flying his kite. When I found ours there was a razor blade on the end of the tales and I was wondering ‘why would someone put a blade on a kite? Well the guy that was flying his kite crossed our lines and the kids and all neighbours were all hollering and going wild… why? Because I had just entered into a kite battle! I finally figured out what the blades were for; you cross the lines raise you kite and cut the enemies string and the kite is yours… neet right? I guess this is very common in Haiti so I let the guy start to pull my kite towards him, getting him to think he was winning but I had the kite size and roof high advantage, he started getting excited then BAM, I went to war; tugged and mounted my kite eventually both kites came down and I had won. His string snapped and we had just earned ourselves a free kite… what a day.

Today’s Easter and Em n’ I made some bags with candy in them and the kid’s names on them, then hid em’ around the house while they were at church and made them go a huntin’ once they got home. The kids all scurried around the house and had a blast  finding the bags as well enjoyed the candy… Lilly was even kind enough to share her candy with the twins <3.

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The days are starting to count down I’ll be purchasing my ticket to go home soon and I’ll be leaving Haiti in May… I’m really going to miss the family I’ve grown to love but I will be back. I still have adventures to plan and things to do and Haiti will always be one of them. I hope everyone has/had a great Easter and just be thankful for the people around you and the things you have.

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I’ve got to go for now there’s some banana bread waiting to be tended too… eating.

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“The world is big but your troubles don’t have to be; enjoy what you’ve got, live in love and love will live in you.”

Heartfelt

The past week has been an interesting one. Emily’s friends came by to help out around the yard as previously promised and it was a great day! All of us worked together to clear out the back yard of most of the garbage… there’s still around 3 feet burried. The group got rid of most of the rubbish, the kids even helped as well. After the big clean-up one of the guys who was dubbed “the wood guy” put together some swings off a tree in the back yard, some soccer posts and a see-saw. Big thanks to everyone that came out to help and for the continued support!
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The same night after all the work we did, Emily and “the family” had a chat; we went over sanitation, respect for others and helping out around the house. Emily strives to have a childrens house not an orphanage… although an orphanage is what it is, she’d rather it have a warming connotation to it. The disccussion seemed to go well… we’ll see how the next few weeks go. Early in the month we had two volunteers from Eastern Canada who had spent a few days with us then headed off to another orphanage in Montrouis, a few days ago they returned and we’re now back to almost a full house. On Saturday we all headed back to Medishare to check on the baby we brought in from Montrouis… good news he’s pulling through despite the odds, keep him in your prayers please. After Medishare the group of us went to Munchies which is a great place for lunch… or dinner… or any meal haha. Emily, Maddi and I had gone there the day before and ordered Pizza, so after Medishare we got the Cheeseburger combo instead of pizza which is one of the best choices there. Munchies was a nice break to the day and we all almost ate too much.
