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.”

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.

Bill & Emily

Bill & Emily

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Me – Jenny – Emily+Norens – Tattoumine

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

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

See you again soon Christine!

See you again soon Christine!

Bad Timing

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Justin Parkinson

1st Leaking Into 3rd

1st leaking into 3rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tee and I

Tee & I

Jules & I

Jules & I

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

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

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

~Gordon B Hinckley

Perception of Life’s Lessons

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

Priceless

Priceless

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

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

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

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

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Mixing cement Haitian Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upgrades for Cheap

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

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

Val relaxing

Val relaxing

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

Our genius engineering

Our genius engineering

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

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

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

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

First time trying sugar cane.

First time trying sugar cane

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

~Colin Powell

So?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Making paper bag puppets!

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

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

That one pesky mosquito will never bother me again!

That one pesky mosquito will never bother me again!

Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions

Where to even begin… I’ve been itchy to write a post the past few days not only for everyone to read but so I can kind of get some stuff off my chest. I’ve had some great friends that have endured my… pardon my language bitching back at home and in Haiti. I think I’m finally starting to understand the “Love Haiti relationship” thing that Haiti pushes upon you. Recently I’ve been having mixed emotions not anything to be concerned about. There’s been a lot that has happened in the past few days whether at home or here that have had some what of an impacted on my mood. I’ve noticed in the morning recently I wake up exhausted despite having the proper amount of rest, but later in the day things get better once I start playing with the kids my mood is lifted. A blog or 2 ago I mentioned home sickness, I think it’s more of a reality now. To be honest I used to hold not getting home sick when ever I traveled as a prideful thing but now I’m starting to accept it. Even though at times I get home sick I still want to be here, it’s what I signed up for and it’s what I truly enjoy doing. I just want to say thanks to everyone that has had to listen to me whether it was something small or big!

Everyday it seems like someone is getting hurt (physically) and that I have to bandage them up. I don’t want to say it good but it’s good for me to be able to help people out since I don’t have the incredible stamina the kids have when it comes to playing in the sun.

I was talking about doing activities with the kids this week, and I’ve found some stuff to make paper bag puppets… I’m not very artistic when it comes to crafts… photography is another story.

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The other day a few things got stuck on the roof like some parachute toys and a batman doll, so I hiked up my short and climbed up (it really was a lot easier than I though/ safer). Once I got atop the roof the view was actually super nice. I packed up my gear once I came down and headed back up for some photo’s. Take a look, click the picture for a better look.

Panarama Ke Kontan

Click link below to enlarge Panoramic View

Click Here for full size Panoramic Picture

New Endeavors

New Endeavors

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Me working oh so hard! (It was actually really really hot that day)

Christmas in Haiti was definitely not something I’m used to, for example the snow that Windsor (home) got it was for sure too hot here for snow… pushing 85 Fahrenheit maybe more. The morning started by Emily’s friends coming over and picking her up and throwing her in the car… well not throw but you get the jyst/gist? of it. Then they told me to get in or they’ll do the same to me, all in good fun. So that whole morning the joke was Emily and I were kidnapped (Don’t worry there was people at the house watching the kids). The morning was great it was definitely a twist on the Holidays, we partied to music on the radio and stopped at a barber shop type hang out, had a Prestige or 2 and then were bought free food :). After wards we were dropped back off at home… best holiday kidnapping ever!

Emily went home to Canada on the 26th so that leaves me with the kids; Val and the nanny are still here. Emily and I had kind of talked before I came to Haiti about me staying here while she goes to Canada for a bit so that she can relax and get some family time. Although I already missed Xmas with family, won’t be spending New Years with them or friends and unfortunately missing my sister’s, brother’s & mum’s birthday, I’m kind of okay with it. I understand these are big events back home but since being in Haiti I find a lot of things back home as much as fun as they are don’t need to have such importance “forced” upon them.

Just the other day I was on Skype listening to a disciplinary argument and the person being spoken to was trying to defend themselves to the teeth which really wasn’t necessary, really she should have just accepted her mistake and moved on; she wasn’t even in any trouble. One of my concerns for when I return home is how frustrated I’m going to get when I hear people complain. Before I ever came to Haiti I was already really laid back and usually just accepted things if I had done something wrong and went from there. Since being in Haiti I think it may drive me crazy hearing people complain about stuff and just become frustrated with them. I understand that they have probably never dealt with sporadic power that the government decides when you need it, or to pay for water to take showers and if you run out you have to wait for the water truck, or especially worry about purchasing clean drinking water as to not get Cholera of Malaria. I’m not saying you can’t complain just try and think about what you’re actually complaining about; but I digress.

