Heated

The past few weeks and the next few to come have been and will be Heated, not just from the warming sun and humidity but emotions as well… for example I just wrote this whole blog and it closed on me and didn’t save at all!

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Emily and I have been really cracking down on getting things in order from paper work to the kids doing their duties. I think we’re both starting to get a little wound because we’re both taking off soon and leaving (temporarily) behind a place we love with all our hearts. Knowing that I have return date to  Canada makes things harder for me and I think that’s adding to why I’m feeling more upset when the kids don’t respect the rules and I feel disrespected. This morning I went around picking up all the toys left around the yard, and when the kids came home from school I brought them over and dumped it out in front of them. I gave them their final warning as Emily has already given them a heads up ‘If your toys are left out they will be given to kids who want them and respect them’. They had a bit of a shocked and ashamed look. Next I pulled out a bag of garbage (no I didn’t dump in out). I told them they need to start picking up the garbage when they see it and that respecting the house is of utmost importance. Needless to say they will be spending the next few hours doing clean up. Everything from the kids, government politic, to staff issues seems to have multiplied ten fold over night.529339_10152729453410022_1151837900_n

Not all things have been “bad” Emily and I did get to go Scuba diving, which I’ve really missed since I was in the Cayman Islands… and even in the cold Sarnia, Ontario waters. I managed to get pretty deep as far as my current license “allows” me and I saw some really neat rainbow fish and coral! The deeper I went the cooler it got (no pun intended).

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I have mixed emotions going home because I love it here despite all the craziness  but at the same time I’m excited to head home to catch up with friends (Don’t let Em fool you when she says I have no friends :P). I am also super excited for Electric Forest Festival 2013! I’ve worked EF for the past few years and this will be the first year I’m not part of the Work Exchange. Everyone there is like family 30,000+ people as one big family… I’ve met some of the best people there. I started making bracelets for myself and friends, picking up a new hobby for EF 2013 maybe make a buck or two selling some “bling” :). I’ve made so many I started to get blisters!

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The other day I managed to go visit a friend who runs Respire Haiti, we’d been trying to connect since I first got to Haiti approx 6 months ago… we finally got together and I had the chance to see the amazing place she’s built up.

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The days are flying by now that I have a confirmed return date. Once that day comes the job hunt begins and I start saving for my next adventure “across the pond

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Until next time: Keep your head up, push one foot forward and you’ve already begun your next journey

Don’t forget to Smile!

Time Well Spent

It’s been a rather long time since I’ve posted a blog, I’m still using occasional Internet and the power situation has been less than favourable.

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The past few days have been filled with ups and down, there was a bunch of volounteers that came down and helped out for a week. Emily and I got a nice burn from the sun at a Dance Party we attended at a school in Cite Soleil… then we had to pick the volounteers up at the airport, which kind of added insult to injury standing in the sun for so long.

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With the new helpers at Ke Kontan being so eager to help out, the backyard had some more garbage cleared.  They were aslo able to assist with taking care of the kids while I was suffering from crazy sinuses. We went to MSC Plus a hardware store and picked up some supplies that were relatively well priced and made some book shelves and an awesome change table… We were all pretty proud with the minimal tools we had… A hand saw, machete, measuring tape and screw driver oh yeah and a hammer duh!

Sketch Change table

My cold/ flu finally started to subside, and everyone loved the idea of helping us build a chicken coop… oh I forgot to mention Emily’s dad arrived a day after the other 5 volounteers showed up, it was great to have him around. We all went out again to MSC this time with crazy amounts of traffic… we finally managed to get everything we needed and made a super awesome chicken coop, I was really impressed how it came out, we worked all through the night to get it done!

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Emily picked up 2 chickens and a rooster they were rather calm when we cut them loose, the next morning they had gotten out of the coop; we didn’t have enough material to close it off completely. The dog had scared them out and the rooster flew over the wall… might be a lost cause now :(.

The volounteers all went home on Saturday, but we had picked up a new temporary addition, her name is Lillian(2) and she is something else! She growls and giggles and runs all over the place.