The same day all of us went to Mother Theresa’s Home for the Sick and Dying. I had been there a few times already with Emily, and it’s always emotional but I’m usually able to walk away and be fine after we leave and go on with my day… this time it was really different. We all started off in the first section of babies (younger ones), as usual we got tasked to feed them AK100, it’s acutally tasty I’ve had it back at our place before. Once the staff were done mopping the second section with the slightly older kids we wandered over, Emily and I poked a few kids getting some chuckles out of them then we got to the back of the room where there was two kids a boy (5) and a girl (8). The boy was very talkative and energetic, I teased him about me eating his food and he gobbled it right up. Emily grabbed the bowl of AK100 in the 8 year olds crib and started to feed her since she was somewhat lathargic and very malnourished; the girl actually look like an old lady, her skin was dried out and looked very aged… she looked like a minature 80 year old not eight. Em went off after to talk to some other kids and I started to play with despite aged look, the most precious and beautiful Hatians I’ve seen yet. We shared some laughes playing peek-a-boo and tickling. I went off for a bit and came back as Emily was taking her out of her bed to take her outside to play along with the five year old we had been playing with. As I was walking over I asked if she needed help carrying them she said ‘sure’ and begun to hand over the boy as I got closer my new friend reached out to me with her frail arms. Needless to say I took the little princess outside with me. The kids we brought out with us all went crazy on the swings and slides, they were so happy to be out and playing; I asked my companion if she wanted to go on the swings or slides but she kept saying no… she just had no interest, I picked her up and she whispered to me in Creole ‘I just want to sit in the shade with you’. We found a nice spot that was in the shade I sat her down and then I sat myself, as I sat down she came over and sat in my lap wrapped her arms around me and placed her head into my chest; I looked down at her and her eyes were shut as if there was nothing more peacful than being embraced, having human contact and hearing the beat of another’s heart. At that moment I had made a connection that I hadn’t really felt yet in Haiti… let alone most of my life. It was time to go and she walked off to her crib, everyone was leaving and I had to go and say one last goodbye. Watching her climbing into her bed was a tough sight, it looked like a usual chore for her, someone leaving and she’s just going back to her “home“. I scurried on over and helped her into her bed, gave her a hug and said my last goodbye; Turning back looking at her there was no more smiles, no more laughs just a plain face, she wasn’t frowning but it was in her eyes that she was sad that, I was going and may not see her again. This past visit to Mother Theresa’s really made an impact on me, there’s been a lot in Haiti that has changed me and made me think, but nothing like this. I came back to the house and was almost at a loss for words, this little girl had reached my heart in places that I almost forgot existed. I had lost motivation to do much afterwards I just layed in bed listening to music and thinking about this angel and wondering what’s in store for her life.
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I fell asleep with a tear in my eye, drained emotionally but with a warmed heart that I could bring a smile to a fragile soul. Later that night after I woke up from my three hour nap all the volunteers, Em and I played some cards blew off some steam and called each other names; all in good fun of course!
As much as I really don’t want to go back to Canada I’m still raising money to return to the home Country, I still have a month and a bit left on my Visa though.
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– “Life is precious, enjoy the finer momments in life… even the harder ones it makes us who we are.”

