Second Mile Haiti

Welcome to our blog! This is a place for us to keep friends and supporters up-to-date with the latest 'Second Mile' happenings! Check in often. Things are moving fast!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


We used to post a lot on Sundays. A slower paced day and a little extra time seem to be the secret ingredients for thinking and writing.

When we used to live at Children of the Promise Sundays were a day to keep the gates closed, to dress the kids up for church or to hold a relaxed worship circle under the Mango tree. I enjoyed grabbing just one child to practice my hair braiding skills or to spend some time with the nannies by getting my own hair braided. If sitting for three hours getting your hair yanked on doesn’t inspire rest… I don’t know what does…;)

amy, circa 2010 

When we first moved back to Cap this past January after 3 months in the States, Sunday was a day to explore what it meant to live in the city. We used Sundays to figure out things like where to buy rice and how much to pay. We rode Tap-Taps to Cap’s mega church and treated ourselves to brunch at the bakery on the way home. After all going from living on a big compound where meals were served hot off the stoved to living on our own with our rice cooker was a bit of an adjustment…for us, in terms of health and rest, it was a good one.

Later, we busied ourselves with Sunday afternoon excursions to visit our friends in the villages surrounding Cap. We’d walk, drive, or take motos to spend leisurely visits with the people we love. We’d come home with sun burnt faces and full hearts.

After I started working for Caris (a Monday through Friday job) Jenn would use the weekends to get me up to speed on the progress of our Second Mile Haiti compound. We’d make quiet “vision” visits to the land. We’d relax some and then when our bellies started growling we’d head to the market. Sunday, early evening, turned out to be a great time to stock up on produce for the coming week.

market day, always a game. 
guess how much we spent...

During the months we acted as fill-in moms for our friend Kelinise we spent many a Sunday at the hospital. Her regular doctor visits for diabetes usually fell on Thursdays. Depending on the issue (hypertension, high blood sugar, skin abscess, etc…) the doctor tended to prefer to keep her at hospital over the weekend. This was a stretching time, as driving to and from our house, her orphanage, and the hospital was expensive and didn’t allow for much rest. We love her though, and are so thankful that she has been relatively healthy and living with her Dad for almost two whole months. 

When we started to have a string of visitors we used the weekends to show them the sites and sounds of Haiti. We have spent many of our Sundays letting our friends experience the wonderful Cormier Plage, a beach resort close to town with breathtaking views and a stellar rum punch.

Today? A morning mix of silence and reading and getting ourselves focused.

 does our porch not literally breath, "come, relax, take a load off..."?

Jenn spent several hours lounging on the porch engulfed in the Secret Life of Beads---I mean Bees. I dug into a new book sent down by a faithful friend of Haiti. I’m continually amazed by how God seems to hand select certain books which are then gifted by special individuals with impeccable timing. Come Talk with Me, Jesus Calling, Kisses for Katie, and now one called Sacred Rhythms... It’s happened too many times now to write off as coincidence.

After we had our fill of peace and quiet we opened the computer in search of some tunes and like magic, our internet connection appeared for the first time in 3 days!

As I finish writing this post Jenn is busy beating the keyboard with speed and enthusiasm, intent on using this window of internet to the fullest. She’s posting photos from the last few days, thrilled to announce that we’ve broken ground once again, this time for the construction of the mom/baby homes. Less exciting, or more, depending on how you look at it is her role as the official accountant. It’s a good thing she loves numbers because staying on top of “the books” requires daily attention. The first thing out of her mouth when she saw that we had internet was “yeah! I can get the spreadsheets up-to-date.” I'd probably be more excited to check my email, but to each her own.

Equally important is her communication with the Gigures which these days seems to be nearly constant as they plan for the distribution of finished bracelets and Jason’s upcoming trip to Haiti. He and Jenn have their work cut out for them as they will be sorting out the gardening, water, and septic situation on the Second Mile Haiti compound. We can’t wait for his visit as he will be bringing A TON of seeds recently donated for our ministry and the families we support.

  the Gigure clan sortin' seeds

I now work only part-time with the Caris Foundation. We made this switch in hopes that I would have more time to work with Dorothy and Louismene, our magnificent bead makers plus a little time to support Haiti Babi another brand new organization operating out of our apartment. We are partnering with Haiti Babi to empower mothers through employment and the skills of crochet and knitting. These past two weeks have been full to the brim with activity as four women are being taught how to make designer baby blankets. Our apartment is an explosion of cardboard, yarn, HIV testing supplies, but it’s good. Very good.

haiti babi - learning in motion

I suppose I'll spend the rest of my afternoon sorting out the bead operation as we prepare to send over 2,500 finished beads state-side. If time permits I might need to prepare a little for Kid’s Club, a club/support group that The Caris Foundation hosts for children living with HIV. Tomorrow in between fun and games we’ll be broaching two loaded topics, SEX and PUBERTY. A little prep wouldn’t hurt…

As for this evening, looks like our empty shelves and lack of toilet paper will send us back to the market. 

In summary, we love Sundays for so many reasons. It's fun to reminisce on where we've been by examining the types of activities that have filled our Sundays. We’re incredibly grateful for this particular day and it’s perfect marriage of rest, soul care, and productivity.

We hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday too.  :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On fear and trust...