Let’s lighten up the mood of this blog! So Emily went home the other day and I have to try and come up with some activities for the kids while she’s gone. The kids got a bike for Christmas and the training wheels came off the same day, our yard isn’t really flat, there’s a big slope so it just caused issues for learning to ride on 2 wheels. The boys have already figured out how to ride on 2 wheels but today Jenny tried and she wasn’t able to. I attempted to teach her and she got a little better but eventually gave up. I understand the frustration because there isn’t much room to practice especially trying to learn on a hill.

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Wendel & the new bike

So example of sporadic power… the power went out, the computer shut off and I lost half of my blog. I re-wrote it as best as possible but now using the solar charger. Don’t forget to be thankful and try and drop the petty arguments you have with co-workers or friends :). Just want to add don’t feel sorry because it’s not what you’re used to, just be thankful.

I attempted to watch a movie with a few of the kids, I have to say it wasn’t as fun as I expected. Christine for one never stops talking… as usual and Norens likes to stick his head in front of the screen, even when you tell him to move back he does but only for 2 minutes before he slowly creeps back in front of it again. Despite all the troubles I faced watching a movie with them it was not that bad. Oh I forgot to mention half way through the movie they get bored and want to watch another movie… Oh they joy… to be honest I don’t think I’d ever been so excited for a movie to end. Lesson learned just let them watch a movie on their own, and I’ll watch movies by my self.

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Norens & his tower

Powers back on 🙂

This afternoon Maeve and I went to the market so we could pick up some food and so I could get some apples for Val. We ended up getting as Maeve puts it “Crunchy Bread” (baguette) and ham with cream cheese. Got home and made some super delicious sandwiches… I’m not saying spaghetti and hot dogs aren’t super yummy (inset sarcasm font to previous statement)-_- , but the sandwich’s were amazing! I also got some mini Reese’s peanut butter cups… they melted by the time we got home but I tossed em’ in the freezer and they should be good to eat soon! (They were scrumptious)

The chicken eggs I’ve been talking about… I don’t think they’re going to hatch -_-. Val says give it another week I think he’s wrong, it’s already been more than 21 days that it usually takes for eggs to hatch. One more week and I’m tossing them and Ms. Chicken can give it another go.

Our chicken

Our chicken

If you’ve been following my Facebook at all here and there I mention getting hot dogs from the street/ around the corner and Emily keeps joking about getting Cholera or something of the sort here’s what they look like… But they taste AMAZING! (For those who think joking about Cholera and Malaria are not funny… it’s just a humour you pick up in Haiti. You have to try and make your own comedic relief) 

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Yummy Yummy Yummy!

I’m sure there’s bound to be many strange and exciting adventures while Emily’s in Canada so keep on checking in.

“What’s a great adventure without someone to share it with?”

Thanks everyone for following! Here’s some neat photo’s I took the other night.

 

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Merry Christmas From Haiti

Hello everyone just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas from Kè Kontan, I hope you all have a great day!

Merry Christmas from Kè Kontan

Merry Christmas from Kè Kontan

Here’s a message from Emily(Also check out her recent blog post):

Merry Christmas everyone !!! Hope you are all enjoying family time, gifts, and awesome food. However, please remember how fortunate you are today and also take some time to think of those who are not. This morning was probably one of my best Christmas mornings yet .. Mwen remen Ayiti ! … And also please think of me and my volunteers as you enjoy your nice dinners .. As we will once again be enjoying our chicken and rice 😉

Emily Hime’s “Christmas in Haiti” post

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The morning was really slow the kids took their time they weren’t really excited, even when they saw a tree full of gifts. Emily myself and the 2 volunteers got the kids to sit down and handed them presents, once they started opening gifts the smiles started to shine and Christmas was really here. This was my first Christmas away from home and I have to say it was just as great as every other Xmas… well I might miss some of the great food but still the smiles were gift enough for me!

The kids are now off playing with their mountain of gifts and I’m waiting to Skype with family and friends.

Jodline

Jodline

I wish Niki and Haley a happy holiday’s and safe trip home today.

Once again Happy Holidays!