7 days in…. And I’m feeling it.

A good friend of mine Liz is fasting to raise money to visit and aid children in Haiti. This isn’t her first trip or fast she’s done and I’m sure it’s not going to be her last. She’s powering through 4 weeks of fasting and plans on keeping everyone up to date. Here’s one of her posts.

My Blog

Today is day 7 of my Fasting to Feed. Initially, despite the hunger, being ‘hangry’ (hungry + cranky), and tired I was still feeling pretty good. I still had energy, and was able to continue with my day as if I was eating normally.

Lately however, I am not feeling that way. Since Wednesday I have been tired, not having the energy to go about my day regularly. One night I slept for 12 hours and still didn’t feel like it was enough. The headaches began on Tuesday and have continued. Mix that with the dizziness and it is not a good feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining whatsoever. It is SO exciting knowing that I have made it though a week of fasting, and only have 3 weeks to go. It also is a wonderful reminder of how blessed we truly are in Canada. If I…

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Who do you want to be?

Hello to all of Justin’s friends and supporters! I’m Jules, one of Justin’s long-time friends and colleagues.

I’ve been invited by Justin as a guest blogger and my topic of discussion today is something I don’t just feel but AM…creativity! It’s a burnt out opinion that not everyone can be creative and I fully intend on shattering that perception as long as I have breath in my body. EVERYBODY and I mean absolutely everyone is creative. Humans are a curious species by nature and we are all capable of taking something we think or feel on the inside and turning that outwards into a tangible item whether it be something you’ve written, said, painted, sculpted or engineered.

Art is more than just technique. It’s about feeling. It’s about expression. It’s about taking something that is purely YOU and getting it out into the world for other people to look at, interpret, and appreciate. I grew up in a small town of 3000 people in Southern Ontario and at age 6 my dad discovered my talent for drawing things to scale. We traveled to Florida a lot for summer vacations as a child and my thing was to get postcards and then bring them home and enlarge them on my sketching paper. At age 6 I could take a postcard of Mickey Mouse and the gang and enlarge it to the size of an 8×10 or larger purely from vision. I could figure out angles and measurement without the need of a ruler or protractor (something that doesn’t come easily to everyone). My father decided to put me into art classes outside of schooling. Naturally, I was totally averted to the idea as I was a REALLY timid child. But to art classes I went and surprisingly enough to me I stuck with it for 7 years. Art class became kind of “my special time”. I didn’t have the perfect childhood. Times at home could be very rough on me emotionally and art class was an hour and a half a week that I could just go and be with other artists to get away from it all. No talking was necessary. I just needed that time to go inside my own head and let whatever it was that I was thinking about or feeling come through those firing neurons down into my hand and out of my pencil or paint brush. Art for me was therapeutic, as is for a lot of other people. It’s a chance to express yourself freely without judgement or fear, and that is why it is so important to me to spread of the word, nay beauty, of art!

As I got older, teachers wanted an answer… “What do you want to be when you grow up Miss Monk?” My father pushed me to find something to do with my art. I can remember at 12 years old telling my father “Dad you can’t make any money being an artist”. Now I think, “how sad that the world we live in doesn’t encourage artists to believe in the importance and value of what they’re creating”. I sincerely did not believe I could ever have a life making art. I thought it was just something I was good at that didn’t matter. The years rolled on and I continued growing my knowledge and technique taking art in high school and finally venturing away from realism and into the surreal. Abstract. Wow! It was something new and completely different for me. For the past 5 years or so I’ve been focused on integrating my realist technique with portraits INTO an abstract kind of background or scenario for the character and my goodness what a challenge it has been. I’ve never had more fun than when I don’t know what I’m doing. It just goes to show you that in life, whether it’s creating a piece of artwork, or applying for a new job or a promotion at work, or going out of your comfort zone dating someone new…you HAVE to push yourself to attempt the unknown….you never know how you might surprise yourself and find something new that you absolutely LOVE that you didn’t think was possible or could ever happen to you.

After high school I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. My family thought medical would be a good idea. It’s a good job, with good pay and I was caring enough to be able to handle the stresses and responsibilities of nursing….yet I wasn’t convinced. I applied for a double major at the University of my Nearby City of Windsor and got it. Visual arts and communications…I wasn’t excited. It just felt like “the NEXT step”, you know? It was like I was following the succession of events that society has shoved down my throat as the normal thing to do. Go to school, get a job, find a husband, buy a house, have some kids…and then, well you know. I continued pondering what my life would be like. “Would I ever leave this area?” A lot of people would go to school and eventually follow those same successions of events and NEVER leave. That couldn’t be me. I thirsted for more. One day while lying in bed and watching “Whatever happened to?” it dawned on me, “It would be so cool to work in the movies”. A few hours later I had googled every school I think in nation for film. The next day would change my life’s path.