It’s an unwieldy mix of emotions, those feelings that surface when I set foot on the land. You see it’s not just a wide open space anymore. The clock is ticking and the space of time before we're "operational" is growing smaller and smaller. There are buildings now and where there are not buildings I see a thin white thread tied to bamboo fragments outlining the soon-to-be buildings with halting finality. I should be bursting with excitement but instead I feel an unpleasant shade of fear.  

And then there are the walls which continue to make me a bit anxious. In Haiti walls mean rules. Rules decide who comes in and who stays out, and when. Being in charge means that all of this falls under our discretion. I’ve never much cared for walls or rules. This complicates things.

Where was I? Oh yes, my feelings...

"the gallery," an area in the clinic set aside for waiting and learning
(mostly learning while waiting and maybe some praying too)

As we put money, your money, into tangible things like cement blocks and gardens and consultation rooms and toilets and chickens I can’t help but feel the pressure. Will our compound really be able to accomplish all that we’ve set out to do? There’s a goal. Yes. And we have experience with the sorts of things that prevent families from "making it." It all makes sense on paper but.. will it work? Will the buildings be adequate to serve the functions we’ve assigned to them? Will moms get to keep their babies and will lives be changed?

* * *

The discussions are endless as we corral our ideas, turning decisions over and over until they are refined into something that makes sense. The prayer has been the same from the start. God help us to hear you. We trust you and we want to dream and believe on your level of awesome, not ours.

Trust is an amazing thing. I can’t claim to be good at it all the time. But one thing is for sure, it puts things into perspective. To say God you’ve got this and really mean it means that not only do you trust that He is capable but to also trust in the way he is using you and making you capable.

I look at the land and am astonished by how much has been accomplished in just four months. I can’t help but grab Jenn by the shoulders and tell her I’m proud of her. I’m proud of her for trusting in the way that God has equipped and empowered her to face each day and tackle the decisions at hand. She doesn’t have the background, the training, or any sort of former experience that would lead one to believe that she’s the director of operations behind this project. And that’s just it. God's got this.

Earlier today, when those feelings of fear were bubbling within me I took a long hard look at the nearly finished clinic, the perfectly straight cement block walls that seem to stretch on forever, and the bamboo and wood post fences that enclose what promises to be a field of delicious life. It is all more beautiful that I could have ever imagined. The degree of awesome reflected in the finished work points directly to Him. 

We can relax and enjoy knowing that ultimately he is in control…of every detail.



the bamboo barricade 
a temporary structure that keeps cows and goats from participating in the block making
and separates the garden area from the rest of the land

help us by praying for the future of this space, might awesome things happen here!

 Proud of her. 

Thank goodness there is someone much bigger and wiser that seems to want this thing to succeed.
So we trust and watch and expect [great things to happen].

Friday, August 10, 2012

and... we're back.

I had to do it. I had to bite the bullet and check how long it had been since our last blog post.

...5 weeks...(shudder). 

It’s dangerous, or should I say deadly, to pass the 4 week mark. Let two weeks slip by and there is still room for redemption but four weeks... With each day it becomes harder and harder to hit the keyboard. I’ve seen one too many blogs forever abandoned after the 4 week mark. Sad, sorry fate. 

I’m here to announce that Second Mile Ministries is alive and well and this blog ain’t goin’ nowhere. Thus, we’re back! 

We have so much going on right now, it’s ridiculous! In a good way.  

Remember that little fundraising/connecting trip that Jenn did last month? She checked in a few times while on the move but of course, we’ve haven’t written since. The purpose of that trip was to connect with supporters; past, present, and future. So many different people were praying for us during this time and as a result we were able to really see God moving both here in Haiti and in the States. Somehow we were only shy of our goal by a few thousand dollars. It literally gave me the chills as I sat here in Haiti waiting till 2 or 3 in the morning until Jenn could get online and give me the updates. Our goal was $30,000. That may seem like a small sum to some but whoa baby that is HUGE for us! 

There’s a billboard in town that I find myself reading out loud every time I pass. It reads “Tipa, Tipa Nap Advanse.” Tipa, Tipa... You have to admit that just sounds cool. Read it out loud again. I dare you not to get addicted. 

I love it for multiple reasons. The billboard is sort of a beacon of hope for folks in Northern Haiti. It’s declaring that over the next few years thousands of jobs will be available. They are building an industrial park just 30 minutes outside of Cap Haitien. It’s a pretty big deal because, well... it’s actually happening. 

It’s not every day that a promise like this one actually makes it way into reality. 

The image on the billboard is something that resembles a bar graph showing the project’s progress. Translated it reads, “little step, by little step, we are moving forward.” 

Great imagery. Great perspective. And so applicable to where we are at as well. 

The beauty of being such a itty bitty organization is that every “tipa” is so apparent. 

Little advancements occur daily. Right now we’re rolling beads, making blocks, fencing gardens, and finishing our first building. We have some new partners, new employees, and several new families that have found their way into our hearts. To put it simply, we have news. We’ll try to update more often. :)

Thanks for your prayers, your money, and your love. We’re humbled that you’ve chosen to trust us and that you continue to come back and see our mighty God at work. 

bead making in full swing

view from the roof of the clinic

Jenn and her best friend, and the new fence!