Good & Bad – Funny & Sad

The last few days have been a bit challenging. Despite all the problems that arise in Haiti I still find myself happy.
For the most part the last week or so has been nice, there’s only 1 volunteer and she’s been fun to have around. There was a few nights we went out especially to get emily out of the house. One of the nights we went to a nice place that Em’s friend owns, and it was a friends birthday. The three of us were actually pretty tired so we all almost feel asleep but waited for the cake to be cut etc… it was fun to be in the “VIP” section though. Another night we went to a sport bar/ lounge to grab a bite to eat and then head home… we were all tired like the other night. If you were wondering I had the Buffulo Shrimp Wrap, the pricing was really cheap compared to American standards! One thing I found rather comical was on the door it said the usual: no guns, must be such and such an age to enter and then… No protitutes. I don’t know why I found it so funny maybe that I though ‘How the heck would you tell that?’, I know there’s usually a certain dress but I’m sure just like in Canada some girls that go downtown to party dress… let’s just leave it at that.
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Before we left Emily noticed some adverts on one of the moniters and saw that Tuesday nights are Kareoki nights… Yes we ended up going and it was a crazy night. The lounge was pretty busy, Emily and the volunteer were buggin’ me to go and sing with them which I was totally against. After a while I was going through the song book and decided to man up. I picked Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I got up on stage nervous but proud, unbuttoned the top button on my shirt to reveal some chest hair and the singing begain! After I was done I had a lot of people come up to me saying I did really well and that I picked one of the hardest songs to sing to but that I did amazing… I still thought it was bad but everyone else insists otherwise. There’s a video out there somewhere so I’m sure you’ll be able to watch it at some point (I’ll keep you posted).
Not everything is fun and games as my computer decided to conch out on me. I’m pretty certain it was the hard drive as my computer model was recalled for such reasons. I never had a chance to get it fixed because the nearest Apple shop was 2 hours away in Canada and 1 Hour away in the U.S. … I guess I’m paying for it now. I don’t trust anyone with a Mac in Haiti, if it were a PC I’d risk it… but not my Mac. I figure I’ll wait it out until I have to head home in a month or two. I joked about; since I can’t finish my book… I guess I’m not coming home; a few people didn’t find that funny.
The other day Emily, Maddie (volunteer) and I went to Montrouis to check out the house we helped build and to see if it actually got finished; Fortunately the important stuff did get finished but they were still asking for more money. At this point Emily and I were a little tired of being asked for more and more as they had been given plenty to have completed a decent house by now. Seemed like now they wanted finishing touches.
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Before we left we checked out everyone and their children as we usually do, we almost left when one of the babies that we usually play with… wasn’t so happy and he was very sick. The kids in the mountains eat rocks and many other dirty things, even after education they have a hard time breaking habits… but they are habits that will kill them :(. Em and I took the baby to a dear friend Maeve who helped us to a hospital, a very small one. We had things check out for the baby, after a bit things started to get kind of crazy as a women had recently died there and the family was very upset, we moved into a back room incase rocks started to fly… which is not unusual. After waiting a bit for things to cool down we had a knock on the door, they wanted to put the dead body in the room we were in, so we decided to leave. As we were leaving the baby hurled up everything we had just given him and all over Em… and a bit on the dead body… yikes. Funny thing was, I was litterally about to ask Emily if she wanted me to take the baby, I’m glad I waitied. Long story short we got the mom and the baby to Port Au Prince were he could be taken care of properly. It was a long day/ night and stressful but satifying.
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There was pretty much 2 reasons I was upset about my computer crashing. One is that I couldn’t keep writing my book, two was that I would have to write my blogs on my phone, other than that I was fine with losing all my photo’s etc… despite having compilled a lot of stuff. Today I took a shot in the dark… Ironically we’re in the dark since both our generators are ka-put at the moment. I grabbed my Bluetooth key board and tried to Sycn it to my phone… it worked! So now I’m writing with a keyboard. It’s better, but the screen is still only 2.5 inches.
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Oh today (Wednesday). I made a nice breakfast for Em and myself and two other guests in the house; Bacon eggs and juice… So yummy! We had some sac races and broke out some kites today as well… I don’t think I’ve every had so much fun flying a kite. Around 2:30 I felt like I had hit a wall and decided to take a nap, I’m all refreshed now though.
Since it will take a while to raise money to go home… yes I actually have to raise money to go home, I’m going to start raising money for my return flight before my Visa
runs out. As usual if you’d like to help contribute there’s a donation button on the side bar or you can contact me through email me at Justinparkinson@hotmail.com
Thanks in advance for the support I hope everyone has a great day/ night!

Ignorance is no excuse in life whether in the first or third world. We all have the right to educate our selves especially informally. Strive to reach your goals, dreams, and aspirations. Every action and lack there of has consquences. Be strong; keep yourself and other safe. Life is short but more so if you don’t try. Be happy with what you have and live life like you’re the boss.”

Working

Emily and I had nice few days off with the last batch of volounteers gone home. We went up the mountains, pretty much in the middle of nowhere to donate some books and supplies to a tiny school. They were so grateful for everything… As usual Em and I got cold being up The hill.

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The next day Emily and I headed to another school also up one of the mountains; they were having their inauguration. After all the speeches and beautiful music Em and I had joked about playing in the playground… We probably would have if it wasnt going to draw so much attention… (White people playing in a caged play ground, with no kids there); so we walked to a cliff and enjoyed the view instead, you could see all of Port Au Prince and more!
Our “break” was only a couple of days as we had some new helpers arrive… A family actually. Brandon a guy who had come out to help Em during the summer last year had brought his family this time to help rebuild a house for a former employee’s family (Tiny’s house).
The past week had been hectic, driving back and forth between Montrouis and Port Au Prince to help build the house. There’s been so many complications as usual, a lot of people showing up wanting to be paid, trying to figure out who’s doing what etc… TIH (This Is Haiti).