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I had asked for some sponsors on my last blog and have had a few people curious about “sponsoring” me, what it  might entail and reasons why they should contribute to me instead of a child or to something else. I’ll put up a few points :).

I’m a good extra hand when Emily needs it, and a trust worthy person for Emily to have around incase she needs to go out. I can be there for Emily in person so that she has someone who can relate to her (being a Blan); or if she goes out and wants me to tag along I can pay for my own meals. I won’t be taking away any potential food donations from the kids at the orphanage, and when Emily is tired and needs rest I can jump in and help her out. Haitian’s always have their own way of doing things but when certain needs or rules need to be applied I can assist; whether it’s with sanitation or a building project or to safety. Emily and I have conversed a lot about idea’s for Ke Kontan and to better things in general; having us together to brain storm, 2 people instead of one is always a great help! I hate to ask for sponsors, I feel like it’s begging but I would like to assist off set costs at Ke Kontan. I don’t expect large donations from anyone, anything from $5-$10 helps! I’m look to receive around $30-$60 a month. If you are interested in assisting me please email me at Justinparkinson@hotmail.com

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Anyone wondering about the earthquake that happened the other night, it was only a few seconds, no damage. The kids wanted to sleep outside to be safe, we waited things out for a while; no pun intended.

I’m not sure when the next post will be but keep checking in!

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Take Off

Some of you know by now and to others this may be  a surprised but… I’m back in Haiti. I’ve made the quick decision to come back and have upset many people in the process. I apologize to all the people I have hurt by doing this, you hurt/ pain is what made this quick decision so tough to make.

I want to thank everyone who came together to raise the money to get me back to Haiti so quickly and thank you for the support!

I’ve begun to write a book about my life starting from a few years back. I’ve been writing close to 1000+ words a day and hope to have a decent sized book at least 30-40,000 words. I will be looking for a publisher at some point but will also be looking to publish on Kindle to make it more accessible and affordable. Thank you everyone who has complimented me on my blog writing; if I hadn’t received so many compliments on my blogs I don’t think I would have ever been motivated to write this book. It’s pretty much going to be a tell all of my life the insides and out. I will be exposing some of my craziest adventures and secrets and feel it will be a great ride for not only myself reliving them myself but to share it with others.

I finally got rid of the caveman/ Castaway beard… let the kids cut it for me… I have a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror!

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I’m still adjusting back to Haitian life but the good news is my stomach isn’t upset anymore… I think I’m just so used to the food here. I miss so many people and wish I could have shoved them in my suitcase or be on Skype with them every night. Unfortunately I don’t have internet all the time as I don’t have the funds to pay for it.

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Because I took off so quickly I wasn’t able to do any fundraising to help cover any costs. Once again I expect nothing from anyone as it was my choice to leave so quickly. If anyone would be interested in sponsoring me while I’m here or donating any amounts of money to aid my journey and time here I would be for ever grateful.  If you would like to contact me about making a donation or sponsorship you can email me at justinparkinson@hotmail.com or click the Donate button on the side menu. As always I can take donations for the Orphanage just leave a note as to where you’d like it to be used or I can forward you to Emily.

I love and miss so many people; hope everyone had a great Valentines day!

Choices you make have consequences whether good or bad you must always face them.

Haiti .

Haiti will build you up, tear you down; it will make you smile and feel things you never knew possible, and if you’re lucky Haiti will steal your heart.

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As most people know I’ve been having a hard time transitioning back into “normal” life, what ever that’s supposed to be? It was inevitable that I was going to return and a lot of people could see it in my eyes.

The first time I started to fundraise it took me close to 6 months to raise all the money I was aiming for… so I’ve decided what better time to start raising funds then the present! This time around I’ve set a rather sizeable goal of $5000. Once again this price will include the cost of my flight roughly $300-$400.