I got a call from my adviser at The Vancouver Film School asking if I’d like to be a part of their student body in the following terms. I told them I had thought about it maybe after 4 years of schooling at home in Windsor. They proceeded to ask me why not do it now? I couldn’t for the life of me think of a good enough reason to say no. I applied and got in. Then came the inevitable question…”how am I going to afford this?” It just so happens they had a scholarship for a FULL ride to their school. So I applied. It was an essay based off a few key questions like “Who inspires you the most? Who are you? And where do you want to be in 5 years”? I thought of all the b.s bluster they might WANT to hear and then thought…”I’m going to write it from the heart, because if they don’t like that then they don’t like me and I don’t need to go to school there”. Out of hundreds of applicants, myself and 2 others won. I would be going to school in Vancouver, for film, completely free. I couldn’t believe it. If it had not been for that curiosity provoked inside me to search for something more, to keep it creative…then I wouldn’t be writing to you today.

After school I came back to Ontario to work. That’s where I met Justin. I was his supervisor for the AM800 A team (a broadcast promotions team in the Windsor-Essex County region). We made friends immediately and began a friendship lasting well over 3 years now. Justin and I both have the same view of helping others around us whether it be locals in Windsor or all the way in Haiti, which is where we traveled next. As many of you know Justin traveled to Haiti for six months to live with Emily Hime, at Maison Ke Kontan Orphanage, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. What many of you might not know is that I filmed it. Justin and I spent about a year of our friendship fundraising and working for the orphanage in Haiti to try and make a small difference. After being in Haiti my thirst for travelling became even more insatiable and my next stint would become working as an international photographer on the high seas. For six months I traveled Alaska, Central and South America working as a photographer for a cruise line. I have a blog about it that I will post at the bottom.

Arriving back in Canada, just two weeks ago, I’ve been experiencing an array of emotions but mainly just being very thankful for this colourful life I’ve been living. One of my mantras is that “No one will fix your situation but yourself” and “If you are not trying to fix your situation, then you have no right to complain”. Before leaving for life at sea I was feeling stagnant and depressed. Living in isolation for six months has given me a profound appreciation for such things like driving my car, or watching a movie with friends which may seem mundane to the people who experience that on a daily basis but I promise you, every little thing you experience in this life is a blessing and do not forget it.

My life’s message and purpose, I’ve discovered, is to share my knowledge and creativity with the world and to inspire others to not become stagnant or unchallenged by life. So my challenge to you, whoever you are that is reading this, is to get out there and try something new. Apply to something you didn’t think you could get, try something you’ve always wanted to but were too scared to, go out and meet some new people, share some interesting conversation with a stranger, try new food, create something that is completely you whether it’s a song or a painting or a piece of furniture! If I can get one thing across to you it is that this life is short, it’s unpredictable and it’s both horrible and awesome at the same time so live life for the quiet moments you took for granted, don’t settle for a less than remarkable life and lead a life that will have you remembered long after you’re gone.

Peace and love,

J.

Please visit my photography website at www.jlynnphotographyart.com if you’d like to see what I do for a living and book a photo session. Capture those moments in life and have a tangible keepsake for years to come!

You can also check out more of my artworks and talks at my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jlynnphotographyart and my blog: julialynnmonk.wordpress.com/!
There’s ALSO my youtube.com/julialynnmonk and my twitters at twitter.com/julesmonk and twitter.com/jlynnphotoarts.

Please do like, share and tweet my stuff if you enjoy my work as an artist. Help me to inspire others to keep dreaming and making those dreams a reality!

To Those We Love

First off today is a major me day, I’ve been working hard from work to schooling and even language training. 

I feel great as I have a fantastic job and work with great people and just the individuals around me have been so lovely.