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One of the days heading back “home” the volounteers wanted to go for a quick dip in the ocean, Emily decided try a new place we’d never been and it seemed relatively new. The beach ended up being amazing! The next few days we used this place to wash off after a long day of working. One of the nights we decided to stay with a great ol’ friend Maeve… Man I missed her and her wee accent. She lives a lot closer to the site we were working on so it was pretty beneficial staying there. The reunion was nice, with a great big hug and her replying with ‘I knew you’d be back‘. Everyone took their showers while we had power, then we all sat out on the balcony chatting for a while. I was supposes to sleep downstairs with Maeve’s friend/boss in this massive bed… By the time I decided I was ready for bed he was passed out and snoring… I’ve gotten used to Haiti noise like dogs fighting or roosters going off like it’s morning but snoring I cant do it. There were some cushions left out from one of the pull out couches I snagged and put them on the covered balcony; I was smart enough to pack up my mosquito netting. I rigged up something of a master piece with a chair, a pencil and the door frame.It was pretty easy to fall asleep, we had worked hard all day and it was raining out so that was soothing. The next morning I was woken up by a water truck cruising up and down the street… They play music like ice cream trucks back in North America but 5 times louder and a tad bit more annoying. I was half im and out of sleep in the morning and what really woke me was Emily’s giggling… It only meant one thing, her and Maeve were up to something. I heard a camera click so I knew a Facebook photo was bound to show up… And it did.

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After that I heard ‘it’s too tight‘, they were trying to put something in my peaceful abode I turned over and the buggers were trying to shove a huge teddy bear in there. I caught them before any embarrassing photos were taken.

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The following day started a little slow, there was still bickering who was being paid and sharing tools etc… Since the locals didn’t really want a lot of help at the time I decided to lead the group up the mountain for a hike. For some reason they called out to me (the mountains that is), I climbed them everyday. It was fun going up higher than I had previously and with everyone to boot, even took some kids with us. Once at the top there was the most amazing breeze, it was perfect for one of the kids cap’s that’s Creole for kite.

I walked a little higher up the mountain then everyone else after we took an awesome portrait

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I took a moment by a tree and just took in the sight; it was marvelous.
We all returned to PAP (Port Au Prince) that day most of us enjoying our bucket showers since there was no running water. Sunday was a pretty laid back day, not much was done just relaxed. At night I took the volounteers out to the Irish Embassy for some R&R then we went off to Jet Set for some pool. Emily was waiting on a friend so I was the leader, I wasn’t too sure how to get there but I stumbled across a friend told him what our plans were. He walked over to our driver and in Creole goes ‘how are? Good? Give me your keys I’m going to drive you there.‘ He pulled out his driving permit then our driver looked at me I said he’s a nice  guy and off we went… just like that. The ride was crazy, stalled a few times and went pretty fast but we made it. The pool tables were taken up so we waited, once they finally opened up we walked over and started playing then got kicked off. We were unsure why but 5 minutes later loud music went on and dancers flew out. We watched the dances for a bit and Emily showed up with her friend she was waiting on. It was the last song and the dancers starting picking people out of the crowd to dance, they started coming towards the back where we were, I leaned over to one of our volounteers and said ‘ I’m going to the bathroom before I get snagged‘ he laughed and I went off. When I returned him and his sister were both on the dance floor… My paranoia paid off haha! He came back looked at me and went ‘I should have gone with you‘. I told Emily what I had done and she burst out laughing; she’s been wanting me to dance since the last time I did when I first got to Haiti… That was a one time experience, sorry Em ;).

Monday came around pretty quick I think mostly everyone got a good night sleep. Our group headed back to Montrouis to help finish things up, the walls were mostly done and a few of the volounteers went off to get the Tin for the roof.