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Why have I decided to set such a large goal? Well when I was helping in Haiti I noticed the struggles we faced sometimes, a lot of it had to do with transportation and thus costing a large amount of money. The money being raise will help go towards Emily’s Vehicle Fund. During my fundraising to return to Haiti I will be forwarding some of the money to Em as it’s needed but still putting away so that I can travel and have my costs covered. Once the goal is reach I will be departing and possibly sooner.

I want to thank everyone who’s offered me a warm welcome back home especially it being absolutely freezing out! It’s nice to have people who care for you around especially when you’re going through a rough time. It’s funny because in Haiti every day, and I mean every day something goes wrong but you continue forward and you deal with it, it’s not much of a surprise. While at home when issue’s come up I find my self getting extremely stressed… it’s strange when I have anything and everything I could need/ want I stress when I’m in Haiti and have but a set of clothes for each day of the week and the smiles of the children I’m pretty much stress free.

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I’d done a little bit of updating to the site, there’s a new thermometer on the side bar <————————-

as well the donation button is back to the secure Just’in Hime For Help Paypal account. As always I will accept donations in person and the money as before will be put into a separate Credit Union account.

Oh let’s make things interesting how about once I hit $100 I shave my Cast Away beard :). I’ll even post a video of me doing it! I’m already brainstorming idea’s for new fundraising so keep checking in, and feel free to comment suggestions.

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.

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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

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!

Christmas In Haiti

It’s Christmas eve (Dec 24th) I’m still in Haiti and to me it still doesn’t seem like tomorrow is Xmas. It’s kinda of neat to not see the houses/ streets littered with Christmas lights, I don’t mean it in a bad way though. It’s cool to see the random houses here and there, that are really lit up. There’s not really a half way done house, it’s either fully decked out or not at all. The people in the streets are still in the festive spirit or so it seems, a lot of people are wearing Santa hats. I’ve got to say I really won’t miss the last minute shopping needed to be done as well as the traffic of all the other people scurrying to get it done. For those of you reading this did you get your last minute things purchased? Well what are are you waiting for go and get it! (Worst case scenario take one of the beautiful pictures I have on my blogs or Facebook Page; print them out and write I love you on it and use that.)

Write something like "There's no one I'd rather spend my Holiday with than with my (add relationship with person here[Mother, Best friend etc...])

Write something like “There’s no one I’d rather spend my Holiday’s with than with my (add relationship with person here[Mother, Best friend etc…])

Like I’ve said in a previous post I don’t really get excited for big Holiday’s such a Christmas and birthday’s, of course I do enjoy getting presents and the kind greetings, but I really do just try and enjoy the day and  everyone in it. I’m still on the fence of whether or not it’s weird being in Haiti for the Holidays, it just seems like summer most of the time.

Today Tom (one of 3 volunteers) is heading back to the US. Emily plans on bringing myself and the 2 girls that came to bring presents for the kids, up to Mission Baptist (up in the mountains) so they can buy some souvenirs for home since they head back to Canada on the 25th (Tomorrow). I Don’t think I would want to go home on Christmas; it’s not that I’d be missing on the festivities but I would hate to kind of burden the people needed to come and get me.

Tyson & Maeve

Tyson & Maeve

I’m sure a lot of people like to make Christmas lists… me I’m not a fan. I usually don’t want anything and my mum always bugs me to make one, the problem is everything I want is usually really expensive so I hate asking for it. It’ll be nice to not have to make a list this year! But if anyone is interested to know what would be on it if there was one I’ll tell ya: I would like some money for Credits on my internet stick for while I’m in Haiti. You can look at it as an Xmas donation to keep my blogs coming if you want :). It’s just under $2 US a day to use the internet, and I don’t use it every day. If I did use it everyday it would cost about $47 US for the rest of my trip. Just let me know if you want to make a kind donation 🙂 (Click here for Contact info).