In my last post I said I would kind of explain about the “failed connection” I guess you could call it. Things did seem pretty great for a while but the entire time there was something not there, something that tugged at me that I couldn’t quite grasp at despite things seeming to be great… I felt it but chose to ignore it because it was so miniscule. One day we were chatting and maybe I said the wrong thing and suddenly we were “on different pages”; I have to say I was pretty torn up that morning after the dissolution of the friendship. I worked on the things that were making me happy in life and my day really turned around. I stepped back to what I’ve always told myself “never regret a thing in life“. Even when you do dumb things or have a terrible break up like I had 2 years ago, you have to be happy for the times you had; the good and even more so the bad. Look at it this way: if you never went through hurt, paint, or heart-break would you really be the person you are today? I think not. Anyway that’s kind of what happened and I’m glad for the small moments of joy I had.

Enough of this girly talk; I’ve been growing my beard for 2 months now and it’s getting pretty thick as it once was in Haiti, the only difference is it’s getting cold where I’m living now and my face is nice and warm! At work I’ve had many people come by just to tell me I have an awesome beard, or ‘many people can’t pull off a good beard but you sir can!“. It’s really cool to have people come by and compliment it… honestly I’m just growing my beard for me not to impress people but hey I’ll take it, keep the compliments coming 😉 good genetics I guess!

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Haiti Beard

 

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Canada Beard

In late October I sold 4 phones at work in one day and made a hefty commission from it which is great for me… puts me on track for comfortable living. I’ve been getting compliments from “upper managementfor my accomplishments as a newbie which is super cool, but I keep telling everyone ‘honestly I’m just doing my job“. Oh Nov 1st I kicked off the month with selling another 4 phones putting our store at 7 and #1 in BC East for the start of the month. I also keep getting told by my customers I have a very mellow/ calm demeanour and that they like that… none threatening pressure.

I’ve had a great workout sitting on my computer for over a year now and haven’t really gotten around to setting up a schedule to use it… well I finally sat down and spent at least an hour setting up my workout routine. The whole process will be over six to eight months but it’s finally started and I’m super pumped to get my beach bod! (that last statement really made me chuckle)

Still Working on Form

Still Working on Form

Some other things I’ve been up to lately me having enrolled in psychology classes online (free) that offers a diploma but it isn’t accredited… fine with me I’ll still hang the diploma. On top of that I’ve been listening to psych lectures from Yale which happen to be very fun for me to listen to. I have to say that I actually already knew a lot that is being taught on those lectures; in a sense it’s very reassuring that I find Yale lectures “easy to listen to”. Some other learning I’ve been doing but kind of slowed down on it since I’ve taken up so many other things and work 5 days a week is learning new languages. I have Rosetta Stone on my computer and I have taken up Arabic. I think it would be a neat language to learn… I mean I grew up with so many Lebanese people and always wished I knew what they were saying… I have also set out a goal to know at least 7 languages in the next 5 years and I’m already at 3.

So Halloween just went by and maybe some of you went out with your kids or by yourself, and some of you may have handed out candy… ready for a surprise I actually went out “clubbing”, yeah I know it’s def. not my scene but I was convinced to go out and have a night for myself and I’m glad I did. The night was filled with good company and well mediocre to good music haha.

I didn’t get a chance to record a Vlog this week but I’ll try to get one posted in the next few days if not tonight. 

So at the beginning of the blog I talked about how today was a ME day; last night was the first night I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night in over 3 months… maybe it had to do with me being really tired or the fact I was talking to a pretty great person last night… I’m going to stick with the latter. This morning I was blessed with a photo of my girls from Haiti… my heart bled because I miss them so much. As I reminisced on the old photo’s and the newest one with their huge smiles I couldn’t help but cry. I was getting ready to write my blog as I waited for my bath to cool down but I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I had to lay on my bed and take it in… I love the kids so much and they will always hold a piece of my heart <3.

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Newest photo

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Lily and I

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Twins and I napping

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There’s one of my real smiles ❤

 

"Enjoy every moment in life; it's the hard times that show you the good, the better, and the best!" ~ Me

“Enjoy every moment in life; it’s the hard times that show you the good, the better, and the best!” 

“Everything is the way it is because it got that way” ~ Gerald Weinberg

Maintained

The past two weeks have been up and down to say the least. I lost most of my motivation to blog the past little while, whether it was from just being tired or busy.

Some days I’m extremely busy and can barely find a moment to do anything and other days I don’t know what to do with myself.

My Home <3

My Home ❤

It’s been a tough time lately as I’m practically scraping pennies out of my pocket to pay for things, but I keep my head up and work with what I have. Earlier this week my shelves and fridge were bare other than some bread milk and cheese. I have to admit I was a little scared about buying food and just surviving.