Like I had said before I was drawn to the mountains and was curious how quick I could reach the top where I had gone the other day. I wagered I’d get there in 20 minutes and that I thought was a modest time… it was pretty far. I had one of the volounteers time me and watch for me climbing the mountain; I kept thinking they’d just get distracted and forget to time me. Either way I was going to be happy making it to the top quickly. I took off in a light jog going down the one hill to reach the next one over using the momentum to bring me forward. I made it to the second hill, my goal was to get to the third one over as it was a straight shoot to the top, but a steeper climb. I raced and raced, I saw the kids following me but they couldn’t keep my pace, I was pretty proud at the speed I was going and if anything I wanted to make it without stopping. I was nearly at the top I could see the tree I was aiming for it was a stand alone tree. I made it to the top of the one hill I was climbing and to me surprise there was a dip… I had to go down about 20 feet and then travel another 500-600 meters up a another hill before I actually made it. On the way back down I passed a “funeral procession” they were singing and chanting, at the same time carrying a casket up the mountain. Further down the hill I ran into a few people, one of them a female and insisting on me giving her my number. Once Haitians get you into a conversation it’s hard to get out of the tangle they keep having questions… I usually just end off with ‘Pas konprann‘ I don’t understand and then I walk off. I made it back down the mountain to see if they had actually captured the time… to my amazement they did and I had managed the climb in… wait for it… 15 minutes almost to the dot! It’s funny because they thought I made it to the top of the hill and marked it at 13 minutes but where they though I was done was the same spot I thought I was, the landscape had tricked us both. We all had a laugh about it and I was congratulated on the effort. To be honest if it had taken me and hour to get there I wouldn’t have minded, I was just proud to have gone and not stopped the whole way.

I'm the speck next to the tree at the top ^_^

I’m the speck next to the tree at the top ^_^

The last few days I’ve been hit with a lot of thinking as usual Haiti plays on your emotions good and bad. There was a point where I had uncertainty hit me… I asked my self what the heck am I doing here? This doubt scared me because I felt lost, in the dark… alone. I tried to put it behind me and keep myself busy about and hour or two later I brought up the same question but realized why I was here. This place made me so happy, maybe the high of running up the hill and making it back down followed by sitting played with me a weird way. When I look at the kids that I play with and joke around with I feel so happy. I’ve always had problems with my emotions and trying to figure out how to feel them let alone express them. Haiti has done wonders for me taught me how to feel more and just be happy. There’s days where I’m down and for many different reasons from missing friends to just being tired, but somehow these kids just come to me smiling and know how to make you smile and get you playing despite being exhausted mentally and physically. My job is a 24/7 job, I don’t get a day off but I love it.

The book I’ve been writing has reached around 11,000 words I’m super happy… kind of stuck in a tough place of writing though, but I’m catching up to current events, a little less than a year away! Speaking of books I finished reading a book I brought called “A Hostile Place” (got it from my Grandma that lives in England) I’m really proud of myself for finishing it… to be honest I think it’s only the second book I’ve finished reading that I personally chose to read.

Wednesday I took the volunteers back to Montrouis while Emily stayed in PAP to pick up Madison the newest volunteer. Unfortunately the house didn’t get to the roof being build before we had to head back home, it would have been nice so the family that came up to help build Tiny’s house could have seen the finished product. On the way home we stopped at a gas station to get some quick food before heading to the beach. I tried an ice cream that was Pina Colada flavoured… it was amazing! We all headed to the beach for the groups last swim, we went a bit further out than normal and just relaxed lived it up to the fullest. It was a little overcast so the water wasn’t as warm but warm enough… better than back in Canada!

Today (march 7th) we dropped off the family of 4 off at the airport… so far this was one of my favourite groups. Emily and I had picked up another couple a few days back so now we have three volounteers. All five of us went up to Mission Baptist and it was absolutely freezing this time; normally it’s pretty cold… well for Em and I anyway. We got up the mountain and it was really foggy out which was a shame the newbies, they didn’t get to see much of the view from the restaurant we usually go to By the time we left to go buy souvenirs the fog had cleared a bit and we got some decent pictures.

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I’ve put off finishing this post for multiple reasons… power outages, lack of motivation etc… so here it is long but here!

“Never forget the ones you love, they help create the lasting memories”

-Justin Parkinson

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