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I’m sure when I return home I’ll realize a lot more things, but since being here when I think of all the abundance people have where I’m from things are really taken for granted.  Even taking Christmas presents aside, we’ve been out of water, well low on water for the past 2 days, that means no running showers (that means bucket showers) and not much variety in food (water truck just came we have water again YAY). Back to the gifts part. A lot of the kids here are just happy to by cared for/about or even just get Candy Canes. Try giving your kids or a friend who is expecting a nice gift a Candy Cane for a present see how they react. I’m sure some people will be fine with it or even love it, but I think a lot of people will be upset and throw a tantrum… probably some adults too. The kids here at Kè Kontan are getting gifts this year thanks to the past few groups of volunteers who brought some, and who also gifted us with a Christmas tree.

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Things in Haiti aren’t easy but it’s the simplest of things that can make a difference and give someone a smile. This year for Christmas think about all the luxuries you have and they gifts you receive and be thankful. If you didn’t get the gifts you wanted just think about the people you get to be around, or even just the new day you get to be in. If you’re spending the day alone head out into the street give someone a gift card or a couple of bucks, just pick a stranger… the good feelings you may get might be the best gift of all .

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays and may your Festivities be as joyous as you expected. Another things I’m hoping for is that the kids don’t hurt themselves for one day… it 9 AM and I’ve already had to give out a Band-aid.

Justin - Val P - Emily

Justin – Val P – Emily

“ Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

~Mother Theresa

Jelly Fish

Jelly Fish

Recently Kè Kontan has had a lot of volounteers and the house has been full. It’s nice to have a few extra people around, I get to save a bit of energy. The other day we went to the beach that was near the old orphanage, well the original place we planned on going didn’t work out (original beach).  The people/ kids that were living at the old place said they knew some where we could go. We ended up paying some people a couple of bucks to use their beach front for a bit. The water was really nice, we ended up moving a little further down because there was sea urchants.

The beach with Jelly Fish

The beach with Jelly Fish

Emily jumped in the water and just as I was about to jump in, she goes I just touched a jelly fish”. Emily ended up being stung by a jelly fish… let’s just say I held off jumping in right away. Emily was fine the jelly fish was just little itty bitty one. I found another spot to jump in, I was a bit paranoid but got used to it. As I was getting out there was a jelly fish that swam right where I was. I guess I just had good timing at choosing when to getting out.

On the way home from the beach.

On the way home from the beach.

So Emily and Val have been joking around a lot lately about finding me a Haitian “Mennaj” (girlfriend) *shakes head*. The big joke at first was to hook me up with the nanny… “she’s great with kids and you guys are the perfect height”. Most recently they decided that the girl that we get hot dogs from and internet credits from would be a great match. Oh the joys of being in Haiti too long. We’ve been having a great laugh about this… I wonder who it will be next week.

The past few days have been a little warm and I think it’s affecting everyone. My self the volounteers and Emily we all seem to be just that little bit more exhausted. I think the babies are feeling it too they seem to be crying more.

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Christmas is nearing and it really doesn’t feel like it. I arrived in Haiti late November when it was freezing out, now I’m in Haiti and it’s super warm and the idea of X-mas has kind of just slipped by. I keep reminding myself it’s only a few days away… I’ve never been away from home or out of the country for Christmas so this is a weird and cool experience at the same time. I’ve always tried to look at every “big event” such as Christmas and birthdays like every other day. I’m not saying don’t be excited just be glad that you are alive for another day and get to spend time with people in general.

Emily went out today with one of her friends so myself and the 2 volounteers went to the tent city and gave out some stuff to the families there. It’s pretty crazy to see how they are living and the way their “houses” are put together.

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I’m playing Scrabble with the volounteers and managed to pull of 44 points on one word I had to say I’ve really outdone myself this time!

I can’t think of much else to say but the Xmas tree looks nice the kids love it and can’t wait for Christmas so they can get their presents. The 2 girls that came recently brought a bunch of presents for the kids so they can have a great Christmas like what “we’re” used to.

Merry Christmas every one and Happy Holidays!

I’ll be posting more pictures on the Facebook page: www.fb.com/justinhime4help

Home Sickness

Home Sickness

The goal of this blog post is going to mainly be directed at home sickness.

I think a few people have brought up the question for me “are you home sick?” To me this question kind of has two answers to it, let me attempt to explain it.