The reason I’ve been so tight on cash is the company I’ve been working for “can’t” advance my pay until the following pay because I made a mistake on my banking info. Despite it being my error I did resolve it but the employer is still saying I have to wait until the 30th to be paid (2 weeks after I was supposed to be!). I have to say at first I was pretty frustrated with this as I needed the money, the person I was corresponding with did everything in her power but she’s not head office. I ended up doing some research and found out that it’s actually illegal to withhold pay directly or indirectly 8 days after the end of a pay period. I made my contact aware of this but didn’t want to escalate anything.

So if you’re wondering ‘how are you eating and staying healthy?’ For one I’m buying things at the bulk barn which is saving me money and is actually pretty healthy. I’ve also had some great people around me from my mom to my Hostel neighbour-mates. I try to stay positive even though things are tough… you kind of have to. Its been almost a surprise everyday of generosity, someone invites me over for dinner or offers me leftovers, or just straight up gives me stuff out of their cupboard just out of their good heart.

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Thanks to awesome friends

It’s starting to get much colder out and I haven’t felt COLD in almost a year seeing as I spent pretty much the whole Winter in Haiti… oh do I ever miss it and the kids <3.

Our outdoor theater has been moved/ taken down due to the cold as well the nights are getting very chilly so we’ve moved back to the driveway hang out or just go into someone living space since it’s nice and warm :).

Our cozy bonfire

Our cozy bonfire

Theatre night

Theatre night

Speaking of warm I finally turned on my heater because this cold nonsense is not my cup o’ tea.

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Our new neighbour apologizing for not making it to one of the theatre nights ❤ such awesome people here

This past weekend I was invited to Fandango which is like a mini festival gathering that later turns into a “dance party”. Earlier in the day around 3pm there was what I believe is called an Earth Dance, this is where everyone in the world had set a day just to dance universally share the love and compassion of the world. The few of us who intended on going to it didn’t make it that early 😦 but we did happen to make it to the Pot Luck around 6 which was super yummy and 99% of the stuff was natural and healthy… I don’t think I even saw pop or chips.

The night at Fandango was fantastic I met so many amazing people who touched my heart to meet and hope to continue to grow with them all.

So overall everything is tough but manageable and on the right track… I’m getting there slowly! But still getting there ^_^. Oh yeah I had these Bison sausages the other night they were so good… I suggest you try them sometime.

My hostel mates and I still hang out a lot during the day when we are free and continue to be creative through song, creating events as well as painting and many other endeavours. I have to say I’ve got a pretty darn great group here. I’m keeping in my prayers I can stay here for a long time and make rent easier by starting a job soon. (Prayers and positive thoughts please… not just for me but everyone facing tough times… and even those who aren’t)

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Brenford being creative

I received a letter from my sponsor child in Romania… well my friend in Edmonton did since World Vision didn’t change my address in time. The letter is super cute and I can’t wait to correspond more often with her.

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From Maria… melts my heart

I feel like I had a lot more to post but this will have to do for now I hope you have had a great week and past weekend so far. If you haven’t the weekend is coming and you know what’s coming before the weekend… a fresh new day, tomorrow is another adventure in my life and in yours makes it worthwhile.

Before I close out today’s blog I want to suggest a movie/ documentary to everyone it’s called “I Am” directed & narrated by Tom Shadyac. It’s a acceptance of death and meaning of living story from that the producer of Ace Venture, Patch Adams, Bruce All Mighty etc… What he talks about was/ is very touching to me and I think it would be to many others as well.

“Tomorrow’s just another day… ENJOY IT!”

Steady Visit

I don’t expect this blog post to be too long… but that’s what I usually expect.

I’ve being doing pretty well getting back to “normal” life back in Canada, I’m not going to lie though I still feel like I’m visiting. I’m starting to make future plans on what I’m going to do down the road, of course going back to Haiti is in the plans and I think it always will be but not immediately.

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I’ve come to realize my next adventure won’t be for a while, I’m still looking for work and have had a few hopeful situations but they wouldn’t start until later in the summer and may require travel… hmm did I just say travel I think I like that word! Anyway I’ll indulge you into some of my future plans and this is all in the works no concrete plans; I find if you set specific dates… this is for most people not all, but if you set specific dates for life goals you tend to bring yourself down and stress out too much when the time comes closer and closer so I’m being very liberal and understanding that it will take a few years to get my jet off the ground… unless I land it rich or someone wants to give me lots and lots of money… I prefer the latter :P.