First off I typically don’t get home sick, and when I think of it I never really have… let’s just clear things up, it’s not that I don’t miss anyone or don’t care for them, it’s very much the opposite. I love my mom, my family and my friends despite only having a few. The way I look at things, is I will see them again or that’s the expectation/ intention, or that I will be in contact with them . You don’t need to go through life seeing the people you care about all the time especially if you know you get to see them again. This stint in Haiti is a little longer than I’m normally away from people that are close to me, and I still find I’m not finding myself home sick… Kind of.

Recently I haven’t been online as much, as well haven’t been able to talk with my best friend. Weirdly I’ve been finding myself missing her and it’s rather strange for me to miss some one as stated above. I guess I’ve truly found a friend that I’ve finally confided in and that I’ve given my heart to and will always trust and love; not being able to share my experiences with her because we’re both busy or because of bad timing, has actually affected me and has me feeling I guess… home sick”.

The feeling I get does at times make me want to just go home for a day and say “hey, I miss you!” and give her the biggest hug and then head back to help Emily but… I think it would be a bit costly to do so haha.

I’ve done a lot of growing personally in the past 3 – 4 years, from my dad passing away, to going to detox and come to think of it even meeting Krystina (best friend); Haiti is also having an affect on me as well emotionally I think… come on I cried a little leaving my mom in the airport, that is so not the normal me, but I digress. The past few days I’ve been trying to figure out the lesson or meaning behind the feelings and how I’ve been dealing with them. I think today it may have sunk in a bit and that maybe I was feeling a little scared of being vulnerable in a different country away from my comforts so to speak. Normally I’m fine with being vulnerable but that’s back at home with my friends or my bedroom or car… all my comforts. Haiti has a hard edge to it I find but also a softness, I think now I’m coming to grips with; it’s okay to be open with yourself even in the uncomfortable places.

Some ways I think are good to deal with home sickness;I’ll try to cover for anyone who may be gearing up to travel, planning to or even are already out in the “wilderness”. First: I want to say look to God, He’ll always be there for you even when you don’t think of Him. Just take a second or two to pray. Second: Take time to yourself, have “quiet time” (this can even be a nap!), put on music sit on your bed/cot/floor-mat, where ever! Find your self a “safe place”, at home my safe place is usually my car or near water. In Haiti my safe place is usually outside or just somewhere quiet. Lastly: If you have a friend or family member you are close to TALK. Talking is one of the best ways to get emotions out and help you get past some of the roughest times. Oh I also forgot write things down, you can read it after or you can burn it so no one ever see’s it, what ever you feel works for you.

One last thing I want to share I’m sure you can tie it into home sickness somehow but I liked this proverb: “Spilled water isn’t picked up”. Pretty much what this means is that you shouldn’t sweat the small things that have happened even sometimes the big things. Just read it over a few times and think about it.

Have a great day/ night everyone.

Miss you Tee.

Krystina & I
Krystina & I
Broken Eye Balls ❤

Daily Routine

Daily Routine

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I’ve adjusted well to Haiti at least I think so. Things seem to have become routine, whether it’s a new problem appearing each day that Emily and I are trying to figure out, dealing with crying babies or laughing hysterically at something one of the kids did.

To date I don’t really have anything to complain about, it’s been a blast so far. The kids sometimes do get under your skin but then 5 minutes later they are doing something ridiculous.

There’s been a lot of progress since I’ve been here. Emily and I and Val have gone over some more rules and are making nice signs for the kids/ staff. I’ve been working on one of the gardens which are filled with rocks and I mean FILLED.

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I spent the past 2 days trying to clear our one of them, at least a section of one at the very least. I think the one part is ready for stuff to be planted… Hopefully something grows. During the whole process of making the garden plant-able I attempted to make a rake… I worked! For like 5 minutes then broke. It was a valiant effort I must say I’m still proud of how I made it with nothing but what was in the yard.

Emily and I have been talking about some things that we can do/ build and save us money; there’s a chicken that roams around our yard, I’ve been telling her it’s got to be laying eggs somewhere where, it has to… right? Well the other day we found a corner where it was laying those eggs. Em and I have talked about making a chicken coop and letting the eggs hatch so we can have lots and lots of chickens. If our plan works as we hope we’ll have free eggs and sometimes chicken to eatJ.

We’ve started to clear out the front yard garden area’s and plan on clearing the back yard which looks like a jungle, and a war zone of garbage… well the garbage isn’t that bad, but still needs some cleaning. We’re… Emily rather is expecting a bunch of volounteers in the next coming weeks and we plan on using them to help clear the yard and make her pretty.

Our electricity has still been troublesome but it’s supposed to be fixed soon. Luckily we have a generator so that we can run the water so we can cook and take showers… cold ones. I have to say I’m still adjusting to the cold showers but hey what ever gets you clean… plus it saves water because I’m in and out in 5 minutes. In Haiti saving water is actually important, if you don’t save it than you run out.

The other day Emily and I discovered some plantains and other fruits in the backyard that we’re not sure what they are; so despite all the hardships and non-sense the shows up every day there are some great things that happen too. With the plantains in the back yard and the garden ready for planting fruits/ vegetables there should be some good money saved (if things grow).

The little girls we picked up Jodline and Jodnice (1yr 2m) are starting to laugh and be lively. When we first picked them up they were pretty lethargic and didn’t like each other much, we’re assuming because they probably had to fight each other for food.  The girls are now laughing and even talking… as much as they can talk for being one. The girls seem to play with each other and are probably the best babies I’ve ever seen. When the girls cry the stop about 15 seconds later, they also love to roam around. They can walk but have to hold onto something.

Today (Dec 5) the kids from the tent city came over to play with our kids.  It’s a lot of fun when they come but things can get kind of crazy. After a while the kids can get to be a handful and things usually start to get out of control at the end of the night so we usually end up sending the kids home.

Today Emily and I sat out on the balcony to eat our dinner because there was no power in the house. Later Emily went to figure out how to turn on the generator since Val the one who usually does it was gone to school. Good news we got it figured it out and I was able to charge my computer and finish my blog for you!

View from balcony

View from balcony

Sorry about the delay in posts, things here are very relaxed well to an extent but also our daily routine isn’t very exciting I’ve just become accustomed to it. I have to keep remembering it’s not the norm for most people and is rather intriguing to others.

I want to thank everyone for the support to-date with donations or even just the likes on Facebook or views on my blog page.

So far I love it here and definitely see myself coming back in the future. A big thanks to Emily for making me feel welcome and not making me work TOO hard. Although she does make me give her a massage at least once a week :P.

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Emily has started an Indiegogo champagne to raise money for a vehicle. Please check out the site and donate if you can, there’s even perks for how much you donate!

http://www.indiegogo.com/kekontan

**UPDATE** Oh one last thing a friend of Emily has posted a request on Ellen Degeneres’ page requesting assistance, if you guys could click LIKE that would be great.

CLICK & LIKE!

“Play hard or work hard, you’ll be tired either way; the rewards are usually the same”

~Justin Parkinson

Packing Away!

I’ve got most of the packing done but I actually just paid for a 3rd bag today as I will need more room for supplies. first here’s a little treat I made a time-lapse video of the packing!

 

As for the supplies here’s a post from Emily today. My departure and arrival couldn’t be at a better time!

 

Maison Ke Kontan- after some discussion- has decided that we will be opening our doors to the children of the tent city for free English classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday @2pm- 5pm. To be able to offer these children a great learn

ing environment we will need to purchase the following items: 

A chalk board
15 small desks
Writing utensils for each child
Booklets 

We would also like to provide the children with a snack or meal each day as well as vitamins. If anyone is interested in becoming involved with this project or wishes to sponsor one of the items above to get our classroom going please message me or email me at emily@himeforhelp.org 

or visit our website at www.himeforhelp.org

“Don’t forget to smile!”
~Justin Parkinson