My original plan was to save up for a visit to ex-Siam… Thailand :), I’ve always been fascinated by their culture and their way of life and I’d want to be visiting none touristy area’s. After doing much research and talking to many people who’ve been there it is rather cheap to live there day by day close to $14 USD for full meals and lodging. As most of my plans are like a living being it’s ever evolving, originally I had decided after Thailand I would purchase a house and rent it out. Now I’m planning on getting a house first then travelling to Thailand once I get the landlord thing down and eventually breaking even or even making a bit of a profit. The idea for this is if I start travelling more I don’t want to come home and have to work for 2 years then go travel and work for 2 year again… it seems like such a waste, I’d rather take the extra time to secure myself and then live “freely” before I settle down.

I finally got my iMac back up and running but ran into an issue when I went to Bootcamp it to run Windows now it will only run that… guess I have to bring it in for another fixin’ but at least I know everything is backed up!

I’ve been thinking lately about changing the name of my blog since I won’t be working specifically on Haiti especially in my blogs, more so about my life and travels. I’ll still have my Facebook Page for Haiti but I feel like I need a name change on the blog and was wondering what everyone else thought? I may start-up a poll with some names, if you guys have any idea’s feel free to comment new names or email me at Justinparkinson@hotmail.com

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Recently I went to DEMF which this year was named Movement Electronic Music Festival… MEMF not as easy to say as the old name but change is bound to happen! It was fun despite all the rain and cold, but I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the Urban Festivals, it draws a lot of “not fun” crowds. I much prefer Big fests like Electric Forest or Feel Good, Waka etc… it’s more of a family/ Hippie group, everyone loves one another and will take care of you if you need it… even being a stranger.

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Anyway I just wanted to shoot this off real quick to update everyone yes I’m still in Canada I didn’t jet off to Haiti again… Yet haha just kidding. I’ve got to get back to writing my  book. Don’t forget to think of names for my blog and make suggestions!


 

“Changes happens roll with it”

Adjustments

It’s been about a month since my last blog, it’s been a crazy month and bare with me as I try and remember it all.

The last week of April The Boom Booms were in Haiti doing stuff like planting tree’s and playing a few shows, and I managed to tag along with the Canadian group and help where I could. They guys were a blast to be around really down to earth and generally all around nice guys, a thanks goes out to Alex Genis who helped coordinate and bring them to Haiti.

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Along with hanging out with The Boom Booms I got to know some people from Haiti Communitere (formerly Grassroots utd.). The last week I spent in Haiti was a pretty busy one, running from meetings to people for a last time before I go. There really didn’t seem  like there was enough time in a day.

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April 23rd was my birthday and yes I spent it in Haiti and the Jazz lounge we went to let The Boom Booms play a bit… they were once again amazing, it kind of made my birthday, actually hanging out with awesome people and great music.

I’m sure most of you have figured it out by now from reading if you hadn’t already heard it from word of mouth I’m back in Canada. It’s been a slow transition and yes there were a lot of things to get used to… one thing was, getting used to seeing so many white people, and forgetting I can speak solely English and most people will understand. There were other minor things like putting on a seat belt I needed to get used to.

The first week I was back I got extremely ill, honestly I think it was a combination of catching something in Haiti as well as getting used to the preservative packed foods. It lasted for a little more than a week thankfully I’m all better now :)!

It’s nice to have my car back now and able to travel from place to place when and where I want, although now I have to pay for my own gas which I guess is the big switch over. I’m still looking for work at the moment I have a few hopefuls but still nothing.

I’ve been trying to get more in touch with friends instead of being stuck inside all the time, I’ve recently gotten into longboarding and I find it rather relaxing.

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It’s tough to pick and choose which friends you want to spend time with and finding ones that want to commute the time to hang out, but it’s helpful in seeing who’s really interested in hanging out with me. Haiti has really put a separation between me and a lot of people and it’s sort of neat to see who’s willing to make that stretch to re-connect.

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I picked up Emily from the airport  the other day and she stayed in Chatham for a day or 2 then surprised her mother for mother’s day which was a fun treat!

I wanted to post a lot of pictures onto the Facebook Page but as most people know my computer crashed and is in the shop for the next few weeks… I guess you’ll have to wait.

Stay posted for my crazy life to slowly unravel back in Canada see how my Haitian experiences have changed me for the first world.

“Time doesn’t separate people, people separate people.”

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!

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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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!

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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.

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!